Tuesday, April 15, 2014

swift moment


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Today, while stopping at the supermarket, I looked up and saw... flying signs of spring: swallows! The first swallows of the year. So lovely. Or maybe they are “Mauersegler” - "Common Swifts" - the nephews of swallows. But that also would be a first.

I tried a photo, then thought of video, and tried one.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

murphy's law, or: for want of an iDude



The image gives an idea of where i've been in the last days, mind-wise: in a kind of web-bug-matrix. Dealing with a web project that has run off track. (Or rather, "into the woods". that's the excuse the web agency handed us when we wanted to know what exactly has gone wrong, from start. "The first team that worked on it went into the woods with it...")

Anyway. What did Murpyh's law say? "If anything can go wrong, it will."

So it did. At least, so far, no one got hurt or injured. It's just bits and bytes gone wrong. And hours and hours of work gone by, trying to figure out the errors in the system, and the pattern behind them, checking and thinking, and staring at screens a lot...

To humour myself, i browsed the Murphy's law page this morning, after another hour spent catching bugs. The following three lines give an idea of the mess we're dealing with right now:
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Bugs will appear in one part of a working program when another 'unrelated' part is modified.
A patch is a piece of software which replaces old bugs with new bugs.

And another quote - this is a copy of a facebook conversation from a while ago, back then i had to deal with the comparatively nice and easy obstacle of e-book-filing. An obstacle that can be solved in 9 simple steps:

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Dorothee: “this. is. hilarious. so i now just was sent a gift e-book from Orange. it's nicely sitting in a folder on my computer. now, how to get this book on an iPad? ... it takes 9 simple steps. NINE. oh my.

Dorothee: i want an intra-computer-communication android.

Susan: You mean one of those little dudes who runs back and forth between computers and makes dinner too?

Sherry: an iDude. and i want a bell to ring everytime i need him.

Rose: I want my own technical advisor and Mac repairman. Repairperson. They don't have to cook. I'll feed them tacos. They can go to the beach most of the day. As long as when they come home they help me with all this technical shit. Any takers?

Dorothee: iDude would be nice. or R2D2 from Star Wars. wasn't he a communication android? 

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so currently, the answer to the situation rather is: to turn into my own communication android, and do the bug-analyzing and wading through technical stuff myself.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

sky / photo friday: cherry april sky

For sky friday & photo friday this week: 3 combined photos from an april walk...

Last year, april was too cold, following a march that still came with snow. Now it seems, the skies want to make up for that: spring is earlier than usual, the cherry trees and tulips are in bloom already. Walking through fields feels like walking through may. Such a joy.



The second photo is from the same place, just another direction:


And this is yet a bit further down the walk, just some minutes later:


While the skies are open, I am a bit snowed under with work and projects and deadlines, but in a good way. Also, I was away for two days this week, for a web / work project. More about that, tomorrow. Now, for some chocolate ice in the sun - the joy of simple pleasures.

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More skies from everywhere: skywatch friday
And more glorious moments from everywhere: photo friday

Have a glorious sky week, everyone~

Sunday, April 6, 2014

reflecting the reflection

the new theme of photo friday is "Reflection". it's similar to a recent photo challenge. So i tried something different now, inspired by an art lecture on surrealism: mirror photos:






and here's the definition of surrealism:
"Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s. The aim was to "resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality." Artists painted unnerving, illogical scenes with photographic precision... (more here)

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for more flowering moments from everywhere, visit photo friday
to join, blog a photo and add your link

Friday, April 4, 2014

sky friday: spring tree skies

For sky friday this week: two spring tree moments.

The first is from a gardener park, not sure which kind of tree this is, but it's  almost zen-like with the single white petals opening. Standing there, i remembered those lines from another day and season:



And the second spring moment is.. a cherry tree in bloom. They look like snow trees. Actually, last year taht time we still had some days of late snow. This year is extraordinary from early warm weather. Like the blooming trees, it feels unreal.





And to top it, there now is a Southern wind from Africa. It brings desert air, and Sahara dust. So yesterday the sun was there until noon, and then vanished. There’s a touch of summer thunderstorm energy in the air, and actually they now predict thunderstorms for Saturday. 


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More skies from everywhere: skywatch friday


Have a beautiful sky week, everyone~

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

my obsession?..., and: seeing a meteor!



"Some call it obsessed. I call it dedicated."

The line, it came to mind when I read the new photo friday theme: "My Obsession". Which poses an interesting question: Which obsessions do i have?

Photography, probably. I am not writing much these days (apart from blog posts), but I keep taking pictures of moments, of places. Sky pictures. Road pictures. Tree pictures. If I don't feel like going to a place or event, a main motivator is: I can take my camera along, take some pictures. Which then makes me add short stops to my way.. and those sometimes turn into beautiful pauses, like the one above.

In other news, i saw my first meteor: on Monday evening, after a long day of obstacles for both of us, we both felt like going for a walk even though it was late. Turned out, the obstacles provided the perfect timing:

Up there, on the way that leads along farm fields, we saw a huge, bright shining light in the sky. “Look”, we both said, standing amazed, looking at something we couldn't figure out: strange fireworks? A plane about to go down? A low-flying shooting star, moving towards us?

It came closer and closer, then crossed almost above us, and we turned, to see it flying onwards, towards the horizon: “A meteor?!” we finally guessed and tried a photo that doesn't really give any idea of its beauty and strangeness and energy:




Back home I looked for meteor sighting notes, and found a website run by people who are dedicated to (obsessed by :) them. Turned out, yes, others have seen it, too: there was a note from someone in Heidelberg, then one from someone in Stuttgart – which creates a line to our sighting… and there was someone in a sky obversatory in Ulm who caught it on their sky-camera, scroll down here: Forum.meteoros: Grüner Meteor / Green Meteor

Still amazed by it, like i am so often by the sky and its changing nature.

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For more "Obsession" from everywhere, visit photo friday
To join, blog a photo and add your link

Monday, March 31, 2014

reading: Long Reads, Long Walks, The Greatest Journey & Venezuela



The Old Ways, or: how to make a book last longer
There are books that I don't want to end. So I read them slowly, just some pages each day. And add pauses between chapters. "The Old Ways" is such a book. I started it in January, and arrived at the end last week, still too early - I thought it would go on for more pages, but it has a large part of footnotes and references in the back.

And so it ended, like a journey cut short - this wonderful, reflective book about walking, about the way mankind always walked and created pathes, and how following those pathes is leading you to new places, both geographically, but also in the mind. If you are interested in walks and places, I definitely would recommend it. There's a longer blog post from January, here: Reading notes: The Old Ways

From "The Old Ways" to "Out of Eden" 
But like all good journeys, this one went on, too: I had told some friends about "The Old Ways", and just as I was reading through the last chapter, one of them told me about a story she read in the "Zeit": Paul Spok, a journalist who won teh Pulitzer, is walking the world, following the trail of humans from the origins in Africa along the directions they walked to migrate and spread. The name of his project is “Out of Eden Walk”, it’s supported by National Geographic:


The walk will be 7 years long, leading through 4 continents. Sapok started walking a year ago, in Ethopia. From there, his journey took him to Djibuti, and to Saudi Arabei. His journey notes are collected in an online archive: Out of Eden Walk - Notes, the page also includes a  map room.

Visiting those first pages and notes felt like an unexpected continuation of The Old Ways, which ends with a walk along neolithic footprints in the North of England: "So now I know what I read when I finish The Old Ways… onwards to even older ways.." I wrote to a friend.

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Global Reading: Venezuela
Another rather global reading link brought me to South America this month: the March issue of "Words without Borders" is dedicated to writing from Venezuela. I think I never read stories or poetry from this country before.

There was a news article on Venezuela, too, which made me curious for some inside views. Writers get censored in Venezuela, though. Here are some lines from the webpage of Words without Borders: "The current crisis has thrown this often-overlooked country into the spotlight; the writers included here put the protests in context and demonstrate the richness of Venezuelan literature." And here is more, from the Introduction to New Venezuelan Writing by Ana Nuño: "I think the reader should know that this introduction has gone through half a dozen versions since the first draft was almost finished, for it was then that a very serious crisis erupted in Venezuela. Starting on February 4, thousands of students have taken to the streets in this country to demonstrate against a radical deterioration of living conditions over the past years, and especially against the increase in violent crime. With an annual homicide rate of close to 25,000, or roughly 79 per 100,000 residents, Venezuela has become one of the most dangerous places in the world..."

It's difficult to imagine how it feels to live in a situation like this. I think it's great that the editors of Words without Borders feature places like this. In January, they dedicated an issue to "Kurdish Literature", and in July 2013, to Iran's Postrevolution Generation.

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Currently Reading + More Reads:


For 2014, i didn't join a specific reading challenge, but i try to read books / authors from different countries and continents, and also follow the “readwomen2014” initiative. Here’s more about it: 2014 - year of reading women

For more reading notes in this blog, click here: life as a journey with books- and a reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

Other book blog and their current reads: It's Monday! What are you reading? (join by blogging and adding your link)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

street art, history, and a road trip: JR in Baden-Baden, Inside Out



Yesterday was road-art-explore-day: 

First a drive through the Black Forest, and then visiting Baden-Baden, where street artist JR has installed a series of his XXL-photo-art right now.

My sister had seen the announcement for it, and a TV docu on the art projects of JR, and invited me for this day. In one of those good coincidences, i had seen that docu, too, by chance. And another good coincidence: the weather was just beautiful yesterday.

So instead of taking the Autobahn, we took an overland-route through the Black Forest, driving through small towns and old valleys. Nearing Baden-Baden we stopped at this view point:



From there, it was about 20 minutes to Baden-Baden. Up in the forest, it is still early spring, but down there in the valley, due to its sheltered and warm location, it's spring full on:



We walked through the "Kurpark", following pathes that have been leisure pathes since ages. Baden-Baden is one of those places that have developed from Roman settlements. The name of it, "Baden", relates to "Bathing"- there are warm springs here, and so the place always has a long history of thermal baths and joy of life.

The museum is right in the Kurpark. Walking into it brought another jump of scenery: the work of artist JR is about places and people, and he travels the work to create his street-art project. His art is about putting up huge photographs outside, on the walls of houses. The exhibition inside the museum was about his previous projects, like this one, in a Favela of Brazil:



JR is from Paris, and his first works was about the troubling situations in the suburbs of Paris with public housing and difficult perspectives: the Paris Banlieues, where riots started. He took pictures of the people living there, and brought those images into the city centre of Pairs: for him, the art is about faces, facing - the personal and the politicial, people and the places and situations they live in, made visible.

Some of his works are official, curated by museums - and some of his work is inofficial, like the "classic" street art, created in the cover of the night, trying not be caught. And just like that, some his work is "official art", and some of it, maybe even identicial work, is a "crime" of a "public disturbance".

Here's a video that sums up a lot of his work, and also features his amazing ongoing project "Inside Out":



JR in Baden-Baden: "Unframed"
The exhibition in Baden-Baden consists of 2 parts: the retrospective in the museum, with photos of his previous works from Paris, Brazil, Israel, Africa... - this part also includes an interactive part: a photo-box of his ongoing project "Inside Out", more about that below.

And then there is the actual street-art part: the counterpart to the museum exhibition. You pick up a city map with a rough hint of the places, and then you go looking. And while out there, you start to see the city from another perspective: looking up, seeing the details of houses, new houses and old facades, the reflection in windows... and trying a side street, and turning a corner, you suddenly you stand in front of an "Unframed" street art:



"Unframed" is a reflection of the city history, here's the concept:
As a large-scale project in the city’s urban space, UNFRAMED addresses German-French history and the friendship between the two countries. By putting up posters featuring historical photographs from people’s private photo albums in Baden-Baden’s historic city, JR places the theme in a new context. In the run-up to the exhibition, citizens of Baden-Baden were invited to participate and submit their own personal material. The city has always been a link between Germany and France where, after decades of enmity, the reluctant rapprochement between the two countries is palpable.
And here's another of the "Unframed" works: the photo used for it is from 1945, when French soldiers entered Baden-Baden after the war was over, to take over the city.



Inside Out
The idea to create art by inviting peopel to participate and submit their own personal material is also the base of JRs longrunning project "Inside Out - The People's Art Project" - a global art project transforming messages of personal identity into works of art". 

In changing locations, he puts up photo booths, and anyone can step in, and gets their photo taken and printed in uni-size, to put on display. All photos are also published on the project website


One of the booths is currently in Baden-Baden, on the ground floor. The photos get printed upstairs, and run down a conveyor belt.. and then fall freely. We both joined (we were lucky, there only was a short queue). Here's my photo, just before falling: 



And here's the link to the "Inside Out Project" - there's also an option for groups to participate by sending images, and some of those group actions have been published at "Best of Inside Out", with themes like "South Bronx (S)heroes" and "LGBT Richts in Berlin Russian Embassy", or "Eyes Wide Shut".. it's touching to see those faces and places, and to see an art project with such an inner dynamic that reaches out. There also is a twitter-stream: #insideoutproject

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Back in time
At the end of our trip, we took a walk through history - and visited the "Kurhalle" of Baden-Baden, with its open entry hall that features.. not street art, but open-space paintings featuring  historic moments, religious motives and local tales.



Such an amazing day full of contrasts and impressions. And great to keep exploring online, and also return to the moments of a previous visit to Baden-Baden:

Related links: