Grand Hotels

If you enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel and are ready to save up for an incredible splurge, I recommend a stay at the Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten in Hamburg, overlooking the lovely Binnenalster (Inner Alster Lake). It's not built on such a monumental scale, of course, but it is undeniably grand. Thanks to now being part of the Fairmont family of hotels it is well cared for and very well staffed. 

Photo from hotel website jahreszeitenbarIts giant keys, of which you get a single one and which you leave at the desk when you go out, and tiny wood-lined bar, which somehow despite being smaller than most of the rooms manages to have all the distinct spots where you might be in the mood to place yourself in a bar, are sources of particular pleasure. Also its large bath thermometers in their wooden bases with big cork floats. And the little gilded elevator, barely large enough for you and the staff member who will give you a tour of your room at the start of your stay. (You must let them take your suitcase up separately, it's just too awkward otherwise.)

For maximum enjoyment, book your stay through a package that includes a free room upgrade if available and, importantly, breakfast inclusive (we got ours through AmEx). You may have to pay a little overage to get the grandest spread, but that glorious and leisurely breakfast remains my favorite room service experience.

IMG_4491For maximum quirkiness, happen to find yourself in the lobby at the very end of December when the Christmas tree is removed and the enormous chandelier is put back in its normal spot. Watching that delicate dance of four men, two ladders, and a long metal pole shoved through the chandelier chain really is like a missing scene from The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Sadly, no lobby boys.

Experimenting with movies

Here's a little diary post which I whipped together mostly thinking about the pecha-kucha ideas.

Warning: It's a two minute diary not a one minute diary as titled, oops, and the audio came out a trifle louder than I expected thanks to a better microphone than I'm used to.

My process was to record the slideshow in Keynote, then export to Quicktime, then upload that to Vimeo. Ideas on improved approaches are appreciated in the comments; I decided to go for "imperfect and up today" rather than making it a big project that might get bogged down.

Such a GOOD weekend!

Creatively productive day Friday. That Certain Someone picked me up after work. Dinner at Citrus Club on Haight. Sitting in bed surfing the web. Spooning.

Farmers’ Market at the Ferry Building Friday morning. Aidells Maple & Smoked Bacon sausage sandwich with Seeds & Suds mustard. Fresh snap peas. Tasting cheeses and balsamic vinegars. Selecting and eating Recchiuti chocolates – Peanut Butter Puck, Honeycomb Malt, special of the day (Fleur de Sel caramel topped with pecan encased in bittersweet chocolate; simply fucking incredible. One of the top ten chocolate experiences of my life.), Fleur De Sel, Cardamom Nougat, Tarragon Grapefruit, Bergamot Tea – on a bench looking out at the bay. Sailboats. Clouds. Sunshine. The Bay Bridge. Yerba Buena Island.

Walking up Sacramento to Mason and down to Geary. Buying tickets at the Curren for "I Am My Own Wife" (about which more in a couple weeks no doubt). And then seeing Kung Fu Hustle at the Metreon.

Stop what you are doing now and go see Kung Fu Hustle. It’s got more life and fun and excitement in it than the last 10 American films I’ve seen. If I could pre-order the DVD today, I would, and I’ll definitely be seeing this one at least twice in the theater.

Grinning like maniacs. A Manhattan and a cheese plate at The View atop the Marriot Hotel looking at, well, the view. Trying to figure out what was going on at the ice rink. Walking across Yerba Buena Gardens to find it was a demonstration game of sled hockey. Very cool. Chatting briefly with a player as he got back into his wheelchair. Coming home and watching the original Star Wars "A New Hope" (laser disc version, not this bullshit "Greedo shoots first" crap).

Sleeping in. Languid lazing around. Puttering around the house. Soup for dinner. The win-win debate: movie or play a game?

Damn. Damndamndamndamndamn.

Back in June I pre-ordered the Extended Edition DVD of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

This weekend I read two weblog entries by people who’d already watched it, so I expected that it would be waiting for me today at work (where I have things shipped since we haven’t got a mailslot in our door). I was already anticipating the bliss of the extra 43 minutes of footage, of hours & hours of special features, after waiting 6 months to be able to pre-order it and 5 months for it to be released.

This morning (why not weeks ago, Amazon? Huh? why not weeks ago? or when I logged in to place other orders?) I got a notification from Amazon that they hadn’t shipped my order because the credit card I used to pre-order it had expired.

Don’t expect me to be cheerful today.