25 September, 2005

Retinking Tings

So, I’ve been writing this blog for a few weeks now and I have come to the conclusion that I am going to have to rethink the why, where, and for whom of this endeavour.

Then I thought maybe I would give the blog address to friends and family (well, my sister). The logic behind this was simple: the blog would gives insight to these people, if they were interested, about everyday occurrences and random thoughts in my life. And this without being one of those serial letters (which I do not like in any form or manner). I don’t mind reading serial letters, but I sure do not like writing them.

Yet, isn't a blog a public document to be shared with the public?

23 September, 2005

Verbal Botox

Wonderful quote from Leah McLaren of "The Globe And Mail":

Celebrities use clichés as a form of verbal Botox - a cheap and manageable way of smoothing out the truth, which is always more haggard than they want us to believe.

Verbal Botox... just perfect.

22 September, 2005

Farewell my Harbourview

Packing up my office. The students are helping (more or less doing Everything). The moving company is coming on Monday and so, we will be based out of our apartment until mid-week.

Praise to the most beautiful office complex in all of Luebeck, and possibly the world. Thank you for the endless sunrise silhouettes over the medieval city skyscraper. Wish I had taken a picture of one of those sunrises, but you can always go here (Media Docks) to get an impression.

Sniff! I will miss you! Farewell ol' harbourview.

The three women in the main office and the system administrator have been working like crazy packing away everything in the institute: in preparation for Monday's move. Feel bad that I haven’t been able to help. Going to go out and buy them extra chocolate for sure. Not that this will make them any less angry at all of us office slacks who have just been doing their day-to-day work and ignoring the fact that they have had to do that and all of the packing as well.

20 September, 2005

Ultimate Cocktail Cure

Beautiful day today. Been a bit of a whirlwind of a day. Introduced a new project to a grade 13: interactive web presentation on the theme “my start in the work world”. Held a short workshop with another teacher (grade 6 teacher) about blogging. Don’t know why, but came back just drained of energy.

I wanted to go to the fitness club this afternoon for a work out and a yoga class, but decided to just “work slow” at the stuff on my office desk. I’ll go off soon to the sushi place on my own for dinner.

I have been reading some blog-posts on the Freakonomics blog by a fellow called Seth Roberts. There are parts of what he writes which sound, to me, very strange, but other parts have really triggered thoughts about individual energy flow, weight loss or gain, and basically … how to live each day in observation and reflection while trying to overcome those problems .battled year in, year out.

The way I interpret his philosophy (might be the wrong word here)/ premise/ hypothosis is that in order to come up with the right ingredients for that ultimate Cocktail Cure to our personal maladies, don’t count on well-tried or tested recipes. Instead, work out, through self experimentation, what your recipe is yourself. Use intuition, suspicion, advice, tradition, knowledge, just plain anything… try it and record or register when something helps or hurts the problem. And once you start seeing a pattern or notice what helps, take the next step and see what happens then.

What I like about the whole notion is that it means that I do not go to a doctor or a counsellor or friend, etc. for a cure to my problem, but for new input for something that might help. It is up to me to figure it out whether this new something is, or is not, helping; and then take appropriate steps otherwise.

18 September, 2005

Sunday Evening

Finished reading for the umteenth time, the last book of the Mary Stewart Merlin trilogy. Now I am going to start on the second part of the Tintenherz trilogy. At long last…. been four days now since I bought the book.

A dear friend wrote to say that the second breast surgery was completed. She is going to have to have radiation therapy, but no chemo and she doesn’t want to do the hormone supplements. Oh, how I hope she does well.

The German elections results are not shinning at all. Liberals (SDP) 34%, Conservatives (35%), Green 8%, FDP (?) 10%. The FDP (yellow) says they will not agree to a "street light" coalition (red (SPD), yellow, green). So it looks as though it will be a large (SPD and CDU) coalition, which means no opposition party. Ugh!

I am sooooo happy that the conservatives didn’t come in with a majority though. Who are they kidding; do they really think the liberals are responsible for the current economic problems and not the Kohl government of 16 years before?

There appears to be over 70% turnout…. pretty good.

Why can’t Bush be impeached for his lack of leadership and neglectful practices in New Orleans? If I remember correctly Clinton was nearly impeached for having oral sex and lying about it. Surely the perversity of Bush’s inaction and the ensuing deaths as a consequence also can be considered immoral…

My son has escaped into his sister's room to read and listen to the election results because I am writing on the computer in his room. She asks him to go through her French vocabulary list with her. He wants to know why I, her Mother, is not willing to practice with her. I tell her I am blogging. Priorities!

17 September, 2005

One of Little Wisdom

Nature Girl, my daughter and I went off to the Saturday market. She thinks the magic of such an outing is to go reallyreally early in the morning. This thing of going at 8:30 AM is just way too late… I can sympathise with the cause, but I reallyreally do appreciate a bit of a sleep in on the weekend.

Nature Girl and a boy in her class were voted as class speakers. She complained the other night about the fact that she has to do all the work (e.g. collecting absentee lists, passing on school news to the children) and the boy is doing nothing. I, in all my adult wisdom and having worked in a “men’s world” for over twenty years, suggest that she ask him politely, but firmly to take over one or two specific tasks for a specific period of time.

She didn’t think this would work. When I asked her why, she responded by saying that not only did this boy lack leadership talent (my words), but he is aways in the middle of any trouble that takes place in the class when the teacher isn't there. When I asked for a specific example, she mentioned that this boy helped hang another boy out of the window during recess.

Very quietly and calmly, I asked her what classroom they were in when this happened (their art room is on the 4th floor!). She looked at me as though I was crazy; what does the classroom have to do with this boy not doing his class speaker duties? It turns out that they were in their homeroom on the first floor at the time: but still, a head is a broken head if he had fallen.

I gave up. This whole thing overtaxes my Little Mind. So, I suggested she talk to her homeroom teacher about it. Thus, once again proving myself to be one of little wisdom or sovereignty.

13 September, 2005

Hippidy Birddray

It’s my baby’s fifteenth birthday! He asked for audio books (he got “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (the English version… meaning British), “What Einstein told his Hairdresser”, and two others), gift certificate for our local bookstore, and Money from his grandma: to go towards a mp3 player he is saving for. He looked happy with his presents and was even happier when he called later in the day and mentioned that his fellow students made a bit of a fuss about him (not the actual words he used).

Was going to go on to yoga this afternoon, but I was just tooooooo poooooooped. Spent six hours in a school running from one project to another. Excellent teachers and very enthusiastic students. What more could I ask for?

12 September, 2005


Excellent day. Met with three teachers about various projects:

A fifth grade class is doing a stop-motion animation (thumb cinema- Daumkino) project: which portray encounters of various creatures/monsters (drawn in primary colours) and how these encounters produce strange and wonderful consequences (drawn in secondary colours). The students have made up their creatures and written their storyboards. They start this week filming the stop-motion animations.

A grade 9 class has started the “Marketplaces of the World” sound seeing tour (podcasting) project. The students are also responsible for film and photo documentation of the project. There is an exchange group here from French speaking part of Switzerland. Hoping to lasso the teacher or students into participating in the project as well.

Another ninth grade project which is titled “Who am I in 20 years” (or maybe it is called something different). It is an interactive website presentation about five persons today (2005) and in twenty years (2025) (yes, I still can add). The students have “created” five representative persons with a biographies, likes and dislikes, etc. which they are going to present in English on a website.

The grade 13 class is also doing an interactive website presentation, which is part of an extensive project concerning career orientation.

My flavour-of-the-month project is a pervasive game project in the form of a mobile (in the real world) advent calendar project. The grade five (the first grade in high school) classes each have two student mentors. These mentors are going to program an interactive multimedia questionnaire (with software one of our university student’s has developed) for PDAs.

In December, the children will go on a treasure hunt each day to discover a “door” in or around the school and face a challenge. If they accomplish the challenge they will get a piece of marzipan and part of a puzzle for their Advent calendar.

The best news though was the “unofficial”, but ever so longed for, information that one of “my” master students, whose thesis I have been supervising, will be receiving an A on his thesis. This is the best mark given. Something he very much deserves, but nevertheless, we are both is a state of ecstatic shock.

08 September, 2005

Fencing with Words

Helped a work colleague edit a paper he wants to submit about digital storytelling systems. It is a lot of fun working with him because he has to be the quickest “learner” I know when it comes to writing scientific papers in English.

Over the past twenty years, I have spent days and days trying to explain to German colleagues how come their spaghetti texts just won’t “translate”. One thought/ one sentence, subject − verb − object, no convoluted Russian doll sentence structures, consistent terminology… I have gone over all the ground rules again and again. Admittedly, it is hard to go against your language culture: the roots of our language are meshed into all of our thoughts.

So, it is nice, in the case of this colleague, to work with someone who listens and instantly responds. Besides developing digital storytelling systems, he is also an avid fencer. Maybe this allows him to change his language strategies with apparent ease.

06 September, 2005

Brace Yourself Sheila

Not necessarily faster than a bullet, but I have managed to grasp the principal ideas and the workings of creating a blog rather easily. Now the rest of the work is up to me.