it is weird how almost every year something a ordered a long time ago arrives just before christmas and kind of makes for a great christmas present i gave to myself. this year it is stuff i ordered from xkcd back in september. the original package apparently has been lost and the kind folks at xkcd re-sent my order when i asked about it. and now i've got a signed copy of the "xkcd, volume 0"-book, a t-shirt and a poster. all of which are awesome.
and yesterday i went to see avatar. i didn't have any expectations except that you probably cannot go wrong with a camaron movie. and i was right. think "dances with wolves" in the jungle and you've got a pretty good idea what the story is about. and it looks very beautiful most of the time. sometimes the cgi is a bit too obvious but i still liked the movie. it is nothing that "redefines" cinema as we know it but it's quite good. it was also the most expensive movie i've ever seen, with all the surcharges for 3d and length and all.
and because it is quite likely that i won't write another entry before christmas i wish everyone reading this a few nice and enjoyable days. have fun and do things you like. that's an order! :)
back from soap&skin. with ensemble. brilliant concert! i feel that whatever i could write here to express what the show was like would be inadequate so i will just say that it was a really intense experience and held up to everything i expected.
and i stayed in berlin for today. there was a lot of snow overnight and it was insanely cold. so markus and i went to the closed up plänterwald amusement park and took pictures of the corroding attractions in the snow. it is kind of reassuring that i am not the only whose idea of a fun day is to do something like that. afterwards we had some great indian food for a late lunch or early dinner to warm us up again. how much better can a day off work be?
this is one of those posts that i've meant to write for over a week now. by now i'll probably forget half of what i wanted to write. well, let's see...
last week was pretty busy. first i went to jülich for a business trip, later i had a training course in mpi and openmp. that was pretty interesting from a programmer's point of view although i cannot use what i learned, at least for now.
and yesterday i went to magdeburg because two of my friends defended their theses. so, kudos to tobias and christan. keep up the good work!
i also got an ipod nano g5 last week. before, i had a pretty crappy mp3 stick and now i wanted something good and intuitive and nice and the ipod seemed to be a good choice. so far i like it a lot because it really is very intuitive and has some nice features. what i really don't like is itunes. itunes sucks! a lot! it's a huge program that every few minutes checks it's internet connection to apple. so for now i'm using sharepod which is very small, portable and has about 90% of the features i wanted to use so far. it does have issues with some special ipod stuff like assigning podcasts, etc. but overall it seems to be a pretty good alternative.
and tonight i'll already leave again, this time for berlin where we will go to the soap&skin-concert. this is gonna be great!!
ps: this might well be the most edited post i ever wrote. so i if you still find any errors in this post, please don't tell be or i might go mad or stop writing alltogether. possibly even both.
had some trouble with the site over the past few days so i couldn't upload anything. so therefore it's two posts at once. hooray!
the christmas market thingy wasn't that great because the weather sucked. every few minutes it started raining so we soon retreated to our favourite pub for dinner and drinks. a really good choice because the food was great and i now can testify that pear cider is just awesome. i like cider a lot (it's prolly the only kind of alcohol were i have a hard time judging when i have enough) but pear cider is just wicked :)
also, thanks to jule i now know that talisker scotch is some really good stuff. i looked it up and saw that their distillery is on the isle of skye so in retrospect it's a shame i didn't go there when i was on skye (yes, they are doing tours, too, i checked). so one more reason to return to scotland sometime soon (right after all the other places i wanna go to ... damn).
i got the coolest package today! the adorable karin dreijer andersson released a deluxe version of her fever ray-album which finally arrived from the u.s. it contains not only the original album (including two amazing bonus tracks) but also a live cd (which offers a whole different experience of the music) and a dvd containing five of her really weird videos (which are also available for free on her website btw!). judging by how much i currently like this music this edition reaches a level of awesomeness which can hardly be surpassed. and along came the new live album by tom waits which -- obviously -- is something very special, too. *beams happily*
on the completely different topic of free computer programs: after having my trouble with the gimp i was looking an alternative to do some basic image editing. the trouble with gimp is that in theory you can probably do anything you could possibly want using this program (including making coffee and solving crosswords) - but in reality it always takes me a really long time to get even basic things done (ironically, difficult things are often done pretty easy!). anyway, i checked out paint.net this week and so far i like it a lot. it seems to complement gimp nicely as it makes it possible to easily do a lot of things that are imo difficult to do with gimp, probably in large part because paint.net isn't as sophisticated. but that doesn't matter because the things it can do it does very nicely.
i know it is considered bad style to google yourself. i am unsure, though, how things are with amazon. i went there to check and saw that my thesis is finally listed there to be bought by you. how awesome is that? (my opinion: not as awesome as the fever ray edition, but still pretty good!)
and tonight i'm gonna go to the christmas market with jule. hope it'll be fun. cheers!
let's see. nothing much happened over that last week except for my parents finally being back from a visit to my sister.
but on the good side, i got some cool stuff: best of all is probably "psychonauts", an action-adventure by tim schafer (maker of such amazing games as "day of the tentacle" or "grim fandango"). it's already a few years old but i missed it completely when it was released in 2005 but so far it's pretty funny and as weird as you might imagine.
i also got the "absolute death" which concludes the special editions of neil gaiman's old sandman stuff. unfortunately it does not look as fabulous on the inside as the absolute editions of the sandman books but it's a nice book nonetheless.
and i'd also like to mention that the complete works of 50footwave are available as a free download.
markus was visiting last weekend and we went to the ut to see the scout niblett concert. the support band was lonksi & classen of whom i hadn't heard before. they did a really good set, playing mostly rock songs that sometimes would drift into post rock guitar epics. very nice. and they also did a really good cover of portisheads "machine gun".
scout herself did a solo performance this time (although i am not sure it was planned this way. the original plan for the concert seemed to involve her drummer but he wasn't there, sadly). she did a lot of new songs, all of which i liked on first hearing. which is a good sign for the new album. then again i watch everything she is involved with very benevolently :)
after the concert we just crashed in my favourite pub and had a pretty good time until they were closing. so, lots of fun on the weekend.
on other news, i finally finished "risen". it started out as a really good game but after the first chapter gameplay went rapidly from a do-what-you-want-total-immersion-rpg to a boring hack-n-slay thing. basically, the last half of the game was just consisting of one hard fight after another on behalf of some weird save-the-world quest items. in conclusion it wasn't a bad game. it's just that you could see based on the first half that it could've been so much better.
next is the fallout3 game of the year edtion (meaning all the add-ons included there). i am positive that this is going to be more fun.
and finally, my network connection was broken over the weekend. specifically my machine couldn't find the modem and vice versa. various reboots, changing the cable und anything else i could think of didn't help one bit. so i switched to wlan and everything worked fine. coming home from work today i realised that the normal lan-connection works again. i didn't do anything, i swear. it just stopped working at some point and then it started working again today. can somebody pls explain that to me?!
lo and behold, we updated our pictures. it's been quiet a while and, honestly, i had to cheat a little due to the really small number of good photos taken lately but the site is up to date now.
and that is all.
it seems that i have some issues regarding my time management at the moment. i am not getting a lot of stuff done lately and that really bothers me. this includes updating this page. sorry. so let's see ...
i went mushrooming today. i really like doing that but so far hadn't gotten around to it this autumn. so thumbs up for me and for finding more 'shrooms than i'd expected. yay!
also i was eating sushi together with jule. first time sushi here in leipzig. we'd choosen sakura kaiten sushi which was supposed to serve the best sushi around here and we were not disappointed. this might well have been the best sushi i've ever eaten here in germany, so this is a definite recommandation. on the other hand with more than 40 euro pp this might also have been the most expensive meal i have ever eaten in my life. but still, really good stuff.
and i had to repair one of the tires on my bike this week. the first time i've done this in ... well ... at least 15 years. i was mighty pround of myself. then again, this is not exactly rocket science.
i did a lot of reading last week (at least compared to the last few months) and finished "the devil in a forest" within a week (it's not a terribly long book, but still). somehow it makes me sad how short this years book-list is. i'll try to catch up a litte over the remaining weeks but still in the end i might've read fewer books than any other year since this page is up. *sniffs*
i am currently enjoying a long weekend as i took a few days off work. yesterday i went to the porcupine tree concert here in leipzig. this was something i had decided on rather short notice and i guess this was the first time i went to a concert in large part for the support act -- which in this case was the fabulous rose kemp. unfortunately her performance was a little disappointing as she did only four songs most of which was new material. i am still glad i was there. i am not an especially big fan of porcupine tree but i have to admit they did a great show. concert location was the haus auensee in leipzig which makes this about the biggest concert i have ever attended (well, maybe it's a tie to last years portishead concert). for my taste the performance was a bit too staged, everything was a bit too big and too perfect but the atmosphere was really good, they played for nearly three hours and overall they seemed like a bunch of nice guys (which is not something you take for granted in a progressive rock band).
and last weekend jule and i were doing a sightseeing tour through leipzig which was pretty nice. in the evening we also saw a performance of jochen malmsheimer who is probably the german cabaret artist i like most. the show was sold out and really funny.
and to keep risen-news coming: since chapter three the game has become a pretty single track hack'n'slay game which disappointed me a lot. i will still finish it but i am looking forward to fallout 3 goty even more now.
last week i killed about a zillion boars, vultures and ghouls. i found immense treasures and completed numerous quests. by which i am trying to say: "risen" is a damn good game. for some reason i still think that "gothic 2" was better but this is probably in part due to my nostalgic nature and in part due to little annoyances with trivial things like climbing that will hopefully get fixed with the next patch.
fortunately i already have a replacement game in case i finish "risen" early for christmas: the "fallout 3"-game of the year edition arrived yesterday. and while i basically finished f3 there are still 5 (in words: five!!) add-ons to play through which should take a fair amount of time.
also, i've been out again on monday with jule (this might slowly be evolving into some kind of weird gluttony-relationship and how scary is that?) and we discovered that you don't need to buy cider in normal-sized glasses but can get pitchers, too. awesome!
as of yesterday i officially finished by phd. in comparision to some friends of mine everything went pretty fast but for me it feels like it's about time.
last week was pretty busy. i watched "up" in 3D together with jule. it was a pretty good movie even if - at a rough estimate - only about half of it was actually in 3D. before the movie we had dinner at an indian restaurant. if you're in leipzig and like indian food the "indian garden" seems like a good choice. we picked something more or less at random and it was a lot and pretty good, too.
we also visited some of the pubs i used to like a few years back. my favourite used to be the morrison's and it seems i still like it as much as i did then.
and with the monthly rpg-session taking place on saturday i obviously didn't have much time to play "risen". but from what i have seen so far it is a really good game with a grand story and all the little details i loved so much in "gothic 2".
this years autumn book releases also arrived over the last week. basically that's terry pratchett's "unseen academicals" and audrey niffenegger's "her fearful symmetry". and i have no idea when i will get around to actually read these books. *sighs*
just a quick post to report that the special edition of "risen" has arrived today. whoohoo!! it contains an aweful lot of bonus stuff, such as a very beautiful map, stickers, soundtrack, concept art, a making-of dvd, a (signed) poster .... it's stunning!
i can't test the game until monday but i am very very excited. i am expecting nothing less than a game of "gothic 2"-quality and i am pretty confident that it will live up to that standard!
currently i listen every free minute to "life on earth", the new album by tiny vipers. one of its reviews said something to the effect that if you want to ruin a perfectly nice sunday afternoon by listening to depressive music this album is the way to go. and that's good enough for me.
yesterday i was in berlin to see sophie hunger playing live. it was a really awesome concert. sophie's basically doing pop music but now and then you get a glimpse how good she is at jazz and blues music. she did a lot of that during the concert. she was also doing an amazing cover of bob dylan's "like a rolling stone" together with david hope (who was also her support act and who was doing a really good show, too).
and some important part of my life is finally coming to an end ... the thesis is printed! i got my copies last weekend and these days i send out books to people who should have one. i also need to get some copies to the university so i finally get my certificate. so much to do, so little time! *sighs*
i also started working on project euler to brush up on my c++ skills a little bit. and with a lot of problems i keep thinking 'with java/perl/python this would be a piece of cake!'. but nooo-hooooo, i have to use c++ with its crappy integer-limits and workaround conversions. still, i solved 24 problems by now which means i am 1 problem away from rising to level 1.
at my defense karin gave me a bouquet of flowers. it was very pretty. i never get flowers. so this is what i did. the lesson is probably something like : don't give me things. i do stuff with them!
my mom was in hospital for a week. fortunately it's nothing immediatly dangerous and fixing things will just take time *keeps fingers crossed*
and to finish on little more cheerful note: i discovered a cool game named "dyson" on the net with which i spent some time over the weekend. it seems they're aiming for a commercial release but right now it is freeware.
also, the first xkcd-book is out. you probably know that i adore this site so this is a shout-out to everyone to get a copy. reading this will probably make you a better person :)
okay ... so i am back from münster. the conference was actually not that great and it was rainy most of the time and also i catched a flu. but karin was there and that made up for a lot of things. also i finally got time to read again, mostly while on the train, but still.
last weekend matti, markus and micha were visiting. a lot of alcohol was involved. also meat. delicious, tasty, roasted meat. and ice cream. but mostly meat! -- let's just say, there was a lot of eating involved. and talking. it was fun and hopefully will be repeated sometime soon.
and again, i got lots of stuff. today arrived a bunch of cds from william basinski's 2062 label. i even got a cd personalised for me. whoohoo! william makes music by looping old tapes of samples of his music, creating something where unique and very calming. lately i am a huge admirer of his work and if you want to read an ardent review on his work here is the place to look.
i also finally got the "world of goo", a physics-based game which kind of reminds me of "lemmings", back in the old days. it's been out a while now but i discovered it just a few days ago and had a lot of fun since then.
much has happened since the last post. most importantly, i found a publisher for the thesis which currently in the process of being printed. there was once again a lot of small details that needed adjustment and it took more time than i had expected to get everything done. i keep my fingers crossed that it'll look pretty damn good when it's done.
also, as the last thingy related to the old job, i will attend caip2009 next week for which things needed to be prepared, too. and i still have the new job which left me with pretty much no free time at all over the last few days.
actually, that's kind of a lie.
last friday, jule was visiting and we found an excellent italian restaurant here in leipzig and had a very nice evening. also, she's going to move here in very short time. which is great. one more person to bother when i'm bored.
and olli was visiting me over the weekend and we went to the city and remembered our student days. and later we had our monthly rpg thingy where i was doing a time-travelling adventure. i had a lot of fun but was so very very tired in the evening.
and yesterday i finally watched "inglorious basterds" and i had a great time watching it. it was a true tarantino movie and probably the best one since "pulp fiction" and there was insanely good dialogue and there was violence and at times the whole cinema was shaking with laughter. go and watch it. seriously!
that's it for now, back to work.
on thursday i went to see coraline in 3D. the movie was every bit as good as i expected. also, i would never have expected the 3D to be this good. it was more than worth the extra money and if you have the chance you should definitely watch it in 3D. The movie is a pretty close adaption of neil's book and while it is a movie for children there is more than enough stuff in there that makes it funny and creepy for adults, too. so go, go, go and watch it!!
no real highlights in the past week. so this might be a good time to mention that i basically settled in by now and life has finally become kind of regular again. i have a weekly roleplaying evening again, something i missed for over six years. work is currently pretty fun (if not that challenging). the only thing i am not getting done is reading. after finishing "snow crash" about a month ago i have read barely twenty pages. which i don't like at all. it's just that something always comes up and then there's no time left for reading.
i also want to mention a number of really cool movies coming up. especially "the imaginarium of dr parnassus", the new terry gilliam movie, which features the incredible tom waits. but
theres also " 9 "
and "the box"
(the richard kelly movie!) and "district 9", all which look extremely promising.
okay, so we're back to weekly updates. fine with me.
the last week was largely characterised by the preparations for theresa's and andreas' wedding. i know theresa nearly from the day she was born and she is a very dear friend of mine. i did a xkcd-like comic for both of them (here's a little snippet of it). and together with birgit i also gave them a folding boat as a present. because life is an adventure and it's about time you realise that!
the wedding itself was very, very beautiful and lots of her friends were there and even poor me got a bit carried away. and the party afterwards was really funny. just as a proper wedding party should be. besides some hilarious games there was of course dancing in the evening. i can't dance one bit but i didn't let that get in the way of things and jumped around wildly with the others. i sincerely hope, nobody's taken pictures of that. i should also mention that there was an unbelievable amount of outrageously good food. it might seem that i am exaggerating, but i'm not. it was awesome! and i even got the receipe for a dangerously tasty melon-soup.
anyway, what i want to say by all that is just that i had a really good weekend and that i wish theresa and andreas a long and wonderful marriage.
lo and behold! two posts in two days!
with nothing left to do i finally got around to update the only real content this page actually has (apart from by babbling here, if you're venturous enough to call that content). as you of course have already guessed, i am talking about the infamous and almost award-winning pictures of the week which i hadn't updated for almost three months. but now i have. and i declare that it looks beautiful. and the wrath the shady beasts of the underground will come upon thee if you tell me i am wrong!
or am i?
anyway ... lots of people keep congratulating me to my promotion. i got home today for the first time since friday and have started unwrapping gifts and stuff. it's all still very unreal.
also, has anyone noticed that lucasarts did the first cool thing in ... say ... thirteen years? take a look at this and prepare to be amazed. i know i was.
yesterday i finally defended my doctoral thesis and all things considered it was a huge success. so i think this is a good opportunity to say 'thank you' yet again to everyone who was helping me, contributing to the work or supported me in any way. i was also very happy that so many people showed up at the defense, especially considering the distance some of you travelled to be there (the record is held by judith who came from vancouver, ca, and whom i hadn't seen in two years!)
i did a party thingy in the evening which was a lot of fun for me and considering how many people stayed until way after midnight i guess it was fun for everyone else, too. i was surprised by the length some people went to, to make that day memorable for me (most of all prob'ly karin) and i very much appreciate all the nice presents. on a completely unrelated note, i was also probably more drunk than at any other time in the past seven years.
i am currently pondering what of all the things related to the thesis and the defense i should make available. there will definitely be photos, all of whom exist thanks to theresa and andreas. the other stuff might appear somewhere later. right now i am still a bit reluctant because it's not officially published yet (something i gotta do in the news few weeks). so in case you really want a copy, send me a message.
right now i am terribly tired and seriously hope that the next night will be considerably longer than the last. cheers!
so ... i got a lot of stuff ... again. i got a new electric kettle because the old one was broken. i got a bike helmet for a safer life while cruising thru the city. i got two new brake drums installed in the car because the funny noises it made were caused by a cracked drum. i got new runners (partly in homepage-orange, how cool is that?) so i can excersise again. *thinks for a while* i guess that's all the new stuff i got. it was an expensive week.
also, my internet connection and my landline are working now. the net is not yet as fast as it is supposed to be. but just being online again is a huge relief. i gotta sort out the details soon, tho.
most important news of the week: i've got an oven (thx to micha) for the new home! so i am fully equipped now to bake or to cook or to become an evil witch that is bound to be fooled my children (i am even myopic ... isn't that uncanny?! *shudders*)
also, i got everything to look a bit more homely, put xkcd and bunny printouts as well as some posters on the walls and it is said i will get an internet connection next wednesday. so keep your fingers crossed!
on the downside, there is something wrong with my car that i will need to get fixed next week.
meanwhile, we are kind of drowning in awefully tasty dark red cherries, so we're eating lots of cherries, are making jam and stuff and it's still way too much to get a grip on.
and yesterday i saw more fireflies than i've ever seen before. the whole woods were swarming and it looked so utterly lovely. i took a few pics and they look rather interesting.
* holding fans in place so they twitch helplessly and make that clicking sound without my mom yelling at me
so much has has happened since the last post (especially since the last non-political post), so this is my feeble attempt to catch up on things.
most importantly of all, i moved back to leipzig after six and a half years. i've got a very nice flat in the west, not far from my new workplace and not too far from the city centre. i got some new furnature that was badly needed and i also bought a cool new bike. there's still stuff to get and things to do but most of the work is done and the rooms no longer look as if an epic battle has just happened.
i also need to mention two wonderful movies i have seen this week: "home" by yann arthus-bertrand is a documentary on the impact of human life on the planet and it is done in stunning pictures. if you have the chance to see it in a theatre go and watch it there. there is also a (shortened) online version available here. the second movie is the new film by jim jarmusch, "the limits of control". i would imagine that this one is only recommandable if you are a fan of jarmusch (or possibly of david lynch as this one is pretty surreal) but i really loved the movie, even if i cannot explain why.
and today arrived the "mythical creatures"-stamps which feature pictures by the incredible dave mckean as well as lovely short stories by the incredible neil gaiman (and to calm down the raging masses of our readers we like to announce that this will probably be the first and last time that the purchase of stamps is mentioned on this page).
i vaguely remember that i had a lot of "oh, i should mention that on the blog"-moments over the last few weeks but currently nothing more comes to mind and i'd much rather go to bed now since i am way past my bedtime already.
hell, i don't want to turn this into a political blog, but is this really the country i live in???
can someone please tell these guys that correlation does not imply causation!? damnit!
usually i am not a very political person and as far as i can remember i have never written anything about politics here. still, the time has come where i think i should share a few words:
you might be aware that germany is on its way to become the only democratic country besides australia to filter internet pages (i am avoiding the word "censorship" here although it is precisely that). the official statement is that this needs to be done to prevent the publication and distribution of child pornography. this is certainly a commendable cause, but the actual law as it is currently proposed can be used to filter any internet pages — making it a potential danger to your basic right of freedom of information.
apparently, both australia and germany have already pages on their blacklists that do not have any involvement with child pornography. for more information, see here for a good article in english or here for an article in german.
you also might want to consider to
which will be open until june 16th. your support would be greatly appreciated.
i am currently having a little trouble with my new flat as people are bugging me with totally irrelevant concerns that only prolong the time till i can actually move. but i'd rather not talk about that, i just getting upset again. fortunately the people at my new work are already supporting me a lot which i am extremely thankful for.
instead lets talk about the awesome fever ray concert in berlin last thursday. location was an old, dark factory building and they had a weird setup with lots of old lamp shades, lasers and tribal costumes. speaking as a signal processing guy, i don't think i ever attended a concert (or any other event for that matter) where things happened at such a low frequency rate. no cameras were allowed but here's a youtube clip that may give you at least an idea what it was like.
also, i got a new game for my wii! i've always liked games that were a little weird (i am talking games like "bad mojo", which utterly rocked!). so got "deadly creatures" where you alternately play a scorpion and a spider and so far i like it a lot. it is a little too linear for my taste but especially walking around with the spider and doing spidery things is just fun.
and low and behold!! after years of pondering i finally bought the d&d 3.5 edition corebooks! so i hope there is a lot of rolyplaying ahead where i can use them.
* "umm, I think so, brain, but what if the chicken won't wear the nylons?"
i am currently torn between just chilling thru the days and enjoying being unemployed for another four weeks, and hectically looking for a new flat in a new town and getting everything in order to move a.s.a.p. for instance, on thursday i am going to have a hell of a day taking a look at several flats-to-be and i just hope i find something really cool really fast because i really don't like this whole uncertainty stuff and wanna get moving already.
aside from all that i was in berlin last week for the andrew bird concert. it was really good and andrew is a hell of an entertainer. i just wish he would've done more solo stuff. his band was really good but he was just shining brightest when he did all the weird stuff all alone on stage.
and yes, i know i've gotta update the potw's. i've taken a ton of pics and just have to find the time to actually sort'em and to select some for the page.
as of today i am officially unemployed. or am i unemployed since last friday? i honestly don't know. but it doesn't matter anymore because today i got notified that i am going to have a (hopefully) really good new job pretty soon. and it'll be in leipzig! yay!
so i already took a quick look at flats to be rent and stuff and i am really excited. this also mean that i've got about 5 weeks of more or less free time. well ... i'll have to move somewhere in between, but still ... no more applications and stuff.
otherwise there no real news except even more gardening. but no one wants to hear about that ...
it's been really, really warm these past few days. so far it's nice enough to just enjoy the sun or sit outside and read and stuff. but it's already getting a little to warm for too long for the garden to go without watering. i planted lots of flowers so this is something that is starting to annoy me a bit ...
i had a little breakdown at the end of the week with everything concerning the thesis done and no more deadlines to meet. so i just chilled for the last few days (gardening and reading are part of the whole chilling-process in my book). but i've already got a busy week ahead of me again with the taxes that need to be done and some other stuff. damnit.
i should also say that i got the new fever ray-cd because i think it is utterly brilliant. also, mentioning this here is sure to annoy matti will probably once again say something to the effect that this is no music but just yowling and wailing :)
"Freedom isn't an illusion; it's perfectly real in the context of sequential consciousness. Within the context of simultaneous consciousness, freedom is not meaningful, but neither is coercion; it's simply a different context, no more or less valid than the other.
Similarly, knowledge of the future was incompatible with free will. What made it possible for me to exercise freedom of choice also made it impossible for me to know the future. Conversely, now that I know the future, I would never act contrary to that future, including telling others what I know...''
ted chiang - the story of your life
i submitted my thesis today.
was in leipzig for the weekend. the plan was to role-play but that was for the most part cunningly prevented by a pair of toddlers who were constantly requiring the full attention of everyone present. it was fun anyway.
as for the last weekend: my easter holidays were pretty busy. i was at theresa's birthday party, birgit was visiting, i took a huge number of pics at the butterfly park (the d-slr was a real blessing there!). i also did some gardening and found a really cute mouse that has built it's nest in one of the garden walls. still, i am not entirely comfortable with knowing it lives that near to the house.
and the rest of the week i did some final minor corrections on the thesis.
obviously it's easter and it's warm and all springy. and though i am all alone this year i hope you'll have a nice time.
i removed the librarything widget i posted a few days ago. it looked nice but then i realised that i used about 10kb/s of traffic which i think is insane. how is that even possible?
also just in time for the holidays, entertainment for the braindead released her free tour ep. sweet.
and i already put up the new potw showing a pair of awefully cute quails. anyone considering to eat one of those should be fed to the alligators!
i'm currently in lübeck and so far it's been great fun. everyone's been very nice, i did the talk i've been invited for which seemed to interest people here and i've got very good news indeed concerning the state of the thesis. in the evening i've been invited to an old restaurant in an old mill and now i am in my room at a very small and homely hotel, which is pretty small, too, but also very nice. and i am occasionally sipping hot chocolate while writing this. the world is good!
i am a bit sad that i haven't planned to stay here a little longer because lübeck is a really nice town and i am not going to have time to see much more before leaving again tomorrow.
the good thing, though, is that as soon as i arrive home my easter holidays begin. also, now that i did the talk i've finished all the work that was left to do which means that i can concentrate on finding a job starting next week. wish me luck
p.s.: the librarything-widget seems to work partly only. while showing the books it's supposed to show it doesn't seem to give the additional info or the link to my library. which is weird.
i had a pretty busy weekend but it was still fun. did lots of gardening stuff (trimming trees, planting flowers ... that kind of thing). the weather was just lovely and it was really warm. i also saw squirrels and deer and lots of toads (it's that time of the year i guess) and even a first butterfly.
and on a whim i started re-reading "the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy". it's been ... 12 or 13 years since i last read it (ohmygodamireallythatold?!) and i still like it a lot.
on wednesday i'll be going to lübeck for an invited talk on my thesis. this should be pretty good.
okay ... and finally a little test ... is this thing working?
i'm kind of in deep hole right now. having finished the thesis and waiting for corrections, i should be writing applications and a conference paper. but i have serious trouble getting things done. damnit. at least i've started a cv by now.
last weekend i was in leipzig, first time rpg'ing with matti again in about five or six years which was fun.
and more sf-news: the final ballot for this years hugo awards is out and there's are some really good stuff in there. i'd have a hard time voting for best short story this year for i couldn't decide between ms johnsons "26 monkeys" and ted chiangs "exhalation", both of which are absolutely brilliant (although for completely different reasons).
also, the new pj harvey cd is out this friday. whoohoo!!
finished the first draft of the thesis today. yay!
i am feeling kinda weird now ...
if everything goes according to plan, i should finish my phd-thesis within the next two weeks. this really feels kind of surreal, but there you go ...
some news on books and book-based things:
there are two new podcasts of ted chiang stories out there for you to listen to. ted is one of my favourite writers and he is the guy who won slightly more awards than he has written actual stories. you find the aforementioned podcasts over at podcastle and starship sofa (direct link). and writing of podcasts, i should prob'ly also mention escapepod which is an excellent resource for good science-fiction podcasts.
also, there are free books to get from random house at their free library. the most interesting thing to me seems to be "red mars" by kim robinson, a book i plan to read for some time now.
and i just saw that the new book by audrey niffenegger, "her fearful symmetry", will be out in autumn. if you haven't read "the time-traveller's wife" yet, do so now. it's brilliant! the new pratchett book "unseen academicals" is also listed for autumn btw. how cool is that?
well, i guess that's it. i should mention that the crocusses are blooming and the bees are buzzing by now because i seem to mention that every year. this is usually the time where i start to get out more again and take photos and all that. i guess this year most of it will have to wait till easter ... *sighs*
just back from the "watchmen"-preview. seen the movie two days before the u.s.-release, how cool is that?
i really, really enjoyed the movie. there were a few geeky moments that could've been done better (e.g. the vietnam photos at the "new frontiersman" looked really good but in the movie it seemed just staged) but overall it was done really well. lots of flashbacks to get as much of the background information in as possible which was a nice touch, nearly no compromises regarding things like sex or blood. i did mind the end a bit, though. it's not so much that they changed it a little bit (i am trying to avoid spoilers here) but more that in the book lots of pages are spent showing exactly what had happened and in the movie it was mostly words.
and to make this a "movie-only" post: i did also watch darran aronofsky's "the wrestler" on monday. very different from darran's other movies but very good, too. so thumbs up on both movies!
still mostly working on the second draft of my dissertation. some small things are still missing (conclustion, for instance. who needs them anyway?) but i am content with how things are working out so far.
so i put up this entry mostly to notify you that
- you could check matti's homepage. currently he is actually updating more or less regularly. hooray! :)
- i have done some small updates, too. potw's are all up now. i haven't take many photos over the last few weeks, mostly it's makro-shots just to see how things will look on the picture. you could try to guess what it is that you see there.
- "watchmen" starts this week. it's going to be brilliant! go and see for yourself!
this space has been intentionally left blank! go here instead ...
i have worked a lot over the past few days and by now an end of the whole phd-thingy is coming into sight. i am still not sure if that is actually a good thing. time will tell.
i went to leipzig last weekend for an rpg-related break in the whole writing routine and olli started an excellent adventure which very unfairly utilised the greediness of players. damn you, you wonderful and shiny magic ring that i took for myself! :)
and this weekend i got some cool stuff. for one thing, there is the dvd of "juno" which was one of my favourite films of last year. and there is also the wii fit package that finally arrived. so far it's great fun. we'll see if i keep up the whole training thing.
and of course i watched some movie at the cinema. if you're reading this thing regularly you will notice i do that a lot recently. i guess i am trying to compensate something. whatever. anyway, i was watching "frost/nixon" which was a pretty good movie if you like this sort of thing. but imho it was nowhere that special that i can comprehend how it got so many oscar nominations. frank langella as nixon was really good but "best picture"?! no sir! (i really hope "slumdog millionaire" gets "best picture" but "benjamin button" would be okay, too ... "dark knight" would be even better but somebody didn't even nominate it!!! *grumbles and leaves*)
lots to catch up. yesterday i went to leipzig to see entertainment for the braindead live at noch besser leben. julia did a great show (especially considering that it was only her eighth concert) and she did some nice improvisations for the live setting, played lots and lots of different instruments and did some serious looping (something i'm always impressed with). you can download all her lovely music officially from her homepage. theres also lots of bonus stuff on the homepage of aaahh records. you should also give her money so she keeps making music.
on completely different news: my tv has been fixed and is back on its table. the whole thing was surpisingly inexpensive and now i can finally use my wii again.
and last week i went to see "the curious case of benjamin button". i really did like the movie and for once i am of the opinion that it was better than the original story (although i have to admit that it didn't have much to do with that story anymore. download it here if you're interested).
* ... but nobody noticed ...
had great fun today making candied ginger. it's pretty good although i have to admit not quite as good as the stuff you can buy. person'ly i blame the ginger. it's hard to get really fresh ginger around here. also, as kind of a bonus, i made ginger candy from the left over sugary syrup stuff you need to candy fruit. now, it is quite possible that all that sugar is the reason for the good mood i'm in but i prefer to keep up the illusion that it's the satisfaction of making candy for the first time in my life.
it is really not much going on right now. i still should be working way more than i do. last week i catched a cold and that was that. over the weekend i went to leipzig which didn't help work either but at least it was fun.
this week i went to watch "the changeling". i have to admit that i the movie got my attention because the screenplay was written by joe straczynski. and it was a pretty good movie, one of these were you can't do anything wrong by watching it. i also finally had a chance to see the excellent "let the right one in" this week, the best movie i've seen in quite some time. it's a swedish independent film and since i live, culturally speaking, at the end of the world no theatre around here was showing it when it was released. it's an excellent, very intense and (in a very wrong way) even a romantic movie and you should watch it if you have the chance (and of course if it doesn't bother you if a 12 year old girl kills people in gruesome ways).
at the moment i am very much off the screen. i try get some serious writing done (with mixed results) and in the evenings i am still busy exploring the enormous capital wasteland of "fallout" (which i do much more consistently than the writing part).
last week i was in berlin to see the duke spirit live. they did a really good show. liela was of course the center of attention and it was great fun to see her on stage. support were pinksnotred who did an okay show but were not special. and there was also david hope who was really good. he did only a few songs and i would've liked to see much more of him.
also, my tv broke this weekend. i am currently unsure if i should (a) get it repaired, (b) get a new one, (c) live a completely tv-free life. option (c) seems a little unrealistic since i need a tv for wii-playing. i think i'll have to ponder this a little more.
so this is the traditionally late first post of the new year. i hope you had a good start. i spent new years eve in dresden visiting manja and olli and their adorable little baby girl, princess large-blue-eyes. there was a lovely party including games and way too much good food and i had a great time.
and then it started to snow. and it kept on snowing for a long time. so now everything is white and at least here it's a lot more snow than i remember seeing in years. i'm still on vacation so i don't have to drive and can enjoy the weather. which i do.
also, for the past few days i have been playing "fallout 3" a lot. it's very atmospheric, the post apocalyptic scenario reminds me sometimes of cormac mccarthys "the road" although the game's not nearly as desperate. indeed, it's great fun to play. some things are better than in "morrowind" (the last bethesda game i played -- i skipped "oblivion") but i also miss a few things. but that's mostly details.
on a completely diffent topic: the wii homebrew channel has left beta. so go and update your wii!!