December 2008


Angels with Filthy Souls

Now admittedly I haven’t had as much time to sit in front of the television and watch stuff as I had originally planned, but two things intervened.

First, I popped over to the UK for a friend’s going away party and secondly, I’ve been cat sitting.

Admittedly, I have been watching “Dead Like Me” whilst cat sitting. The bad-boy cat is really quite the dependent young man. He goes out, bullies the neighbor cats, but comes home and sits on me, rubs his nose on my nose, and is paranoid that I am going to leave (which, of course, I do). The other cat, the quiet cat, rubs up against me, but then sits off by himself, often in another room. He only shows interest when I am near the food.

My responsibility ended this morning—I let the cats out and as soon as the bad-boy cat stopped shadowing me, I headed to the coffee shop where I got a cup to go, returned home.

Now that I’m home, I’ve started cleaning. My apartment gets messy when either one of two conditions is met: I return from a trip, or I am sick. Considering that I returned from the UK and have been fighting an awful cold, it’s pretty messy.

And I’m supposed to have some kind of small party tonight. It appears to consist of three or four people, so it won’t be too bad. I’m making oatmeal bread right now—I’m in the first waiting period, letting the water and the oatmeal spend an hour together before adding molasses, flour, and yeast.

The rest of my free time at home has been spent either in bed or in front of the television.

In bed I’ve been reading Christian Wolmar’s The Subterranean Railway. The book covers the history of the Tube, from conception through building and on to today. I’m finding it an enjoyable read, but since I’m not as familiar with the system as Londoners, I’m struggling with the references, and I need to find my map of the underground in order for it to make more sense. The book was published a few years back and received a good review in The Guardian.

In front of the television has been more varied. I picked up a ton of DVDs in the States over Thanksgiving and whilst in Britain, I picked up a whole lot more. In the US, I was merely taking advantage of Target’s post-Thanksgiving sales, which were, I guess, in part driven by the poor economic conditions in the States. Meanwhile, in Britain, I took advantage of a double-whammy: The pound has been sinking and retailers are panic stricken. In both countries I was compelled to “decant” my DVDs: I bought DVD carrying cases, and removed the DVDs from their boxes. I felt a little embarrassed at the tall stack of empty DVD boxes that I left in my Bristol hotel room, but quite frankly I didn’t see how else I could do it.

Christmas Eve, whilst home, alone, I watched Home Alone—I hadn’t seen the movie in years, and like most John Hughes films, it’s really well done (He did Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, one of my all-time favorite films). I found myself laughing throughout the film. It was cozy and fun, even as I was home, alone. After Home Alone, I watched Home Alone 2. Really, it had its moments of slap-stick humor, but we could have probably done without the film. (It was part of a four pack of films for £10. Home Alone 3 and Home Alone 4 are the other films—I will have to watch them, but not today.)

I’ve also been watching episodes from the second season of Psych—I bought it in the States—mainly because my sister said the show was cute, and because it was cheap at Target. Good television literature it is not, but it is cute and mindless drivel that is good when my mind needs a vacation.

On the other hand, I also got the first season of Mad Men whilst in the States (It was a gift, and I had asked for it). What a brilliant show! (Reminder for my readers: I am only mid-way through the first season, and until the second season comes out on DVD, I will probably not be able to see it.) Amusingly, I mentioned that I was watching the show on Twitter and within a day Betty Draper started following me! I would follow her, but since I am still only in the first season, I am afraid she might reveal what happens in the second season.

I also watched the first few episodes of Yes Minister. There’s something about British television that implies quality. I couldn’t imagine an American satire about government that would be so well written and accurate. It has a huge fan following as it unveils the iron-triangle of power (although I think Iron Triangle is a US political science term, I think it applies aptly here).

Meanwhile I also watched the first season of Fawlty Towers. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of this brilliant John Cleese sitcom before, so the fact that I now own all 12 episodes, plus whatever else is on the 3 DVD extravaganza, is wonderful. The last episode of the first season is “The Germans”, in which a slightly demented Mr. Basil Fawlty reminds his staff, “don’t mention the war”. To borrow from the Fawlty Site on the episode:

Basil then proceeds to mention the war at every opportunity, upsetting the German guests more and more as he rapidly descends into a fit of xenophobic ranting about everything and everyone that most Germans would rather forget.

When the fed up German asks Basil to stop going on about the war, Basil kindly reminds him that they started it. “We did not start it,” protests the German. “Yes you did, you invaded Poland”, replies Basil!

I found myself laughing, but given that I live in Germany I now wonder how Germans respond. In the end, most of the jokes come at the expense of the Brits and their view of history.

Recently I had a similar question about Eurotrip, a 2004 movie which features a group of friends from Ohio travelling Europe trying to reach Berlin in order to meet a girl. I’d purchased the movie in Germany and watched it with Cathy and we both were puzzled when the scene in Berlin lasted about 30 seconds—far shorter than we remembered. So I picked up the US version of the movie for next to nothing at Target over Thanksgiving, brought it back to Germany and watched it again, this time with a German present—and the Berlin scenes were longer, featuring an imitation of Hitler and goose-stepping. The German was sort-of ok with the former and declared the latter was too much.

Anyhow, I have lots more television to watch—although I also need to finish cleaning and baking bread. When I started writing , the oats and the water were getting to know each other. Now the flour, yeast, and molasses have been added, so it is going through its first rise.

There’s nothing quite like the scent of yeast in the air.

5 comments to Angels with Filthy Souls

  • I must have that recipe, it sounds delish.

    The book sounds really interesting, too! I’m fascinated with subways… (Probably almost on par with planes, but you and your plane traveling record have me beat! It’s almost time for an update, since you’ve had at least two trips since the last one.)


  • Where did you find molasses??? I was dying for gingerbread and lebkuchen just doesn’t do it for me!

  • I heard great things about Mad Men. We HAVE to watch it together when I get back!

  • Since you mentioned it again in this entry…

    Keep up with Dead Like Me. There is an episode, in the second season I think, that has Mason visiting a gay couple. Even though this show is mostly comedic, it actually portrayed we gay people as human… Just like everyone else.

  • @Scott: Alas there won’t be an update of my airports and airlines listings for awhile–I only update it when I have new airports or airlines to share. You can, however, track my current mileage at my flightmemory page.

    Now for the recipe–its from Fannie Farmer. 2c boiling water + 1c oats –> combine, wait one hour. Add 0.5c molasses, 2tsp salt, 1tbs butter, & mix. In separate bowl: package yeast + 0.5c warm water. When dissolved, mix yeasty water into oats. Then add 4.5c flour, and stir. Let rise until doubled. add small amount of four until it is more dough like, then divide and put into two buttered pans, let rise until nearly doubled, then bake 50 minutes at 350F (176C).

    @Yelli: *Blush* This might be an embarrassing confession, but this is one of the few things I’ve had to self-import from other lands. I’ve brought it from the States, or when I’m in Britain I pick up their rough equivalent, treacle. It’s not the exact same item, but its essentially the same. There ought to be some place in Berlin where you can find treacle.

    @Cathy: When are you back?!

    @CQ: It might be awhile before I get back to Dead Like Me. I’ve got so much to watch and not unlimited time…