Tags: Blogging, Chippy, Edinburgh, Fish and Chips, Repost
I am tired of blogging. At least I finally managed to import my Edinburgh blog – and I’ll simply copy and paste an oooooold story into this new post. I’m doing it to support the fish and chips industries. If you want to have more: Here is a link to all Edinburgh blog posts (a bit more than a year old).
TREAT FROM A CHIPPY
This is how the cookie crumbles! A layer of white paper:
A layer of brown paper:
And a layer of batter.
Use your fingers,
grab a bite, and then:
The remnants of the feast (probably worth a full afternoon snack on a weight watchers diet…)
My next project: the deep fried battered Mars bar. Stay tuned!
Tags: Chateau Marmont, Helmut Newton, John Belushi, Lindsay Lohan, restaurant
Since I have been such an avid follower of Britney news, you shouldn’t miss out on this one: Ms Spears was kicked out of Chateau Marmont’s restaurant for smearing a plate of food over her face. Shit! Unusually, there are no pictures of the incident this time.
Quote from msnbc:
“The diners were disgusted,” said a Sun source. “You wouldn’t expect that from a teenager in a fast-food joint.” The Spears spy added that, “Royalty have dined in this restaurant. Her behavior was totally unacceptable.”
Oh, and this is also the same Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard where John Belushi OD’ed and died, Helmut Newton caused a car crash in the driveway and died and Lindsay Lohan rented a room for her clothes.
It’s a place where royalties dine, really.
Tags: Asian, Damien, Duchamps, Exhibition, Gallery, Hirst, Honey, Jeff, Koons, Marcel, Meat, Sushi
Yesterday I violated my self-imposed rules of Lent. But we were quick at coming up with an excuse, so I am not too worried about me ending up in hell:-)
But let me start at the beginning. Yesterday was another tough day – one tough day seems to be followed by another these days, because there are so many things happening or requiring attention at the moment. I needed to find film material for my character analysis tasks for my course Creative Writing for Film and that took longer than I thought. I needed films which establish the landmarks of the story in less than 10 minutes, and that wasn’t easily found. We have an excellent collection of DVDs in our library, but for inexplicable reasons, we still have movies that either don’t come in the original version or not with English subtitles. I needed English/English – that’s the best way of making sure my students understand, say, the ghetto slang of the kids in 8 mile. If you’re ever doing a similar exercise, start with First Blood a.k.a. Rambo, it’s excellent for that purpose.
I somehow managed to get everything done by 5pm, then hurried down to the station to catch the train to Br. My boyfriend had been pointed to a vernissage at the Kunsthaus (a good exhibition space, and a good example of what money can do in a culturally deprived region like this one). The vernissage was crap though. It was the official opening of the new billboards near the esplanade, and they truly featured word play such as “Teleer”, showing an empty plate (Teller= plate, leer = empty). And some really bad typography, e.g. the one with the gradient below. I can hardly believe how the artist could be so demented to have this line VANITAS tattooed across her cleavage, but she was. Is a badly designed billboard really worth it? Or a rotten croissant, reading Gipfel (a word for both croissants and summits). The only one I cared for a bit was the photograph of a disintegrating billboard, put to use as a new billboard.
And two other more annoying ones that I am not even going to discuss. See for yourself, if you’re really interested.
We left the vernissage at the point where the curator wanted to instigate a dialog with the artists (a married couple), because none of us was too interested in learning what their thoughts might have been. Instead, we managed to sneak into the current exhibition for free, using the name of one of my students as a key who works there as a warden (warden is the word the dictionary advises, umm). Nice! We got to see Jeff Koons’ balloon dog and flowers made from chrome steel (and the asshole of his ex Ilona Staller), Damien Hirst’s latest pickled animal (the shark you’ll also see on Wikipedia), dust, hair and hemp seed on canvas by Gerhard Merz and the miniature versions of Marcel Duchamp’s most famous art works (here is a link to the exhibition, I don’t want another DMCA notice, and Koons and Hirst might be a bit anal about this). I had always wanted to see these miniatures, ever since I read the brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas, which is actually a history of dada (and doesn’t seem to be available in English, I read it in German). It is not about paper backs, but about a portable existence which appears to be one of the objectives of dadaism. Making miniatures of your artworks was one of the ways to achieve that, at least according to Vila-Matas.
After the Kunsthaus, we were fairly hungry and considered customing a Running Sushi place, being only semi-convinced by the idea becaus it was quite pricey. But we (my boyfriend, his digs mate Daniel and I) then figured that, if we had already saved the money for the Kunsthaus (which would have been € 8 per head), we would have the right to afford it. Oh, and it was divine. I was completely no more in control of my Lent resolutions, and before I knew it my teeth sank into a special type of chicken nugget, made of chicken breast and a thin batter, with a crust of honey and sesame. A double no-no! When I realized my ‘mistake’, my boyfriend pointed out that I had also been fasting the past sundays, which wasn’t really required in the regular Lent timetable. In that sense, I had deserved this piece:-)
And from that point on, there was no holding back. I ate probably a dozen of those pieces, and for dessert, I picked three small plates of pudding (two chocolate, one vanilla) from the belt and something very similar to a Germknödel, a sweet dumpling, but with an unknown filling. What a feast! In a way, I still stuck to my guns though, as I didn’t have any other meat than the one I had almost accidentally eaten. I cannot wait for Easter to come now.
Btw, tomorrow is open day at my ‘educational company’, and I am going to offer a digital storytelling workshop and participate in a reading in a library. I am going to read Alfred Döblin, precisely from the very text I posted some days ago. I probably should translate the whole three pages for Cabbage, because the text is really brilliant!
According to today’s Lent count down 30/40, I would stop fasting in ten days from now. I realized, however, that we are still 17 days from Easter Sunday. How to account for that? I did a bit of research and then found at that it was decided during the Synod of Benevent in 1019 that thou shalt not fast on Sundays… oh noooooooo! Sacrifice made for nothing:-) I am not going to change my policy now though. Nevertheless, I need to adjust my countdown: Back to 26/40.
Tags: Garden, Mango, Plants
Wishful thinking. But I am really growing mangoes now, on my French balcony:-) It started with a special breed of mango, sweet yellow ones I hadn’t seen before. Their skin seemed to be thinner, and they were really ripe when I found them in the supermarket. We don’t get many ripe mangoes in Europe, and if you ever had fresh mango in Africa, you’ll never ever want to eat the ones sold in European supermarkets again. They only get soft once they are close to rotting away:-X
This one was different though, perfectly ripe, and also didn’t contain any of those fibers that get denser around the pit and remain sticking between your teeth. Probably genetically modified;-) Just in case you have ever tried to peel a mango: Here are some instructions for preparing mangoes – I peeled the first ones I ever had, too, but that’s not the proper and convenient way to eat them.
After having gulped mine down (too quickly, as it was too good and too sweet for one not to become greedy, in particular for someone who gave up sugar for Lent;-) I thought that the pit of that one looked actually like a real seed, and that maybe one could do something with it. I did some internet research and then took a knife to pry the pit open. It contained the actual seed, enclosed in a brown, parchment-like shell that had already become to small for the yellowish-greenish thing inside. I put it in a pot filled with earth (not very good earth, I am afraid, might need to change that) and watered it.
That was Sunday last week. On the second day after I had planted it, you could see a tiny sprout developing on the side, barely a centimeter long. When I checked it again today, it had already taken root:-)
The proud gardener:
Well, I doubt that I’ll ever harvest some mangoes – certainly not without a greenhouse or winter garden. But it’s just fascinating to see a plant grow from a seed, and at such as a speed:-)
Tags: Animation, Czech, Fairy tale, Surreal, Surrealism
I had a very nice week-end, movie-wise. I saw Asoka (India 2001), The Great dictator (USA, 1940) and Otesánek (Little Otik) (Czech Republic, 2000), which was really the one that took the cake. It’s a partly real, partly hand-animated film by surreal director Jan Svankmajer, based on the fairy tale of Otesánek, a root, dug up by a poor worker and made into a doll, as a substitute for the child he and his wife couldn’t afford. But then Otesánek begins to grow and to eat everyone and everything in its way…
In Svankmajer’s film, the Otesánek theme is nicely combined with the story of an infertile couple’s desperate wish for a child where just about anything around them begins to transform into a baby.
The root, originally intended by the husband as a gift to distract his wife a bit, is greeted with such excitement by her that she refuses to ever let go of it again – Veronika Zilkova offering a worrying rendition of a woman sliding into a state of mental disorder.
To be able to welcome the root as her proper child, she stuffs her clothes, beginning to confuse her own acting up with an actual pregnancy. When she ‘gets into labour’, she has her husband drive her to the their garden shed where she keeps the root. He leaves her there, and when he returns, the root has come strangely to life….
Later it will develop the same appetite as the Otesánek from the fairy tale – no spoilers, but just a glimpse of what the story has in stall for the viewer:
And just to explain the countdown: Yes, I am still participating in Lent – now that I’ve halfway made it, I might as well go all to the end. But no point in a daily Lent message really – Lent still sucks and actually makes me occasionally feel sick. I suppose my body misses the daily early sugar ingestion the most – low blood sugar levels make me feel dizzy. And there goes my Lent message, even though I thought not to have one.
Tags: South Africa
Last Sunday’s post was dedicated to Korea, this Sunday’s post is dedicated to South Africa, in particular my former digs mate Trusha, and also my former digs mate Sarah G., although I have lost touch with her (I know that she’s married – wedding was held in India, but I am not so sure whether this also means that she moved to India).
I prepared a vegetarian curry and roti for lunch – the latter being a type of bread, for most Europeans/Westerners probably strongly reminiscent of tortillas, but nicer:-) So far, I am not even half as far as I intended to get in my command of the Indian cuisine (guided by the Indian cookbook I received from Trusha’s mom Gayatri – the best cookbook ever, truly packed with recipes and wisdom – other than most European cookbooks which take two pages to explain just one dish). Nevertheless, roti will always do the trick if you want to impress someone (well – a European) with your skills in preparing Indian food.
I took a picture of my roti making attempts – it may be that the output would seem rather curious to any experienced Indian cook. My digs mate Sarah had a very peculiar way of preparing them – she put one that was already done on top of the one she was about to bake and then twisted, twisted, twisted it until it was well-cooked, but not burnt. Hers were also perfectly round – I haven’t yet developed enough ambition in the area of symmetrical food;-)
All in all, I made 20 roti from a dough of maize meal and white flour (I like it better with wholewheat flour, but the one I had had gone off) of which we ate 11 just among the two of us, to complement the curry;-)
As you might have guessed already (if you think along those lines), vegetarian curry and roti is also a perfect Lent meal. One more day until I have reached Day 20 of my 40 days of Lent – meaning I am only just about halfway through it 😦
Just to share some simple news with you – I just drank an entire half litre of goat milk and it was absolutely divine! I think it was the first time that I drank that stuff. Because both lamb meat and goat cheese have such a distinct goat shed flavour, I kind of expected the same from goat milk. I was wrong – it’s the finest flavour a milk can have:-)
Had I bought a whole litre, I would have downed it all (a fine sentence for practicing conditionals;-)
Daily Lent (Day 18): At the same time, Lent seems to be beginning to get to me. Last night I dreamed that I went to a peculiar old-fashioned movie theatre with dark green velvet seating. There were several silver screens on the walls of the oval screening room and the seats – although looking as if they could break any moment – were mobile. So before the film began (it never began in my dream) the seats were moving around to make sure all people were positioned well to see the film. At the entrance you had to bargain for your ticket – most people had to pay ridiculous sums, also because the ticket vendor added ridiculous things to their request, such as bags and old magazines. I payed € 14 for a ticket and two giant sized slabs of Lindt , both dark chocolate, one with orange flavour and the other one with chili cherry mousse au chocolat filling on which I chowed happily away while moving around on my mobile chair. That catapulted me out of the Lent mindset to an extent that I almost ate some of the honey nut flakes for breakfast that linger in my cupboard (meanwhile stale).
A while ago I posted a small series of serial photos which were intended to endorse an application. The idea had been to offer a visual expression of the multiple facets that a personality (in this case: mine) has. Of course it is impossible to capture them all – it is probably not even possible to capture just one facet in a photograph. And of course the photograph will always give you a certain form or shape.
A week later, the company photographer took my photo again – for free and professionally. I don’t want to be bragging about his but my hair looked GREAT on that day. I started to grow it about a year ago and is incredible how long it already is. Nonetheless, it just came out STUPIDLY in the picture. We also took a few extra pictures at the end of the session with my hair tied up – and these are the only ones now that I can actually use for an application. I also read somewhere that women are more likely to be hired for a responsible position if they tie up their hair for the photograph. Reduce the feminine attributes to a minimum (but of course avoid looking like a butch;-)
To illustrate how monolithic a single picture can be, I’ll show you (if that isn’t contradictory) two versions of me: both are monolithic in the sense that each seems to invoke a singular meaning. The first one – colour, long hair – conjures up the idea of a slightly embittered woman (probably operating a library helpdesk) with low self-esteem, whereas the second one – black and white, hair tied up – makes me appear like a self-assured marketing dominatrix who goes water-skiing in her free time.
Neither of the two represent myself in a way that I’d like to see myself represented (the results achieved with the serial photographs were much better in that respect). Which ones should I use, you reckon? I have the feeling the dominatrix pic serves the purpose of an application the best (but would you like to share an office with that person?).
EDIT: Had to remove the div tags to center the image as they did something unexpected to the layout. Reduced the picture size at the same time. Found it quite unbearable to look at my own old mug in such a resolution and size;-)
Daily Lent (Day 16): I have meanwhile become the leftovers eater in my department. One of my colleagues has diabetes, so he may only eat small portions during the day and has to be careful with carbohydrates. The sandwiches sold in the cafeteria are too much for him, a banana is too large a portion. Enter: me. As I have been perpetually hungry the past days but hardly ever ate a full meal, I was grateful to have the bits and pieces he couldn’t eat. Today it got even worse: Although we went to the cafeteria to get a proper meal, I begged for half of his mashed potatoes (knowing that he cannot eat them all) and even nicked the three (cold, soggy) potatoe wedges my other colleagues had left on his plate. Admittedly, the vegetarian option really wasn’t very filling today: undercooked Quinoa patties with salad and a dressing with chives. I wonder whether there is any cafeteria that offers vegetarian food that doesn’t consist of veggie patties, and that aren’t almost always a disaster. Ask the vegetarians you know how often THEY have veggie patties when they cook for themselves – I personally never made any, because they stink.
Tags: Allergy, Children, Clothes
Here is one attempt of making the marginalization of children with allergies not quite so dire for them: Buy them a T-Shirt with funky crocodiles that have food allergy too!
Well. I suppose this must be a hit among allergo-parents. At least it offers the illusion of an increased control over the child’s eating habits, extending to the persons in charge of the children. And I suppose it makes sense with children with severe food allergies. But could this imply that child care workers that feed peanut cookies to children wearing food allergy sweaters will be liable to prosecution in the near future?
“The child was correctly labeled, ma’am.”
But what if children that DON’t have allergies begin wearing these shirts because they think they’re cool? Would that be o.k.? What if somebody demanded that the label attached to a person by virtue of the shirt he or she is wearing has really to be true? Like “God’s gift to women”? Tssk.
Daily Lent (Day 13): The third week of Lent is beginning soon, but I am not even halfway through it. Don’t regret to have started though, although I am quite obviously craving for sweets. I am not so pleased with my cooking at the moment – yesterday’s carrot potatoe mash wasn’t all convincing (which might have to do with the fact that it is normally served with minced meat). But no doubt about it: If I were a better cook, I would enjoy Lent much more. At least I don’t have any food allergies.
If I hadn’t started a blog and hadn’t stumbled over Neha’s Blog, then I would miss out on so many things in the arena of global popular culture! I still have no idea whether I will ever make it to India (I have the secret hope that a friend of mine who is going to get married to an Indian-American is going to celebrate twice and that I’ll be invited to the Indian ceremony:-) but nevertheless I love all things Indian. Today she recommended Nike’s new commercial, tailored to the taste of Indian audiences: Cricket Crazy!
Speaking of globalization: In the case of this commercial it seems as if some South American rhythms have crept into the tune. The downside: It’s great to have youtube, in particular if you don’t have a TV, but some things just have to be watched on a big screen to catch on. Silver screen would be even better – for comparison, I have also included the Nike basketball commercial which struck everyone when it first appeared in the movie theatres. The vibe doesn’t really come across on youtube.
Daily Lent (Day 11): I am now beginning to fantasize about food that contains sugar. A piece of classic German fruitcake from the pan would be the best, made from yeast dough covered with plums and with crème fraiche poured over the hot cake. Quetschekuche mit Schmand… drooooool… Actually, a cuppa tea with milk AND SUGAR alone would be really nice right now.
Ha! I am actually sitting in a classroom right now and my students are working on their syllabus scanning task. They never ever read the syllabus properly (nor listen to me when I explain it) and in the end, when they have to fill out the evaluation forms, they tick “Disagree” for the item “The aim of the course was clearly explained at the beginning”. Hence the syllabus scanning task – even if they tick “Disagree”, I know for sure that they are wrong:-) Teachers are such nitpickers, aren’t they? Seeing yourself develop a teacher personality can be really painful at times.
Daily Lent (10): Yesterday wasn’t a good Lent day. I had fish and rice for lunch and later had coffee and it seems as if the two didn’t go together well. I was too sick to eat anything else for the rest of the day, and I had to stop with my yoga practice halfway because I felt so nauseous that I had to throw up:-( Had to force myself to eat something thereafter and found that plain bread was the best. Still felt dizzy this morning.
There are a couple of moments in the evenings, probably no more than half a minute, when the Rhine valley appears to be set aflame by a golden light. I have so often wanted to photograph it, but never had a camera at hand. I’m mostly at my office when it starts, but it is even more impressive from my flat, with the summits of the local mountains reflecting the sunlight, dramatically set against a backdrop of suddenly dark blueish clouds.
When it began today, I quickly launched the webcam that’s mounted on the Karren, the local mountain, and began capturing pictures. I gathered 50 and put them together into a tiny film. The film begin with the golden moment – which is not immediately apparent, as its effect derives from the contrast to the previous light. But you can see how the scenery falls back into grey after a few seconds. Lovely. The lake in the background is Lake Constance.
I imagine this magic moment is caused by the light finding a gap somewhere in the Swiss mountain ranges which it can only pass through at a certain angle and at a certain hour, for just these precious moments. That might not be the accurate explanation, it’s probably nothing more but the clouds giving way to the sub for a moment, but I like to think about it that way:-)
My daily Lent message (Day 9): Whoo, nearly a quarter of Lent is over! Not only do I eat less, but my interest in food is generally declining. I went to the supermarket after work tonight, which is normally the worst time to shop as I am sooo hungry. Under such circumstances, I often drool at the sight of the original Austrian Schaumrollen vom Guschlbauer, dem Schaumrollenkönig. A Schaumrolle could be translated to cream role and is something close to a croissant with marshmallow filling, covered with sugar or chocolate icing, and it’s definitely the heroin of carbohydrate addicts like me. I think there was only one time that I actually dared to buy one and it was absolutely divine. ‘One’ is actually a lie, as they don’t come in single packs;-) No wonder America has a problem with obesity – I won’t forget the sight of the double dozen doughnut packs in the Walmart in Maryville, Missouri when I visited my boyfriend there. Scary!
With my Lent mindset, however, I went into the supermarket and just bought 1 kilo of Basmati rice, a litre of milk and half a litre of sour milk. It seemed as if the shop had nothing else to offer. I win, consumerism loses, Cool:-)
Today I propose a combined Lent & Life post in which I declare Helge Schneider the perfect composer and performer of Lent music. Those who keep regular contact to the German language sphere will certainly know his hit single “Möhrchen” (Little Carrot) from 2003. In this song, he proposes to abstain from drugs and to have carrots instead, using the following memorable lines:
Mariejohanna is nich gut
Mariejohanna is nichte gutta
Mariejohanna is nich gut
Makt dir auch die Futte kaputt
Tuma lieba die Möhrchen
Tuma lieba die Möhrchen Mama
Mama lieba die Möhrchen
die Möhrchen aus dem Glas.*
I also love the video, for its low budget production and Helge’s acting:
The Lenten lifestyle is further propagated in his latest hit, Käsebrot (cheese sandwich), featuring a German Käsebrot, which has very little to do with a cheese sandwich actually, even though that is probably the best translation. Just like bread from the UK or US has very little to do with German bread. That’s one good thing about being German: We may not have humour, but definitely absolutely the best bread ever. Some lyrics to accompany the video (and no meat, sugar or alcohol in these either):
Käsebrot ist ein gutes Brot
Käsebrot ist ein gutes Brot
Sexy Sexy Popäsebrot
Liegen auf dem Tisch
Doch ein Stückchen Käse
Schmeckt auch gut zu Fisch**
I’m not so sure whether Helge Schneider is also the suitable ambassador to propagate German humour, but I cherish the idea that he is something like a weirder Weird Al Yankovich. Anyway, Helge is beyond argueing for me. Earlier this year, he played Hitler in Dani Levy’s Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler which met with great expectations which it apparently didn’t meet (mainly for not being able to decide between a comic and a moralist approach). I did not see it, although my spontaneous reponse was that, if anybody could play Hitler, it would be Helge, the muttering comedian (think of Charlie Chaplin’s gibberish when he played Adenoid Hynkel in The Great Dictator). Helge also has the reputation of a top notch musician, playing the piano, saxophon, vibraphone, accordion, guitar, bass, violin, ukulele, recorder, drums, trumpet, Hammond organ, church organ and cello (and probably more. he keeps adding). I guess that also doesn’t quite come across in the examples of music above.
Maryjane isn’t good (3 times),
it ruins your brain too (or your feet, depending on the interpretation).
Rather get the carrots,
get the carrots, Mama,
Mama rather the carrots,
the carrots from the jar.
Cheese sandwich is a good sandwich (2 times)
Cheese sandwich, Che-Che-Che-Cheesesandwich
Sexy Sexy Shmeesesandwich
Lying on the table
But a piece of cheese
Goes also well with fish