Thursday, December 27, 2007

Not as expected

Well. I wanted to paint a vampire to practice (undead) skin tones. But it looks like I got Hermione from Harry Potter. This seems like a really bad bargain.

Maybe better luck next time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

Here are the remaining two sculptures. I guess the people who got them are less recognisable, but they liked them, and that's all that's important.

(Hmm, maybe I should get people presents that are useful instead of stuff that will clutter up their flats...)

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, if you celebrate it, and a stressless, quiet, enjoyable rest of the day if not. Hope you all get the calm, rest and affection that you wish for and that your evening is as you want it to be.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Looking Back

Yesterday was the end of a 9-successive-days-of-Kendo-period, thanks to the seminar we had this week (and it really should have been 10 days). The seminar went pretty well, considering that I had to hop through the flat on one leg last Wednesday because the other hurt just a little too for me to bother with walking properly. Interesting experience.
It was fun (just too short), and I learned loads - more than on the last one, I think. Made me realize again how much I still have to learn about the very basic techniques. It's great to have so many people who give you helpful criticism.
And good that you only feel how tired you are when everything's over.


Less than two weeks till new year, so I think it's time to reflect a bit on 2007. Chronologically:

January: First discussions with my supervisor concerning my thesis topic. Broke up all contact with my ex. Turned out to be an excellent decision, letting me move on with my life without draging old baggage behind.
February: The DAF community project Zoomquilt II, to which I contributed, was released.
March: Did some radical food experiments in my first week of the new semester, which caused my immune system to break down and left me first "only" ill, then with high fever and finally with an infection of my middle ear for two weeks. Wrote a short story containing talking food (Fairtrade milk and organic milk argued with each other about which is better) during that fever at 2am (I submitted that story to a writer's contest. Surprisingly, it didn't win). Decided to not ever repeat that food experiment. Found a second roleplaying group to DM. Started Kendo in Salzburg.
May: Went to Graz to for the Schandmaul concert, visited the Riegersburg and Zotter chocolate factory. Lots of fun. Also went to two medieval fairs on my birthday weekend, which was the best present Markus and Christine could have given me.
June: Determined my thesis topic after lots of reading during the semester.
July: Got to know an almost completely different kind of Kendo in Linz. Sticked with it. Began my daily holiday schedule of staying in the garden during the day, swimming 1-2h per day and reading books for my thesis the rest of the time. Figured that combining physical with mental work is really the most enjoyable way to get work done.
August: Went to my first Kendo seminar. Also went to several medieval fairs and visited the Turba Ferox in Vienna.
September: One week Lesereise of the Germanistik. Ate the best organic apples I've ever tasted there. The lack of a computer for a week and the sense of quietude, increased time and heightened achievement made me rething my computer habits (but, alas, still nothing has changed).
October: New semester of uni started. Found out my timetable is even less crowded than I thought. Consequently decided to move out of my flat in Salzburg. Got bogu. Got stressed because a friend who had started working on her thesis at the same time as I did had already begun writing hers.
November: Got even more stressed because said friend reached page 70 of her thesis, while I still wasn't writing. Had a 2-weekend communication workshop at uni, learning a lot about voice and breathing. Started fighting in bogu. Spent a weekend training Kendo in Innsbruck. Went to the Gesundheitsmesse in Wels, catching the wrong train for the first time in my life (resulting in me finding creative ways to spend an hour at a pitch-black, open train station in the cold). Started sculpting. Went to the first research conference in my life.
December: Said friend finished her thesis. Started writing mine. Had my second Kendo seminar.

So, none of my decisions backfired on me, which is great. All in all, it was a really, really good year. Better than 2006, I think. Actually, thinking back, it was probably the best after 2004/05 (simply because it takes a lot to top the year I spent in Oxford). I'll only reluctantly say goodbye.

Plans for 2008: Finish uni, find a job, move into my own flat. Paint more and improve my technique. Continue Kendo. Spend less money (or rather, spend money only when it's really necessary, and more specifically, buy books only when I'm through with the pile of unread books next to my bed).


As written above, I started sculpting about a month ago. I always wanted to get into it, but couldn't get Super Sculpey anywhere. When I ran out of patience (or was at a point of too much motivation) I looked a bit around online and found that a few sculptors use Fimo Soft and Green Stuff and have good end results. Since Fimo is much more easily to get, I just tried it. Here, then, are the first two (fairly average) sculptures of my life (and more to follow after Christmas).
The first one's not in it's finished stage, because I painted over some of the stuff on his clothes after having taken the pictures; but it's still 94% finished.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Easy targets

Just marginally picking up on the topic of aims in talkshows/courtshows again. Here is a YouTube video (German) that points out the false statements the media makes on ego shooters (usually in relation to shootings at schools). Ego shooters are such a nice scapegoat, and TV viewers who don't go hunting for more information by themselves are usually let in the dark about really significant details.
We talked in one of my courses about the media coverage of the shooting at Erfurt. As the video says, they guy who did it didn't play Counterstrike, even though the media keeps repeating it endlessly, and continuously states that it helped him practice his aim and plan the shooting. What the media doesn't say is that he was member of his local shooting association where he had access to real guns (not the ones controlled by a computer mouse) and practice (and from what I remember of the discussion the course, he also was allowed to use a pump gun because he had a "proven need to shoot" or something like that).
So why mention Counterstrike and not the shooting association? The media debate that followed the shooting resulted in stricter laws in Germany concerning computer games to protect the youth - even though, clearly, even if these laws had been in action before the shooting, they wouldn't have changed what happened.
According to my lecturer, the shooting association was not mentioned because playing ego shooters happens in private, so it is easier to stigmatise it (in the worst case people hide and don't admit to playing the games), while being part of an association is far more in the public domain, so it's more obviously damaging. In the end, though, it probably wasn't mentioned because the German government wanted to get that law approved.
I used to think the media targets ego shooters because they're an easy and accessible scapegoat, so people don't have to blame themselves for raising their children poorly or being socially incompetent by ignoring bullying. But maybe there's a more complex agenda behind these media reports.
Ah well. Just another reminder that not all that's in the news is always even remotely true.


More experimenting with techniques. I think I'm slowly getting where I want to be.