musings

Nanowrimofail

I failed the Nanowrimo2011. Totally and utterly. There is no excuse. Though I started a week late, I managed to rack up some daily word counts that (if I’d kept them up) would have had me finishing the thing on time. But no! I got distracted and lost interest. I think I could finish it up (I at least like the direction it was going in) but I don’t know if I’ll bother. Oh well… I’ll just have to try again.

Unicorn with a Warm Horn

For work reasons the DH and I have been living in Darmstadt for almost two months now. We’ve been subletting an apartment that is near a fountain with a unicorn in it. Because it is getting cold here in Germany and inspired by the yarnbombs in the park surrounding the castle in Darmstadt, I decided to knit the unicorn a little something to keep his horn warm. The pompom was made by DH himself. For more information: http://ravel.me/fritzoid/wh
The unicorn is also wearing a mask because someone was worried he might inhale too much particulate matter (the city of Darmstadt has a serious particulate matter problem).

In totally unrelated news: I’ve been neglecting my NaNoWriMo and I feel horrible about it.

10,000 Words

I just passed the 10,000 word mark 600 words ago! Wahoo! I am now less than 8,000 words behind on my NaNo 2011. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out NaNoWriMo.org

Also, I have a better feeling for where the story is headed. It’s not very imaginative, but it’s a direction. As, Ms Frey said in a recent blog post: first drafts are always a bit crap.

So that’s where I’m at. Things are happening.

myNaNoWriMo2011

Having been a spectator to the craziness that is NaNoWriMo for some years now, I have decided to participate this year. I started about a week late (I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened) but i’ve had two very productive days, resulting in 6094 words (out of the 50 000 words required to ‘win’) so far. I’m not wholly convinced I’m going in the right direction with this. I’ve chosen to write an epistolary novel that includes letters (some of which actually get sent), emails, chat transcripts, diary entries, internal monologue, internal dialogue, and phone calls. I’m using different fonts to differentiate between these. Like I said: it might be too complicated or artificial or too far up its own ass to actually work as a readable (if not enjoyable) novel. But hey! The motto is “don’t get it right, get it done”. So I’m writing away. It’s actually kind of fun (she says, after only 2 days of writing) and I hope I can at least finish it. Whether I go beyond a first draft is up in the air.

I love the NaNoWriMo forums, the pep talks, the idea that out there several thousand people are also doing this, and the pure joy I feel when I watch my word count go up. Some of the dares (give your character an annoying trait, have one of your characters make a ridiculous order at Starbucks) are useful, even when you don’t accept them, simply because they shake your brain up and help move things along.

I’ve noticed I like to mention food every couple of paragraphs. Maybe I’ll include a recipe somewhere. Hmm…

Anyway, I wanted to mention that I’m using Scrivener for Mac to write this baby. I used it to write my thesis last year and it served me so well that I’m using it again. Scrivener is basically so great that I’d have to dedicate an entire post to it and so I shall at some later date. But go download a free trial version right now (Mac or Windows) and play around with it and tell me there aren’t some nifty functions in there.

Ok, enough procrastination. Back to writing my NaNo. (Too bad the word count on this post doesn’t count towards my NaNo word count.)

The Difference between Camping

I’ve spent today’s afternoon (Central European Time) watching livestreams of Occupy protests. One of the tense anticipation of the Occupy Wall Street crowd in Zucotti Park waiting to be “cleaned” out of there and rejoicing at the news that they can stay for now. The other of Denver police removing protesters there from the park they had been camping in for 22 days. I watched CNN’s live footage of people being dragged away and tents being thrown into orange dump trucks. I also watched an unedited 9News feed from Lincoln Park in Denver.
I followed twitter streams talking about the Occupy movements in both cities. And I laughed out loud when I read @denverwill’s tweet about the dichotomy between the OccupyWallStreet campers and those camping out in front of Apple Stores to buy the new iPhone 4S (apparently Steve Wozniak is first in line).

Here’s my short and impromptu analysis:
The Occupy movement camps out in public parks because that is the easiest way to ensure an around-the-clock presence to call attention to their cause. The Apple customers camp out in front of stores to ensure the successful purchase of a product on the day it comes out. I’m not going to compare the priorities of either group. What I’m interested in is the reaction that these campers get from those in power.
Both groups pose the same problems for a city: they obstruct pedestrians’ paths, they leave litter (paper, wrappers, cigarette butts, coffee cups, etc.), their tents or chairs leave marks on the pavement or grass. So why are some politicians more concerned with one group than the other? Why is a person there for political purposes considered more disruptive than a person who’s there to buy something? Why, in other words, is the first group threatened with eviction while the second group is left unbothered?
I’d argue that those in power would like to see citizens consuming and spending money and celebrating consumerism, rather than have them question and criticize what has become a way of life for those of us in the industrialized West.
Most of us have heard the slogan “Conform! Consume! Obey!” or a variant of it. Buying things re-inforces the status quo. It is, we are told, what drives our economies forward. It is what, one might argue, helps companies pay their employees and therefore, in a sense, keeps the world going round. Questioning one’s place in the consumerist chain or even just planting a survival garden disrupts the status quo. By removing themselves from the dominant discourse of conformism and consumerism the Occupiers have rattled a cage. They do not give those in power the chance to smile indulgently and metaphorically pat them on the head. Being questioned, or rather having your power questioned, is scary. Having your way of life called into question is scary. Hell, having the status-quo called into question is scary, even if you are unhappy with the way things are.
In conclusion: the difference between the two camps is that one questions the prevalent hegemony and the others are free advertisement for a shiny world in which your life is made better by buying things and it’s easier to be nice to those who do not criticize or scare you.

It really is a wonderful contrast that highlights the kind of society we live in today.

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This Week

This week I watched the news, I read The Economist, I read the Guardian, I read some blogs… nothing
really unusual there. But somehow it got to me more than usual… maybe it was The Economist’s cover telling me to “BE AFRAID”… or the continuous reporting and interviewing of people who didn’t seem to know what to do (and these are people who’ve thought about and read about fiscal policies and gross national products and such a whole lot more than I have). It bothered me that nobody seems to know what they’re doing or what needs to be done. Basically it just felt very scary. And I feel very stupid.

So when I saw this captioned image of Fry it reflected how I felt.
But just surfing soup.io (NSFW) is definitely not the answer to this. Ignoring world events and how austerity measures are going to affect everyone is not the solution.
I think Adam Curtis summed it up perfectly: “It’s like living in the mind of a depressed hippie.” 

Memorium in Nuernberg

Deutsch
Am Mittwoch war ich mit meiner Abuela im Memorium in Nürnberg. Die Ausstellung ist klein aber fein. Obwohl der Audioguide im Deutschen nur die Texte, die sowieso neben und unter Bildern stehen, vorliest ist er trotzdem wichtig für die Stellen, an denen Archivmaterial abgespielt wird, da dieses über den Audioguide empfangen wird. Das Museumspersonal war sehr freundlich, die Ausstellung detailliert und gut aufbereitet. Vorallem der Schluß, an dem erklärt wird wie die Erfahrungen von den Nürnberger Prozessen auf die Prozesse in Japan und schließlich in Den Haag angewandt wurden, enthielt für mich viele neue Informationen.
Das Einzige was fehlt ist ein kleines Café in dem man zum Abschluß noch ein gutes Stück Kuchen essen kann.

English
On Wednesday my Abuela and I went to the Memorium in Nuremberg. The exhibit is small but very good. The Audioguide doesn’t just translate the German texts but also streams original recordings of the proceedings at the Nuremberg Trials. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the exhibition was detailed and well executed. Especially the last bit, in which they explain how the experiences of the Nuremberg Trials was then applied to similar trials in Japan and later in The Hague, contained lots of information that was new to me.
The only thing missing is a cafeteria or café where visitors could enjoy a nice piece of cake.

Last day at the Camp

This is a list of observations in no particular order.

The changeable weather made for some uncomfortable moments.

We discovered that it is possible to make Ramen noodles and tea and coffee in our rice cooker.

The burgers at the camp are pretty good.

We ate our dinners at the ICMP village.

I attended several really interesting lectures with a sociological, philosophical, or anthropological angle.

A friend of mine posted some pictures online.

It’s amazing how the quality of my sleep progressively improved over the week.

I am not looking forward to packing up tomorrow. Setting up camp seemed far more appealing than having to leave the place as we found it on Monday.

 

 

Knitting at the Camp

Just a real quick entry to say that I knit a cover for my r0ket and I wrote down what I did for the second cover. So here it is: the pattern for the r0ket cover.

r0ket coverNote: I recommend knitting in the front and back of a stitch to m1.Materials: DK weight yarn; 4,5 mm (US7) needles
Gauge: adjust number of rows and stitches according to your gauge. This pattern is pretty forgiving and hides “mistakes” fairly well.

to take off the cover: lift top over to the back side of your r0ket and slide cover down the back. warning: I am not responsible for any damage caused by yarn getting caught on bits sticking out of the r0ket.

CO 8
k1 row
k1 m1 knit to second to last st m1 k1
k1 row
k1 m1 knit to second to last st m1 k1
k3 rows
k1 ssk knit to last 3 st k2tog k1
k1 row
k1 ssk knit to last 3 st k2tog k1
k2 rows
k1 m1 knit to second to last st m1 k1
k1 row
k1 m1 knit to second to last st m1 k1
k1 row
k1 m1 knit to second to last st m1 k1
k3 rows
BO 6 k8
k2 rows
k5 k2tog k1
k row
k4 k2tog k1
k row
k1 ssk k2tog k1
k2 rows
k1 kfb kfb k1
k row
k1 kfb kfb kfb kfb k1
k3 rows
CO 8st at end of row
k3 rows
k1 ssk knit to last 3 st k2tog k1
k1 row
k1 ssk knit to last 3 st k2tog k1
k1 row
k1 ssk knit to last 3 st k2tog k1
k2 rows
k1 m1 knit to second to last st m1 k1
k4 rows
BO 11 sts
k 4 rows
k3 CO 7
k row
k1 ssk knit to last 3 st k2tog k1
k row
BO
pick up 3 st on the other side of the screen.
k4 rows

position your r0ket and assemble.

knit second leg:
CO 18
k row
decrease 2 st
k row
decrease 2st
k row
decrease 4st
decrease 4st
k row
BO

graft second leg on.

Packing for the Camp

For the past three years I’ve been told again and again: we are going to go to the Chaos Communication Camp 2011; resistance is futile.
So, I’m packing. I’ve bought rubber boots (after all, German Summers are unpredictable). I got a new keyboard for my MacBook (yay!). I’m taking some yarn and knitting needles with me for the Knitting Messages project.
We leave for the camp tomorrow. Updates will come in when I get the chance to write them. I’ll try to upload pictures every day.