Archive for 2005

Wissenschaft und Kunst.

Thursday, May 5th, 2005

Etwas kurzfristig, aber hier noch eine kleine Ankündigung: in den kommenden Tagen (vom 5. bis zum 8. Mai) wird das Projekt X-Wohnungen im Märkischen Viertel in Berlin stattfinden. Eine der Künstlerinnen, die dort eine Wohnungsbegehung konzipiert und gestaltet hat, ist Hannah Groninger. Ich werde ihr Projekt Mobiles Wohnen als Soziologe begleiten – wir haben uns im Vorfeld des Projekts über soziologische Aspekte verständigt und planen auch eine an das Projekt anschließende weitere Zusammenarbeit. Mehr zu ihrem Projekt in Kürze auf meiner Startseite. Karten gibt es nur im Vorverkauf (Telefonnummer usw. siehe den X-Wohnungen Link oben).

Picking up the threads.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

There is a lot of stuff that should have been posted here. I’ve seen several movies – the new Woody Allen Melinda and Melinda, Willenbrock starring the down-to-reality Axel Prahl, and Million Dollar Baby by and with Clint Eastwood. All of these movies are worth a visit. Another thing which is always worth a visit is the beautiful city of Hamburg. I was lucky and had the opportunity to be there last weekend. The weather was absolutely perfect. I visited several friends, strolled along the Elbe, met Kerstin who was able to leave Kopenhagen for the weekend, together went to and enjoyed Anja’s, Anke’s and Heike’s 90th birthday, made a gorgeous two hour revival bicycle tour through the spring-blossoming western vicinity of Buchholz, spent a few hours in a school sports hall watching kids play handball, and did my share of sauna-ing. Perfect weekend, indeed.

Last Saturday, I went to a party in Tini’s and Andi’s house in Kreuzberg (happy birthday Tini!) which had a pretty scary motto: Pimp your Kopf. Inspired by the idea Marc gave me, I took out scissors and cardboard paper to cut myself a Mitra. Mitra? Yup, and thats why I was greeted by a crowd of drunken Erasmus students shouting “Paparazzi!” It took me more than a few minutes before I overcame my confusion about the fact that I did not carry any cameras with me but people still kept on saying “Paparazzi!” to me and enjoyed themselves tremendously. Could they interpret the white hat as a cook’s hat, perhaps the cook of the excellent Italian restaurant here in Prenzlauer Berg that is called Paparazzi? Finally, I figured it out: they were saying “Papa Ratzi!” – and quite correctly they did. After this obstacle to mental relaxation on the part of yours truly was overcome, the same had a very good time…

Proud and tired.

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

The conference is over. Preparations for the conference were the reason why I didn’t have any time to post during the last week. The conference was quite a success: people from all over the world (literally), people from a wide range of academic disciplines, and people from different non-academic backgrounds. And in spite of all these differences a very relaxed, friendly and productive atmosphere. It was even better than I would have hoped – all the work that we invested in the plannig and organization was definitely worth it.
Again, thanks again to the Studentischer Filmkreis Darmstadt, who made it possible to even offer a free movie for the participants of the conference!
*turns computer off to take a nap*

Balcony and basketball.

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Yesterday Olli and I enjoyed our first breakfast. Complete with a wide selection of Greek cheeses, boiled eggs, a new cereal bought at Lidl around the corner. They are called Nougat Pillows – not as bad as I feared, but not convincing either. What I am really looking for is a cheap version of Toppas. Erm. Back to topic. Today we had another balcony breakfast, enjoyed the newly planted flowers, and the first sprouts on some of our long-time balcony inhabitants. Olli then insisted that we should play some basketball on the sports yard across the street. I was somewhat disinclined to involve myself in physical activity and hoped that we don’t have a working pump to bring the basketball into shape. However, Olli didn’t let himself be irritated by my lack of inspiration, found a pump, and off we went. Good decision. We had a fun time, I think I got a small sunburn in my face, and we met Esther, an FU direct exchange student from the Twin Cities with whom we played basketball for a while. This is what sports are for: Völkerfreundschaft! Now, I have emptied a big glass of banana shake, took a cold shower, and feel a bit creaky in the joints but nonetheless quite swell. A promising season has begun.

Zweiter Zwischenbericht.

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

Nachdem ich im vergangenen Monat meinen zweiten Zwischenbericht inklusive Verlängerungsantrag für das letzte Förderungsjahr beim Kolleg eingereicht habe und selbiger Antrag am 24. März auch bewilligt wurde kann ich den Antrag jetzt im Internet veröffentlichen: Dissertation ‚Einhüllende Normalitäten‘ – Zweiter Zwischenbericht. Rückmeldung ist wie immer willkommen.

Well visited and clicked at.

Friday, April 1st, 2005

This month all records were broken: My website had almost 1500 visitors performing more than 2200 clicks on my site. Check out the development as shown by SiteMeter, which I am using to analyse the visits to my site:
SiteMeter graph displaying the amount of visits and page views on my site for the last yearNeat, isn’t it? Although I guess the trend as visible in this graph will not continue – April traditionally is a weak month traffic-wise.

Well fed and educated.

Friday, April 1st, 2005

Back again from the land of classic profiles. We had a great time, met many nice people, saw a few piles of stone, and got to know quite a few new and delicious dishes and beverages. Want to hear an anecdote? Let me think… Kerstin made an observation that has good anecdotal value: Here in Germany, dogs usually do live their lives accompanying the humans they belong to. They walk around with them, they sleep in the same houses, they eat food that is served them personally. In Greece, there is not only a human population in settlements, there is also an almost independant population of dogs. They hang out with other dogs, they eat with them, sleep in packs, trot along the trottoir with other dogs and generally ignore humans (except for trying to pay attention to cars and other dangers). Funny to watch them be dogs that are different from local dogs. Doggier, I would say. I also felt less threatened by those dogs and I saw fewer piles of dog shit in Athens than here in Berlin.

Urban life, rural life, and piles of stone.

Friday, March 18th, 2005

Kerstin and I are leaving Berlin today. We are going to make a trip to Greece to visit Eleni (and Tom!) lasting until the end of this month. Therefore you are probably not going to see any new entries before the beginning of April (when I will be quite busy because of the upcoming conference in Darmstadt). Ah, Greece. Never been there before. Just finished reading Mary Beard’s The Parthenon – a very accessible and entertaining cultural history of the most famous building in the Acropolis, and of the conflicts concerning it’s material and symbolic heritage. However, we won’t be visiting too many ruins. Things that seem to be more interesting to me are everyday life, hiking in spring-enlivened nature, getting to know Athens, and, of course, eating lots of good food.

Multi-layered humor.

Friday, March 18th, 2005

Finally! I was quite eager to watch The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. After being pointed to this movie by Elizabeth and watching the trailers (see below) I was hooked. This was the most anticipated movie for me since the last part of The Lord of the Rings. Red woolen hats! Bill Murray. Owen Wilson. Willem Dafoe. Jeff Goldblum. The extraordinary, incredible, marvelous Cate Blanchett. What a cast! Absurd low-key humor. It has almost everything that I really like in a movie. Could it live up to these expectations? Difficult to answer. I was not disappointed after watching this movie, but I have to admit that I wasn’t gripped by uncontrollable attacks of laughter during this movie. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed it very much. The humor was less blunt than I would have thought, and I am quite sure that I will discover more and more of the brilliantly funny ideas that made watching this movie really worthwhile when I watch it again. Which I will do. Preferably in English, since I am convinced that something got lost in the translation of this movie. (heh.) There are many adorable characters in this movie. The astonishing cast works out wonderfully in this movie – I am still baffled by how different Cate Blanchett can look and act in different movies – I don’t know any other actor or actress that would be a match for her in this regard. The story is interesting, several strands interweaving, not everything being resolved, some unexpected twist of drama, characters that unfold. The interns were great. Loved the interns. I still have to smile thinking about the fact that Cate Blanchett is called “Jane Winslett-Richardson” – Steve Zissou’s ship is not the Titanic, and we don’t have Leo doing a cameo, but for me, this is just one of the many examples of the fine tuned humor of this movie. To be continued…
IMDb entry | Trailer | Webisodes

Somewhat overrated.

Friday, March 18th, 2005

Good cast, good story, adequate photography. I liked Sideways when I saw this movie a few days ago. It just wasn’t as good as I would have expected it to be after all the praise it received. Perhaps the praise is the result of it being an independent american movie that does some close-to-real-life storytelling instead of generating just another Hollywood story. However, from a European perspective this is not exactly an overwhelming achievement. Nonetheless, it was pleasant enough to watch this movie, and if you’re looking for some storytelling and just this hint of real life in a movie; if you’re looking for a story about aging men and women who haven’t yet given up on their dreams you should watch this movie. Being interested in wine and liking the californian countryside are two more good reasons for watching it.

IMDb entry | Trailer

Being a fan.

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

This weekend I had ample opportunity to hone my skills as a fan. The most challenging aspect of this endeavour was the difference between the acts that I was participating in: On Friday, a Ska-Punk concert; yesterday, Pop-Music at the German qualification for the European Song Contest.

The concert of the Skatoons took place in the Tommy Weissbecker Haus in Berlin Kreuzberg. An adequate location. There were quite a few kids there, and not few of the female population was inspired by Avril Lavigne-ness. The concert was great fun, even though several members of the Band were ill or still recovering from illness. Fast rythms, great ska-brass-blasting-sounds and a fun crew on the stage. I have to admit that my oldest friend Henning is part of the Band, along with others that I know like Inga, Tobe, and Holle, therefore I might have been slightly non-objective in my judgement. However, I had the opportunity to watch kids that knew the lyrics of the songs they played (not of the cover versions!), and they seemed to have a lot of fun, too. Buy their records, visit their website, dance to their music!

Change of subject; different scene altogether. A bunch of friends and yours truly are in the Arena in Berlin Treptow, entering the set for the European Song Contest qualification. We were cheering for Mia, a good friend of my apartment mate Olli. It was warm there too, though much less sweaty, and more heads with hair on top were present. We had excellent – the best, I would say – seats right at the side of the catwalk that belonged to the stage set, and enjoyed a perfect view on the performances. Which weren’t always that great, sadly. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the event immensely, cheered as much as we could every time Mia Aegerter was mentioned or visible on stage and hoped the best for her. Bad luck. Somebody else had more active fans voting for their star and Mia did not qualify… I liked her performance of the song Alive on stage – surely the vote has not a lot to do with her performance though. Reinhold Beckmann, the moderator, was terrible: neither funny nor clever nor sincere. The one shining light (hehe) for me was: Emma the former Spice Girl. The choreography of her dancing crew on stage was really funny, and really well done. I can’t recall much of the song, but the performace was great. What is even better: when she passed our seats I could not resist and hollered Emma!! and received a charming smile from a real, life Spice Girl! What a day…

Do the bibliography.

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

A few days ago the new version 8 of Bookends by Sonny Software has been published. Bookends is a bibliography software similar to Endnote or Bibliographix or one of the other bibliography managers out there. However, it is only available for Mac OS X. Probably because of this focus on the Mac market, the interface is much easier to understand than the interface of other bibliography apps that I have used. What’s even better, it integrates perfectly with the word processor of my choice, Mellel.
Noteable new features of this really well-supported software are:

  • Internet database searching and importing. (That way you can access the Library of Congress and other Libraries / Databases, search for references, and then import the references along with additional information like keywords and sometimes even abstracts into your bibliography.)
  • Smart groups to organize your bibliography. (They work similar to smart playlists in iTunes or saved searches in Thunderbird.)
  • XML import / export.
  • Bookends Server, which allows me to grant you access to my bibliography!

After getting acquainted with the new version of Bookeends and solving a few server related problems with Jon from Sonny Software (his response / solution time has been below 10 hours – and that is including time zone related delays), I am proud to present you with probably one of the first WWW-wide available Bookends bibliographies in this universe: search my bibliography. Username and password are currently set to: “freund” and “mellon”. I will keep the server running pretty often. However, I might later change these and mail the current username and password to you by request.

I have also created import filters for Bookends with search capabilities for the following library catalogues in Germany: GBV/GVK, HeBIS, and VÖBB. I haven’t tested these thoroughly yet. Additionally, I have created a custom format in German (this is the same format which is applied on the output of my online bibliography, so check it out). You can download it. Any feedback is very welcome.

Dissertation take-off!

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

I am still dazzled, nervous, and adrenalin-hyped. I just finished the outline for my dissertation. This outline (done with the incredibly useful and well-designed OmniOutliner Professional) contains not only headlines for chapters, it also contains the respective chapters’ basic structure, and ideas, and hints regarding what I will actually write. This would be enough to generate a surge of adrenalin, however, this outline also contains page numbers, giving the best estimate possible at this point in time on how many pages each section of the text will have. Currently, the total is at 186 pages. I guess it is more likely to become longer than shorter. This is not all yet. One more piece of information has been entered by yours truly into this outline: the dates on which the respective sections have to be finished.
Whew. I am still stunned. After some tweaking, I have set the final page to be completed on the 26th of March 2006, leaving me with three weeks to do layout and corrections before my scholarship will end in the middle of April. The time table acknowledges things like trips, holidays, upcoming conferences, seminars etc. as far as it is possible to do this now. I have to write about 3 to 7 pages per week of writing. I would like to finish one or two weeks earlier though. The best chance of overtaking this time table – thereby making the final phase of writing my dissertation less stressful – is to be more productive in the next two or three months, so hold your thumbs for me.

*takes a deep breath*

Screen real estate growing.

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Another upgrade in my hardware department: This week I bought a LC Display on eBay. I purchased an Eizo FlexScan L685 for the price of € 290 (including shipping). It is an 18 inch flat screen display with two input ports and a 4-port USB hub included. Having two video input ports is really excellent for me – I can connect my PowerBook and my G4 PowerMac at the same time, using the huge 18 inch display as additional screen estate for the PowerBook when I need it. Just the press of a button away. I’ll check if I can get a cheap USB switch too, so that I can use one keyboard-mouse combo for both computers, further minimizing clutter on my desk, and making my ergonomic keyboard and mouse readily available for my laptop too.
The display is older than I thought (more than 4500 hours of use, the screen manager says), but it doesn’t feel old. It is spotless, has no pixel defects, and it is amazingly bright, clear, and colorful. I personally think I made a very good deal. At least if it doesn’t die in the course of the next 18 months or so. My former display (17 inch CRT) slowly got worse and worse, small fonts getting hard to read so that my eyes started to complain even more. No complaints about sharpness anymore. A nice side effect of it being an 18 inch display with a resolution of 1280×1024 pixels is that the pixels on the Eizo and on my PowerBook have almost exactly the same density (~90ppi), so that the size of windows and pictures doesn’t change when I move them from one screen to the other. Call me a happy camper!

Conferences, conferences, conferences.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

This seems to be the motto of the year. Sizzling hot from my inbox comes the newest announcement: our college’s concluding conference Technisierung/Ästhetisierung – Technological and Aesthetic (Trans)Formations of Society is now putting out it’s call for papers. Check out the conference website to learn more about potential panels, program, and registration.

I also encourage you to take a closer look into the next German issue of Le Monde Diplomatique – you should be able to find an announcement for our conference Negotiating Urban Conflicts.

Angenehme Störungen.

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005

Vorderseite des KonferenzflyersAm Freitag war ich in schönen Clubhaus der FU Berlin in Dahlem auf der Tagung Steuerung und Störung. Gute Vorträge, offene Diskussion, aufgeschlossene TeilnehmerInnen und ReferentInnen. Leider habe ich auf Grund schweren Verschlafens dem Vortrag von Christian Kehrt nicht lauschen können, auch wenn sein Thema (Das Fliegen ist immer noch ein gewagtes Risiko – Risiko und Kontrolle in der Flugzeugtechnik) für den Konferenzflyer Bildgebend war, wie man zur Linken sehen kann. Erfreulicherweise sind auch andere Menschen der Videoanalyse aufgeschlossen, auch wenn eine lästige Einordnung in die Lager der deutschen Methodenszene kaum vermeidbar erscheint. Das Spektrum der Vorträge am Freitag war breit, aber zueinander passend, geerdet und sich auf interessante Weise ergänzend.
Nett abgerundet wurde Abend noch durch eine wirklich gelungene Papiertheater Vorstellung von Rüdiger Koch aus Berlin. Die dargestellte Wolfschluchtszene aus dem Freischütz war dramatisch und die Aufklärung über die eingesetzte Tricktechnik erhellend und lustig.

Sweden is in Berlin.

Sunday, February 20th, 2005

ticket for berlinale movieThanks to my movie-biz apartment mate Olli I got a ticket for Popularmusik från Vittula, a movie based on the novel of the same name. To my dismay this movie (and the novel) are classified as being “for teens”. Germans seem to have a problem with (Scandinavian) Literature that deals with the adolescence and young adulthood, not accepting it into the body of “serious” or “adult” fiction. Grrrr. Well, as can be guessed from my frustration about this, I am quite convinced that these are really good stories, that should be read by adults, and especially by them! A bit of reflection about what you actually wanted to do when you were younger, about your dreams, and – quite essential – about your dissappointments, your bad experiences would certainly do some good not only in these troubled times. This movie does a very good job reflecting this, with an adequate amount of lightness, humor and seriousness. I have laughed more than my share while watching this movie, and I was moved and touched. Get the novel (which I haven’t read yet) or watch the movie. While you’re at it, try to get one of the novels written by Erlend Loe (sadly, they have been out of print for much too long here in Germany).
IMDb entry

I like his style, but he has been better.

Friday, February 18th, 2005

The last movie I saw in Darmstadt has been A Very Long Engagement (German title: Mathilde). This is the most recent movie directed by Jeunet – and it is again featuring Audrey Tatou (best known as Amélie). In the World War I setting of this movie, the fantastic elements are not as outrightly presented as in his other films. Still, there always remains some uncertainty if something not quite normal or natural is going on or not. Jeunet pays much attention to detail and to color – that is why I really like his movies. However, for me this movie does not come close to Delicatessen or The City of Lost Children, both probably belonging to my top ten movies. I guess the reason for this is that he is best when he was working together with Marc Caro, head-on into the grotesque and arabesque.
IMDb entry | Trailer

After the long blogging break it is again time for … tada! … another quiz: From which famous American author did I learn the words grotesque and arabesque?

It is not easy to be compliant.

Saturday, February 12th, 2005

Dear readers, I must ask you to bear with me in this time of mishaps: a few days ago I changed the way my blog is delivered to your browser – at least if it is a standards compliant browser. Now, this weblog is being delivered with the correct MIME type of application/xhtml+xml, instead of being delivered with the type text/html that is appropriate for mere old-fashioned HTML.
The side effect of doing this is that browsers of the Gecko familiy (Mozilla, Firefox, Camino, etc.) only render this page if the underlying code is 100% correct. Not a single small error is permitted. If the browser encounters such an error, you will see a short description of the error in the browser window. May I ask you to send me a quick note describing where you encountered what kind of error? Just like Christian (M.D.) – always an example to the rest of us – did today.

Trample down on German tradition.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Florian just sent me this link I would love to have one of these, alas, I can’t put it on my amazon wishlist…