Monday, September 6, 2010

Quote of the Day

The only thing that gets wasted in this household is us!

Don't throw out things that are still good. It's like throwing out money.
This simple rule that everybody's grandma knew already is still true.
Try and observe your own actions through a week - how much waste do you produce, how much do you throw out unnecessarily?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Picture and Video Update

Some impressions from Muehlheim's Artificial Family:

For the video, click here.
(I realize that the choice of music is questionable)

I'd love to find more pictures of the actual installations, they were amazing!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Poi Spinning and Hanging Out - What happened after facebook

After my not-so-euphoric review of Love Family Park, I concluded that a lot more fun could have been had with a couple of beers and music in the park.

This Sunday I put my theory to the test, and - hooray! - it worked! Hooray again!
To make it work, all I had to do was invite all my facebook friends on Friday.

My other preparations were just as simple:
  • I made five extra pairs of pois (fill balloons with 50g of rice, put them in kneelenght socks, tie a knot and you're laughing) ~ 5€ for socks, 50c for rice, 1,79€ for balloons

  • I bought a big pot of street crayons for 2€

  • my boyfriend organised beers, wine and ice cubes for the cooler box (~15€)

  • I bought a mobile docking station for my iPod, which I'm going to return today "because the battery didn't last as long as it said on the packaging". That may be a lie, but I simply cannot afford this amazing little piece of technology.

And that was really it. And it was a great day!

We started out by writing and drawing on the street closest to us what we were doing : Poi Spinning Lessons! Everybody is welcome to join us! Loads of flowers and smiley faces! :) When we started spinning and twirling, the most unlikely types came over and gave it a try. Families, grannies, guys in suits and guys who looked like they were more scared to mess up their hair than hitting themselves with the poi, two boys who just came back from fishing... you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures: I didn't take any, but if you were there and read this, please send me your photos and videos!

And the last thing worth mentioning: Just after we started setting our little camp up, we were joined by Anastasia, a lovely Moldavian girl, who had just arrived in town on that very morning! She hung out with us til after dark and told her surprised sister on the phone that she already made friends in the new town, and is now having beers in the park with them. Anastasia told me that the whole day felt surreal like a movie to her, because in real life, people aren't that nice to strangers :) Well guess what - they are sometimes.

And karma actually repaid me straight away: Yesterday I was short 19c from my supermarket bill and the girl in the queue behind me just helped me out. How often do strangers do random nice things for you? How often do you return the favor to another stranger?

Summernight's Dream in Muehlheim

Who would think that Muehlheim am Main actually is a secret party epicentre? Ok, I might be exaggerating here, but Muehlheim's well-hidden party scene took me by surprise on Saturday.

In fact I had had a long day of inexplicable grumpiness and crankiness, and was not crazy about the idea of leaving the house at all, when I got a call from a friend in the evening. The idea of a relaxed night under the stars at the Artificial Family, with a campfire and chilled-out music was vaguely appealing, but what really got me was the fact that there were artsy projections on big screens all around the place. Trippy!

We arrived just after sunset, which of course was the best time to really appreciate the installations by Silberfisch. The crowd was an all-ages-all-styles mix, relaxed and easygoing ... almost to the point of being boring, but I blame the DJs for that. Granted, the music was supposed to be chilled-out, but at some point people wanted to dance, there was even a little crowd forming on the sand-covered (yay!) dancefloor - but the music actually got slower and more subdued, to the point of being turned off at some point (dramatic break?). Needless to say, after that only very feeble attempts at starting a new dancing crowd were made.

But the main focus was not on the dancefloor anyways. The installations were quite impressive and fun to watch. It took a while until we'd figured out just how they work :)
My favourite one looked a lot like the eye of Sauron from Lord of the Rings, but more colourful. Until I saw the video afterwards, I had no idea just how awesome it looked when I danced right in front of it :)

Click here fo video!

And on top of it all, this was a really budget-friendly party:

travel costs: 7,60€ return
cover: 7€ (and I gladly gave them away, the box office team was absolutely darling)
beers were 2€, water 1,50€, coffee 1€ (we needed it to stay awake til the first train home came - remember, we were in Muehlheim!)
barbequed sausages were 1,80€ including all-you-can-eat-salads

The only expensive thing at the place was a dreadlocked hippie desperately trying to sell everybody a pair of rather hideous pants, "straight from India".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Raving on the Rhine

Until last Saturday, I'd always believed that making long scenic boat excursions is for old people only. I was wrong, as I am so often :)

Through a friend of a friend I learned about a privately organised boat party in Mainz. I was rather sceptic at first, when I was told that I would basically be stuck on a boat for ten hours with people I've never met before.

But just because something sounds like a stupid idea, it usually doesn't mean I won't do it.
So at 12:30 last Saturday a friend of mine and I arrived in Mainz, utterly disorientated and tired, but in good spirits. Until I realized that I had exactly 15€ on me, and no card to take money out. Oh, and of course they didn't accept credit cards on the ship. What a way to start a party ...

Trying to find some shade on the lower deck

Now if you find yourself at a party with next to no money at all, I find it advisable to NOT let everybody know. That just sounds desperate and if it's only the very beginning of the day/night, people might think you "forgot" your cash on purpose because you're cheap. Or they might pity you. Both sentiments I don't really like, so I decided to shut up and see how I can manage over the day.
Thankfully, the drinks were really cheap on the boat. Otherwise, I'm sure, the crowd would've gotten moody, because obviously there is no alternative to the board bar. Also, the sun was scorching hot, we had over 40*C in the sun. Making water any more expensive than it was (~1,50€) would have been irresponsible.

So I got myself the first drink, mingled with my friend's friends and their friends, and then the friends of those. As it turned out, most people knew each other already and I was the exotic outsider. And then ... well, I hate to say it but I totally capitalized on that status ^^
But I never bugged anybody to buy me a drink, or got all doe-eyed. No sir. I just gladly accepted if somebody offered to get me something :)

Do you find that kind of behavior cheap/desperate?
I found that getting drinks or dinners paid for by somebody else is a major issure for many German girls. But I digress, I could write whole articles about this... and maybe I will. But not now.
Because the party went on. And on. And on.

By 3 p.m., everbody was properly plastered. By 4 p.m., most of the people were dancing. By 5 p.m. the staff had given up telling us to not dance on the tables.
When it got slightly cooler (not cold by any means, only gradually more breezy and just below 35 degrees), I got up and danced, too. Originally I had expected the party to be packed, but as it turned out, there was well enough room for everbody... and I didn't have the poi on me! Bugger!

But being tipsy and light-headed from too much sun made me creative, so I started asking random guys on the boat if I could borrow their tops. Yes, that's right. Wifebeater-wearers were my favourite victims, because ... those shirts are easiest to turn into pois :)

This is how you do it:
Walk up to a guy, smile sweetly and ask if you can borrow his shirt for five minutes. Tie a big, loose knot into the bottom end of the top. Make it wet with a little of water to add weight. Stick your fingers through the top end. Spin like poi. Voila!
After thus spinning two tops completely out of shape, I realized that the knot is optional ^^

Apparently the other party-goers liked it, partly because the water from the shirts lightly rained down on them and the wind I created was very much appreciated.
When we later moved on the after-partyboat-party, one of the guys even made me an improvised pair of pois from bottle-openers and barrier tape. Needless to say, I was way too far gone at that point to avoid hitting myself in the head with them so i quickly gave up on them. But I still think that the token gesture was adorable.

Friday, July 9, 2010

After-Work Fun

6 things to do for little to no money when you come out of the office in the afternoon and it's a beautiful day:

  • Go to a public pool. Hopefully at this time all the kids are tired and on their way home. Ask for a special price at the ticket booth, if the pool is about to close within the next two hours. The lion and I paid 1€ each yesterday for two hours of swimming and hanging out.

  • Find a way to climb on the roof of your house, take a sunbath where nobody can see you.

  • Make sock-poi out of kneelength socks and little bags of rice or sand. Practice with friends, not in front of the computer (for inspiration, have a look at these youtube channels: 1 2 3 )

  • Have a watergun fight in the park. If you can't find anybody who's up for it, organise a waterfight flashmob. There are websites that will help you with that: here, here and here)

  • Go guerilla gardening. Reclaim your streets.

  • Read a book that's been sitting in the shelf for ages. But do it outside, with ice cream at hand.

I'd love to hear what you guys do on a long, warm afternoon. Care to share? :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I want my NinjaVideo!

Again, I'm late. On June 30th the ICE shut down 9 websites that distributed pirated movies and TV series. One of them was
I often watched American and British TV shows there, simply because I couldn't watch them any other way here in Germany. When they had problems with one ad provider, I donated a little money, because I didn't take this super convenient service for granted. But not only did NinjaVid have just about everything and anything that one could want to watch, awesome specials (like the Dennis Hopper collection), they also had a very lively and intelligent community.

All of that was shut down, the funds seized and the bank accounts shut down, so now the Ninjas can't even afford legal proceedings. If you want to help, have a look here:

or follow @SaveNinjaVideo on twitter :

Of course, all attempts at creating a Legal Fund have been stopped immedeately, accounts have been frozen and so far the only way to help out seems to be to click the ads on Save Ninja Video.

So do I support illegal pirating of movies? Yes AND no.

No, because I generally respect laws and regulations.
Yes, because these websites are the only way for millions of people around the world to watch shows and films that are not available in their country.
No, because pirating movies obviously costs production companies money that they need to make more movies. But ironically it is mostly the very big production companies complaining about piracy, and they could effortlessly cut their costs to balance out their losses by deflating the ridiculous salaries for their (already extremely rich) actors.
Yes, because watching some shows or movies online usually makes me want to go and own the DVD or go to the cinema, respectively. It's like a free advertisement for the movies, and it allows you to make informed decisions before you pay money.

YES, because there is no alternative. I have read SO many times on various different blogs and forums, that many people would happily pay a reasonable fee to watch their favorite programmes online in good quality, but there is no provider for it.
The demand is high for a legal way to watch TV and movies online and on demand. Let's hope it's coming soon.

Now what do you think?

More links for a more or less informed opinion: