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No Mail for Old Men – Or Why It’s Fun to Have Grandparents with Wifi

June 27, 2013

Grandfather's EyesWhen men worked all their life, it’s fair enough that they enjoy their late days on the terrace, in a sunny garden and with friends surrounding them. These days, it’s important that these terraces got WiFi and that the friends are on Skype and equipped with an email account at least…

“Did you know you get 87% less spam when your email address stats with a Q?”

Grandfather

My Dad asked me one day  years ago. It was the first step of him venturing out in to cyberspace, where he takes a break from cooking, baking, hiking, singing, laughing and gardening – which is what he usually spends his time with. Since this very day, I’m spoiled with forwarded mail he received. – Imagine 13-year-old boys at school. One is getting a really funny note, written on a dodgy paper, ripped out from an exercise book and crunched up more than folded. Wouldn’t you pass it on if it was funny, entertaining and leading your thoughts away from the dull day-to-day life around you?

Here’s the latest gem from my  collection “forwarded notes from my father’s friends to my father“. It’s about a girl, well: a Golden Girl. And about parties and boys. It’s almost Dadaism. Hugo BallKurt Schwitters by accident. Enjoy!

———- Forwarded Message ———-
From: Fritz Lachner <qphylloxera@live.com>
Date: 2013/6/20  11:32
Subject: dread
To: paul otto <qpotto@ymail.de>

Good Day, Paul,

in the case Dreadling.
The handling is indeed very time-consuming.
She sends me smile and smirk stories, I keep her entertained.
I’m not mailing you the jokes any more, because your PC capacities are too marginal.

For Uq I really enriched her celebration at the Lot’s place pleasantly. The Le was apparently also there, not the Pa. About his absence reportedly has been conjectured.

If O or not.???.

Overall it was supposedly good.
“Old” faces  seemingly are not involved any more.

The Pa is now also already 9y out of the office, and the Lot was surely not exactly his friend.
What would the Pa have done there. Sit next to enemies like Lot, Uq, Dr. Meyer, what else I happen to know…

The Hill is as talkative as a hill, Pa would have had nothing from that either.
Pa is not inside this business any more.
I (we) should not have to care.

Will we go again to BWh having a nice day?

All the best wishes to you
Fritz

Oh, yes, this is real.
And of course I did change the personal information, but tried to keep the original unintended and intended pun. As well as the feel of names and places and sometimes weird punctuation.

Isn’t it strange which style a language adapts, when you work for 40+ years in an office only ever writing demand notes and administration fines? I hope this feel of office burnt into a brain has not been lost in translation. It left me very touched.

(Read more Dadaist poetry found in the real world here: After Hours in Mongolia – Authentic Dadaist Thermos Poetry)

Street Art in Thessaloniki

April 5, 2013

I visited Greece. We get to read a lot about Greece and the crisis these days. I’ve been there for a film festival. These were the souvenirs I brought home to you { Shoplifting and OrangesGreece in the Rain }.

Here’s some street art I found in Thessaloniki:

street art greece thessaloniki - girlstreet art greece thessalonikistreet art greece thessaloniki - birdstreet art thessaloniki - tiger stencilOh and there was some amazing poster, that I could not resist. I’m in love:

poster art wall art street art thessaloniki greece - drag

 

 

 

Tree Tall Teenagers, Easter Nests and Crochet Baby Shoes

March 30, 2013

A very good friend of mine will be father soon. He’s excited. I’m excited.

Despite the fact that my own kids are already hard approaching leaving-mama’s-nest time I developed in the last years an “oh my god so cute” appreciation for small children I never had or knew before from myself. Perhaps it’s not despite the fact my kids are no toddlers any more and left primary school long time ago, but because of the fact they are grown up quite a bit.

I remember one Easter morning a few years back, when I turned around to get some more tea and bread. I turned back and suddenly there was this male stranger standing at my coffee table. A man! I’d not seen before! In my house! At 9am! On Easter Sunday!

Few month back, on Christmas day, he’s been this cute little kid. All gone. Dark voice “Can I have some more orange juice – please?”. Beard. “Mama?!?” – smiling eyes. Yep. It’s my son.

Pretty impressive to watch how cells are multiplying simply long enough to make what’s than us.

For my soon-to-be-father friend, I made these baby socks. I find baby socks are always a great memory, for when you forgot how tiny the little one with shoe size 48 (US: 13) once was when you found him in the nest.

crochet baby shoes tutorial

Here’s how to make these crochet baby shoes:

Best use a very soft, not to thick yarn. I used pure merino. Many shops stock special “baby wool”. Make sure you can wash the yarn you chose. Pick a matching crochet hook.

You will need these stitches:

The links will lead you to Youtube tutorials of each stitch. Coz these baby booties are easy to make, even for beginners, so check the stitches out if you don’t know them and try!

crochet baby sock  tutorial

1. Work 6 hdc in magic circle. Join with ss. (You got 6 stitches in the circle.)
2. Ch. 1. Work 2 hdc in each hdc. Join with ss. (You got now 12 stitches in the circle.)
3. Ch 1. * work 2 hdc in your 1st hdc, 1 hdc in your next hdc. Repeat from the  * around. Join with ss. (You got now 18 stitches.)
4. Ch 1. * work 2 hdc in 1st hdc, 1 hdc in ea of next 2 hdc. Repeat from the * around. Join with ss. (There should be now 24 stitches in the circle.)
5. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
6. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
7. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
8. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
9. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.
10. Ch 1. 1 hdc in each hdc around. Join with ss.

11. Lay your work flat. Ch 1. Turn, working in bottom 13 hdc, leaving top hdc unworked: 1 hdc in ea hdc. Ch 1. Turn. (You are starting now a little square bit on one side of the round shoe front you just worked from round 1. to 10. – your little square bit should have  13 stitches. this was your round 1 of the square bit.)
12. Repeat round 11. (Straight bit round 2)
13. Repeat round 11. (Straight bit round 3)
14. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 4)
15. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 5)
16. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 6)
17. Repeat round 11.  (Straight bit round 7)

18. Fold bootie lengthwise, so that open corners of the square section just worked match up. ss down to connect and form heel. Fasten off.

19. Join the yarn at the corner between sides and toe section, with toe facing right, and heel facing left. Work 20 hdc evenly down the side, around the heel, and up the other side. Work 5 hdcdec across the top of the toe section. Join with ss.

20. Ch 1, * 1 fphdc in 1st hdc, 1 bphdc in next hdc. Repeat from the * around. Join with ss.
21. Repeat round 20. 6 times. Fasten off and weave in the ends.

For the tie: Ch 55. Weave in through base of fphdc in round 20.
I made a little chain for a button-hole as well. But it works more as decoration rather than to fasten the baby shoe later.

crochet baby booties tutorial

Happy Easter everyone! Hope your Easter nests will be filled with adorable things you love.

crochet baby booties tutorialcrochet red and blue baby shoes tutorial

English-Book-Strawberry-Trifle and Irena&dots

March 27, 2013

You probably can only get this excited about trifle and trifle-making when you did not grow up with it. And when the picture in your English book looks so appalling, that you think of trifle as some food another person has eaten before. – Repelling and unknown…it’s the adventure setup challenging every 12-year-old.

If you’re than one of the lucky few who actually get’s to taste it, coz a class mate brings it in just before the Easter break and if it’s than oh so miraculously good – well than: you’re hooked.

My younger one was so excited, he rang me in Thessaloniki to find out if we’d make trifle today-right-this-second, he googled about 800 different recipes to match the one in his Green Line English book – which was at his father’s place – he even went with me on a 3-hour shopping trip by bike! – A rare occasion, normally I get a “nein danke” when it’s grocery-shopping-shifting-bags-home time. – He even promised me 3000 clicks when I’d write about making trifle.

So this weekend, trifle time it was!

Trifle with Black Cherry Jelly - food photography by Sanne KurzWe improvised based on the 800 recipes he googled.
We chose as main ingredients the things laughing at us begging “take me” during our grocery tour and the memories, he had of his last English lesson.
Here is how we did it.
It’s delicious:

  • 1 pack vanilla custard powder for 500 ml (about one pint) milk
  • the milk mentioned above for the custard powder
  • we used 2 tablespoon more sugar than mentioned on our vanilla custard pack
  • 1 pack black cherry jelly (we used jelly powder)
  • water to prepare the jelly
  • 200ml sweet cream, which we whipped until stiff (6.7oz or 0.42 pint)
  • 1 large pack of shortbread or butter biscuits, we used the classic German Leibniz-Butter-Keks - the cookies you choose to use should be fairly dry
  • strawberries (the season just started in Spain…)
  • banana
  • chocolate Leibniz biscuit or other decoration

Vanilla Strawberry Trifle - Food Photography Sanne Kurz

  1. Prepare the jelly. Let it cool down and set it in the fridge to stiffen. 
  2. Prepare the vanilla custard, we added 1 tbsp sugar extra, oh, and: we let the custard burn a bit…not sure if that contributed to the amazing trifle taste…
  3. Whip the cream until very stiff.
  4. Cut the fruits.
  5. Crumble the biscuits in to a large glass device. The bottom layer can be a bit thicker. It works as foundation.
  6. Pour the vanilla custard on the crumbs. We did that when the custard was still hot. It soaked beautifully in to the first biscuit layer.
  7. Sprinkle the strawberry bits on the vanilla custard. Add the banana pieces. Our fruits were cut fairly fine. My son and I were debating if there should be an equal amount of banana and strawberry or not. I prefer a little banana and a lot of strawberry. And since I’m writing this post…use less banana than strawberry!
  8. Whipped cream goes on top of the fruits sunk in to the vanilla custard.
  9. Repeat the layers: biscuit crumbs, fruits, whipped cream as often as you like and your bowl permits you.
  10. Finish with whipped cream.
  11. Scoop out nice bits from the cold jelly to decorate the top.
  12. Add other decoration ad libitum.

Trifle Seite 63 Green Line -  Sanne Kurz

We had the trifle in the fridge over night. That way, all the flavours could come together really nicely and the biscuits got beautifully soaked, smooth and yummy, just like a rich cake. Thanks for the idea and making this with me! – Oh, and: I’ll better get the 3000 clicks you promised me!

Roses and Trifle - Sanne Kurz

The roses in the foreground I got for 8th of March, the International Women’s Day. I only learned about this day after the German reunification – our crèche kindergarteners from the former GDR celebrated it. Flowers for 8th of March is what happens when you find yourself an Eastern European male family member. One of the benefits of these types of husbands: flowers on International Women’s Day.

In fact: not only men give flowers to women. A great lady, whose blog I love to read and who’s images I love to look at is Irena from Irena&dots. She gave flowers to the ladies on 8th of March! Irena is located very central in Europe. She’s blogging from a country, that used to be “East” when we still had an iron curtain dividing our continent. “East” = manners = flowers for International Women’s Day for all the ladies!

On March the 8th Irena nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award. These awards work like a chain-letter. They engage you in to a lovely afternoon of reading, exploring new blogs, getting new ideas and a bunch of inspiration and meeting new people and their worlds online. – So: Thank you Irena for nominating me and making me part of this! Here’s my list of what I read and recommend a.k.a. my “nominees for the Super Sweet Blogging Award”:

  1. Irena&dots – I know the people who nominated you are not supposed to be here, but for me it’s a list of reading recommendations rather than a list of people I nominate. Visit Irena for wonderful images that come together with vegetarian and non vegetarian versions of one recipe. Small little texts just enough to read over a coffee give great extra inspiration. – No, she does not pay me to write this.
  2. Nr.11 – I met Nr.11 via Irena&dots. Great, inspiring visuals, English kitchen baking, seasonal cooking, food for a small budget, but still delicious and amazing.
  3. Rockfarmer – Food and environment posts. I tried making her excellent fruit scrap vinegar. it was a big success. All recipes are usually gluten-free and dairy product free.
  4. Breakfasts @Components – Each second Sunday the creative platform Components takes us out to visit photographers, bloggers, artists and have breakfast with them. I love the “Breakfast with…” series and can only recommend! Absolutely my favorite breakfast spot since {365} Breakfasts moved from daily posting to archive only. Recipes only when the interviewed people add them!
  5. Lottie+Doof – When I got there first, I read all through the blog for two days. Very creative, well written food blog with great images.
  6. Hungry Foodies Pharmacy – Pharmacist by day and chef at night. Grown up in a restaurant and finished uni with a doctorate degree. Gluten free&vegan and roast pork&BBQ. I’m not a frequent reader, but love to stop by.
  7. Frugal Feeding – Call me efficient, call me frugal, call me stingy – here I find many things I find inspiring in an economical use of resources…and everything on this page is delicious looking and tempting to read about…coz we wanna be resourceful but we don’t wanna give up daily pleasures, do we?
  8. Things {We} Make – I tried many things from this blog, all my experiments were real winners. Love their brioche!
  9. Liz&Jewels – Two friends from Münster/Germany and New York City/USA who used to live in one city together and now are cooking together across the ocean. 1 recipe / 1 story and 2 results / 2 amazing images. Definitely a read!
  10. Valentinas Kochbuch – Cooking book reviews. Amazing. In German… but reviewing English language books here and there! They do not only review books, but are also cooking recipes from these books, interviewing cooks, writers and photographers… this page is definitely worth heading over for to Goole Translate!
  11. Birds like Cake - This German language blog can be accessed via the”In English Please” Button on the page. Stunning images, mouth-watering recipes, great little stories. Gotta follow this!
  12. Zimt Zucker  und Liebe - German language blog. To read it use the “In English please!” Button right on the page. – The best pear Tarte Tatin I ever saw! A must follow.
  13. Missboulette – Korean and non Korean food, Kimchi goodness or should I say goddess?! Written by a German/Korean in…German.   …what a selfish list-maker I am!

Super Sweet Questions:

1. Cookies or Cake?     
Definitely cookies  a n d  cakes. 

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate eves, vanilla days.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?
The first raspberries, strawberries and cherries in the garden each year.

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?
When having a tea with lots of milk in the evening getting ready for bed.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?
Suggestions please in  the comments below…  

 {Last not least the rules of the Super Sweet Blogging Award: *1 Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you. *2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back. *3 Answer the “Super Sweet” questions. *4 Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” ~ 13 ~ blogs, link to their pages in your post, and notify them on their sites. *5 Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.}

Trifle recipe Photo on 2013-03-25 at 09.19

 

Greece in the Rain

March 20, 2013

I love Couchsurfing. I host. I stay with others. I contribute. I take my family. Today, a fellow Couchsurfer checked up on me about his holiday plans. He saw on my Couchsurfing profile that I’m currently in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece, attending the renown Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival.  He mailed me to find out about Greece: Like myself, he saw frequently devastating news about the EU crisis-countries such as Greece, Spain, Cyprus and others. Sometimes you can read between the lines how the non-crisis countries and their national banks got rich with high-interest bonds. Which the national banks of the non-crisis countries bought from the national banks of the crisis countries. Isn’t it amazing to help and get rich at the same time? Oh my God. What a world.
old church in a shopping street - Thessaloniki, Greece, 2013
But luckily, my Couchsurfing friend was not interested in investment opportunities in Greece. He was worried that the people here might feel bad about visitors in these hard times and that it might be inappropriate to come and visit. I wish some more of the India, Laos, Bangladesh and Dominican Republic  visitors would ask themselves such ethical questions before travelling.
I was happy I had been contacted, to report as a tourist in Greece first hand.

My answer was: Yes! Greece is a great place for your holidays. You will love it! The people are incredibly friendly, very open and extremely hospitable deep from the heart. The country seems to stand united despite of what we see from time to time in the news. I feel very safe, the garbage cleaning and street sweeping works heaps better than in southern Italy, people seem to stick together, try to get through this, help each other and do the best to get out of the ditch they are in.

windows of an abandones building - Thessaloniki Greece, 2013Yes, there are many unemployed people in Greece. Over a quarter of the adult population has no work, not counting students, self-employed that are out of business and people in employment programs. But I have not seen one single person sleeping on the street during my visit. A sight I saw many times in New York and San Francisco.

Thessaloniki on a rainy spring dayI came in a rainy time of the year. The air is crisp and clear, but dark clouds are hanging above the city. – Yes it is hard for the weakest, pensioners and old people. Some of them I could meet when there was a festival event with a free lunch for us guests at the pier. Three or four ladies and one decent, well dressed elderly men came and enjoyed with us a free meal. But they seemed not devastated. They engaged with us guests, we chatted with hand and feet, their spirits seemed high.

I adore the strength to carry on and not let yourself down mentally. I’m not sure if I could do that myself.

It’s my very first time in Thessaloniki, in Macedonia, in Greece and I’m loving it.

At the airport on my way here I met a group of thirty teenage girls on their way back from skiing in the Austrian Zillertal.
I was slightly annoyed about the extra waiting time at the check in – 30 teens with overweight luggage right in front of me – man!
I also was slightly annoyed by skiing Greek people thinking myself “Why are they not at home helping others with their spare free time and spare money, showing solidarity with those suffering in their country?”
Last not least I had still a shocking article in mind, that  I had read about a month ago: an article in German SZ Magazin about the Greek health system. The line under the title read “Who needs a doctor can only wait“. It had shocking pictures, that moved me a lot. The journalist, a German man of Greek parents, visited emergency rooms in public hospitals and documented how they got to limit their opening times to four days a week, how patients have to travel extremely far to get help, how doctors and nurses have not received pay in months.

I was angry. Standing at the check-in, about to visit Greece for the first time in my life. I was angry, with the suffering I had seen on those pictures in my mind. I was angry about the economy and the skiing-tourists right in front of me. I wrote an angry article about solidarity.

Than I thought: You’re going to Greece for the first time in your life. You have no idea about this girls, no idea about the Greek health system and no idea in fact about Greece at all. At all! Perhaps the skiing teachers organizing the trip are long-term unemployed people who took their chances, showed initiative, as everyone is demanding so often. Perhaps they just opened a business and thank God it’s going well! Perhaps these girls won a competition with their school and got a free holiday! Perhaps they are the Greek olympic winter-sport squad! Perhaps they are not Greek at all! How do I know?
I only learned so far Kalimera – which means Good Morning and Phareesto meaning Thank You - how can I dare standing at the check-in counter and judge?

I arrived at night.

ancient hamam from ottoman times and plants under a street lightFunny what our mind does with small bits of information and how we function, based on snippets our senses are grasping, forming them to assumptions, theories and last not least to our reality.

- I felt ashamed. I scrapped that angry article. I love it here. Come and see yourself.

Shoplifting and Oranges

March 19, 2013
Oranges in the Rain, Thessaloniki 2013 by Sanne Kurz Kamera

I’m still amazed and surprised to see oranges on trees in spring, rather than at Christmas in supermarket shelves. Despite being often in Israel and other places where this happens every year: this wonder, that the trees are hanging full of oranges.

Oranges Grow on Trees. Sanne Kurz KameraMy mum is born in 1946. Pretty much exactly one year after the war finished and two years before the Deutsche Mark brought hope and prosperity to the perpetrators, the victims, the refugees from former German territories and their children.

My mum had a loving family, her father was a calm and quiet man who never raised his voice and let us grandkids braid his hair during his coffee breaks.

One single time in my life, my mum has been beaten up by her father. It was the day she saw for the first time in her life oranges. They lured at her in her village’s shop.

Oranges in the Rain, Thessaloniki 2013 by Sanne Kurz KameraShe could not resist, and took one, leaving the shop without leaving any Pfennigs or Deutsche Marks there.

I too remember the one time that I stole something as a child. It was not oranges, but a Bazooka Joe chewing gum for 30 Pfennig. It had a tattoo in the wrapper. I often tried to return the 30 Pfennig to Wamsgans, the local place that I shoplifted. They never took my money.

I’m not sure how often my mum thinks about the orange. I do remember the one-and-only thefts of my own kids. And I will definitely never forget my mum’s story and the oranges.

Orange Reflection. Photography by Sanne Kurz KameraAll images are taken in Thessaloniki, Macedonia, Greece. It’s my first time here. I’m attending the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival with a movie I shot. Yesterday it was rainy and today it’s sunny. I’m pretty sure there’ll be more to come from my trip.

Harlem Shake, my Kids and the Army of Norway

February 22, 2013

The Internet was just about to start, when I entered filmschool. It was 1995, and it took my schools commercial department about ten years to discover the power of the Net and to start teaching viral marketing as well as shooting for viral campaigns. – And even though the industry discovered the power of cross-media, it did take the other departments of my filmschool a little bit longer to understand.

Well, actually, still today I see emerging filmmakers trying to aim for Internet and Web series’, yes, I even shot myself some. I see TV stations try and reach out to the users…but…what shall I say:
No filmmakers out there in the Vlogo-Sphere.

In fact it’s my kids being the ones that keep me up to date. Grown up as “natives”, knowing how to browse the Net long before they could read or write, they consume next to cinema and VoD/DVD mainly content especially produced for the Internet. Being native German speakers, the boys even started watching American Youtubers long before they had English at school.

Y-Titty, 1.3 mio subscribers and 318 mio views as by today, are perhaps the most successful German Youtubers. They are known outside Germany/Switzerland and Austria mainly for their Goyte parody (there’s English subtitles, just you turn on the captions!).

Ok. Enough surfing. Back to my point. I mean: 1.3 mio subscribers! Any nationwide German newspaper can only dream of this! 318 mio views! For just about 200 videos! And Y-Titty is only group one of many. And there’s not only parodies. There’s Let’s Plays (commented computer games recorded whilst the makers are playing), there’s great and smart comedy, done by self-doubting clever artists (or is it unemployed middle-aged people!?) with a very amazing black humor like Dr. Allwissend, there are shameless promotions of course and companies wanting to jump on the band-wagon trying more or less successfully to play the viral game…

…and:

…there’s the unpredicted hypes, nobody would have ever thought of. The attention every marketing director and film school student is dreaming about. You all heard definitely about Gangnam Style. Well, that was yesterday and is oh so 2012!

What the world is on to now is the Harlem Shake.

There’s entire Youtube “Best Of” playlists, there are companies and unis doing it, there’s animated versions, Minecraft Harlem Shake and of course the first pretty funny anti-Harlem Shake videos by Harlem Shake haters.

The first type of Harlem Shake videos was uploaded on February the 2nd, 2013, by some teenagers. The little clips all over the Net are all done the same way and only about 30 seconds long. Today, February 22nd, not even three weeks later, it’s a hype with several major companies “Harlem Shaking” and the song Harlem Shake by US  DJ Baauer, that was no commercial success since its release in Summer 2012 and that the videos are based on, was sky-rocketed up to be the current Billboard Hot 100 as well as Dance/Electronic Songs number 1 hit in the US.

I’m such a big fan of the commons, and this is another example for them to work. The song has been released as a free download. and only when people took it and reused it - unauthorised - it became a commercial success.

The biggest success so far is with the Scandinavians. The best image improvement any army can make, the Norwegian Army gets it all for free from a 19-year-old soldier, Kenneth Håkonsen, who filmed and put online a Harlem Shake with his Norwegian Army squad. – Could not more armies be that way? Best during war times…it would force the world’s leaders to find other solutions than sending simply an army over…

Oh and in case you thought, only non-serious funny stuff can make it viral on the Internet, watch this here. Science! – Two quadrocopters capable of balancing, throwing and catching a pole by IDSC, ETH Zürich, Switzerland. Over 600.000 clicks in less than three days.

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