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).
Archive for 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…
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.
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:
Neat, isn’t it? Although I guess the trend as visible in this graph will not continue – April traditionally is a weak month traffic-wise.
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.
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.
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
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
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…
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!
Thanks 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).
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?
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.