Archive for 2005

Unwetter und fliegende Zelte.

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Foto von unserem Platz in Montbrun an der Tarn - nach dem Unwetter wieder in Ordnungoh lala! ‘eute Abend ‘atten wir ein ge’öriges Unwetter! Sturmböen sind durch’s Tarn-Tal gefegt und haben das Zelt von Andi und Tini (inklusive Tini) fast in den Fluß gerissen. Von Ollis Zelt, dass ich mir für diesen Urlaub geliehen habe und das vorher noch unbenutzt war, sind zwei Bodenlaschen einfach abgerissen. Glückerlicherweise hatte ich vorher schon die gesamte Verspannung angebracht so dass das Zelt nicht auch davongeflogen ist. Vor diesem Ereignis war ich von dem Zelt ganz positiv eingenommen. Nun allerdings muss ich sagen, dass es wirklich zu riskant ist, mit billigen Zelten in den Urlaub zu fahren. Die Nähte und der Stoff (es sind auch noch zwei andere Teile etwas eingerissen) sind einfach nicht stabil genug, um widrigen Bedingungen, wie sie auch in nicht-extremen Klimazonen immer wieder vorkommen, zu widerstehen. Qualität ist gefragt – wenn wir nicht dagewesen wären und es gleichzeitig auch noch geregnet hätte, wäre es schon möglich gewesen, dass das Zelt samt Inhalt (das heisst auch diesem Laptop) völlig hinüber gewesen wäre. Gute Zelte und ordentliche Heringe sind also eine sinnvolle Investition. Auch sinnvoll ist es, bei auch nur ein bisschen zweifelhafter Wetterlage die gesamte Verspannung anzubringen und darauf zu achten, Heringe tatsächlich fest einzuschlagen.
Dank einer hilfsbereiten und mit Nähzeug ausgestatteten Bernerin hier auf dem Platz konnte ich Ollis Zelt immerhin wieder zusammengenähen – sollte besser halten als vorher…
Schon kurios: der Sturm kam von einen Moment auf den anderen und hörte nach ca. 3 min auch schon wieder auf – vorhersehbar war der hier unten im Tal nicht. Glücklicherweise ist hier auf dem Platz niemand körperlich zu Schaden gekommen. Einige Zelte und ein Wohnwagen allerdings sind hinüber.

Night, sky, creek and good food in store.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

Currently, I am waiting for Tini to return with a key for the car, in which my bluetooth dongle is lying safely kept away from my hands. It might be considered to be a downside to have to check your mail while you’re on vacation, however, it also makes you reconsider the advantages and disadvantages of modern technology from a different angle to be writing an entry for your blog while sitting under a sky full of stars, hinting at the existence of the milkyway, after having eat excellent french food with a decent Pinot Noir that has been made only a few miles away in Beaune. I think I like that. And right now, it doesn’t feel to much like an intrusion of bad high tech into a relaxed camping setting. The keys are back…

Shouldn’t forget this one.

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

For a while a vague doubt has been nibbling at my mind – I knew there was a movie that I recently watched but that I haven’t told my dear readers about yet. And I knew that it was a movie that I really liked, even though I had my doubts before watching it. A few days ago (I think it was when I saw Inga Busch in Alles of Zucker), I remembered. The title of the movie is Confidences trop intimes (eng: Intimate Strangers). My doubts were related to the fact that it is a french movie that deals with psychotherapy. I wasn’t sure if I would actually want to see and listen to an intellectually sophisticated movie that dealt with the slippery aspects of the psyche, of therapy, and therapists. Fear not! This movie deals with these subjects but it doesn’t require its audience to cultivate an intellectual’s habitus. This is because of a good story. But this is especially because of the two excellent and perfectly cast actors that play the main roles in this movie: Sandrine Bonnaire and Fabrice Luchini. I was astonished, charmed and extraordinarily amused by the way Luchini portrays a tax attorney (in)voluntarily becoming psychotherapist. If you thought the genre of romantic comedy does not exist in French movies, you are mistaken. You should enlighten yourself as soon as possible and spend and enjoyable evening with this movie.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Seminar success.

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Last week Lars and I hosted the last session of our seminar Sehen, Hören Fühlen – Stadtethnografien erstellen (eng: Watching, Listening, Sensing – Doing Urban Ethnographies), which was – much to our relief and joy – a big success. Nine research projects had been performed by groups of up to three students. Almost all of them invested a substantial amount of time in their studies, they tackled with their position, impact, and responsability as academic observers, and they presented some really interesting aspects of the publicly accessible places they studied in Darmstadt and Heppenheim. They observed different plaza and park areas, a cafe, a cemetary, and a group of large-scale-chessboard players. Lars and I are now looking forward to getting the final results of the different studies in written form. All in all this seminar worked out at least as good as we hoped it would. Kudos to the students involved! It would be just perfect if one could teach more of these seminars, particularly if one could offer a two-semester practical seminar…

Rakete über Brokdorf.

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Beim sich-einen-Abend-in-Darmstadt-vertreiben hat sich in der vergangenen Woche die Gelegenheit ergeben, einen Film mit denkbar schlechtem Plakat zu schauen: Am Tag als Bobby Ewing starb. Glücklicherweise ist der Film weitaus besser als das Plakat. Schauplatz ist Schleswig-Holstein, ein Dorf in der Nähe von Brokdorf. Ein besserer Schauplatz ist schon mal kaum vorstellbar. Sehr leicht vorstellbar scheint allerdings, dass es sich hier um ein Schauplatz-technisch positiv voreingenommenes Textchen handelt. Darsteller, Story und Bilder sind alle gut. Bei den Bildern hatte ich insbesondere während der ersten Minuten des Films die Befürchtung, dass hier zu sehr eine ja ach so schräge 80er Jahre Requisite präsentiert wird, aber im weiteren Verlauf des Films ist dieser Eindruck nahezu vollständig verschwunden. Besonders gefallen hat mir Rakete, gespielt von Jens Münchow. Überzeugendes Spiel und ein hervorragender Charakter, der einigen Bekannten aus Jugendtagen charmant nahe kommt. Auch bei Rakete hätte die Gefahr bestanden, den Charakter zu sehr als unterhaltsames Kuriosum aufzubauen, aber auch dieser Verlockung wurde widerstanden und Rakete bleibt ein spannender und sympathischer Charakter. Vielleicht am Besten hat mir die schon vorher als spannungsgeladen aufgebaute Duschszene gefallen. Insgesamt ein wirklich gelungener Film, den sich nicht nur Freunde der norddeutschen Tiefebene anschauen sollten. An die Angst vor dem radioaktiven Regen nach Tschernobyl konnte ich mich zum ersten Mal seit langer Zeit wieder lebendig erinnern.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Nature, Norway & no news.

Thursday, June 30th, 2005

I am sorry to tell you that for the next two weeks I probably won’t be able to post entries to this blog. I will leave Oslo for Kristiansand tomorrow. Starting there, the Bornholdt familiy and yours truly will travel up the west coast of Norway for the next two weeks. I am looking forward to do some hiking, having good food, playing board and card games, reading novels, and working a tiny bit on my dissertation. And all of this offline. :)

Mut zur Muße.

Monday, June 27th, 2005

Schon seit November vergangenen Jahres hatte ich eine leere Textdatei mit dem Titel Mut zur Muße auf den Desktops meiner Rechner liegen. In der letzten Woche habe ich endlich beides gefunden und die Datei mit Text gefüllt. Mehr Text als ursprünglich gedacht. Deshalb findet sich der kleine Essay nicht hier im Blog und ist statt dessen – wie meine anderen längeren Texte – als eigene Webseite abrufbar.

Gritty, not super.

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005

This is how we like our heroes. Batman has all the potential to be one of the grittier characters that one needs: an ambivalent symbol, no real super powers, a history of guilt and mistakes. To my dismay I did not like any of the Batman movies that I saw since the nineties. Except for the new one. Batman Begins is directed by the director of Memento, Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins has a great cast, and it is not nearly as clean and plasticized like the other Batman movies. The story did not really work that well for me in the first quarter of the movie – it seemed like they tried to spin a story that is to grande for a super-hero movie. After a while, the paced accelerated and the story unfolded in some nice twists. One other thing that made this movie not the perfect experience – although it is hard for me to admit this – might be Liam Neeson, whom I usually like very much. However, his presentation of the role of the potential villain was not completely convincing for me. A thing that I liked about this movie was that they did not go for Matrix like martial artish fighting scenes. There are several fighting scenes, but the camera is always really close to the action and the cuts are very short. Keeps the old men safe from harm and adds to the grittiness. I saw it in a dubbed version and I am not sure if they meddled with some of the sound effects, which seemed to be out of sync or at least not exactly matching what could be seen on the screen in a few scenes. Overall, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend watching it in the cinema. It is good enough, especially if you like one of the many stars in the cast, who sometimes act in unusual roles or outfits.
IMDb entry | Trailer

It’s about the voices.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

Even though I heard that it only got bad reviews I took my chances and went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The only two precautions I took were (a) going there with nice people (Olli, Mia, Manu) and (b) avoid the dubbed version. (b) was pretty obvious, I think. British culture and language plays such a crucial role in Douglas Adams‘ writing that one should avoid translations if it is at all an option. If I remember correctly, The Hitchhiker’s Guide has been the first novel I read in English. Voluntarily.
If I would have known before watching the movie that Alan Rickman does the voice for Marvin, the depressed hyper-intelligent robot, I wouldn’t even have considered being lazy and watching the movie in a dubbed version but in a cinema that is only a three minute walk away. Alan Rickman is great. As readers of this blog with a sound memory sure remember, I totally adore his death scene as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood… So, the voice acting in general was great, as was the casting. Douglas Adams’ novel is such a great piece of writing because it often strays away from the main plot, putting in funny little notes and stories. This is almost impossible to do well in a movie, I think. They tried to capture that stylistic element in this movie, and they did not fail. However, they lost quite a bit of the charm on the way. I don’t know if this could have been solved better – I guess not. If you know your way with towels and if you don’t mind movies adapted from novels then I think you will enjoy this movie. If you’re into absurd British humor and haven’t read Douglas Adams yet, you are probably the best possible viewer for this movie and should definitely watch it. If these two statements don’t apply to you I don’t care if you watch it or not…
42! ;)
IMDb entry | Trailer

Blühende Landschaften zwischen Zonen-Gabi und Besserwessi.

Sunday, June 12th, 2005

In der vergangenen Woche habe ich einen kurzen Vortrag vor einer von den Darmstädter Jusos eingeladenen Delegation von Marokkanern gehalten. In dem Vortrag sollte ich einen Einblick in die Geschichte Deutschlands seit der Wiedervereinigung geben und dabei vor allem den Konflikt zwischen Ost- und Westdeutschland behandeln. Nicht unbedingt mein Spezialgebiet, aber ein sehr spannendes Thema, das mich auch persönlich wirklich interessiert, weshalb ich auch zugesagt habe, im Rahmen dieser von der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung geförderten Veranstaltung vorzutragen. Dank an Dörte Hein von der Universität Greifswald für einige Perspektivkorrekturen und Ergänzungen. Ich habe die meinem Vortrag zu Grunde liegende Stichpunktliste ein wenig überarbeitet und jetzt online zur Verfügung gestellt. Da es sich nicht um mein eigentliches Fachgebiet handelt, weist die Aufstellung sicher einige Lücken auf und befindet sich nicht auf dem neuesten Stand der sozialwissenschaftlichen Forschung zu dieser Frage – über Ergänzungen und Kritik bin ich dementsprechend dankbar.
Der Vortrag selbst ist gut gelaufen und die anschließende Diskussion mit der marokkanischen Delegation war spannend und fruchtbar. Für mich war es das erste Mal, das ich mit Simultanübersetzung (ins Französische) vorgetragen habe. Glücklicherweise schien mein Vortragsstil für die Übersetzerin handhabbar zu sein. Merkwürdig ist es trotzdem schon, wenn man von dem Titanic Poster mit der Zonen-Gabi erzählt, als Erzähler selbst die Bananen-Gurke Pointe mit heiterem Glucksen begleitet, das Lächeln bei den Hörern sich aber erst mit einigen Sekunden Verzögerung einstellt…

Soziologie & Kunst – X-Wohnungen Info jetzt online.

Sunday, June 5th, 2005

Ich habe eben die Kurzbeschreibung des Projekts Mobiles Wohnen von Hannah Groninger online gestellt. Die geneigte Leserin wird sich erinnern, dass ich schon einmal über meine Mitarbeit an diesem im Rahmen von X-Wohnungen Suburbs 2005 organisierten Projekt berichtet habe. Mir persönlich hat sowohl Hannahs Projekt, als auch das gesamte X-Wohnungen Konzept hervorragend gefallen – besonders die Erkundung in Zweiergruppen war Tipp Topp. Die Tour durchs Märkische Viertel bot immer wieder überraschende und ungewohnte Perspektiven und Erfahrungen. Bis auf einzelne Ausnahmen waren alle Wohnungen, die ich im Rahmen der Tour A besucht habe wirklich spannend und ausgesprochen anregend. Wenn das noch Theater ist, dann ist es genau das Theater, wie ich es mir wünschen würde. Falls es im nächsten Jahr wieder X-Wohnungen geben wird, werde ich unbedingt teilnehmen.
Änderung 4. Juni: Link korrigiert und .pdf Datei mit besseren Bildern eingesetzt.

A warning – don’t waste your time and money on this.

Tuesday, May 31st, 2005

Somehow, I got the impression that people liked the last part of the prequels to the classic Star Wars trilogy, Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, more than episodes one and two. I wonder how this happened. Yesterday evening I watched it with Olli here in the Kulturbrauerei in a dubbed version. It was as terrible as the others were. Cheesy dialogue, non-working puns, uncompelling actors, and – as Olli pointed out – no focus on a real main character. The story dips into this and that, people say that they are troubled, but everything remains wooden and unplausible. Of course, the special effects department is good, but I wasn’t blown away either. The soundtrack has nothing particularly enchanting or interesting in store and the pictures are much too obviously linked to what feeling currently should be induced into the audience. Bah. Nothing at all of the gritty and edgy charm that the original trilogy had in its best moments. Stay away. Don’t throw any more money into George Lucas’ throat. Maybe that keeps him from writing and directing more of this expensive garbage in the future.
IMDb entry

The beast in decline.

Friday, May 27th, 2005

browser share for May 25th 2005 as shown by my SiteMeter statisticsOn the diagram you can see a pretty average distribution of browsers visiting my site. Since the free account at SiteMeter only includes browser share statistics for the last 100 visits the variation can be pretty big. Firefox’s share has been increasing over the last few months, although it has been hovering around 20% for the last two months or so. The development which I watch most closely these days is the percentage of Internet Explorer 5.x users that are visiting this site. This has been steadily decreasing and is usually below 10%. What is even better: more than half of the IE 5.x share consists of Mac Internet Explorer versions that are much, much better at rendering according to standards (that is, their Tasman rendering engine keeps up with most of the CSS Level 1 code that I throw at it). This makes the actual share of Windows IE 5.x – a.k.a. the beast – using visitors something below 5%. That in turn means that I will soon stop supporting this browser and rely more heavily on using modern CSS to manage the layout of my page. I did a similar thing when I dropped support for Netscape 4.x versions several months ago. However, in that case I waited until the Netscape 4.x share dropped below 1%. Why do I handle things differently for Win IE 5.x and start dropping support at a share of about 5%? Because windows machines that are able to run IE 5.x are able to run Firefox well enough too. And they should run it because of the tons of security holes that are opened by browsing the web with this hideous beast of a browser.
The new background image in the main column of this blog is one visible step in the direction redesign and recoding will take – most of the work will remain invisible to those browsing the site. However, that work will enhance accessibility and standards compliance (and propably the search engine ranking too).

Finally a custom favicon.

Tuesday, May 24th, 2005

Beginning with tomorrow’s nightly build my favorite web browser, Camino, will finally support displaying non-root-level favicons such as the one used for my homepage. Favicon? Yup. Favicons are the little icons displayed by all decent browsers in their respective address bars to the left of the web address.
To greet this change in an adequate way I have changed the code for my blog to support my custom favicon in the blog too. Hope you like it, even though I am totally not a designer.

Bicycles for everyone.

Monday, May 23rd, 2005

You might think that this is an utopian program. You’re wrong. If you would have been to Copenhagen you might know that you just need a 20 Kroner (about three Euros) coin to get yourself a public bicycle. What is even better, you will get the coin back when you reattach the bike to one of the many stations in central Copenhagen. This is what we love about Scandinavia. The bikes are, of course, not high-tech or as speedy as the DB bikes in Berlin, Frankfurt, and in other major German cities. But they are free and you don’t need a mobile phone and a credit card to use them. We had a nice time riding with the bikes through Copenhagen, looking at the sea, visiting the Experimentarium and exploring the different bros of Copenhagen.

Tiger installed.

Wednesday, May 18th, 2005

After Cisco updated its (still buggy) VPN client to be compatible with Mac OS X 10.4, I was finally able to upgrade my trusty workhorse, the Pismo PowerBook, to new version of Apple’s operating system, codenamed Tiger. For major system revisions my tactic has always been to do a complete reinstall of everything and this is what I did with my Pismo as well. Worked out great. (I manually imported all my old mail, which took a long time. However, got the impression that a lot of people had problems with just updating their mail archives.) I still find it astonishing that with every major Mac OS X revision the speed of the operating system accelerates – even on old hardware such as my almost five years old laptop. I like the interface and integrated search features. You have probably read about these features yourself. Therefore I will report two advances that I did not know about before even though they are quite substantial for me:

  • When synching Address Book with my SonyEricsson K700 all fields are now synchronized. That means that I am finally able to read street addresses and even contact notes on my K700. Awesome. I really wanted this.
  • The other thing is the new power and versatily of the System Profiler – now it tells me how much capacity is left in my batteries, and even how big the actual power drain is while using the laptop. There are tons of other new infos in the overhauled System Profiler – you should definitely check it out. (The only thing that continues to bug me is that this app’s window still doesn’t remember it’s size and position after quitting.)

Well, I guess thats it so far. I will keep you informed if I stumble into anything else worth telling Tiger-wise.

Poor plants.

Tuesday, May 17th, 2005

I have wanted to move my trusty old cereus cactus to a new, larger pot for at least 10 years. I have this cactus (it is about two meters high) since sometime in the early eighties which means for more than twenty years. It has suffered many injuries, went through diseases, dismemberments, was infested by scales and generally not always treated very well. Nonetheless, it has survived and stayed with me, accompanying me through at least 10 different apartments, occupying sometimes nicer and sometimes more remote places in them. Now he’s getting a breath of fresh earth, water, air, and sun outside on the balcony. Good chap.
I also moved Junior, our small banana plant, to the now vacant pot which offers more space for Junior to spread it’s roots and develop into a huge tropical banana-bunches-bearing tree!

Besonders ärgerlicher Spam

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

Wie die meisten mittlerweile wohl festgestellt haben, triffen seit heute Nacht große Mengen rechtsradikal motivierter Spam Nachrichten in die E-Mailboxen ein. Heise gibt dazu mehr Informationen in einer Meldung via Newsticker. Anscheinend ist ein Variante des Wurms Sober für die Verbreitung der Spam Nachrichten zuständig. Grrrr.

At least it is politically correct.

Sunday, May 15th, 2005

There are Cinemaxxes in Copenhagen too! And they play the kind of movies that you would expect there too. In this case it was the highly advertised Kingdom of Heaven. It is not as worse as I had feared – Kerstin told me in advance that it is not a “now-we-will-show-you-in-a-sandal-flick-how-evil the arabs-always-were” kind of movie, so we decided to take the risk and watch it (no rental of DVDs without a Danish “yellow card” – whatever that may be). I would have expected the acting of Orlando Bloom to be worse, even though I still think they should have been able to cast somebody else for this role. For me it would suffice to cast Bloom for support roles. Other actors were much better. Kerstin really liked Eve Green as Princess Sibylla and I have to admit that she was quite enchanting with all this mascara. I also liked many of the other actors in Ridley Scott‘s otherwise great cast, especially Liam Neeson (it took me ages to realize that I have last seen him as Professor Kinsey). The quality of the pictures and many of the cast make it a movie for the theater, Bloom and the script of the movie make me recommend it for one of those DVD evenings when some sandal-wise entertainment is in order…
IMDb entry | Trailer

Europe in Episodes.

Saturday, May 14th, 2005

Last week, I saw One Day in Europe with Olli. Who dampened my expectations a bit. However, I really wanted to see it since I quite liked the trailer. It was a good decision (and Olli thought so too). Solid movie, every episode had some comic aspects without being silly. What I liked most is that the actors, though comic, all had a somewhat tragic touch to them. Which is probably the result of all of them being involved with some kind of theft or robbery in a foreign and strange city… Sometimes though the film-maker’s philosophy creeps into the dialogues, which doesn’t work too well. If it’s still running in a theater close to you, check it out and spend a nice evening.

IMDb entry