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:


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Not much Love at Love Family Park

Last Sunday saw the 15th anniversary of the hugely popular Love Family Park Festival in Hanau, close to Frankfurt. For 38,55€, I thought I was in for a treat for relatively small money : 12 hours, 3 stages, 15 DJs and live acts and a guesstimated 20.000 happy loved-up ravers. Transport and afterhour club included.Sounds like fun, no? That's what I thought, too...
So here's what happened.
The festival started at 10 a.m., but none of my friends could really be asked to get there before 1 p.m.. The weather was absolutely brilliant, bright sunshine and a light breeze - what more could you want? Usually the entrance is a bit of a hurdle, but we hardly had to queue at all, and our bags were not taken apart and searched but rather quickly scanned by a bored security girl. Call me strange but I find it a little rude when security people scrutinize every last item in your purse, including tampons...
But obviously they have a point, especially at a festival that caters to a scene that has a bad reputation for loving their drugs. The same reasoning probably inspired the presence of truckloads of cops. Really, THEY WERE EVERYWHERE!
Apart from the security guys who watched the entrance, there were at least one police team in full combat gear (with guns!), uniformed and armed policemen patrolling the place, two or three of them constantly watching the place from above and an unknown number of undercover cops. How do you tell if somebody is a cop without a uniform?

They wear closed-toe shoes for their own security and in case they have to run. They bring expensive shades - most people won't, because they intend to get drunk and chances are you lose/sit on your fancy sunglasses when intoxicated :) They have some sort of bag, bum bag or massive pockets and most of them won't take off their shirts even in the most excruciating heat.
And of course, if somebody just stands around for hours, watching people from an elevated spot and regularly talking into an earpiece, that's a dead give-away. From our little tent I had a good view of one of those guys. He might as well have written POLICE on his forhead. I had nothing illegal to hide but it still made me feel uneasy to know that everybody was being observed.

But the most annoying part is yet to come.
Maybe this procedure is totally normal at Love Family Park, but I found it to be a massive nuissance. So instead of just going to a bar and buying your (overpriced) drinks, you first had to buy tickets worth 10€ each, with which you could go to the bar. There, they would tick off the money used for your drinks and deposit. The crux was, that even the cheapest drinks would cost you 6€ (including 2€ deposit for the cup or bottle), so for getting the next drink you would return to the bar, get your deposit (in cash), take it to the ticket box, buy another drink ticket, and start from the top.
As if that wouldn't be enough of a hassle, the bar staff would sometimes forget, sometimes refuse to give you deposit vouchers, meaning you could bring back your empty cups and bottles, but you wouldn't get your money back. Awesome. I'm sure the bars made a good extra income like that.
By the way, the food stand (yes, there was only one) didn't accept the tickets, just cash. And they handed out different deposit vouchers for their plates, just to make sure you get seriously confused with all those little slips of colorful paper in your wallet.

It wasn't all bad though :)
To give the festival some credit, there were a couple of cool things going on as well; the decorations were nicely done (nothing compared to Fusion Festival, but they tried), they had a massive outdoor shower for cooling yourself down, an Alice truck and obviously some really loud music by really famous DJs.

Also people took pictures of my friends and me as if glittery facepaint and poi would go out of fashion, which of course they won't as long as I'm still around :) If anybody sees one of those pics, please let me know because I didn't take a camera (because intoxicated people tend to lose/sit on those, too :) )


Alright, so in that last little part of this post I'm just trying to make myself feel better about the fact that the lion and I spent more than 200€ on a mediocre festival. Darn.

To make it short: I won't go again. It's definitely not worth the money, I could've had a lot more fun hanging out with friends in a park, with beer and a stereo.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Doe Deere on Stage!

I feel like I'm much too late with this post, because every self-respecting make-up-related blogger already slagged off Doe Deere's Lime Crime products or commented on her business ethics (which appear to be shady at the very least) ... but here's my two cents on it.

For the production of Brave New World I used two of her Magic Dust eyeshadows and two of the lipsticks from the Candyfuture line (Centrifuchsia and Retrofuturist). I also recommended them to the actors of the theatre and friends who all loved the vibrant colors and great pigmentation of the products. I was even going to organise a big order from the online shop for everybody ...

then I did my homework. And I feel like such an idiot now.

Apparently the whole brand is a big scam, repackaging wholesale products and marking up the price by around 400%. They add a gorgeously tacky packaging, which seems to be the only original part of the product. For more informed and less angry reviews, please have a look at these here:

From Lipstick&Lightsabres :
Beneath the glitter , Mineral Mayhem , The Real Slim Shady , plus many more on Anastasia's fantastic blog

From Funny Face:
Lime Crime Make-Up Dilemma (feels like Lillian took the thoughts straight from my mind and blogged them!) and Doh A Deere

From Jessica Allison:
The Match of the Century

From Afrobella:
The Straight Dope, From Doe Deere

... the latter being the most positive unbiased account I could find, usually the reviews were much more negative...

In case you were interested: I find the Lime Crime products to be very expensive, but decent quality. As I said I used them for a stage production and they never failed me. Yes, the "Magic Dust" eyeshadows do go flakey and cakey when used with other products, but with some minor artistic skills I believe you can make them look good. The colour payoff is remarkable, also for the lippies. No slagging off here :)

But of course, you can find all their products cheaper, and at a competitive quality.
Check out these links:

That's right. The colours DO look familiar. They're essentially the same colours you see on LimeCrime, just ... there's about 200 other shades too, same quality!!! YAY! And they're 4$/ounce. Think about it, girls.
In case you didn't know Barry M. Damn, they rule supreme. Love their variety of products. What else can you say.
Be prepared for some awful web design. Do have a look at their variety of lipsticks. They put LimeCrime to shame.

Cute, somewhat alternative online shop for dangerous colours. Don't know much about the quality, can you help me out there?

They're closing their business, which makes me a little sad. They sell good quality make-up in a wide variety of shades (and not just the eyes/lips variety. they have blush! YES!).
Here's the voucher code for the going-out-of-business-sale : adieu35

unbelievable make-shift-looking make-up online store. Just look at it and try NOT to want anything. It's darn close to impossible :)

Sooo, dear theatre cast: let's order somewhere else if we're still gonna do this. Mail me. Or just come to Anne's yoga class on saturday and get in touch :)
See everybody there! :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last Performance - Woooohooooo !

Sooo, after 12 nights of madness behind the scenes of the English Theatre, last night was our last staging of Brave New World.

I really enjoyed this performance, as I have most of them, and even though it was exhausting (it's like a second full-time job) and annoying at times (people "misplacing" my make-up in their backpacks...) I will miss the mayhem and creative loopiness of the actors, the tech & backstage crew, the box office girls and the bar staff.

The performances of the last few nights have seen their fair share of improvising and spontaneousness, more often than not puns referring to the fantastic game that the German football team played on Saturday. Of course for the last performance, everybody took it a step further - and I wase part of it! That's right, I had a teeny cameo appearance on stage in the last scene. Make-up artists like applause too, you know :)

In fact I believe that for a perfect theatre experience one should see the opening night and the last performance. On the opening night, the actors will stick to the text and the director's directions (hopefully) so you get to see the piece exactly as it was intended. By the last night however, little changes will be made and obviously the actors act more freely because they are more used to their roles, lines and audiences.

And on the last night, obviously things get a little wacky and crazy. Here's a list of the little changes that were spontaeneously made last night (can you tell I like lists? :) )

  • two "policemen" turned from stonecold and rough into flirty gays with golden handbags
  • the "savage" decided to not hide in Dover, as he did the other nights, but in Offenbach instead... if you don't know what Offenbach is like, don't worry, you're not missing out on much. The rivalry between Frankfurt and Offenbach is one of the many things I won't ever really grasp about this strange part of Germany that is Hesse.
  • in a party scene, two actors started making out wildly in the background until one of them was completely covered in blue (!) lipstick
  • the tech crew replaced one projection, almost ruining the mood in the final scene because it sent half the actors into giggling fits
  • cameo appearances by myself and the director's assistant

  • and then some ... :) if you read this and find I forgot something, tell me about it. I'm absolutely positive that I didn't give everyone credit here, sorry!

So, that's why last nights of stage productions are a lot of fun. Another classic is replacing "fake" drinks with actual alcoholic beverages, but seeing as a lot of "champagne" (water...) was consumed on stage, that would've been really expensive ...

This post is also to thank everybody in the cast for making this a fantastic and fun experience!

You rock, guys!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An Affair with the Theatre

Did you know that Frankfurt is the home of the largest english-speaking theatre in continental Europe?

I only found out about this after I started helping out there. That's right, I've been appointed the in-house make-up artist for the new play, Brave New World.

My boyfriend is one of the lead actors in the production, hence my involvement. Also, it's sooo much fun! I get to paint a good dozen of actors and actresses, one of them actually gets a bodypainting all over his chest, arms and back - every night of the week!

Of course director Michael Gonszar and the fantastic mistress of costumes Nina Luecker have their ideas as to how the make-up is supposed to look, but I get a lot of artistic freedom with the actual designs. I also like to talk to my "victims" in the make-up chair to make sure they feel comfortable with my work. They get to check their faces halfway through the process, put in their ideas and wishes and so on. This way, everybody tends to be happy with the results - maybe with exception of myself because sometimes I just don't get WHY ON EARTH some of the make-up-madness is neccessary.
WHY does that one androgynous character have a blue face with white lips and massive falsies? (You can see for yourselves, she's in the picture above on the left)
WHY does the "savage" have to be green and red? And I mean green and red all over. I asked the actor about that and he said he plays a ninja turtle, which is really not the case, but he sure looks the part :)

I have to admit I'm quite glad that many of the actors are perfectly able to do their own faces. The others have been very sweet and patient with me, very creative and very much fun. On top of that, I have a lovely "assistant" on some nights, so I actually get to watch some of the play.

Of course I highly recommend going to see the piece :) It's a quirky, colourful yet thoughtfully planned production, with many passionate actors, whose love for their profession radiates from the stage. They take a rather wordy, lenghty play, make it fun and exciting to watch and leave you breathless and with lots of food for thought after the show.

Oh, and it's only 15€ cover, with reduced prices for groups and students. There are still tickets available for next weekend, so hurry and get yours :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Smack My Bitch Up!

Last friday the Prodigy concert just simply rocked! WOOHOOOO !!!

But - we were late because for some extremely odd reason there was no support band, just a DJ before the concert, and they started the show almost on time! The Prodigy was more on time than the Germans! Fancy that! :)

Also, the goddamn Jahrhunderthalle is at the end of the world! Ok, so in fact it's just a little more than 10k from our house, but it took over an hour to get there with public transport... another reason I refuse to like Frankfurt with all my heart: even though the city is actually quite small, it takes a good half hour to get anywhere at all, thanks to the public transport, which does run frequently but slowly.
The city actually put up little countdown-signs that tell you in exactly how many minutes your bus/train is supposed to come, but they turned into a big joke. Before they were installed, it would sometimes feel like those two minutes on the schedule were really ten - now you don't get that feeling anymore, you KNOW it ;)

But enough of that! I want to see a full Prodigy concert now, and am keen on going to a festival or two this summer. Fusion Festival is sold out, but that won't stop me from trying :) I'll keep you updated, but now I gotta go and celebrate a birthday!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gems of Frankfurt

Yes! That's right, I am posting again.
I found it surprisingly hard to write about Frankfurt, hence the break. It's an awfully expensive city, where everybody on the street seems just that tiny bit more prim and proper and polished, and everything is just that tiny bit more pricey ... so I found myself struggling to keep an eye on the budget as I tried to balance a physically demanding job with a social life on my rare free days.

So now, after half a year of bartending and schlepping trays of beer, I am back to a normal sleeping pattern and an office job, which gives me the time and means to finally explore my new home a little bit.

Over the last weekend, the annual Rowing Festival took place on the river Main and I went to have a sneak peek.
I'm not much of a boat person, or, for that matter, a water person, but as you can see behind the studs on the picture above, there was plenty of entertainment on the land as well. The lion and myself took a stroll down the river and this is a list of what we found:
  • A little square where kids taught each other how to inline-skate to tacky 90s techno
  • One hippie girl with pois who got entirely lost in said tacky 90s techno
  • Loads of stands with meat products in 4765834 varieties...
  • Apple wine comes in rosé too! And it's delicious. Check out the Maincafé for a pint of the pink loveliness
  • Frankfurtians actually are too awkward and embarrased to say anything to people who consume drugs in public places. Now _you_ tell me if that's a good or a bad thing...
After our little walk we stumbled into the 36Grad on Schweizer Platz.

You can't tell from the website, but this bar/café/restaurant really is very cute and whimsical, comfortable with big sofas everwhere and very friendly staff. The perfect place for coffee-and-cake-time with the girls or a romantic candle-light dinner. The food we had was very tasty, even if it was not the re-invention of the wheel, as we say in German. But heck, I only paid 8,20€ for a yummy and generously sized dish of pasta (creamy gorgonzola-sauce, sundried tomatoes and a cheese that they claimed was parmesan but that was, in fact, something entirely different).
The bottles of wine start at 12,50€, that is by far the best deal I've seen in a restaurant here!

And then ... came the deserts!
*pause here to contemplate the tastiest desert you've had lately*

*now imagine it better*

And that's what we got! The lion had an interesting tiramisu-style concoction with chocolate cantuccini instead of the lady's fingers that you usually use. Also, the chefs at 36Grad do not shy away from using heavy ingredients and I think that's exactly the right way to go - who wants a skimmed tiramisu anyways? Let's just say, this was perfect as it came...
My own desert was a delectable Crema Catalata (caramelized spanish vanilla pudding!) with fresh mangos. I wanted to slowly relish in the creamy goodness, but it was gone way too soon :D

By the way: If you should ever find yourself in this area of town (Schweitzer Platz) and can't afford posh dinner and homemade cake, check out the little Thai corner shop on Schneckenhofstraße. They do traditional wok dishes without MSGs and their veggie dumplings are a revelation at only 2,40€.