À la burgoise, just cheeper

I felt a little gilty lately, since my wife and I haven’t been out much for the last couple of months. There were many reasons, but, I guess, being around our daughter was the main one.
I wanted to break the restaurant drought, so I invited her to Restaurant Toscana in Vejle.

We visited the restaurant once before and we knew it had a classy interior and a chef with skills, but we were surprised to see the restaurant was practically filled up to the last seat. I thought they wouldn’t be able to find a table for us. Luckily, I was wrong, we got a table right beside some company of thirty people who probably celebrated someone’s birthday or anniversary.

Restaurant ToscanaI ordered a tomato soup Toscana and lasagne (I know, original choice, huh?!), while my better part went for Gambretti Insalsa Aromatica (shrimps and caviar with salad and Ravigot dressing) and Fettucine el Gorgonzola.

While we waited, we got some bread, pesto with garlic and butter which did a great job preparing us for the ordered food.
The soup was great, with its sour taste, just like the tomato soup is supposed to be. Lasagne was also almost perfect. The fettucine was absolutely gorgeous with its creamy Gorgonzola sauce. It simply melted in the mouth.

The overall experience in Toscana would have been perfect if the noise level from the guests was a little lower. It was so loud that I found myself almost shouting at the times.

Regarding their website, I would recommend them a new design, since the current one does not do any justice, so I have learned an import lesson – do not judge the restaurant by its website!

So, all in all – 4 out of 5 stars. Even with the noisy experience (I hope it was an unique Friday), I recommend everyone to pay a visit to Restaurant Toscana because of the great food, fine atmosphere and very (!) acceptable prices. If you’d like to eat nobly, but without having to sell your car, than visit Restaurant Toscana in Vejle, Denmark!

Me and comic books

Since I was a little kid I had a great passion for comic books. At some point, my brother and I had around 200 copies. I know, every country has its own most popular comic books, and ex-Yugoslavia wasn’t any exception.
I don’t have any numbers nor papers to cover my postulate, but I believe, in contrast to the Unites States and the Western Europe that pledge to DC Comics and Marvel, the Yugoslav youth prefered Italian comics books, such as Komandant Mark (Italian: Il Comandante Mark), Zagor, Blek Stena (Il Grande Blek), Tex, Dillan Dog, Kapetan Miki, Mr. No etc.

ZagorI especially enjoyed reading the adventures of Zagor (the image) and Komandant Mark, but I collected all the above mentioned, too. The reason I never liked the American comics books was the factor of unreality, ie. American comics are almost always centered around superheroes, individuals with supernatural powers. I don’t know, it never worked for me.
But the other factor is the structure of storytelling. There is order and consistency in Italian comics, while the American comics are made with a rather chaotic structure.

Actually, every hero, that I enjoyed reading about, was not supernatural. They were all very skillful and athletic, but also vulnerable. And none of them could fly.

The last reason why I loved those Italian heroes was the plot. Most of stories in the mentioned comic books took place in the past. Blek and Komandant Mark is about American struggle against the British power in the the 18th century. Zagor, Kapetan Miki and Tex take place in the next century (cowboy time!). Mr. No and Dillan Dog are both heroes of the 20th century.
Somehow, I like that the heroes are doing their deeds either the past or the present, because of the realism. I could always identify with them or at least put their story in perspective, since I was always quite interested in history, for instance.

Anyway, a few weeks ago I had a chance to read some of the new issues of Zagor, Blek and Komandant Mark. It would be unfair to say I was disappointed, I wasn’t, but the magic somehow was gone. Of course, I got older, but the stories were not as compelling as before. Also the drawing style was different from before and I believe that is one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoyed new issues as the old ones.

Actually, the story of Zagor was least immature, while Komandant Mark and especially Blek were quite naïve and childish. It definitely ruined the image of the two heroes from my childhood.
The question is would I feel the magic if I actually read some of the old issues, from the old days. Somehow I doubt, but I am sure it would have been a lot of fun.

Alternative history of Dino A.

anti-airFirst of all, I was born in Bosnia (at the time, the name of country was Yugoslavia).
Few days ago I went for a walk and I wandered what would my life be if the damn war in the 90’s never happened. Well, there’s a chance that Yugoslavia will still be a country of six republics. Now, let me assure you, I am not Yugonostalgic since I believe it is a pathetic and unrealistic feeling, but the thought has crossed my mind (apparently, I am extra creative when I am walking).
For all of you who are not familiar with the term Yugonostalgia, some people compare the feeling to the German term Ostalgie:

the phenomenon that people fondly remember the socialist state in which they lived before it collapsed under its internal contradictions. Such nostalgia has become part of consumer culture all over the former Communist bloc. Hungarian rubber shoes, Polish soft drinks, and LPs from all countries are examples of products that have again become popular in the countries where they originated–but today, they’re sought after not for lack of alternatives but as one of countless choices in a free market.#

I know, it is unrealistic (read: utopia) even to think about it, since life (on the Balkans, at least) has so many factors and layers, but nevertheless, I will play with the thought, so here it comes – alternative history of Dino A’s life:

Let’s pretend that the wars in the Balkans never occurred and that Yugoslavia still exists.
Today I would have probably been an officer in YPA – Yugoslav People’s Army, more precisely its air forces.
In 1991 I joined military school, (RV & PVO – Air Forces & Anti-Air Defence) in Rajlovac, near Sarajevo. After 4 years in the school, I would certainly join the military academy. After additional 4 years of training, learning the war strategies from Hannibal to Marshall Zhukov, countless jumps from the airplanes and helicopters, snow boarding with the full military equipment, and outstanding theoretical performance during that time, I would become at least a Lieutenant (poručnik) in YPA around new millennium.
I would be transfered to some military base with air force/defence units: Zemun (the HQ of Air Forces), Sarajevo, Belgrade, Zagreb, Niš, Priština, Bihać, Mostar, Split, Pula, Zadar, Titograd, Ljubljana or Maribor.
I would have most certainly been a man of discipline and authority, which is the opposite of my characteristics today. Today I champion personal freedoms and dislike authorities.
Would I be married? Would she be a Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian? Macedonian?
I would have lived in a military owned apartment complex, use all of my time in the military base, have mostly friends inside military…

I can only say I am actually glad that I am not a soldier today because of the way of life. As a soldier I would have probably had a very simplistic view on life, ie. there would be only one way of doing things – my way.
Looking from today’s perspective, that would be a very sad life of mine. I would not take active interest in history, art, literature (the one that is not about battles and armies!), and I WOULD probably not be able to travel to foreign countries, exploring new cultures and people.

I have said many times that the wars in the Balkans during 90’s were the worst since the World War II, hundreds of thousands died for nothing, many people lost their families, their future. But in a strange way, a war also changes one’s life, it changes it course, its path to the future.

I am not complaining nor I ecstatically cheer my present life in Denmark, but one thing is sure – I am living a different life from the one in my home country and my mind functions in another way (which is a good thing).

Danski kanon kulture

Danski ministar kulture Brian Mikkelsen je u jesen 2004. godine odlučio da sačini sedam odbora koji su trebali napraviti listu najreprezentativnijih kulturno-umjetničkih djela danske kulture na polju arhitekture, dizajna, scenske umjetnosti, literature, slikarstva, muzike i filma. 108 djela je ugledalo svjetlost dana 24. januara 2006. godine. Prije nekoliko sedmica je izdana knjiga, a danas i web stranica sa svim djelima.
Ono što će zainteresovati bosanske umjetničke sladokusce je činjenica da se o danskim djelima može čitati i na bosanskom jeziku.
Kada dođete na početnu stranicu, vidjećete pregled svih djela. Izaberite neko od njih i u lijevom gornjem uglu ćete vidjeti naslov “more languages”. Nakon toga ćete moći izabrati naslov na bosanskom, pored arapskog i turskog.

Iako se u biti protivim ikakvom elitističkom odabiru najboljih umjetničkih djela jedne zemlje ili kulture, mislim da je za nekoga ko ne poznaje npr. dansku kulturu ovo odlična prilika da dobije bolji uvid u umjetničko stvaralaštvo ove skandinavske zemlje.
Ja živim u Danskoj i poznajem veliki dio ovih djela, pa kao i mnogi stanovnici ove zemlje, imam svoje mišljenje o izboru djela. to se tiče filma, ne mislim da Idioti i Fešta zaslužuje mjesto na ovoj listi, no svako ima svoje mišljenje.
A sada odoh malo to pobliže ispitati.


Za one koji ne znaju, ja sam otac jedne prekrasne djevojčice, koja je u istinu svjetlost moga života. Ona je jedno jako živahno dijete, pogotovo u dobi u kojem se nalazi (22 mjeseca), istražuje svaki kutak, skakuće kad god može i obožava da vrišti, jer zna da to meni smeta (bubnjići mi pucaju zbog njenih visokih decibela, najozbiljnije!).
E, poslije svih tih svojih nestašluka, kada završi s jelo ili pred spavanje, moja djevojčica voli da gleda crtani film, prvo su to bili Teletubbies, a sada – Bambi. To je jedan prekrasan crtić u kojem imamo priliku pratiti glavnog junaka Bambija kako otkriva čari i realnosti ovog svijeta: prirodu, roditelje, prijatelje, ljubav, smrt, vrline, opasnosti, mogućnosti…

Naša djevojčica je jako simpatična kada svoju mamu ili mene natjera da gledamo Bambi na televizoru.
– “Babim.”
– “Hoćeš li jesti sada?”
– “Babim!” i pokaže rukom u pravcu dnevne sobe.
– “Evo idemo, ali hoćeš li prvo šta pojesti?”
– “Babim!! BA-BIM!!”

Onda se gospođica lijepo namjesti, pored mene ili čak u krilo, zavisno od raspoloženja, uzme mi ruku ili prst. Sljedećih sedamdeset minuta, koliko film traje, ona ne trepće. Međutim, s obzirom da ga gledamo nekoliko puta dnevno, rijetko odgledamo film od početka do kraja, ali zato se film “obrne” par puta dnevno, što mene čini, formalno i neslužbeno, najvećim ekspertom filma na svijetu. Tita mi! Dosad sam pregledao “Bambija” bezbroj puta, da jednostavno znam i kada koja scena dolazi. O dijalozima da ne govorim. Mojoj supruzi je možda najzanimljive kada imitiram Bambijevog oca, kralja šume (dešava se u 41. minuti filma):

– “Tvoja mama više ne može biti s tobom.” Nastaje pauza. Kamera prikazuje oca, pa maloga Bambija. Tužna muzika.
– “Hajde. Hajde, sine moj!” Kamera se udaljava, dok otac i Bambi odlaze.

Ima nešto divno u ovom filmu. Zapravo, mnogo toga. Sviđa mi se koncept i scenario filma. Tokom cijelog filma pratimo Bambijev život, a on je prikazan kroz jednu godinu i njena četiri godišnja doba. Prvo, proljeće kada se Bambi rađa i upoznaje svoje drugare Lupka i Cvjetića, koji ga uče kako da hoda. Mama mu pokazuje livadu i sve čari i opasnosti koje ona pruža.
Muzika je fenomenalna tokom cijelog filma i vrijedno je pogledati ovaj animirani film samo zbog muzike.
U ovom dijelu filma se čuje i pjesma o kiši, koja počinje nekako ovako:

Kap-kap-kap, padaj kišo blaga
Lupkaj po lišću svoj ritam za nas,
Kap-kap-kap, padaj kišo blaga
Nosi nam zelenog proljeća glas.

Onda, nastaje ljeto, upoznaje malu Felinu, a na livadi postaje svjestan opasnosti koje donosi čovjek.
Dolazi jesen, opada lišće, a Bambi spoznaje da se priroda mijenja.
Budi se nakon dubokog sna, a vani nekakav bijeli prekrivač. Zima je. Nove igre sa društvom, klizanje na ledu. Zima biva sve jača, ponestaje hrane. Na zalasku zime, dok su Bambi i majka mu pasli svježu travu, tek izniklu kroz snijeg, Bambi uspijeva pobjeći od lovaca, ali ne i njegova mama. Onda dolazi ona tužna scena s Bambijem i njegovim ocem.

Dolazi proljeće, a s njim svjetlost i ljubav. Svi Bambijevi drugari su se zatelebali (čitaj: zaljubili), a onda i sâm Bambi – u Felinu. Međutim, idilu kvari čovjek, koji je zapalio šumu i bjesomučno proganja i ubija životinje. Bambi pokušava spasiti Felinu, ali biva ranjen, kojem, opet, otac pomaže da se izvuče iz ralja vatre i čovjeka.

Na kraju filma saznajemo da je Bambi postao otac (blizanaca) i da, nakon oca, postaje kralj šume.

Odličan film, izvanredan scenario i vrlo vividna animacija. Eto, ko bi rekao da će se meni, koji nije veliki poznavalac animiranog filma, svidjeti Bambi. No, zahvaljujući mojoj princezi, spoznao sam nešto novo. Između ostalog, saznao sam da je Bambi zapravo dječak, a ne žensko, kao što sam donedavno mislio.