Evelyn Hamann is dead

October 31, 2007 at 8:28 am | Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment
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Evelyn Hamann at Wikipedia

Secretaries are the least economic data processers ever, but at least they’ve got a memory like an elephant

October 30, 2007 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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DISCLAIMER: This piece of writing does not apply to each and every individual that has ever worked as a secretary. It applied to the average, stereotypical person doing the job of a secretary. You decide whether this applies to the secretaries around you – or to you, if you are a secretary.

No offence meant, but I just need to get this one off me chest… it seems as if there is an antagonist of mine among the working population that goes by the name of: the secretary.*

Secretary keep track of each and everything, but are absolutely unable to draw any conclusions from data.

*) The absolutely endearing secretary who works for the VC of my last employer is quite obviously not part of the secretary gang. She’s a an early 19th century

This unfinished post has been sleeping in my account for nearly a year now – I edited it marginally as I have moved on to pastures new since then. Unfortunately I cannot recall to what type of 19th century individual I had wanted to compare my lovely friend S.

I vaguely remember what had happened that day that made me conceive this post – another frustrating encounter between me and the rigid frame of mind of some EFFICIENT secretary.

Practical part of training phase commences today

October 29, 2007 at 7:25 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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And I have got so many things on my to do list, it’s frightening. It doesn’t even include the professional chores yet! Urgh.

I do not miss the 1980s when I watch this

October 23, 2007 at 8:23 pm | Posted in video | Leave a comment
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Kate Bush’s video for “Wuthering Heights”:

But I love youtube!

Your future – take that decision NOW!

October 23, 2007 at 7:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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I thoroughly HATE taking decisions. I am extremely good at exploring a problem and all its ramifications, but the moment when a decision needs to be taken is most dreadful to me.

Today we had to decide (rather: our instructor tried to decide for us) where we’d like to spend the next three weeks. He wanted to put me into the chronicle department – they do things like “Teenage Newborn Christians”, “Call Girl Circuits in Vienna” and a few political reports, provided the topic involves prostitution and abuse of office. Our instructor wanted me in there because he thinks I can write – while I do agree on that (meanwhile), I also know that it is not part of my constitution to hunt for breaking news in a brothel or try to squeeze the insides out of a confused young adult. That’s why I am going to tell him tomorrow that I won’t be available for this placement.

It’s odd: It was never a dream of mine to become a top-notch, investigative journalist – our instructor seems to be projecting that wish onto me and that is why I feel somehow bad for not accepting his choice of placement. And it’s worse, actually: It’s almost like I am afraid I might be missing out on an unexplored part of my personality if I don’t take this ‘chance’ (mind you: one that had never occurred to me before) now.

On other terms: I still remember how I occasionally HATED to have to take control of a classroom while I was still teaching – on days that I was more vulnerable, and felt that putting myself out front like that was something that I had to consciously force myself to. But what kind of a challenge is THAT in comparison to having to ring the door bells of complete strangers, trying to make them tell you your life story? Sure, there might be days that I am on an adrenaline high where it’ll work just like that – but what do I do on those vulnerable days?

Let’s not forget: When I was 19, I dropped out of my first semester at university because I was so scared of people then that leaving the house (a five-storey building, with the potential threat of the janitor hiding behind every corner) and mingling with my fellow students became a dreaded, seemingly unmanageable task. I’ve come a bloody long way since then!!! But do I really have to up the ante once more and now decide to become an investigative journalist?

So I arranged a brief meeting with the head of multimedia, and as of Monday, I am going to be an online editor in training. I guess I’ll be able to start work right away – considering that I already know my fair share of CMS and HTML and Photoshop. It’s definitely not a job that has the same glamour as that of the chronicle journalist, but it sounds like a place where I could feel at home, in a professional sense.

Three more days until disassembly of Hero Team

October 22, 2007 at 5:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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If you can put it that way. I CAN’T BELIEVE MY TRAINEESHIP THINGY ALREADY STARTED MORE THAN TWO WEEKS AGO! And is going to end in three days. Not the entire program, but the practical training part, after which me and my fellow contestants will be assigned to individual editorial offices and publications for another three weeks.

I doubt that there will be much occasion to bond and socialize with other trainees then – in the past two weeks, we barely had time to rush off and grab some food which we either ate on some street corner or at our desks. I didn’t even find out whether this place HAS a canteen! (I doubt it has one). So where and when would we meet?

I continued to receive favourable feedback from our instructor, although I think he is meanwhile a bit ‘biased’: My political commentary was obviously underinformed, but he still signed it off with a ‘very good’ (the downside of all this praise is of course that I was repeatedly singled out and potentially considered a threat to their own chances by some of my fellow trainees), but it’s also become quite clear that the skills for which I am being praised are probably not the ones that are really needed. Here.

The ability to write a witty portrait with just a hint of sardonicism is, as far as I know, neither required in TV guides, consumer electronics magazines, news tabloids or business mags. Or, if they ARE required, it is certainly not going to be the trainee who gets to use them.

I had a chat today with one of the editors in chief from a magazine where I potentially could spend the next three weeks. Right beforehand, I was cued by our instructor that they might be hiring. Well, hiring… I could do an internship for a year, earn 400€ before taxes – and there would also be some extra money coming from another budget which could boost my salary (boost by which proportion I do not know – yet can that extra money be more than the actual sum? Hardly).

The person who talked to me was a very sweet chap and he tried to explain the difficult situation of budget cuts they had experienced and of the workload that keeps increasing nonetheless… if I were still 26, I guess I would go for it in spite of the miserly pay – and 7 years ago, my mom would have still been willing and able to support me, but meanwhile the story is a different one. I am rather keen on supporting _her_, which is yet another reason to be reasonable, and also: I deserve better, with all the experience and skills that I have.

So fuck their reduced budget – if they cannot raise the money to hire the amount of staff they need, then they’ll have to live with the fact that they can’t have me:-) Seriously – how can anyone dare to offer a one year internship? After a mere three months, you know what a person is worth, and after half a year, if they’re worth it, they’ll be working like a regular. Anything beyond six months just means that they are making money off you, while you have to pinch pennies.

But even if this traineeship won’t get me a job THERE – it is still going to be worth it, for the experience, for the boost of self-confidence and for the nice bunch of people I got to know 🙂

Traineeship running smooth, but I’m lacking sleep

October 17, 2007 at 6:21 am | Posted in Journalism | 14 Comments
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Update: I got my first proper feedback for things I had written on my own yesterday and a very favourable public appraisal. It’s a damn good feeling if you are 33 (i.e. officially too old for traineeships), have four academic papers published but nothing in the journalistic arena, don’t know whether you have got anything to offer to the market, still think that you can write better that most journos you have witnessed and then get this feedback from someone who has been in the business for 40 years and has had three bestselling books on right wing populism:

“I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your pieces. And you have got your very own style. Which editorial office do you want to join for the three weeks of practice?”

I said “online”, because that is the area where I have experience AND they are planning to hire someone. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind going somewhere else in order to improve my writing and learn more about print journalism, because this is NOT an area in which I have much experience. So let’s see where I’ll be assigned.

Following a momentary relief after the submission of our Monday assignments, our tasks are now piling up again on our desks. 2 due today – that’s why I need to be in the office at 8, not 9:30 when it officially starts.

Bangs – yes or no?

October 15, 2007 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments
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BangsAbout an hour ago I had the idea that I would look more like myself if I had bangs. I asked my boyfriend how he would like that over the phone, and I surely would have been the first woman on earth if I had gotten a straight answer out of him upon a question of that kind…

Instead, I created a little photoshoppery and am now hoping for the precious feedback of my dear blogger friends: Shall I get bangs or not? [Bangs courtesy Bamboo Girl]

Straightforward answer, please!

How to identify the stressed syllable of any English word

October 14, 2007 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Language | 8 Comments
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It works by using your intuition. I found it here (via. J.A. from Cape Town):

As an aside, once, whilst drinking with a psycholinguist (say that after a few pints) I was taught a useful way of quickly working out the stressed syllable in any English word – something which is apparently called the ‘fuck test’.

Simply insert the word ‘fucking’ into the word, as if you were using the swear word for emphasis, and the syllable that follows the ‘fucking’ is the stressed syllable.

For example, absolutely -> abso-fucking-lutely. The stressed syllable is the third: i.e. absolutely. It works for every multi-syllable word I’ve found so far.

Which just goes to show that psycholinguists are some of the coolest melonfarmers in the whole of cognitive science.

I am no longer an English teacher, but my guess is that students would love this method to memorize stress patters:


Recognize my Simpsonized Self?

October 13, 2007 at 6:00 pm | Posted in Popular Culture | 4 Comments
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It is kind of evil that our all-time-favourites The Simpsons are now Börger Kinger testimonials, but I quite like my simpsonized self. Go here if you want to get simpsonized, too.

My Simponized Self

My Simponized Self

Tagged over and over again! Unread Books

October 9, 2007 at 8:49 am | Posted in Literature | 5 Comments
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Jetsam tagged me, and now I have to go through this list of seemingly 106 books and reveal whether I have read them or not. I have to mark them in the following way:
Bold what you have read, italicize your DNFs (‘did not finish), strikethrough the ones you hated, and put asterisks next to those you read more than once.
I will appear terribly illiterate after doing this, and even more so because I will introduce a new symbol: I’ll put an WTM next to the ones that I watched as movie or TV series.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose WTM
Don Quixote WTM
Moby Dick WTM
Ulysses DNF
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice WTM
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveller’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury tales
The Historian
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World ***
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
Frankenstein WTM
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula WTM
A Clockwork Orange WTM
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels WTM
Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame WTM
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow DNF
The Hobbit***
In Cold Blood
White teeth WTM
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Well, I AM barely literate. But at least I haven’t read Mists of Avalon (unlike all of my female relatives) – it might even be not half as bad, but the cover was so off-putting I didn’t want to be caught reading it.

Mists of Avalon

Blogging Cancelled Due to Insurmountable Workload

October 8, 2007 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Blogging | 2 Comments
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It’s 5 to 10 pm and I have just returned from my first day of editorial training. Wow! It’s going to be tough, but as I had hoped for, there is also going to be plenty to learn. The workload for today – including homework – comprised:
_describing a person indirectly by describing the environment where he or she works. We were given two lines which had just one word different: “The waiter/waitress [Bedienung] shuffled from table to table” and “The waiter/waitress [Bedienung] fluttered from table to table.”
_compiling a list with synonyms of ‘to go’ (our group had 189)
_writing a short feature about the first day of the training (3000 characters)
_writing a newsflash about the first day of the training (10 lines)
_drafting a list with the deadly sins of journalistic writing
_starting on a presentation about possible multimedia products for the publishing house, due on Wednesday

This means: No time for blogging!

The unemployed goes to work for free

October 8, 2007 at 6:13 am | Posted in Work | 3 Comments
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My mini-traineeship to become an editor starts today. I am a bit nervous – where is that switch to turn nervousness into excitement?

This is England

October 7, 2007 at 11:08 am | Posted in Popular Culture | 4 Comments
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Here is a movie that is probably going to please the taste of all ye chav haters out there: This is England, directed by Shane Meadows. Excerpt from a plot summary on IMDB.com:

This is England: Mods, New Romantics, and Skinheads are the major youth sub-cultures of this very English summer of 1983 and young 12-year-old Shaun is left wandering aimlessly alone and lost during the start of his school holidays, until his chance meeting with Woody and his fun and friendly Skinhead pack. Finding a new lease of life; girls, parties, Ben Sherman shirts, Doc Martin boots and shaven hairstyles young Shaun is welcomed, life during this summer holiday has got a whole lot better. That is until Combo arrives on the scene bitter, dangerous, racist, militant and psychotic life for young Shaun has just approached his first major crossroads. This is England is a look back at the early eighties of British working-class life through the eyes of young Shaun and his new gang, and dealing with the bitterness of outside influences such as racism and xenophobia, of mass unemployment and the fall out of the Falkland’s War; Thatcher’s Britain: Did we ever have it so good? When you see Shaun, ask Him.

Recommended by Pingo2000, who also no longer blogs.

Peaches remakes Tone Loc’s Wild Thing

October 6, 2007 at 8:19 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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PeachesAnd you can listen to it here.

But is it hotter than lava as Perez suggests?

Feels more like a hot water bottle to me.

What do you think?

[Who is Peaches?]

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