2011-12-28 - one with the shadows

this was by far the most un-festive and relaxed christmas ever. apart from christmas mass you'd barely notice at all what time of year it was. outside it's ten degrees above zero and inside are almost no decorations or anything else of that sort. the food was excellent, though...

my only presents this year were awesome original swedish crispbreads that ingrid brought from sweden and two very nice books i got from birgit: the multiple award-winning "to say nothing of the dog" by connie willis and "deathless" by catherynne valente (who is the writer of some of my favourite short stories). i also got "the thackery t. lambshead cabinet of curiosities" as a present for myself and it might be the second weirdest book i own after "house of leaves".

i spent a lot of time playing "skyrim" (by now i got 120 hrs in-game, damn you steam for telling me that!) and it is still great fun and i have barely started some of the questlines so far.

2011-12-22 - getting ready for christmas

tomorrow's the last day at work before christmas and it look as if i'll be all alone there. this was the first near-normal week in quite a while and i've been doing a lot of overtime. i also was at our weekly rpg party and it was nice to see everybody again. it feels so much longer than it's really been.

and i spent the whole week without "skyrim" as my machine is still at my parents'. hard times! but tomorrow i am going back for christmas and will hopefully have time to play my fair share.

i also got "trine 2" which is out for a few days now. so lots of games for the long winter nights.

and first christmas give aways can be found online: theweeknd has released a new album today and it's available for free (like all the others). also, lykke li is giving away "lost sessions, vol.1" for free which is a bunch of nice alternative versions of some of the "wounded rhymes" songs..

2011-12-18 - the words are tightening

the past four weeks have been really hard. i pretty much switched out of everything due to some very serious health issues in my family. i cannot remember having ever been this worried before. i am extremely grateful to theresa who proved to be a very good friend indeed (i always knew she was!) as well as to my my boss and my co-workers who were so understanding and supportive and didn't mind that i barely showed up at work at all for so many weeks. for now everything seems much better and hopefully things will return to normal over time. i am so thankful things turned out as they did because we dodged more than one serious bullet there.

and i don't know if that makes any sense but i am also very thankful i got "skyrim" shortly before things went down. the game is really good and took my mind off things when i would have otherwise just sat in my room and stared at the walls for hours and worried. it is definitely one of the best rpg's i have ever played and very rewarding no matter what you try in the game.

last week i finally also got "bastion". i haven't had a chance to play it so far but i got the excellent game soundtrack dlc and that alone is probably worth the price of the game.

and what now seems a long time ago i was also in berlin at one of the rare concerts of nils frahm. nils is in my opinion currently one of the best piano players and composers there are. and as it turned out he is also a great and humble entertainer. the concert was sometimes emotional, sometimes funny and impressive at all times. peter broderick was a guest star and he and nils did some of the best semi-improvised performances i have ever seen.

i should also mention that birgit was visiting germany for the past four days although we didn't see each other as much as i would've liked. but i guess there is always a next time.

and i almost forgot one really important thing concerning this page: the server for this page (which is still hosted at my old workplace) changed a few weeks ago. but due to heiko, the most awesome admin of all, it was up and running at all times because he did everything necessary without me even asking. yay! :)

2011-11-03 - a meticulous reconstruction of three weeks in autumn

okay, long pause once again so i might as well start by talking about the weather. it'd gotten unexpectedly cold in mid-october (including night frost) which resulted in a lot of time during the weekends being spent in the garden, getting plants in, cropping bushes and doing all the other stuff that needed to be done before winter. of course, it has gotten warmer by now again but who was to know that.

i had a nice break from the cold weather when i went to barcelona for a week for a workshop. it was nice and warm and sunny and a very relaxed athmosphere even during meetings. but despite everyone being all smug and saying something like "oh sure, a workshop!" *wink, wink* it really was mostly work and i didn't see that much of the city.

other than that nothing terribly interesting happened over the last weeks aside from the fact that the new pratchett book, "snuff", did arrive as well a whole lot of new cds such as "bad as me" by tom waits, tim heckers utterly beautiful collection of piano sketches (listen here) and the stunning new album by nils frahm.

this might also be a good time to note that i have had some exceptionally good experience with buying cds directly from labels lately. all my orders included an instant digital download and erased tapes even offers digital bonus tracks with some of their cds that are not available anywhere else.

2011-10-11 - listen to the silence of the stars

on thursday i was in berlin (yet again!) to see marissa nadler. i loved to see her sing live, she has a remarkable voice and with most of the songs sounding a little rougher it made the whole thing more beautiful. she also took requests which is always a nice thing. on the other hand i have never seen anyone so shy and incecure on stage. she was very emotional to the point that it made things a little uncomfortable at times.

and since i was in berlin anyway, markus and i went to the big market on friday and i got the most expensive whisky i have ever bought.

and before i forget to mention the weekend before all of that: we went visiting an ostrich-farm not too far from where my parents live. it is located on an old farmstead which was interesting in itself, but the ostriches where just brilliant! we got a pretty interesting tour and i could even pet the small ones. they're really fluffy and curious and overall just insanely cute!! i was also allowed to pet the big ones but it takes much braver men than me to touch something that is 8ft tall and can break my ribs with a single kick (even though the ones we saw seemed docile enough).

i should probably also mention that the free dlc of portal 2 was out last week but if this is something that interests you, you will already have noticed.

2011-10-01 - a shining light in an otherwise ungodly morass of incompetence

matti and me finally got around to play portal 2 co-op together. it's been fun and it really expands the whole concept of portal to a completely new level. also, it allows you to let your co-op partner die horribly in a sea of acid, which is nice too. and speaking of portal: volume 2 of "music to test by" is available for download now.

and last week i played "limbo". i bought it right after returning from sweden. it's rather short (i needed under three hours for my first run) but it's adorable and creepy and innovative and overall just brilliant. it seems that the indie gaming scene published quite a number of really good jump'n'run games with a focus on puzzles lately. i mentioned "braid" a few times already (and i think i like it even more than "limbo") and now i am playing "trine" which so far looks also really good.

on that note: "trine" is part of the "frozenbyte bundle" which now live again for the next 14 days, together with "frozen synapse" and a bunch of other games.


2011-09-29 - all of september in a single post

ah, so much has happened and now i have to hurry to even get out a second post this month. as mentioned last time, i have been to sweden together with markus. i really needed the time off and sweden definitely was a good choice. we took markus' car and went via denmark to malmö. to get a rough idea of our route (here's a map): we went up the west coast a little, then skipped cross-country to stockholm (via jönköpping and norrköpping) and then back south on the east and south coast (with a short visit to öland) and back to malmö. so we pretty much stayed in the south but even so this route was a tough call because sweden is just immensely large. the highlights were probably the cities of stockholm and lund (for completely different reasons), the area around lake mälaren with all it's sights from the viking age and before, as well as öland which is really as beautiful and diverse as everyone says it is. we spent just a little over two days in stockholm and have taken trips to the historical parts of the city and we have seen the vasamuseet as well as the skansen. i know that we missed out on a lot of things (in the south of sweden in general as well in stockholm itself) but that will have to wait for some other time. i am now also addicted to swedish candy, so if anyone can get me my fix of sour rhubarb candy i'd be really grateful.

right before the holidays we also went to the whiskey fair in berlin and that was a lot of fun, too. i realised that i like way to many expensive whiskeys way too much. we also attended the talisker/coal ila tasting which was guided by charlie smith, the former head of the talisker destillery. so lots of fun and information there.

and last week i spend most of my time at the modelcare-conference which is the main reason for not writing anything here any sooner. more importantly, though, was the weekend, which started off with our monthly rpg-session. and on sunday i went to berlin to see the duke spirit live. i've been to their concerts before and they always do a really great show. i am still not quite sure if i like the new album as much as the old ones but the show was brilliant.

and from berlin i more or less went straight to dresden on monday where one of the few european concerts of sunn o))) took place. i have to say, i was impressed even before the concert started by the sheer amount of fog they had pumped into the room and the amp-walls on stage. i brought earplugs (you tend to do that if bands advertise beforehand that they will break the 120db barrier!) but it was still insanely loud and a really intense show. i did like it but i have never been that exhausted after a concert before (here's a snippet of what they're doing live even if neither the video nor my description can even begin to capture the atmosphere at the show).

ps: awesome description what a sunn o))) concert is like, much better than i could ever say it. and it's all true!

2011-09-02 - i have read the right books to interpret your looks

aah, so much work over the past weeks but i finally finished my final publicion of the year and now it's off into holidays. tomorrow i am going to visit markus in berlin and we will go to the whiskey herbst (for science!) and on sunday it's off to sweden. this time we are just going for two weeks because mid-september is already the next bloody conference i am attending.

so, what happened in august besides work? not much. this should have been the peak of this years summer but instead it was cold and rainy. Luckily, we still got insane amounts of plums and pears (no peaches though). apples have not been that great so far but we made a bit of apple sauce from what we got. i'd rather not talk about blueberries or tomatoes, though...

and last week was our summer pary at work with food and drinks and a few competitions. our office was the fastest running team and we won first prize there. yay! (this is probably the first i ever won at something sports-related.)

i also got the new order of the stick-book "snips, snails and dragon tales" which is much lighter than the rest of the series and was pure fun to read.

so, that's it already, gotta pack some more stuff!

2011-08-07 - fun and games, games, games!

this week i had one of those moments again when i noticed that i'm getting old. some excited kid had posted a list of games to be release this autumn on the internets and i took a look and was all, like, "meh .... 'skyrim's prolly be good but who needs the 700th 'call of duty' game?".

and then — just one day later — i realised that the third "humble indie bundle" is out. this time it's seven games instead of just five and if you pay above avarage it also includes all the games from the second bundle (including the insanely good "braid" as well as "machinarium"). and you probably already guessed how excited i am about all of this because it's not just a bunch of good and original games ("crayon physics deluxe"!!) but you are also supporting indie developers and some important organisations such as the electronic frontier foundation.

the bundle is available for three more days so hurry up if you're interested!

and to take matters even further: "limbo" is out for pc!!! i was very excited about this game a while back only to realise a little later that it would be a 360-exclusive release. but those days are over and it's been released on steam this week! i've played the demo yesterday and it's brilliant and creepy and wonderful. once i've settled about the bundle games a bit (been playing the whole weekend) this is the next game on my list.

so, and that's all i wanted to say about how i've grown old and am not excited about games anymore.

2011-08-02 - indietro in germania

as mentioned before i was in rome last week. for the most part it was work, but even work-related discussions are so much more lovely if you're sitting under an olive tree with a glass of wine in front of you (author note: this is a shameless exaggeration of real events but i had a pretty good time anyway). on sunday i hooked up with a few people from the conference and we explored rome a little. the city is insanely flooded with people and cars and you really have to keep watching where you're going. still, it is astonishing to see how old and new building mix throughout the city and how people completely disregard the fact that there are ruins a 1000 years old and simply build a new building on top of them. unfortunately, on monday pretty much everything is closed in rome, so while i have been to the vatican and the colosseum and many other famous sights i have only seen them from the outside. i went by myself on tuesday and -- having to choose what to do with so little time -- spent the whole afternoon exploring the forum romanum and palatin which was a really good choice.

back in cold and wet germany (15 degrees at the end of july?! srsly?!) i decided it was time to get a cold in the middle of summer. which, i have to admit, in retrospect kind of sucks. still, i am back at work now (in contrast to pretty much everyone else) and so far things are going nice and smooth.

in other news, it is important to mention that the 5th season of "the guild" has started last week. also, the new discworld-novel by terry pratchett, "snuff", finally has a release date (also, you can read "the wee free man" for free on terry's homepage).

2011-07-22 - visiting places

been to the beatpol in dresden on tuesday for a concert of red sparowes and mono. i like both bands but went more or less for the sparowes who did an amazing show a few years back here in leipzig. this time however things were a bit different: red sparowes did a pretty much routine concert (which means it was a good show and i won't bitch about it despite it not being as good as the last one) but mono did an absolutely brilliant gig with really intense versions of their songs and the whole "wall of sound" analogy is more than fitting to give an expression of what it was like. the show also gets bonus points for being my first show where the drummer had a big japanese gong at his disposal! thumbs up!

and i spent the better part of last week in wernigerode with ivonne, micha and the kids. i did this mainly because i really needed some time off. it might not have been the most relaxing thing to do but it did a damn good job of taking my mind off things. and i had a lot of fun in those days, visiting a lot of places i'd last seen as a small child when i'd been there with my parents.

i sincerly hope that i will still get some serious holidays going this year but so far i have only ideas and nothing is planned yet.

incidentally, i am leaving for italy tomorrow, though, for a conference on visualisation/computer graphics where i've got a talk. the weather in rome is supposed much better than what i see when i look out of the window right now, so hopefully i have some free time to see a bit of the city and have some fun.

2011-07-12 - some of the authors favourite short stories and some final footnotes

last time i wrote (which was way too long ago) i was having issues with my foot. the story turned out to be a bit more complicated than things seemed at first and by now i am through antibiotics and physio therapy. things are much better now and for the past week i hardly noticed any pain at all. so hopefully this whole thing is over now. adding that to all the work that needed to be done (among other things i now have my first geoscientific journal paper) over the past few weeks will have to serve as an explanation for my long absence from the internets.

i've been cycling like mad over the past month because that was basically the only endurance sport i was allowed to do. today i carefully went for a short round through the park, the first time running in six weeks. so far so good. keep your fingers crossed that the issue is really gone.

on 1st july the zoo in leipzig got a whole lot bigger with the addition of the "gondwanaland", a huge glass hall with tropic plants and animals. it's been forever postponed and rumored to have been insanely expensive but i've been there last week and it's been really worth it. the whole project is just unbelievable, awe-inspiring and beautiful. from what i've seen i would assume you can spend a day there and still discover something new. it's that good.

and of course over the past month lots of cool stuff has arrived: marissa nadler has a very beautiful new cd out and today "ventriloquism", the kind-of-limited short story collction of catherynne valente arrived. over the past two years i have been reading quite a few stories by her and she has become one of my favourite short story writers. so lets hope the rest is as good as what i know.

on top of that, subterranean has published a new shory by kelly link.

and to finish the whole short story rant, in case you haven't heard: neil gaiman has won the locus award for best novelette for brilliant the truth is a cave in the black mountains and it's well deserved. it's one of my favourite short stories by him.

yeah, well ... you may have noticed i read a lot in the past weeks and honestly, i didn't do too much else besides the occasional visit to various friends so that's it already.

i took off a couple of days and will hopefully have time to relax a little over the coming days. i'll also try to do an update much faster than this time.

2011-06-16 - that damn foot

i am currently a bit on the edgy side of life because my right foot is swollen and hurting for about two weeks now and so far it is not clear why that is. by now i am on pain killers for a over a week which is kinda strange because i normally avoid these as best as i can. keep your fingers crossed that my next visit to doctor's next week will shed some light on the whole thing.

meanwhile, birgit has been visiting on the pentecost weekend and we have been to the baptism of andreas' and theresa's little one which was one of those times when everyone (including me) was just grinning madly the whole time. afterwards there was a nice buffet and a small party and that was quite nice, too.

and i have been watching "source code", the new movie by duncan jones. while it was not as exceptionally good as "moon" it was definitely a good movie (and imo better than the trailer suggested!).

2011-06-07 - paging the new doctor

after a little prolonged weekend i was visiting magdeburg yesterday for a very special reason: karin was finally defending her thesis and she did very good indeed. we did the usual rituals which was a nice thing to do one more time and in the evening there was a big get together, a large buffet and i had a chance to talk to everyone i hadn't seen in so long. i had to leave early (i.e. shortly before midnight) to get back home but i was still great fun.

during the afternoon intermission i went to the zoo. it's considerably smaller than the one her in leipzig but if was pretty nice nonetheless. i am now a big fan of now of the ring-tailed lemurs and the ant eaters and there also were tapirs, all which i don't get to see over here. the week before i also went to the wild park here in leipzig which is insanely large (it's located right in the middle of a forest) but does mostly present local (or at least european) animals such as european bisons, elks and boars and suchlike.

i also did my taxes but i guess nobody wants to read about that (at least i don't).

and i got the second book of collected stories from clarkesworld (visit clarkesworld, they've got great stories over there!!) as well as the first collection of smbc comics, "save yourself, mammal!", which is exactly as brilliant as you might suspect.

2011-05-12 - in the spirit of three stars

ah, so much has happened since the last update. perhaps importantly, theresa and andreas have a little boy now (who incidentally has the same birthday as my mom). all is well and everyone seems to be happy.

and my mom had a knee surgery last tuesday which went rather well, too.

before that, on the last weekend, we went to the butterfly park for the first time in two years or so. we had fun and i took a lot of lovely pics (yeah, i know, i need to update potw's, but not now!). i had a little discussion with one of the operators who was amazingly helpful and i learned a lot about things are done there.

i also went together with markus to the sufjan stevens concert at the centraltheater here in leipzig. it was a rather amazing show (and it really was a show) including black light, 3D lighting effects, a lot of balloons and confetty and stuff. very different from any other show i've been to and a lot of fun. sufjan also took long breaks to talk about stuff (which is something i like a lot during concerts) and he seems to be a rather nice and funny guy. afterwards we went to my favourite pub and i had my fix on cider and whiskey which i also enjoyed a lot after such a long absence.

by now i have long finished "portal 2" (with a brutto gaming time of about nine hours) and (perhaps a little naive) started playing "minecraft". i can just say: stay the hell away from that game! it's insanely addictive. the weekend i started playing i did little else and even now i could not explain to you why i spent so much time with the game. go take a walk instead. or clean up your flat. honestly!

and finally, after linking to the hugo and nebula nominees a while back, here is another bunch of free sf short stories. personally, i am way behind on my reading list but i'm working on it...

2011-04-29 - so. how are you holding up? because i'm a potato!

technically, this has got to be one of the most successful weeks i have ever had in my current job. i got two papers accepted which is something that really counts a lot around here. go me!

but almost as important: "portal 2" is an insanely good game! i didn't have nearly as much time to play as i would've liked but what i've seen this far is just brilliant. the game is witty, funny, original and has a pretty good story (the whole potato thing is a bit of a stretch but who really cares. it's fun!). the puzzles get increasingly harder over time but are always fun and it's very nice to not be so much in confined spaces as was the case in the first game.

and if we are at the mercy of a cruel and insane artificial intelligence it should definitely be GLaDOS!

update: wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

2011-04-26 - after easter

summer is finally here. yeah! the weather is just brilliant, flowers and trees are blooming everywhere all of a sudden and we're getting the garden ready. meanwhile i am having lots of fun with my new tele lens, did quite a few shots of birds and insects and whatnot and am generally a lot outside just doing things. i also took a few days off around the easter break to spend some time with the family although that turned out to be kinda exhausting.

on thursday i did a little detour via magdeburg to meet with karin, niklas, dennis and martin for sushi. i really enjoyed seeing all of them again but was also surprised at how little i miss magdeburg really. there is really no love lost there, which is kinda sad if you think about it.

and "portal 2" has been released last week. i can't really remember when i have been waiting so much for a game. unfortunately it only arrived today so i had to replay the original "portal" over the easter holidays (finally got the "basic science" achievement, yay!) which is still a lot of fun.

and last weekend i went to the dritte wahl show at the conne island together with matti and roman. the concert was really loud, really long and really good. support band was stattmatratzen from berlin, a really funny all girl punk combo which i liked a lot. when dritte wahl themselves started playing the whole club just went mad. i was very lucky to find a safe place near the mixing desk which also offered a good view on both band and club. the whole thing lasted for over four hours which is just insane but we definitely had a lot of fun.

and on a completely unrelated matter, this year's hugo nominees have been announced. as usual i don't know too many of the stories but will try my best to read up a little.

and i stumbled upon kevin burg's cinemagraph site. you could say it's just animated gifs but i think it's lovely...

2011-04-10 - if i'm lost please don't find me

this was a weekend of difficult decisions: birthday party at matti's or birthday party at theresa's? i opted for theresa for various reasons and had fun and a lot of lovely food. nevertheless i gave books to both of them: "stories of your life" by ted chiang for theresa and "dirk gently" by douglas adams for matti. if either of them likes her/his present half as much as i loved these books it was a good choice.

i spent way too much money on photo gear over the last few weeks but now i would think i am finally set. i mentioned that i got a tamron 28-75mm lens a while ago. now i also bought an awesome zoom lens to accompany that hot piece of tech: the canon ef 70-300mm is usm. i should probably add that both are full frame lenses and thus are perfectly complemented by the canon kit lens (i.e. ef-s 18-55mm for aps-c). so far i've only done a couple of test shots with the zoom but these look really good (big moon, anyone? :)). i also got a circular polarisation filter for the tamron lens last week which should hopefully pay off this coming summer.

of course all of this stuff was a little late for my first visit to the zoo last sunday. i haven't been there for over two years. but now i got an annual ticket once more so this won't happen again. the weather was just lovely and i was there all day - first alone, taking pics and checking what's new and later meeting up with micha, ivonne and juli which was fun, too.

with the weather being this good i also did lots of sports over the last days. i am trying to establish a schedule for a balanced mix of jogging and biking. did two longish bike tours this week but i still haven't found a route i really like. thank god for google earth to explore possible roundtrips of acceptable length! evidently this is also a good way to get to know the area (i've been to quite a few villages by now) and to find things to take pics of.

p.s.: i got a spare tamron 55-200mm lens for aps-c now. just holler if you know anyone who would like to have it.

2011-03-28 - t.i.a.

matti and i went to see the the "wildeweiteweltschau" at the centraltheater yesterday. our intend was to see rainald grebe live on stage but the whole thing was so much more than that. the show turned out to be a play/musical with a whole bunch of talented artists and so much parallel action on and off stage that i'd rather not think about all that i've missed. it was really funny, contemplative and often borderline politically incorrect. i cannot recommend it enough.

and i got "braid" last week, an indie platformer/puzzle game with one of the most creative stories in a long time and an astonishing amount of original ideas. the game is actually from 2008 already but who cares. i finished it (more or less) on saturday but it's a lot of fun for very little money.

and my contract at work also got officially renewed last week. i've got a promise already about three months ago but it took a long time to make everything official. so everything is fine for the next four years. we'll see what happens after that...

and on the weekend we went to our local spring festival, met old friends and enjoyed the sun. and i met theresa again who in the past four weeks or so has gotten very pregnant. four week left. go girl!! :)

2011-03-18 - digitally integrated design

got back home to germany late monday evening. monday was a very sunny, warm and lazy day which is retrospect is a good thing because i had to get back to work early on tuesday and surprisingly it wasn't as hard as i'd expected.

i was also surprised that me as well as my baggage made it back home in time because i had to change planes in munich and only about 25 mins to do it. but everything worked out perfectly. thumbs up at lufthansa and at the airport munich.

and i finally decided to get a new lens for my camera. i chose the tamron af 28-75mm 2.8 which -- if things work out as expected -- should become my new default lens simply because of focal length and luminosity. this should finally put a stop to the awful need to change lenses at 55mm.

tomorrow the weather is forecast to be sunny so i will hopefully have fun trying it out.

2011-03-13 - dreams and visions

i am currently in vienna visiting birgit. took off a few days for a prolonged weekend because she's currently all alone and we've been planning this for quite some time. so we've been all around town for the past few days which was pretty exhausting but also a lot of fun.

on friday we've been to klosterneuburg and visiting an orchid exhibition (no, it's not weird to fly to a different country to take pics of plants!). also, i was eating in a moroccan restaurant for the first time in my life and it was really delicious!. and yesterday we've been to downtown vienna, visiting the treasurey and the kaisergruft and went to lots of other places (i've been to vienna twice before but there is always more to see!). in the afternoon we've also been visiting an exibition on hr giger at the kunst haus wien. i've seen his work before in various places but the whole experience was still seriously weird and ... i guess 'intense' is a good word. thumbs up, though, i did quite enjoy it.

and today we went to bratislava. the city has a historical and very beautiful old town but many building are in dire need of repair. also, from what i have seen at least half the city consists of slab buildings and there were a whole lot of other things that reminded me of the old socialist times of my childhood, twenty years back. mind, i have very fond memories of my childhood, but in this special case i mean the memories i am not so fond of.

and with all this talk about my holidays i should probably mention that the last weekend was also really lovely: micha roasted wild ducks, i did some cake and we had a nice roleplaying weekend and a lot of fun. i don't talk about this often enough but i really enjoy these things quite a lot.

i also got a copy of the new oatmeal-book which is pretty funny if you're into this kind of humour.

2011-02-24 - the memories that gripped me and pinned me down

as predicted the highlight of the last few days was polly harvey live in concert. the admiralspalast in berlin was sold out and the audience was in a mood that might best be described as ecstatic. the concert iself was brilliant although in my opinion it would have been even better if the whole thing had been less perfect and timed. on the other hand that is probably to be expected considering that the "backing band" consisted of such well-known people as mick harvey and john parish.

there is an excellent webcast of one of her paris shows over at the arte-webpage in case you're interested.

afterwards markus and i got some indian food an we had a very civilised and gentlemen-ly evening with some superb whisky. and yeah, i got a bottle of 10 year old laphroaig as well as a dalmore t-shirt, both of which is really awesome.

and this years nebula nominees have been announced. i only know kij johnson ultra-depressing short story "ponies" and ted chiangs brilliant a.i.-novella "the lifecycle of software objects" but fortunately most of the nominees have once again been made available for free (at least for the time being) so there's plenty of stuff to dive into.

so now i am back at work for a (blissfully) short week and things are piling up around me from all directions already...

2011-02-18 - haunt me haunt me do it again

work was mad over the last two weeks with meetings, deadlines and lectures and by now we are at a point where we simply long to sit in our office and do some coding on our own. but first i am going to go on a prolonged weekend with a few additional days off to spend all the accumulated overtime at work.

and i started off into said weekend tonight by going to a concert of entertainment for the braindead at leipzig's noch besser leben. i had already seen julia live two years ago, and while the last concert was really good this one was much better. mostly because she has become a much better entertainer in those two years who connects lovely with the audience. so this was a really fun evening with great music and i was grinning like an idiot for most of the time.

and speaking of brilliant music: pj harvey's new album "let england shake" is out and it is just insanely good. as expected from the pre-released tracks the music is more uplifting than anything she has ever released while the lyrics are dark and bloody and violent as ever. and i am so excited because markus and me will go to see polly performing live in berlin this coming tuesday. i was uncredibly disappointed when i missed her on her last tour because the concert was sold out so fast but this time we really got tickets and it's gonna be so fucking brilliant.

2011-02-06 - birthday notice

it is hard to believe but this page is seven years old already. wow!

this also means that i made no design changes for seven years. i did a lot of things in the background, though. added some features, made things genearally neat and some time ago plastered creative commons notices all over the page. you know, just in case. and to make a statement.

anyway, the past week was not particularly interesting, although we do have a lot of fun with the whole roleplaying stuff currently.

also, i got a pair of neoprene toeshoes (fivefingers flow, to be exact) last week that are pretty well suited for the current temperatures. which means i don't need to use my bulky "normal" sport shoes when doing stuff. sweet!

and in case you didn't know: the first snowdrops are already in bloom.

2011-01-30 - ignis fatuus

uh ... gotta hurry to get a second update out before the end of the month. how does time does this thing, sneaking by unnoticed like that?

for me january's after work activities consisted for the largest part of either reading or sitting on matti's couch to watch a movie. especially the "reading"-part deserves a little more elaboration: i have finally started reading "house of leaves" and it definitely is a very special book in quite a number of ways. it has a multi-layered story with unreliable narrators. at it's very core it is a very intelligently told horror story that is really quite creepy at times. but it very soon becomes clear that there is much more to it. another thing (probably the first thing any reader will notice) is the very unusual way the book is written. different font types, multi-page footnotes (with footnotes of themselves) and a very weird layout that may require you to turn the book upside down or read backwards are just the most easily explained aspects of the book. here is a much more detailed (spoiler-free) explanation, if you are interested.

and i saw "black swan" last monday. brilliant movie, although it is emotionally as disturbing as most movies by darran aronofsky. again, this one has with nina an unreliable narrator (which is imo much harder to pull of in a movie than in a book) which helps a lot to unsettle the viewer and it is very beautifully filmed. so all in all a great movie if you're not prone to be easily depressed.

workwise i was at a workshop in bonn last week which was really quite interesting. i also finally managed to set up ubuntu on my notebook. it's been a long time since i last worked with linux and much has changed. i hope i am disciplined enough to keep working with it even if some things need some getting used to.

and with the beautiful (yet cold) weather this weekend i finally managed to take the first photos since ... oh, i don't know ... the beginning of january i guess. saw some grey heron on the flood water plains near my parents hometown and also discovered some scottish highland cattle on some pasture there. both of which made me quite happy.

ah yes, and "home fires", the new book by gene wolfe has already arrived. can't wait to start reading...

2011-01-04 - run!

ah, my new years post ... late as usual. nevertheless, a happy new year to all of you. may it be more fun than the last one.

had a pretty exhausting but fun new years eve in leipzig, first with micha, thomas and a lot of little ones storming around. later on (technically in the morning) at matti's where it was much quieter with some games and talking. new years day was mostly chilling, reading, watching some dvds. that kind of thing.

for now i am back at my parents' for few final days until it is back to work on thursday. spent the time mostly de-christmas-ing the house and playing games.

for now i have put "new vegas" aside because the few resentments i had in the beginning have only gotten worse. even in the beginning the game doesn't feel very much like an rpg but more like an action adventure/fps thingy ... and not a good one at that. but fortunately i've got "mirror's edge" at steam on their christmas sale and the game is stunningly innovative and a lot of fun. the realisation of the whole parcours-theme is just brilliant and the game always keeps you on edge with people trying to get you.

and i also got the first new book of the new year already: ray vukcevich's second short story collection "boarding instructions" has arrived and adds yet another book the pile of books i need to read in 2011.

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