Thursday, August 02, 2007

Busting a Bodum coffee press; and a note on some DVDs at home

Coffee. I've only taken up drinking coffee, decaf or regular, in the last year, a residual non-habit from my long lapsed days as Mormon. So I still have a lot to learn about making coffee. I have (had, that is) a medium size Bodum glass coffee press. This morning I put in a lot of coffee - having taken up this particular vice with particular gusto - and poured in hot but not boiling water. Filled it up to the top, saw that not all the coffee had mixed with the water, so I stirred it with a long spoon. I guess I must have tapped or something on the glass, but all of a sudden the glass broke, and coffee and grounds spewed across half the kitchen. A big mess to clean up; thank you Jean-Marie for helping. I'm thinking that although the water was at the correct temperature, I poured it in too fast, heating up the glass to quickly, stressing it. Then when I stirred with the spoon and probably tapped the glass from the inside - kaboom!

I think that as I get older I've started to prefer darker, more bitter flavors, like coffee (I know, it is supposed to be sweet in its own way, but not sweet like orange soda). I seem to like coffee very strong, so I let it steep a long time in the Bodum, which is possibly a mistake and makes it bitter, I'm not sure. I also like the coffee a little thick and muddy, so I grind the beans very fine. For some reason, when hot I don't especially like it black, but with some milk and even better, sugar (although one reason I decided to try coffee was that I thought it would be Slimming). Cold though, over ice, I like it best straight black and no milk or sugar. I even make my own espresso ice cubes!


Movies. The video store in our neighborhood is closing, and I've been scooping up some used videos on sale - so has Jean-Marie. She picked up a lovely little French film that I haven't seen since it first came out when I was at UCLA, Eric Rohmer's Pauline at the Beach. I wasn't sure my fourteen year old would like it - possibly too much sex - but in fact she really liked it. I think it is because Pauline, who is fifteen in the film, is the most down to earth, straightforward of the whole little ensemble.

We then tried a movie I remembered with extraordinarily fond memories from when it first came out in the early 1980s, another French art film, Voyage en Douce, with Dominique Sanda and Geraldine Chaplin as two women engaged in endlessly sexual fantasies as they drove around Provence looking for a summer house. I couldn't remember it all that well - just that I had worshipped it and saw it a bunch of times when it came out, in art movie houses in Santa Monica. I had two distinct and one indistinct memory of it - an indistinct memory of the gorgeous light and airy Provence countryside. But truth is, as a California kid who hadn't really traveled much, for me that mostly meant that it reminded me of California. It looked like home to me, not some exotic place.

The two distinct memories? Well, first off, Dominique Sanda, who sometimes seems to me the most beautiful woman I have ever seen - partly her looks, but also the extraordinary way she carries herself, her expressions. I hadn't forgotten that. And the second, the featured Beethoven piano bagatelle (op. 126) - a bagatelle that, after seeing the film (twice in quick succession) my older brother, now psychiatrist, but then research psych grad student and sometime actor, put down his usual violin, went back to the piano, and learned it, and could play it extraordinarily well for an amateur pianist. But in Mormon church services, which sometimes have someone, play an instrument or a song, as part of the worship but also as part of providing a place to perform in public - well, Richard several times performed that piece, and I kept thinking, hmm, what he associates with this piece is not exactly Jesus, it's Dominique Sanda with her clothes off. I've never forgotten the bagatelle, either.

Anyway, I had worries when I switched it on last night that I would be horribly embarrassed by a seventies movie throwback - after all, I can't stand art films these days, haven't been able to since - I don't know, more or less since I got married, why is that? - and that Jean-Marie would hate it since, although in theory she appreciates Good Cinema and Film-as-Art, in actual practice, on an individual, discrete basis she can't stand art films and always falls asleep. I had this fear that I would want to turn off the soundtrack and just stare at Sanda.

Well, in the event, Jean-Marie rather liked it, I still thought it was okay, but Renee found it all too embarrassing - not so overtly sexual, but still too much sex. So we switched over to ... Harrison Ford in Air Force One.

(I've stuck some photos of Sanda above - pictures from around the time of this film, 1980.)