W00t! #2 of Fastest Growing Blogs

February 14, 2008 at 8:56 am | Posted in Blogging, Lent | Leave a comment
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Yesterday was a busy day on this blog – too bad the Fastest Growing Blogs counter on the dashboard became defunct soon yesterday (and still is now) as it usually means an extra boost of traffic once you get on one of their global charts.

Stats

Lent Logo 2008 Let’s also say something about Lent, shall we? I’m still not particularly enjoying it (but I guess that’s not the point of Lent, is it?) – on Sunday when we took a walk around Kahlenberg and spent some time on their churchyard, I even fantasized seeing chocolates on the graves. Can craving get any worse? What it factually was were just the remains of some Christmas ornaments, a pine cone iced with fake snow and wrapped in cellophane. And yesterday my boyfriend brought home half a dozen of Fasten yogurt drink bottles which he got for free somewhere. ‘Fasten’ means ‘Fasting’, particularly fasting practiced during Lent – but I am not sure whether the amount of fructose it contains makes it a truly eligible lent candidate… it sounds like something you could actually enjoy:-)

The Land of Meat and Honey 32/40

March 30, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Posted in Art, Food, Japanese, Lent | 1 Comment
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Yesterday I violated my self-imposed rules of Lent. But we were quick at coming up with an excuse, so I am not too worried about me ending up in hell:-)

But let me start at the beginning. Yesterday was another tough day – one tough day seems to be followed by another these days, because there are so many things happening or requiring attention at the moment. I needed to find film material for my character analysis tasks for my course Creative Writing for Film and that took longer than I thought. I needed films which establish the landmarks of the story in less than 10 minutes, and that wasn’t easily found. We have an excellent collection of DVDs in our library, but for inexplicable reasons, we still have movies that either don’t come in the original version or not with English subtitles. I needed English/English – that’s the best way of making sure my students understand, say, the ghetto slang of the kids in 8 mile. If you’re ever doing a similar exercise, start with First Blood a.k.a. Rambo, it’s excellent for that purpose.

I somehow managed to get everything done by 5pm, then hurried down to the station to catch the train to Br. My boyfriend had been pointed to a vernissage at the Kunsthaus (a good exhibition space, and a good example of what money can do in a culturally deprived region like this one). The vernissage was crap though. It was the official opening of the new billboards near the esplanade, and they truly featured word play such as “Teleer”, showing an empty plate (Teller= plate, leer = empty). And some really bad typography, e.g. the one with the gradient below. I can hardly believe how the artist could be so demented to have this line VANITAS tattooed across her cleavage, but she was. Is a badly designed billboard really worth it? Or a rotten croissant, reading Gipfel (a word for both croissants and summits). The only one I cared for a bit was the photograph of a disintegrating billboard, put to use as a new billboard.

Billboard Billboard Billboard Billboard

And two other more annoying ones that I am not even going to discuss. See for yourself, if you’re really interested.

We left the vernissage at the point where the curator wanted to instigate a dialog with the artists (a married couple), because none of us was too interested in learning what their thoughts might have been. Instead, we managed to sneak into the current exhibition for free, using the name of one of my students as a key who works there as a warden (warden is the word the dictionary advises, umm). Nice! We got to see Jeff Koons’ balloon dog and flowers made from chrome steel (and the asshole of his ex Ilona Staller), Damien Hirst’s latest pickled animal (the shark you’ll also see on Wikipedia), dust, hair and hemp seed on canvas by Gerhard Merz and the miniature versions of Marcel Duchamp’s most famous art works (here is a link to the exhibition, I don’t want another DMCA notice, and Koons and Hirst might be a bit anal about this). I had always wanted to see these miniatures, ever since I read the brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas, which is actually a history of dada (and doesn’t seem to be available in English, I read it in German). It is not about paper backs, but about a portable existence which appears to be one of the objectives of dadaism. Making miniatures of your artworks was one of the ways to achieve that, at least according to Vila-Matas.

After the Kunsthaus, we were fairly hungry and considered customing a Running Sushi place, being only semi-convinced by the idea becaus it was quite pricey. But we (my boyfriend, his digs mate Daniel and I) then figured that, if we had already saved the money for the Kunsthaus (which would have been € 8 per head), we would have the right to afford it. Oh, and it was divine. I was completely no more in control of my Lent resolutions, and before I knew it my teeth sank into a special type of chicken nugget, made of chicken breast and a thin batter, with a crust of honey and sesame. A double no-no! When I realized my ‘mistake’, my boyfriend pointed out that I had also been fasting the past sundays, which wasn’t really required in the regular Lent timetable. In that sense, I had deserved this piece:-)

And from that point on, there was no holding back. I ate probably a dozen of those pieces, and for dessert, I picked three small plates of pudding (two chocolate, one vanilla) from the belt and something very similar to a Germknödel, a sweet dumpling, but with an unknown filling. What a feast! In a way, I still stuck to my guns though, as I didn’t have any other meat than the one I had almost accidentally eaten. I cannot wait for Easter to come now.

Btw, tomorrow is open day at my ‘educational company’, and I am going to offer a digital storytelling workshop and participate in a reading in a library. I am going to read Alfred Döblin, precisely from the very text I posted some days ago. I probably should translate the whole three pages for Cabbage, because the text is really brilliant!

My Lent Countdown is All Screwed up 26/40

March 22, 2007 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Food, Lent | 4 Comments
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According to today’s Lent count down 30/40, I would stop fasting in ten days from now. I realized, however, that we are still 17 days from Easter Sunday. How to account for that? I did a bit of research and then found at that it was decided during the Synod of Benevent in 1019 that thou shalt not fast on Sundays… oh noooooooo! Sacrifice made for nothing:-) I am not going to change my policy now though. Nevertheless, I need to adjust my countdown: Back to 26/40.

😦

Put Yourself to the Test: with Twitter, 24/7 (23/40)

March 15, 2007 at 7:48 am | Posted in Digital Culture, Lent, Tagging, Web 2.0 | 8 Comments
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Thank God the twitter craze, which has already found its antithesis in the Twitter hater, has not yet made it to (non-English speaking) European shores – or if it has, I am blissfully unaware of it. It is another more or less Web 2.0 social platform, describing itself in its own words as

A global community of friends and strangers answering one simple question: What are you doing? Answer on your phone, IM, or right here on the web!

Today I signed up to see what the fuss was all about, and tell Twitter what I was doing I did:

Twatter

While this might sound like a rather pointless activity to some, it seems to be warmly embraced by those digital, decentred PoMo subjects out there who hardly have a sense of themselves anywayr. Twitter won’t help them to find the way back to a more integrated self, but console them with the illusion that, if their self is scattered all over the place, at least they might have an idea where they can retrieve the bits and pieces. For a brief moment, they can inscribe themselves on the surface of the simulations that surround them. The whole thing gets a (little) bit more interesting by the fact that twitter allows you to notify your friends to tell them what you are doing and to get notifications about them. Hmm.

The twitter homepage gives you an idea of the things those desperate souls are up to:

Twatter

Not convinced? Ha! In a way it was useful that Baudrillard ‘died’, otherwise I wouldn’t have dug him up from the sediments of my memory nor have been receptive to other folks’ writing about him. If you look at the phenomenology of Twitter, you’ll soon find out that it takes on the form of what Baudrillard has described as ‘the test’:

This regulation on the model of the genetic code is not at all limited to laboratory effects or to the exalted visions of theoreticians. Banal, everyday life is invested by these models. Digitality is with us. It is that which haunts all the messages, all the signs of our societies. The most concrete form you see it in is that of the test, of the question/answer, of the stimulus/response. All content is neutralized by a continual procedure of directed interrogation, of verdicts and ultimatums to decode, which no longer arise this time from the depths of the genetic code but that have the same tactical indeterminacy – the cycle of sense being infinitely shortened into that of question/answer, of bit or minute quantity of energy/information coming back to its beginning, the cycle only describing the perpetual reactualization of the same models. The equivalent of the total neutralization of the signified by the code is the instantaneousness of the verdict of fashion, or of any advertising or media message. Any place where the offer swallows up the demand, where the question assimilates the answer, or absorbs and regurgitates it in a decodable form, or invents and anticipates it in a predictible form. Everywhere the same “scenario,” the scenario of “trial and error” (guinea pigs in laboratory experiments), the scenario of the breadth of choice offered everywhere (“the personality test”) – everywhere the test functions as a fundamental form of control, by means of the infinite divisibility of practices and responses.

We live by the mode of referendum precisely because there is no longer any referential. Every sign, every message (objects of “functional” use as well as any item of fashion or televised news, poll or electoral consultation) is presented to us as question/answer. The entire system of communication has passed from that of a syntactically complex language structure to a binary sign system of question/answer – of perpetual test. Now tests and referenda are, we know, perfect forms of simulation: the answer is called forth by the question, it is designated in advance. The referendum is always an ultimatum: the unilateral nature of the question, that is no longer exactly an interrogation, but the immediate imposition of a sense whereby the cycle is suddenly completed. Every message is a verdict, just like the one that comes from polling statistics. The simulacrum of distance (or even of contradiction between the two poles) is only – like the effect of the real the sign seems to emit – a tactical hallucination. (The Tactile and the Digital in: Simulations. The Order of Simulacra)

Twitter’s perpetual question ‘What are you doing?’ is precisely such a litmus test of the twitters’ contained form of existence. The content of their messages, denoting what they seem to be doing, is completely irrelevant, but in answering, they’re integrated into the system of production. Who would ever have thought in the 1970s, when the first data security officers had to be hired by governments and companies alike, that people would one day crave to be controlled in this way!

More posts regarding twitter:
RIP Twitter (2007-2007) (con)
Could Advertising Pollute Twitter? (pro-ish)
RIP Twitter – A Rebuttal (pro)

P.S.: I have myself taken up a new hobby: tagging my images on flickr with tags that don’t make sense in order to shift the signal/noise ratio a bit more to the incomprehensible. For my twitter screens, I chose ‘twatter’. But I am not a real revolutionary, as you can see if you look at my vast array of WordPress tags – I have to admit that it’s basically copyright issues that I want to circumvent in doing so. Garbage in, garbage out!

P.P.S.: Another thing I am trying to understand for the third time now are trackback links. Is my blog trackback enabled? Yes/No? What do I need to do with someone else’s trackback URL? I am going to incorporate the trackback URL to the Twitter hater post, but I don’t really think that that’s the way to do it? Must I maybe click on it later? EDIT: I did, but nothing of what happened seemed to make sense.

P.P.S.: The final countdown: 17 more days to go until the end of Lent!

Otesánek (Little Otik) 20/40

March 12, 2007 at 7:56 am | Posted in Film, Food, Lent | 5 Comments
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I had a very nice week-end, movie-wise. I saw Asoka (India 2001), The Great dictator (USA, 1940) and Otesánek (Little Otik) (Czech Republic, 2000), which was really the one that took the cake. It’s a partly real, partly hand-animated film by surreal director Jan Svankmajer, based on the fairy tale of Otesánek, a root, dug up by a poor worker and made into a doll, as a substitute for the child he and his wife couldn’t afford. But then Otesánek begins to grow and to eat everyone and everything in its way…

In Svankmajer’s film, the Otesánek theme is nicely combined with the story of an infertile couple’s desperate wish for a child where just about anything around them begins to transform into a baby.

Otesánek

The root, originally intended by the husband as a gift to distract his wife a bit, is greeted with such excitement by her that she refuses to ever let go of it again – Veronika Zilkova offering a worrying rendition of a woman sliding into a state of mental disorder.

Otesánek

Otesánek

Otesánek

To be able to welcome the root as her proper child, she stuffs her clothes, beginning to confuse her own acting up with an actual pregnancy. When she ‘gets into labour’, she has her husband drive her to the their garden shed where she keeps the root. He leaves her there, and when he returns, the root has come strangely to life….

Otesánek

Later it will develop the same appetite as the Otesánek from the fairy tale – no spoilers, but just a glimpse of what the story has in stall for the viewer:

Otesánek

LentAnd just to explain the countdown: Yes, I am still participating in Lent – now that I’ve halfway made it, I might as well go all to the end. But no point in a daily Lent message really – Lent still sucks and actually makes me occasionally feel sick. I suppose my body misses the daily early sugar ingestion the most – low blood sugar levels make me feel dizzy. And there goes my Lent message, even though I thought not to have one.

Curry and Roti 19/40

March 11, 2007 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Food, Globalization, Indian, Lent | 6 Comments
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Last Sunday’s post was dedicated to Korea, this Sunday’s post is dedicated to South Africa, in particular my former digs mate Trusha, and also my former digs mate Sarah G., although I have lost touch with her (I know that she’s married – wedding was held in India, but I am not so sure whether this also means that she moved to India).

I prepared a vegetarian curry and roti for lunch – the latter being a type of bread, for most Europeans/Westerners probably strongly reminiscent of tortillas, but nicer:-) So far, I am not even half as far as I intended to get in my command of the Indian cuisine (guided by the Indian cookbook I received from Trusha’s mom Gayatri – the best cookbook ever, truly packed with recipes and wisdom – other than most European cookbooks which take two pages to explain just one dish). Nevertheless, roti will always do the trick if you want to impress someone (well – a European) with your skills in preparing Indian food.

Roti for Lunch

I took a picture of my roti making attempts – it may be that the output would seem rather curious to any experienced Indian cook. My digs mate Sarah had a very peculiar way of preparing them – she put one that was already done on top of the one she was about to bake and then twisted, twisted, twisted it until it was well-cooked, but not burnt. Hers were also perfectly round – I haven’t yet developed enough ambition in the area of symmetrical food;-)

Roti for Lunch

All in all, I made 20 roti from a dough of maize meal and white flour (I like it better with wholewheat flour, but the one I had had gone off) of which we ate 11 just among the two of us, to complement the curry;-)

As you might have guessed already (if you think along those lines), vegetarian curry and roti is also a perfect Lent meal. One more day until I have reached Day 20 of my 40 days of Lent – meaning I am only just about halfway through it 😦

Goat milk, what a delight! 18/40

March 10, 2007 at 11:46 am | Posted in Consumerism, Food, Lent | 16 Comments
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Just to share some simple news with you – I just drank an entire half litre of goat milk and it was absolutely divine! I think it was the first time that I drank that stuff. Because both lamb meat and goat cheese have such a distinct goat shed flavour, I kind of expected the same from goat milk. I was wrong – it’s the finest flavour a milk can have:-)

Had I bought a whole litre, I would have downed it all (a fine sentence for practicing conditionals;-)

Goat milk

LentDaily Lent (Day 18): At the same time, Lent seems to be beginning to get to me. Last night I dreamed that I went to a peculiar old-fashioned movie theatre with dark green velvet seating. There were several silver screens on the walls of the oval screening room and the seats – although looking as if they could break any moment – were mobile. So before the film began (it never began in my dream) the seats were moving around to make sure all people were positioned well to see the film. At the entrance you had to bargain for your ticket – most people had to pay ridiculous sums, also because the ticket vendor added ridiculous things to their request, such as bags and old magazines. I payed € 14 for a ticket and two giant sized slabs of Lindt , both dark chocolate, one with orange flavour and the other one with chili cherry mousse au chocolat filling on which I chowed happily away while moving around on my mobile chair. That catapulted me out of the Lent mindset to an extent that I almost ate some of the honey nut flakes for breakfast that linger in my cupboard (meanwhile stale).

Monolithic vs Serial Photography 16/40

March 8, 2007 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Food, Job, Lent, Photography | 7 Comments

A while ago I posted a small series of serial photos which were intended to endorse an application. The idea had been to offer a visual expression of the multiple facets that a personality (in this case: mine) has. Of course it is impossible to capture them all – it is probably not even possible to capture just one facet in a photograph. And of course the photograph will always give you a certain form or shape.

A week later, the company photographer took my photo again – for free and professionally. I don’t want to be bragging about his but my hair looked GREAT on that day. I started to grow it about a year ago and is incredible how long it already is. Nonetheless, it just came out STUPIDLY in the picture. We also took a few extra pictures at the end of the session with my hair tied up – and these are the only ones now that I can actually use for an application. I also read somewhere that women are more likely to be hired for a responsible position if they tie up their hair for the photograph. Reduce the feminine attributes to a minimum (but of course avoid looking like a butch;-)

To illustrate how monolithic a single picture can be, I’ll show you (if that isn’t contradictory) two versions of me: both are monolithic in the sense that each seems to invoke a singular meaning. The first one – colour, long hair – conjures up the idea of a slightly embittered woman (probably operating a library helpdesk) with low self-esteem, whereas the second one – black and white, hair tied up – makes me appear like a self-assured marketing dominatrix who goes water-skiing in her free time.

PassportPassport Pic

Neither of the two represent myself in a way that I’d like to see myself represented (the results achieved with the serial photographs were much better in that respect). Which ones should I use, you reckon? I have the feeling the dominatrix pic serves the purpose of an application the best (but would you like to share an office with that person?).

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EDIT: Had to remove the div tags to center the image as they did something unexpected to the layout. Reduced the picture size at the same time. Found it quite unbearable to look at my own old mug in such a resolution and size;-)
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LentDaily Lent (Day 16): I have meanwhile become the leftovers eater in my department. One of my colleagues has diabetes, so he may only eat small portions during the day and has to be careful with carbohydrates. The sandwiches sold in the cafeteria are too much for him, a banana is too large a portion. Enter: me. As I have been perpetually hungry the past days but hardly ever ate a full meal, I was grateful to have the bits and pieces he couldn’t eat. Today it got even worse: Although we went to the cafeteria to get a proper meal, I begged for half of his mashed potatoes (knowing that he cannot eat them all) and even nicked the three (cold, soggy) potatoe wedges my other colleagues had left on his plate. Admittedly, the vegetarian option really wasn’t very filling today: undercooked Quinoa patties with salad and a dressing with chives. I wonder whether there is any cafeteria that offers vegetarian food that doesn’t consist of veggie patties, and that aren’t almost always a disaster. Ask the vegetarians you know how often THEY have veggie patties when they cook for themselves – I personally never made any, because they stink.

Jean is dead 15/40

March 7, 2007 at 8:50 am | Posted in Lent | 14 Comments
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Jean BaudrillardI think I have now finally arrived in the blogosphere. I learned about the death of Jean Baudrillard not through tagesschau.de (my channel for IMPORTANT news in the classic newsworthy sense, ever since I stopped reading newspapers in 2000) and certainly not through television (stopped watching TV in 1998), but through Jetsam’s blog. Who is left now of our befabled postmodern thinkers and French countrymen? The famous dead so far are:

Pierre Bourdieu died in 2002 (age: 72), but he’s not exactly postmodern (but I deeply adore him for having explained to me why I felt so alienated in certain circles).

For the time being, our hope rests on Paul Virilio (thanks to n00ne), born in 1932, meaning that he has already outlived everyone but Baudrillard agewise.

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EDIT: While my original Baudrillard post was secretly converted into a Günther Anders post, I’d like to give a slightly different note to it at the end of this day. I spoke with a number of people about Baudrillard today, I even promoted him to a colleague who works in the mechatronics department during our staff meeting.

The staff meeting was a disaster. For years now, the board of directors have been trying to get more control of the lecturers. They have introduced several measures already, one being an online system in which you have to enter your hours and specifiy what you have done and when.

The system doesn’t work (apart from the fact that such a system is irreconcilable with the nature of the work of a lecturer). I tended it accurately and then was summoned by HR to change a whole month’s entries because I had entered that I had been working “more than I was allowed to” and at times that I “wasn’t supposed to”. In other words: I was asked not to work less, but to enter figures that would correspond to the work regulations for office workers (I am not a secretary, I am lecturer).

The have “improved” the system now which was announced today, and I will now have to choose from 13 different categories (instead of the two of the first system) and assign them to all my hours worked (only the hours spent in class and with preparations will automatically be added). I am still not allowed to enter my actual hours if I work more or at times that I shouldn’t be working. I am actually happy to work more if the results I get improve by doing so and I normally wouldn’t demand to have every hour recognized. But if a system is forced upon me that seeks to control and record what I do, then I do of course want proper recognition.

What I tried to explain to my colleage was that we are forced to partake in a simulation of control (to please the patriarch – I didn’t say that bit in brackets). I am asked to create a digital simulacrum of myself, of me as a workforce, broken down into hours and up to 13 different tasks, which may not correspond to my actual work hours, but to the hours and pattern of work that are acknowledged by the system. This is farcical!

That experience made me think of Jean Baudrillard in a much more affectionate way. A colleague pointed me to an article in The Guardian which has already won my prize for my favourite quote from Baudrillard – a punch in the face of the people who think that The Matrix (the film) offers a demystification of the politics of the real:

“The most embarrassing part of the film is that the new problem posed by simulation is confused with its classical, Platonic treatment … The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce.”

Thanks, uncle Jean!

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Continued: List of dead French philosophers.

Have I forgotten anybody? Who might still be alive? They are all so French and male… what this list also shows is that it seems less likely that you would live to be very old or die of age if your are a French, 20th century philosopher. Unlike Günther Anders who, by many outside of the German-speaking countries, is mainly known as a poet or the first husband of Hannah Arendt (which is why there is only a tiny stub about Anders in the English Wikipedia). Anders actually pre-empted Baudrillard’s theory of the simulacra, and in my view with even more verve and political concern, in his volume Die Antiquiertheit des Menschen: Über die Seele im Zeitalter der zweiten industriellen Revolution* with his description of the world as a phantom and a, uh, how to translate Matrize, (matrix? stencil?), in German Die Welt als Phantom und Matrize. If you read the chapter on television, in which he proposes a phenomenological analysis of TV, you’ll find that Adorno seems to have copied from him too in his own writing about the role of television within the culture industry.

But Anders never had his breakthrough in the philosophical arena, probably because he was a “too” serious philosopher. The atomic bomb plays an important role in his thinking, as the most atrocious example of a technology that has become too big and too cumbersome for us to understand, in particular to understand it morally. Instead of sucking up to the conference circuit, he consumed himself in the anti atomic energy movement.
With that stance, he could impossibly be welcomed by the later to be postmodern crowd, although he survived quite a number of them, dying on 17 Dezember 1992 at the age of 90, still giving interviews weeks before his death.

N.B.: The great anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss is still alive!!! He is 98 meanwhile… just another thing I learned through blogs today.

LentDaily Lent (Day 15): If you are looking for a suitable philosophic diet for Lent, then I’d definitely recommend reading Günther Anders, instead of mourning Jean Baudrillard for too long. It will give you moral strength and fuel you with the energy that you need to not succumb to postmodern relativism and laziness. I would quote a bit from his work here, hadn’t I lent (sic!) my copy of the Antiquiertheit to a student. I don’t even know to how many students I have already lent this book – I am probably a bit missionary about it (simply because I never thought it was fair that Baudrillard became the shooting star of pomo with his often incoherent, sensational writing, whereas somebody who really made difference and never shmoozed with anybody is hardly known to a greater academic public).

*: (1956, roughly: The Antiquatedness of mankind: About the soul in the age of the second industrial revolution, the second volume – About the destruction of life in the age of the third industrial revolution followed in 1980)

I’m Allergic to Nuts 13/40

March 5, 2007 at 5:25 pm | Posted in Food, Lent | Leave a comment
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Here is one attempt of making the marginalization of children with allergies not quite so dire for them: Buy them a T-Shirt with funky crocodiles that have food allergy too!

Allergator

Well. I suppose this must be a hit among allergo-parents. At least it offers the illusion of an increased control over the child’s eating habits, extending to the persons in charge of the children. And I suppose it makes sense with children with severe food allergies. But could this imply that child care workers that feed peanut cookies to children wearing food allergy sweaters will be liable to prosecution in the near future?

“The child was correctly labeled, ma’am.”

But what if children that DON’t have allergies begin wearing these shirts because they think they’re cool? Would that be o.k.? What if somebody demanded that the label attached to a person by virtue of the shirt he or she is wearing has really to be true? Like “God’s gift to women”? Tssk.

Lent Daily Lent (Day 13): The third week of Lent is beginning soon, but I am not even halfway through it. Don’t regret to have started though, although I am quite obviously craving for sweets. I am not so pleased with my cooking at the moment – yesterday’s carrot potatoe mash wasn’t all convincing (which might have to do with the fact that it is normally served with minced meat). But no doubt about it: If I were a better cook, I would enjoy Lent much more. At least I don’t have any food allergies.

Nike Cricket Crazy Commercial for India 11/40

March 3, 2007 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Food, German, Globalization, Indian, Lent | 5 Comments
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If I hadn’t started a blog and hadn’t stumbled over Neha’s Blog, then I would miss out on so many things in the arena of global popular culture! I still have no idea whether I will ever make it to India (I have the secret hope that a friend of mine who is going to get married to an Indian-American is going to celebrate twice and that I’ll be invited to the Indian ceremony:-) but nevertheless I love all things Indian. Today she recommended Nike’s new commercial, tailored to the taste of Indian audiences: Cricket Crazy!

Speaking of globalization: In the case of this commercial it seems as if some South American rhythms have crept into the tune. The downside: It’s great to have youtube, in particular if you don’t have a TV, but some things just have to be watched on a big screen to catch on. Silver screen would be even better – for comparison, I have also included the Nike basketball commercial which struck everyone when it first appeared in the movie theatres. The vibe doesn’t really come across on youtube.

LentDaily Lent (Day 11): I am now beginning to fantasize about food that contains sugar. A piece of classic German fruitcake from the pan would be the best, made from yeast dough covered with plums and with crème fraiche poured over the hot cake. Quetschekuche mit Schmand… drooooool… Actually, a cuppa tea with milk AND SUGAR alone would be really nice right now.

Lenten Nausea 10/40

March 2, 2007 at 11:49 am | Posted in Food, Lent, Teaching English | 8 Comments

Ha! I am actually sitting in a classroom right now and my students are working on their syllabus scanning task. They never ever read the syllabus properly (nor listen to me when I explain it) and in the end, when they have to fill out the evaluation forms, they tick “Disagree” for the item “The aim of the course was clearly explained at the beginning”. Hence the syllabus scanning task – even if they tick “Disagree”, I know for sure that they are wrong:-) Teachers are such nitpickers, aren’t they? Seeing yourself develop a teacher personality can be really painful at times.

😛

LentDaily Lent (10): Yesterday wasn’t a good Lent day. I had fish and rice for lunch and later had coffee and it seems as if the two didn’t go together well. I was too sick to eat anything else for the rest of the day, and I had to stop with my yoga practice halfway because I felt so nauseous that I had to throw up:-( Had to force myself to eat something thereafter and found that plain bread was the best. Still felt dizzy this morning.

The Golden Hour 9/40

March 1, 2007 at 1:04 am | Posted in Alps, Austria, Consumerism, Food, Lent | 3 Comments

There are a couple of moments in the evenings, probably no more than half a minute, when the Rhine valley appears to be set aflame by a golden light. I have so often wanted to photograph it, but never had a camera at hand. I’m mostly at my office when it starts, but it is even more impressive from my flat, with the summits of the local mountains reflecting the sunlight, dramatically set against a backdrop of suddenly dark blueish clouds.

When it began today, I quickly launched the webcam that’s mounted on the Karren, the local mountain, and began capturing pictures. I gathered 50 and put them together into a tiny film. The film begin with the golden moment – which is not immediately apparent, as its effect derives from the contrast to the previous light. But you can see how the scenery falls back into grey after a few seconds. Lovely. The lake in the background is Lake Constance.

I imagine this magic moment is caused by the light finding a gap somewhere in the Swiss mountain ranges which it can only pass through at a certain angle and at a certain hour, for just these precious moments. That might not be the accurate explanation, it’s probably nothing more but the clouds giving way to the sub for a moment, but I like to think about it that way:-)

LentMy daily Lent message (Day 9): Whoo, nearly a quarter of Lent is over! Not only do I eat less, but my interest in food is generally declining. I went to the supermarket after work tonight, which is normally the worst time to shop as I am sooo hungry. Under such circumstances, I often drool at the sight of the original Austrian Schaumrollen vom Guschlbauer, dem Schaumrollenkönig. A Schaumrolle could be translated to cream role and is something close to a croissant with marshmallow filling, covered with sugar or chocolate icing, and it’s definitely the heroin of carbohydrate addicts like me. I think there was only one time that I actually dared to buy one and it was absolutely divine. ‘One’ is actually a lie, as they don’t come in single packs;-) No wonder America has a problem with obesity – I won’t forget the sight of the double dozen doughnut packs in the Walmart in Maryville, Missouri when I visited my boyfriend there. Scary!
GuschlbauerGuschlbauer
With my Lent mindset, however, I went into the supermarket and just bought 1 kilo of Basmati rice, a litre of milk and half a litre of sour milk. It seemed as if the shop had nothing else to offer. I win, consumerism loses, Cool:-)

Mariah Carey gives up drinking for lent 8/40

February 28, 2007 at 2:19 am | Posted in Food, Lent, Stars | Leave a comment
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Instead of drinking herself, she hires someone to make her drink from a cup. Ok, she doesn’t do that for Lent, but she has an assistant who makes sure her intake of liquids doesn’t plummet while she’s signing copies of her album. Maybe Mariah should hire a paediatric nurse and not humiliate her PR assistant like that. The assistant does certainly not look happy. Pictures and original story by The Sun (after The Superficial seemingly had to delete the pictures). But of course this is one way of buying friends (or substitutes for friends) for money. Financial capital converted to social capital, with an increase of social distinction. Who else can afford an abigail these days?


Maria Carey can't drink


Maria Carey can't drink


Maria Carey can't drink

EDIT: So, was able to find the pictures at The Sun UK, hope they are going to last there for a while.

LentMy daily Lenten message (Day 8): If you are rich like Mariah, I guess there is no point in trying to distinguish yourself by what you eat (possible, but probably not expensive enough) but by how you eat it. I think Mariah should give up hiring drinking assistants for Lent and give the money to charity instead. On my own Lent front, I am beginning to get less and less hungry, which (to me) substantiates my theory that sugar causes hunger. Those who are familiar with the metabolization of insuline would probably be able to explain that, I am not. So in that sense, I am really beginning to fast now. Easter comes on the 8th of April, and I am already fantasizing about the treat that I will have to celebrate that day. Nevertheless, I think I am going to fast every year now, to sweep out the waste and toxines that accumulate in your body over the year, and to get rid of the weight put on over winter (which I always do). Also, my birthday is in April, so slimming down for your birthday seems like a reasonable thing to do to me (33 this year, oooooh!).

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