Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: The Great British Bake Off

There can only be one (The Great British Bake Off)

I loved The Great British Bake Off (before the fuck up with the presenters. Haven’t watched since Mel and Sue quit) and watched all the series compulsively. It was quite different from most reality shows in that it didn’t seem exploitative or try to wring emotions out of the contestants. I learned why that is. Early in the series, the producers were trying to do that shit, and Mel and Sue said they would quit if it kept going in that direction. In addition, if someone was crying, they would cover the person with a coat or swear near them so the footage was unusable. Finding that out made my admiration of them double, and it only hardened my resolve not to watch the post-Mel and Sue (and Mary Berry) episodes.

I loved the chemistry between Mel and Sue and how sweetly goofy they were. I loved how much of a doyenne Mary Berry was, but how she was down for a swig of hooch or two. She was down to earth for the Queen of Baking, and who wouldn’t love to have a granny like her? As for Paul Hollywood. Yeah, I know he’s an arrogant, narcissistic, and a dog, but those blue eyes….Ahem. I loved the low-key nature of the bakes, the non-hatred among the contestants, and the mostly bonhomie feel that permeated the series.

I loved the amazing creations and how terribly wrong it all went sometimes. I didn’t always love the judging decisions, especially in the first season when it was clear that Paul Hollywood imposed his viewpoint on Mary Berry, but I thought they were pretty sound overall. I loved the imagination and creativity that the contestants displayed. I loved that there seemed to be a genuine connection among the contestants. I loved that they went to different parts of Great Britain in the first season and did bakes from those locales.

I. Loved. It. All.

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Rising From the Dead

i'm fine, no really, cough, cough.

The last two mornings, I have woken up and not felt like complete shit. I’ve been able to make it to the bathroom without feeling as if I’ve run a marathon, and I’ve made it to and back from taiji without wanting to cry. In addition, I’ve gone grocery shopping without becoming exhausted, and I’ve actually had some decent sleep* for a change. I know this doesn’t sound like much, but after the last two weeks I’ve had, I count it as a victory. I hate getting sick because it reminds me how fragile my body actually is, and no matter how much I work on making it better, it can still falter at any given moment.

I am the biggest baby when I’m sick. I tend to be stoic in nature most of the time for several reasons. I’m Taiwanese; I’m Minnesotan; I was raised that way. When I’m sick, though, all that flies out the window. All I can do is whine about how shitty I’m feeling, and to make matters worse, my cat doesn’t even care! As long as I feed him on time and give him the love he wants, he could care less that I’m languishing on my last legs. I kid, and I’m not entirely fair to him. He helps by sitting on my legs to warm them. Granted, he kneads biscuits for several minutes before actually sitting down, but I’ll take what I can get, cough, cough. He’s not very helpful when I need a cup of tea, either. His lack of opposable thumbs makes it difficult to slice the lemon and ginger and pour the honey, but he could at least pretend he’s willing to do it instead of looking at me disdainfully before licking his asshole.

That’s the one time I wish I had someone living in the house with me–not the licking the asshole part, although….anyway. I mentioned it before that I like living alone, but it’s hard when I’m sick. I don’t want to get off the couch, let alone leave the house. I think part of the reason I get so whiny is that I try to think of others most of the time, but being sick strips all that away. It’s Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs in action. If you don’t have your health, you really can’t think of much else. It’s not a good look, but that’s the upside to living alone–I’m the only witness to my childishness.** If someone had been privy to my inner thoughts during the last two weeks, they would have heard something like this (in a very whiny voice): “I haaaaate being sick. Why do I have to be sick? Ugh. I have no energy. I should just sleep. I can’t sleep. Shadow, don’t sit on my chest. I can’t breathe. Shadow! Get down! Fine. Stay there. I should probably get off the couch. Fuck it.”
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Sick, Tired, and Sick and Tired

Before I talk about my health, which I’m going to do at length, I want to add to my post of yesterday about what you can do to protest this administration. If you’re a Republican in a Republican state who is appalled by what is going on, you can have more impact on your legislators than I can. I know there are sensible Republicans out there who have given up on their party. I can understand why, but your party needs you. More to the point, your country needs you. Please do what you can to slow down or stop this train wreck.

Back to my health. I thought I was getting better, then I wasn’t. Then I rebound a bit, but now I’ve crashed again. My nose and throat are clogged. I have bloody boogers (literally. I’m not being British right now). I’m coughing and feeling very low energy. My temperature is very low, even when I feel like I have a fever. My normal temp is 97.5. Right now, it’s hovering between 95.9 and 96.9. I’m convinced this has to do with my hypothyroid meds being lowered. If I don’t feel better in the next day or two, I’m calling my doctor.

I’ve managed to do my morning routine every day, but I’ve had to cut it back because I’m just so fucking tired. I went to class yesterday, and we did just the right amount of taiji, but I was exhausted when I got home. I stopped at the co-op on the way home, and that just about put me over the edge. I spent most of last night on the couch, which made Shadow (my cat) happy because he could just lump around on my legs as I rested. Which he’s doing right now, actually.

I finished watching all of the episodes of The Great British Bake Off that I could, um, freely watch, if you get my drift. I watched some Chopped, but I was missing that baking goodness. I didn’t know there were other versions of the Bake Off show, and I tried all that I could find. Irish, American, South African, and Australian. There almost exact clones of the original, but they’re like low fat food–not very filling. What’s interesting about the Australian version is that the second season has an entirely different cast than the first season. After watching the first episode of the first season, I understood why. The male host was fine when he wasn’t mugging it up, but the female host was, not good. In addition, the female judge (Kerry Vincent) was horrible. I know the shtick is to be stern and foreboding, but there’s a difference between exacting and being a complete bitch. She was downright mean, and it was hard to watch. Paul Hollywood, one of the judges from the original, is constantly being teased for being mean, but he’s not. He’s firm and he has high standards, but he’s never cruel.

In the second season of the Australian version, the two (now female) hosts are pale copies of the two original hosts. They’re comedians (as are the originals) who make bad baking puns (as do the originals), but they don’t have the charm. The judges are great, though, which is arguably more important. I’m on the second episode, but I’m not sure I’ll watch the rest of the season. It’s just so unsatisfying after watching the original. I don’t feel invested in any of the bakers, and the show kind of limps along. I might go back to watching Chopped instead.

I’m grumpy because I’ve been sick for so damn long. Every time i get better, I get worse again. I’m wondering if it’s something other than the flu or a cold, although both can last a long time. I’m also pretty sure that the stress of the past few months is part of the problem. I have a wonky immune system in the first place, and my grief isn’t helping matters. I’m also blaming my cold/flu/whatever on visiting my doctor right before I got sick. Not only are clinics a hot bed of germs, they asked me if I wanted a flu shot, and I said no. I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself, but the few times I’ve actually gotten a flu shot, I’ve gotten the flu. After the third time that happened, I looked it up and discovered that doctors pick six strains they think are going to be prevalent in the upcoming year and that’s what the flu shot is aimed at stopping/slowing down. There are many more strains than that, of course, so you’re not completely inoculated with the shot.

I hate feeling like shit. I hate being a baby about it. I hate not wanting to ever get out of bed.

I’m going to meditate on Shironeko while I’m resting and try to emulate his chill.

Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up

Hello, I am on the mend, but I’m still dragging my flat yellow ass around. I’ve decided to take one more day off (and the weekend) before returning to blogging. I’m still blasting my way through The Great British Bake Off, and I’m almost done with Season Three (on the semi-finals). It’s surprising how attached to the contestants I get, but it’s because they’re so humble and hard-working. There is very little of the macho bullshit I see on American reality shows, and they seem genuinely upset when others are cut. Oh, I know everyone wants to win, but they’re not trying to sabotage each other. In fact, I’ve seen them help each other in times of crisis.

One thing I’ve realized is that at a certain point, some of the contestants stop having fun. There was one woman in Season Two who looked as if she had checked out the second episode in which she was doing poorly. She looked so beat down every time ¬†she presented her baked good, it was as if she’d defeated herself before she even started. When she was cut, she smiled and said she was relieved, and I believed her. The competition is intense, and I actually worry about the mental health of some of the contestants.

Here is the Christmas special videos of The Great British Bake Off. Enjoy!

Part two:

Rinse, Lather, Repeat

Hello, dear readers. I am still feeling cruddy with this flu or whatever. So, again, it’s tea, The Great British Bake Off, and ignoring what’s happening in the world. For your viewing pleasure today, we have Shironeko (white cat with orange spots) and friends watching the snow. Two of my favorite things–cats and snow. Enjoy.


*Cough Cough* Go On Without Me

Still feeling squidgy and squicky. Oh, sorry! I’ve been binge-watching the Great British Bake Off and just finished the first season, so I still have my British slang on. I really like the show for several reasons. One, I love baking shows. I used to bake now and again, and it’s much more pleasing to me than cooking is. Two, scrumptious desserts. Enough said. Three, there’s none of the American machismo and grandiosity of, “I’m going to win, shove it in your ear!!” Yes, it’s still a reality show and scripted in a way, but it’s more laid-back than American reality cooking shows. There’s no faux-ginning up of the tension or false bravado. In fact, it’s quite endearing that the competitors were all rooting each other on*, and they were genuinely distraught when it came time to cut a contestant. Also, none of the contestants will actually say they think they’ll win. The closest they’ll come is, “I quite think I might have a chance.” I had fun trying to figure out who would be cut at the end of each episode, and I was usually right. The tells aren’t as obvious as they are in, say, Chopped, but I’m catching on to the British way of doing things.

The one thing I really didn’t like, though, happened in the final episode. There are three contestants (seven have already gone home), and they have one round as a semifinals before one is cut. Paul Hollywood is a master baker and one of the judge. Mary Berry is a baker and a food writer–called the Queen of Cakes–is the other judge. In the final episode, Paul was very dismissive of one of the women for choosing cupcakes as her mini-cakes (for a special tea). He called it childish even before she made them. Then, when she presented her cupcakes, he was still adamant they weren’t for an adult tea, even though he admitted they tasted fantastic. He also didn’t like the decoration of the other woman’s mini-cakes, calling them too girly. It was very off-putting, and it was even worse when he and Mary were discussing who should be cut. It was very evident that he wanted to cut Miranda (cupcake woman), whereas it was equally obvious that Mary wanted to keep Miranda. The minute I heard Paul’s critique, I knew Miranda would be cut.** When she was, I was irritated. It’s not that I thought the other woman or the man should have been cut, but just that Paul’s bias was so clear and that I knew he would get his way in the end.

Anyway! It’s still an addictive show, and I find myself watching episode after episode while sipping my tea and resting my tired body. I’m frustrated that I can’t kick this flu or cold or whatever it is. It’s been almost a week, and I had hoped it’d be done by now. Here’s a video of Maru getting into things. I love this cat.

*At least in the first season. I’m on the first episode of the second season, and they’ve expanded the contestant pool, so we’ll see.

**It was between Miranda and the other woman. The man was clearly safe.