It snowed

It snowed on Tuesday. A tiny bit. Almost not worth mentioning. Tiny flakes; none of them actually stayed on the ground. For two blissful hours, the lovely white drifted down from the gray-blue sky, tossed about by the strong winds, and died before it hit the pavement, yes, but lifted my spirits nevertheless.
I watched “Lawless”, which was much better than I had anticipated. To give you an idea: a bond between three brothers, Virginia during prohibition, bootlegging, guns, violence. Also, Tom Brady. It sounds too easy, too predictable, and yet it’s fast-paced with a few unexpected turns and I would absolutely watch it a second time.

I’m going home tomorrow. I plan on spending as much time with my family as I can this Christmas season, making the most of my being unemployed. This means a lot of traveling back and forth by train and I just hope that the entire network of German railway won’t just break down as it tends to do as soon as it gets colder outside.

The end of November and NaBloPoMo has killed any inspiration for blogging I may have had (which is the opposite of what I had hoped would happen) so I don’t know when I’ll come back and write here. Expect photo posts, rather than words. And send me snow, if you’re lucky enough to have any.


One of my favorite things

I love winter. And Christmas. This entire season brings so much joy to me that I basically find myself waiting for it all year round. December is easily my favorite month of the year. If I’m lucky, we get some snow here before Christmas as well – and that is always the icing on the cake.

I love baking Christmas cookies. I love Christmas lights in the streets and decorations in stores and lit up trees on central squares and of course the Christmas markets. I love the cold; scarfs, coats, boots, mittens. It not only refreshes me physically but mentally, for some reason. I feel excited and alert and so, so happy this time of year. And I love coming home to a warm home; candles, tea, books, movies…

My absolute favorite Christmas movie is “The Polar Express” (trailer here). It’s a kids’ movie, obviously. But it’s a beautiful story and very well made and it has Tom Hanks. Need I say more? Alright: the soundtrack is fantastic. FANTASTIC, you guys. I love it more than the movie itself, I think. So if you can’t bring yourself to watch an animated film about the magic of Santa, listen to the music at least.

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie?

Three songs

Here are three songs that make me want to be stupid in love. They’re mostly cute and full of cliches, and therefore perfect. Be advised that players may take a sec to load. Be also advised that I plan on sharing more songs soon so come back, my lovelies, always come back. Heh. For now: ENJOY. And feel free to share your current favorite music with me! I love discovering new tunes.

“Kiss Me” by Ed Sheeran:

“Sleeping To Dream (Live)” by Jason Mraz:

“Can’t Help Falling In Love (Live)” by Ingrid Michaelson:

You need to watch “Generation Kill”

I just re-watched the entire HBO mini series “Generation Kill” so I could write a decent review about it but then I got very caught up in the sheer awesomeness of the show and I forgot to write down some notes that could’ve helped me explain to you why, exactly, this show is so awesome. I’m sorry I failed you all. The upshot is this: You need to watch “Generation Kill”.

I come to this as a crazed Alex Skarsgård fan (he plays Sgt. Brad Colbert in the series) but I promise you my love for this show has almost nothing to do with that and everything to do with this: the excellent writing, and the realistic portrayal of the Iraq War from the perspective of soldiers on the ground, based on the eye-witness accounts of reporter Ewan Wright who was embedded for two months with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the United States Marine Corps during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Prepare to fall in love with these men. Prepare to feel angry, and angrier and angrier, and prepare to weep for them, and all other young soldiers who were sent into Iraq without a hint of planning. Prepare to not ever want this series to end, and when it does, prepare to feel a strange loss.

A review of “Generation Kill” appeared in The New York Times in 2008. I don’t agree with some of the things said in it – it also reveals quite a bit of the plot – but if you’re interested, you should read it. Or go watch some clips on YouTube. And then watch the show. It’s really, really good.

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“Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann” by Jonas Jonasson

I found the Swedish novel “Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann” (“The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Stepped Out of the Window and Disappeared”) among my mom’s books. As opposed to dark Swedish crime writing and films, their novels (and children’s books!) are typically wonderfully nostalgic and lovely, so I took it with me. Author Jonas Jonasson – be honest, if you had to make up a Swedish name, this is what you would go with – is from Växjö which in itself makes me nostalgic: the train I took home from school in Sweden every day was going to Växjö.

The German title is “Der Hundertjährige, der aus dem Fenster stieg und verschwand” while its official English translation isn’t any more creative but that’s what the book is about; an old man who decides to escape from an old people’s home on his 100th birthday. It’s essentially a Swedish road movie in book form. For people who have been to Sweden, it’s a magical trip through small-town Sweden, some Swedish history and lots of Swedisms. For everyone else, it’s simply a hilariously original and well written gem of a book that should not be missed.

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Have I told you about before? It’s a dessert brand that makes the best mini cheesecakes slash chocolate and vanilla puddings you can imagine. They’re expensive and come in little glasses; they’re for special occassions. Such as mind-numbing period pains.

One layer of chocolate cake, one layer of cheesecake, one layer of the richest and smoothest Belgian chocolate you can imagine. All in a beautiful package and small portions, so you don’t over-eat (which I am telling you, you would – if you could).

I’m sorry I told you about this.

[ Gü After Dark chocolate and vanilla cheesecakes – 2 mini glasses – € 2,99 ]

“Tod und Teufel” by Frank Schätzing

Have you heard of Frank Schätzing? If you live in Germany, you surely have. In the US – maybe not so much. He’s a tremendously famous German author, born in Cologne. And so some of his books are actually set in Cologne. As you might imagine, I love reading stories that are set in a place I know and am still discovering myself.

I always falsely assumed he wrote science-fiction, and I dislike nothing more than science-fiction. However, when I went through my dad’s bookshelf one day – he owns thousands of books, most of which he’s read twice – I found a Schätzing crime novel (“Mordshunger”, 1996) that was witty and different.

When I heard he also published a historic novel set in medieval Cologne, I had to buy it. That is how I found myself diving head first into “Tod und Teufel” around midnight last night. “Tod und Teufel” means death and the devil, by the way. The story plays out over four days only, September 10 through 14 in 1260. I love getting a glimpse into what life in Cologne looked like almost 800 years ago.

The first couple of chapters are so promising that I feel extremely comfortable recommending the book to you, even though I haven’t read it all the way through yet.

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