Renewing the lucky bamboo

Renewing the lucky bamboo

My lucky bamboo from IKEA (apparently actually a Dracaena sanderiana plant) started going a little yellow about a month ago and despite trying to help it through the cold months, it just got worse and worse until its leaves drooped completely and bits of the stalk had started to mould.

It's really sad to see a lucky bamboo wilting, so today I made a trip to IKEA to go and get myself a new one. After winding my way through the shop - it's really annoying to have to go all the way through everything and every one of the Saturday shoppers just to find the one thing you're looking for - I walked past a selection of weedy looking lucky bamboo plants. Thinking they were maybe just the rejects, or just a few randomly placed ones, I headed on through to where I got my first one.

Shock horror: they had promoted the straight buff bamboos to the front of the shop and left the bent bamboos hiding at the back where nobody would spot them. I couldn't condone that behaviour, so I went back and picked out the nicest bent bamboo I could find. Bobby the Bent Bamboo is now standing pride of place on my window ledge, waiting to bask in his first day of winter sunshine tomorrow.

Unusal Food from the National Geographic podcast

Unusal Food from the National Geographic podcast

I was looking today to find some interesting podcasts to load up Alexander the iPod with. I found some news podcasts, music podcasts and then stumbled across the National Geographic podcasts, some of which are in video format (which Alexander can't cope with) and others plain audio. I signed up to the National Geographic Video Shorts video podcast and out of curiosity watched the latest edition through iTunes. How many people don't turn squeemish when they first get to see what's happening?

Brokeback Mountain

Argh, I'm jealous of everyone who's already seen "Heath Ledger pound[ing] frantically away at Jake Gyllenhall's filets of topside" (thanks, Any) in Brokeback Mountain. Apparently we're not going to get it here in Germany until 9th March, and even then it'll be in German only.

On a positive note, I've just looked up English cinemas here and found out that Jarhead, also staring Jake Gyllenhaal, is playing at the moment, so perhaps I'll just have to go and see that for now instead.

I got a Distinction!

It's been a number of months now since I finished my masters course in London, and since I was told of my unofficial results, but today my official degree certificate arrived at home. I didn't think I'd actually get it until the graduation in September this year, so it was a nice surprise when my parents sent a copy to me by email today. What was even better was that I'd been awarded the highest classification possible - a Distinction - which was up from the Pass that the unofficial results suggested I'd get.


A few (mostly gay) films

When I was coming back to Germany after Christmas, I had a few hours to spare in Manchester, so I popped into HMV to see if they had any bargains on DVDs that might just tempt me. I'm not quite sure why I thought I'd buy anything, considering I had absolutely no room left in my bags, and was probably already overweight. (The bags, that is, not me). I blame my brother for very thoughtfully buying me a toaster at Christmas without thinking about how I'd get it back.

In the shop, I ended up browsing the World Cinema section, and spotted A Very Long Engagement. Directed by the same guy that directed Amelie, it's a movie my boss recommended, knowing that I loved that movie.

Somehow then, I ended up looking at the edge of the Gay Interest section without realising. In fact, I'm sure there was some overlap, as I spotted a foreign movie in the middle somewhere - Krampack (aka Nico and Dani) - that looked kind of like a Spanish version of Beautiful Thing.

Then, out of the corner of my eye caught another DVD - Campfire.

As always seems to happen in the high street stores though, I looked at the prices and felt certain I could buy them cheaper with a little searching online. So one night a few weeks back I ordered these DVDs through after realising that they posted to Germany for free, just as they do within the UK. It took a while for them to arrive, and despite ordering them at the same time, I don't think any of them arrived on the same day. I had visions of the German customs people stopping them because I'd bought them from outside the country.

When I was shopping online for them, I was recommended another that Amazon thought I may like. I read it was Wrestler, and when I noticed it was a gay German movie, I thought I ought to check it out. I realised after I bought it that it was actually called Westler, not Wrestler, but still it sounded good.

So, what were they like, I hear you ask. Well, A Very Long Engagement was a great movie, set in the war, telling a very moving story. If you like Amelie, I think you'll enjoy this, but don't expect the beloved Amelie-style humour in this drama. Krampack was a nice coming of age film about two lads growing up and exploring their sexuality. Campfire, a collection of short films, was frankly a little weird. Westler was much less weird, and definitely worth watching.

Then this evening I was just flicking through some channels when, par chance there just happened to be two guys wrestling in a river. It was all in French, but I could understand parts of it, and just about work out what was happening. As it went on it became apparent that it was a movie about forbidden love in a Nazi-occupied France. Un amour à taire kept me engrossed throughout, partly because I was trying to translate, but also because it told a horribly moving story that just kept drawing me in further.

I think I picked the wrong day to stop drinking

(I think back to Airplane when I say this quote to myself - oh how I love that movie)

Anyway, from feeling better about myself yesterday having done so much walking, and being in a good mood this morning and raring to get to work on time and get stuff done, I got in only to find an email waiting for me that wiped all that goodness away. Looking back it perhaps wasn't so bad, but this morning I was fuming over it. I had to leave the office for some fresh air. A hasty reply in those situations isn't always the best thing, but I couldn't just ignore it. A chat with someone higher up settled my nerves a little bit later on but didn't exactly put me back into the mood I'd started the day in.

Ah well. The day has passed, and today is a new day. This evening I luckily resisted the temptation to go and sit in the bar, thinking myself into a worse situation. Instead I watched a DVD at home, and tried to forget about it all. Roll on a new day!

A bit of a walk

Feeling a little guilty for not making it to the swimming pool this week, I decided today to go for a bit of a walk. Last weekend I'd walked to the oldest Television Tower (Fernsehturm) in the world - which has recently reopened after renovation. By the time I'd got there however, I realised I didn't have enough money to get to the top and to get the train home as well. Plus, it was dark and I was cold by then, so I made my way home again.

Today, I set out walking much earlier. I didn't have a plan and hadn't particularly planned to go back there again, but ended up there anyway after walking through one of the nearby towns that lies between me and the city. This time though, it was a little too misty to get a good view from the top, so again I didn't go up. I was impressed with myself though, I'd walked over 6km in just over an hour, and still wanted to walk some more. By the end of the day, I'd walked almost 15km - just over 9 miles. That's surely better for me than my normal 45 (or as little as 30 sometimes) minute swimming session.

On the way back, I stopped for a kebab, something which over the past few weeks seems to have been turning into my Sunday meal. Admittedly, that's not quite so healthy.