28 March 2015 @ 10:22 pm
Day 5: Saturday: Saalburg  
Living with a church musician means having to be back by Sunday, so we went back on day five of our little roadtrip.

Since Crocky loves all things Roman and has fond memories of going to this place when she was a child, we decided to stop by the Saalburg to look at the ruins of the Roman fort there. It was established in 90 AD and abandoned in the middle of the third century when the Limes fell.

Saalburg )
Current Location: Germany, Saalburg
Current Mood: excited
27 March 2015 @ 08:51 pm
Day 4: Friday: Munich  
Since we'd spent most of our first day indoors we had planned to spend more time outside on the second day and explore the inner city and the English Garden.

Munich )
Current Location: Germany, Munich
Current Mood: okay
26 March 2015 @ 08:35 pm
Day 3: Thursday: Munich  
The weather being bad we decided to go to the German Museum on the first day. The best bit about this museum is that you end up in different parts, depending on who you go with. Left to my own devices I usually head to optics and photography, pharmacy, mining and space travel. With our budding aero engineers we were obviously in the aerospace and physics exhibitions.

With Crocky, who comes from a seafaring family with a lot of musicians, we ended up in those areas.

German Museum )
Current Location: Germany, Munich
Current Mood: okay
25 March 2015 @ 05:43 pm
Day 2: Wednesday: Leipzig  
On the second day we explored Leipzig. I discovered that my cold was not quite gone and thus my head felt as though it'd been packed in cotton wool the entire day.

Leipzig )
Current Mood: sick
Current Location: Germany, Leipzig
07 November 2014 @ 08:27 pm
Books Round-up: November 1  

Hornby, Nick: Funny Girl
The lives and exploits of comedy wireless and TV writers in the sixties. This part of the book I adored- the characters were believable and lovable, the plot funny and engaging. I was not too keen on their last hurrah in the 2000ies, but I can see the merits of this ending.


London, Jack: White Fang
Doesn't everybody want to be Weedon Scott? I remember reading this when I was around ten and disliking it because there were hardly any female characters who interacted with White Fang, while my experience with my household and raising dogs was that most of the work was done by my mother-the-hunter and grandmother, though that was mostly due to the fact that my granddad, also a hunter, was a disabled WWII veteran.
I love White Fang and the dignity Jack London lends to his animal characters, though White Fang's body count is a bit worrying. I'm also not convinced that a dog as badly mistreated as White Fang would recover so quickly, but who can resist this scene:
"What of his joy, the great love in him, ever surging and struggling to express itself, succeeding in finding a new mode of expression. He suddenly thrust his head forward and nudged his way in between the master’s arm and body."


Katja Schwarz, Katja; Trost, Rainer: Kinder Und Jugendliche Mit Autismus-Spektrum-Storung: Neue Wege Durch Die Schule
A lot of the content of this book weren't really news, but it was an interesting overview of the more specific needs of children with Asperger's. I'm very pleased to note that a lot of the things mentioned as helpful in this book are things that I already do, since I consider clear language and structure to be something that most students find very beneficial.
Other things (replacing oral with written assignments, for example) I found less helpful for my subject (languages - you do have to talk sometimes, and the kids with Asperger's I teach right now hate writing and love speaking (it's the language they speak on Star Trek!) or don't mind it).
Still, I was very glad to be reminded of the basics again and be able to recheck whether I was still sticking to things that are helpful for students with this symptom and that make my classes safe for them.


Kaling, Mindy: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?
As someone who neither watches SNL nor The Office it surprised me how much I still enjoyed this biography.


Frau Freitag, Frl. Krise: Der Altmann ist tot
This was a very slow crime novel in which two teachers who usually work at a school in a multicultural and "difficult" part of Berlin solve the murder of a sleazy colleague of theirs. They are helped by former students, friends, boyfriends, and whole lot of "coincidences" that make this book very hard to buy.
As usual, they get the language students use spot on and it is funny, but especially during their various dress-up games they're less convincing than The Three Investigators (which might be a German thing? Does any one else remember the three investigators and their disguise shenanigans...?). I dis not buy it. Their attempts at sleuthing are fumbled and its a miracle they don't get in more trouble than they do, the resolution is foreseeable.
They also treat a close friend ("Onkel Ali") pretty exploitatively, using him as bait for one of their plots and then teaching him how to "be Turkish" to get rid a suspects unwanted romantic advances, and since they're middle-class Germans with German ancestors this seems... off.


Sprenger, Marilee: Damit was hängen bleibt
Nothing entirely new in these seven steps for more effective learning, and the examples don't really fit my subjects and generally always require more prep-time than I have for any classroom I teach in, but the general gist is helpful and presented in a motivating way. I can't see any of this implemented any time soon, though, as long as everything in our work depends entirely on every person's individual intrinsic motivation to do better than before and does not come with regular team meetings - at least at my school. Innovating alone surely isn't effective.


Maitland, Karen: The Vanishing Witch
Was alright. I didn't really get that attached to the characters living in the city, but did feel for the rebels.


Carey, M. R.: The Girl With All the Gifts
The zombie apocalypse from the point of view of a gifted pre-teen. Who could resist! The characters all make sense and are complex and compassionately portrayed, with their flaws and motivations.
The resolution of the book was fitting with the premise of the book, but really depressing. As always in a zombie apocalypse setting it isn't advisable to get too attached to the characters, but as always, I did, anyway.
Also, to the end, I wasn't sure who to root for, whose new beginning to hope for in this end of the world.


Mats; Bergmark Elfgren, Sara: Feuer
I'm a hopelessly devoted fan. Developed female teenage characters with believable flaws and interactions and insecurities and strength and growth who continue to be badass. And have magic. And save the world. While struggling with school and parents.Read more... )


Strandberg, Mats; Bergmark Elfgren, Sara: Schlüssel
Back in Engelsfors, the remaining Circle witches are still busy trying to stop the apocalypse. Can they trust the strange forces trying to protect them? What about the Council, can they be trusted after all when they offer help? It is engaging enough for me to keep reading so as to finish it in two sittings and is still as character-driven as the first two instalments.Read more... )
Current Mood: okay
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
31 May 2014 @ 07:20 pm
Book round-up: May  

Charlton-Trujillo, E.E.: Fat Angie
I adore the voice of the main character Angie, as I shared some of her experiences, but I hated the way she is treated by other characters. Her romance with K. C. Romance seemed a bit over the top, but I liked that she finds love. The book tackles a lot of complex and dangerous issues - abuse, eating disorders, bullying, self-harm, depression, broken families, attempted suicide - and its always in danger of being too much, but it worked for me, and I think it'd probably work for teenagers and does show that people deal with pain in different ways.


Donovan, Anne: Being Emily
I loved this book, though I find it hard to pinpoint why. We watch the heroine Fiona O'Donnell become obsessed with Emily Bronte and grow up until her world is all but shattered by the death of her mother in childbirth. Her father breaks down and turns to drinking, and she has to be the responsible adult in the family. We see her get back to her feet, find love, have her heart broken, and get back to herself as an artist. 
The narrator's beautiful rendition of the Weegie accent made me feel right at home and has a lot to do with why I loved this book.


McKinley, Robin: The Blue Sword.
No huge love plot, no rape, racism, interesting world building. I love the characters in this book. They have motivations and limitations, they have thoughts and agendas and plots. The one thing that I'd have appreciated is a bit more detail on the fancy swordfighting the main character so effortlessly learns, I didn't quite buy that anyone would get so effortlessly good at something as intricate, but this is only a minor gripe.
What I loved especially is the complete absence of sexual violence and the fact that this fantasy book manages to get by without graphic sexual violence, you so rarely see that, and mostly without a love plot, though the main character is female.
What I'm no a big fan of is the colonialism and racism. I'm not sure why we need a saviour with a white background from the coloniser's country.


Zeh, Julie: Corpus Delicti. Ein Prozess.
A very understated and quiet novel with believable main characters (though German authors might want to pick up a dictionary of names and browse anything but the letter "m") in a dystopian society based around hygiene and health, with a government which outlaws all health-threatening behaviours and has something like mandatory sports requirement, the skipping of which is punishable.
Our heroine Mia, a biologist working for the government and in full support of The Method, has to make up her mind about her position in the totalitarian system when her brother is killed for subverting the system and having someone pin the murder and rape of a young girl he was seing on him.


Fforde, Jasper: The Well of Lost Plots
Quick, count on your fingers the number of pregnant heroines. I'm coming up with one, and she's a character in a novel by Terry Pratchett.


Fforde, Jasper: Lost in a Good Book
I really love the Thursday Next series and this book was now exception. The book has it all: strong female characters, interesting plot twists, and excellent world building. It's funny and entertaining and I'm already on to the sequel.
31 December 2013 @ 09:37 pm
Book Challenge 2013  
Book challenge 2013 round-up. I seriously hope that my editor will allow me to post this without empty lines.

50 books this year )

Half-assed statistics:
Male Authors: 28
Female Authors: 22
New books: 35
Old books: 15
19 April 2013 @ 06:50 pm
Kissing book  

Kerstin Gier, Smaragdgrün- Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten 3
The plot thickens after the cliffhanger-ending of the second instalment: is it possible that Prince Charming double-crossed the main lady and only faked being in love with her to be able to do so?
Of course not. This is teen Fantasy romance. The ending to the series is as well-written as the other two parts, but the plot bellyflops severely several times. I suppose you have to care most about the romance plot to like it, and I don't. It was still fun to read, though.
Current Mood: okay
08 April 2013 @ 09:26 pm
Book challenge  

Kerstin Gier, Saphirblau - Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten 2
Crocky and I are still entranced by the idiomatic German style of this author. It's basically Dan Brown for romance-novel-liking girls, and it does this well. Very light reading, but fun, and it's interesting to see what my students are reading.
Current Mood: blah
06 April 2013 @ 02:22 pm
Book challenge  

Kerstin Gier,Rubinrot - Liebe geht durch alle Zeiten
A story about a 16-year-old girl who has a rare time-travelling gene that runs in her family and causes her to randomly jump through time. Her family is protected and guided by a secretive masonic lodge who have found a way to control her time-travelling, but she soon finds out that they have sinister ulterior motives.
Since it looks like an extremely superfluous love story I was pleasantly surprised by the movie and the book  especially. It is a love story aimed at teens and filled with the expected angst and awkwardness, but the main characters are somewhat more developed than I'd have believed and seem to have character traits beyond a hair colour and klutziness/hunkiness, which is a plus.
Current Mood: okay
01 April 2013 @ 09:51 pm
Book challenge  

Phillipp Möller - Isch geh Schulhof
A book about someone who studied adult education and works as a substitute teacher at a primary school in one of Berlin's poorest, most ethnically diverse and violent areas, his students, his struggles, failures and successes.
Another lower-class-zoo book. I worked with similar children, their fates are heartbreaking, though their lower-class second language acquired German does sound funny sometimes it feels uncomfortable to poke fun at them. They really don't know any better. Their lives are filled with neglect, loneliness, abuse, and deprivation, so a lack of grammatical correctness can be permitted under these circumstances, surely? Still, the book is entertaining to read especially for the school politics and recognisable classroom situations, though the occasionally very sanctimonious preachiness of the author does get old. He keeps saying he is no expert - which isn't entirely true - and then goes on to complain about his burnt-out, overworked, overtaxed co-workers as though it were a personal failure rather than a political failure that put them in that position. So, mixed feelings about this one, but entertaining enough to keep me reading. Bremen and Berlin have very similar school politics with staffing decisions and the release of official position numbers being delayed until seconds before the beginning of the holidays, untrained substitute teachers being employed instead of real teachers to cut costs, class sizes increased to unmanageable numbers, school reforms being employed frequently and haphazardly without any realistic plans being made as to their concrete implementation. It's a nightmare, and it's somehow good to see that this city is not alone in its chaos.
Current Mood: content
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
22 March 2013 @ 07:42 pm
Book challenge  
Two German books - one a comedy on poor, out of work Germans living on welfare and one on the German school system written by a mother.

You can imagine how both turn out.


Kai Twilfer, Schantall, tu ma die Omma winken!
I found this one at the train station store bargain bin when I had an hour to kill and bought it in spite of the little red sticker on this book calling this a "Spiegel bestseller". Being familiar with SPON, I absolutely believe that. The book says that this is a social worker's account of his experiences on his job with a family. So this is an account of what the social worker in question imagines the life and decision-making-process of his charges to be like, though that particular character himself is never introduced, he merely narrates the story. Since he is a middle-class white German and his charges are lower class, it's obvious this would not end well, and so it is what you can deduce, a middle-class German attempting to show that the family he is looking after are a bunch of morons with their priorities completely wrong who cannot live unsupervised. Well. You are a social worker. Who did you think you were going to look after? So don't waste money on this.


Lotte Kühn, Schulversagen
A mother outraged at the German school system works out her frustrations in writing therapy. At least that's what I took away from the experience. She does raise interesting points, but her sources are ridiculous and she doesn't really follow through on any of the points she is making or draws any conclusions other than "teachers are terrible, incompetent people" and "school doesn't live up to all of the parents' expectations and the childrens' needs". Which... well, no, of course it doesn't, and how would it? How would anything but a private tutor do that? She does not have any answers, she does have a lot of frustrations that German schools are not like Swedish schools, (and I remember reading studies don't differ that much from problems German city schools are facing in Swedish city schools). So - if you feel like reading a hearty gripe at the German school system, evil teachers, and poor parents and students, this is the book for you.
24 November 2012 @ 08:45 pm
For the last two days, there has been thick fog in the north of Bremen that makes it hard to see further than fifty meters ahead, even with the lights on on cars and bicycles. 

Read more... )

Some on-topic verses by Herman Hesse. )
Current Mood: awake
30 October 2012 @ 10:12 pm
Crocky and I went on a trip to Verden today. We were actually going to look at an abandoned ammunition factory in a village near Verden, but then found the entire area roped off and warning signs saying those going there were in mortal danger, so we opted out. 

I am now a bit sadder that the school in Verden that I applied with back in the day did not want me, the town is very pretty. 

Touristy impressions of Verden. )
Current Location: Germany, Bremen
Current Mood: exhausted
27 October 2012 @ 10:06 pm
Portus sanctae Mariae  
Today, Crocky and I had a look at the ruin of the medieval Cistercian abbey in Hude (German Wiki here). In spite of the already rather frosty temperatures it was a lovely walk. We had a look at museum, ruins, nearby hamlet, and a mill and then went home before our feet froze even further. 

Read more... )
Current Location: Hude, Niedersachsen
27 August 2012 @ 03:25 pm
Vil wol gelopter got, wie selten ich dich prîse!
sît ich von dir beide wort hân und wîse –
wie getar ich sô gefreveln under dîme rîse:
ich entuon diu rehten werk, ich enhân die wâren minne
ze mînem ebenkristen, hêrre vater, noch ze dir!
sô holt entwart ich ir dekeinem nie sô mir.
frôn krist, vater und sun, dîn geist berihte mîne sinne:
wie solde ich den geminnen der mir übel tuot?
mir muoz der iemer lieber sîn, der mir ist guot.
vergib mir anders mîne schulde, ich wil noch haben den muot.

-Walther von der Vogelweide.
01 July 2012 @ 01:11 am
Bunker Valentin  
The "U-Boot Bunker Valentin" is a gigantic submarine pen and shipyard in the north of Bremen built by 10-12,000 forced labourers who were prisoners of the concentration camp Bremen-Farge. It cost the lives of over 2,000 people, was never finished and damaged by an air raid in 1945. Today half of it is a memorial, the other half is a ruin. We only walked around it, but we're going to be back for a look at the exhibit inside for more information on its construction. 

Aerial shot from Wiki demonstrating the stupendous size of this madness: 

Read more... )
28 January 2012 @ 09:06 am
Lesbian Literary Award #6 - English Edition!  
I mentioned the award hosted by author and publisher Ruth Gogoll before, and this year, for the first time, it's also available in English! Read about it in the HuffPo here (wait Ruth Gogoll writes for the Huffington Post? When did that happen?). 

They're accepting entries of 60k-75k words until the 31st of March

They advise to pick up books published with el!es to familiarise yourselves with the style they're looking for. 

Here are the terms - in German. It appears that the English edition doesn't really have terms. 

Wettbewerbsbedingungen )

I'm looking forward to the English entries this year. 
Current Mood: cheerful
05 January 2012 @ 05:42 pm
In which I am a windstorm  
I'm apparently having a stormy week, according to my students and colleagues. Ba-dum tish. Germans give their weather names and this week's windstorm has the distinction of bearing my RL first name.

So the gales, hail and rain? 

You're welcome
29 December 2011 @ 06:51 pm
Book Challenge 2011 Masterlist  
I have to try keeping closer tabs on my list. Most of the books I read during the first half of the year are on my Oyo - which died in November, which makes it harder to piece together what I've been reading. Though since the books I read and forget probably shouldn't count, anyway, this list works just as well. The bold titles are my top seven of this year's books. 

Complete list and top 7 (bold) )
    Half-assed statistics: 
    Female authors 143021
    Male authors 363629
    Re-read books 180911
    New books 325439
    Current Mood: dorky
    Current Location: Home
    Current Music: Maurice (1987)
    27 December 2011 @ 04:42 pm
    Bookchallenge round-up  
    I can't seem to get the hang of keeping track of these challenges. Since my last entry was once again in May I can't remember what I read this year, especially the ones that I borrowed from the school library, but these are the ones that I could either remember or could piece together from my Amazon account. HTML

    I left out re-reads if I read them more than once this year and some books by Terry Pratchett, and as always everything I read for school. 

    25-52 )
    14 April 2011 @ 06:16 pm
    Die unendliche Geschichte  
    Nothing new on the hospital front, so I've resorted to a family remedy to hard times: books by Michael Ende.

    I had always suspected that it must be hard to do justice to Michael Ende's prose, but until I discovered the audiobook I never realised how trite things can sound in English that are so beautiful in German.

    However, some parts are still remarkably well done.

    "Wer niemals ganze Nachmittage lang mit glühenden Ohren und verstrubbeltem Haar über einem Buch saß und las und las und die Welt um sich her vergaß, nicht mehr merkte, daß er hungrig wurde oder fror -

    Wer niemals heimlich beim Schein einer Taschenlampe unter der Bettdecke gelesen hat, weil Vater oder Mutter oder sonst irgendeine besorgte Person einem das Licht ausknipste mit der gutgemeinten Begründung, man müsse jetzt schlafen, da man doch morgen so früh aus den Federn sollte -

    Wer niemals offen oder im geheimen bitterliche Tränen vergossen hat, weil eine wunderbare Geschichte zu Ende ging und man Abschied nehmen mußte von den Gestalten, mit denen man gemeinsam so viele Abenteuer erlebt hatte, die man liebte und bewunderte, um die man gebangt und für die man gehofft hatte, und ohne deren Gesellschaft einem das Leben leer und sinnlos schien -

    Wer nichts von alledem aus eigener Erfahrung kennt, nun, der wird wahrscheinlich nicht begreifen können, was Bastian jetzt tat."

    And the English version: 
    "If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger--

    If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early--

    If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless--

    If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next."
    Drives me nuts that they call the place "Fantastica", though. Why change that name?
    Current Mood: blank
    12 April 2011 @ 12:34 am
    Nichts: Was im Leben wichtig ist, by Janne Teller. (Nothing)
    When Pierre decides that nothing in life is worth living for, his classmates want to convince him otherwise and start collecting things that mean something to them. What starts innocently with favourite comic books quickly spirals out of control as people are required to give up more and more important things until it ends in excavating bodies, cutting off fingers and, inevitably, rape. Of course. But it's still a very good book and captivating.

    Unter Verdacht, by Joyce Carol Oates (Big Mouth and Ugly Girl).
    When a joke goes wrong Matt is suspected of having planned to blow up the school. The only one who does not believe that is Ursula, sports star and outsider no one likes. Haven't finished this one yet.

    Die Lebensfahrt auf dem Meer der Welt - der Topos, by Christoph Hönig.
    A book on the topos of life as a sea voyage and the world as that sea, something of a guided tour through different periods with different texts and analyses of what they make of this topos, how they use it and how it changes over the years. Ever since I read Crossing the Bar and listened to a lecture on it by Professor Haas, who was one of the best speakers I have ever heard I've had a soft spot for this topos and enjoyed encountering it elsewhere subsequently (like in Gregorius).
    My Gender Workbook, by Kate Bornstein.
    Very practical, hands-on introduction to gender, workbook-style.
    Haven't finished this one yet but had a good time with the articles and the way they're written as well as the questionnaires. The interludes do feel gratuitous at times, but they don't bother me, it's still very informative.

    How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
    Holds what the title promises: a guide on how to win friends and influence people, or rather,  how to modify your interpersonal skills so as to facilitate that.
    Ever since I saw the thread in the Slytherin forum on CS back in the day I've been wanting to read this book. I bought it now that covering communication with my students is imminent and it's enjoyable to read.

    The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss.
    This one deserves a bigger review. I did have a good time reading it, but the longwinded pointlessness of vast part of the middle (Felurian. Oh god did that ever end), some flaws in the setting (would Bast really have sat there for six hours and listen to Kvothe talk about the fairy realm without comment? Hard to imagine) and the increasing level of NiceGuyness of the main character made this hard to enjoy - regardless of just how much I looked forward to this. I liked how the world opens up and still love the magic system, though I'm getting increasingly uncomfortable at the moral framework of our hero (slaying old ladies begging for their lives is not ok even if you think that they were conspiring with rapists, especially if it's likely that they were forced to play along themselves, asshole). The amount of times in which the Rule of Cool is used to make something work also baffles me. All in all enjoyable, but there are things that are off.

    The Lucifer Effect - How Good People Turn Evil, by Philip Zimbardo.
    This one centres pretty heavily on the Stanford Prison Experiment. Again not news, but the conclusion he draws and what he extrapolates about similar scenes from Guantanamo is still worth a read.

    Das Milgram-Experiment, by Stanley Milgram.
    An account of the experiment. A classic. I've read it before, and I keep being amazed and terrified at the results.
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney.
    Greg's adventures as a small boy in Middle School. A typical story about a non-stereotypically male hero type whose sidekick inevitably has to be even less stereotypically masculine to affirm them, or something. I can't really say I am care that greatly, but I watched Wonder Years enough in my teens to recognise the narrative enough to sympathise. My students love this book so I gave it a read.
    Current Mood: tired
    12 March 2011 @ 12:10 pm
    5. Lesbischer Literaturpreis  
    «5. Lesbischer LiteraturPreis»

    Schon zum 5. Mal schreibt der el!es-Verlag für das Jahr 2011 den »Lesbischen LiteraturPreis« aus.


    1. Teilnehmen können ausschließlich Frauen.
    2. Eingereicht werden können lesbische Liebesromane oder Romane, die das lesbische Leben zum Thema haben. Ebenso sind sogenannte »Uber«-Storys erlaubt.
    3. Eine Länge von mindestens 60.000 Wörtern und ein Happy End sind für den Roman zwingend erforderlich.
    4. Zudem wären wir sehr froh, wenn der Roman im Präteritum geschrieben wäre und nicht im Präsens. Auch geben wir der Perspektive aus der 3. Person den Vorzug vor der Ich-Perspektive.
    5. Schicken Sie eine Inhaltsangabe (die bitte im Präsens und nicht im Präteritum), die ca. eine halbe bis eine DIN-A4-Seite umfaßt, und eine Kopie Ihres Romans im .rtf- oder .doc-Format an, zusätzlich mit einer Kurzbiographie, in der Sie sich kurz vorzustellen, Ihrem vollständigen Namen und Ihrer E-Mail-Adresse. Bitte benennen Sie die Datei nach folgendem Muster:
    Vorname_Nachname__Titel.rtf (Vorname_Unterstrich_Nachname_Unterstrich_Unterstrich_Titel.rtf)
    Bitte Name, Postadresse und E-Mail auch am Ende der Inhaltsangabe noch einmal angeben.
    6. Sofern Sie den Roman oder Teile davon bereits auf dem Internet veröffentlicht haben, geben Sie bitte die Webseite an, auf der der Text veröffentlicht wurde. Ausgewählte Romane müssen vor dem Beginn des Lektorats aus dem Netz genommen werden.
    7. Die Regeln der Rechtschreibung und Grammatik sollten korrekt umgesetzt sein. Bitte verwenden Sie die Rechtschreibprüfung Ihrer Textverarbeitung, bevor Sie uns das Manuskript schicken.
    8. Für die Veröffentlichung kann natürlich ein Pseudonym verwendet werden, das jedoch aus einem Vor- und einem Nachnamen bestehen sollte.
    9. Die Inhaltsangabe und ein Auszug des eingesandten Manuskriptes (nicht der vollständige Text) werden einen Monat vor Vergabe des Preises auf der Internetseite veröffentlicht. Die el!es-Leserinnen stimmen dann online darüber ab, welches der eingesandten Manuskripte den Preis gewinnt.
    10. Die ausgewählten Romane werden vor der Veröffentlichung von uns lektoriert.
    11. Einsendeschluß ist der 31.03.2011.

    Der Preis für den besten Roman ist ein Wochenende für zwei (weibliche) Personen in der Frauenpension Bertingen ( und die Veröffentlichung des Romans bei el!es (selbstverständlich mit einem entsprechenden Vertrag und Honorar).
    I thought this might be interesting for some of you. Last year, many of the submissions were amazingly bad (also, my favourite contestant did not win, sadly, so I'm probably biased), hopefully they'll be better this year.

    It's odd what people submit to a contest hosted by a publisher who, if you win, publishes your manuscript as a book - as though paragraphing and, in some cases, compelling characters and spelling were entirely optional. You see, I'm notoriously bad at re-reading and editing my own work, too, but I had hoped that if you're going to submit your work to a publisher you might want to have someone else beta it first.

    Also, I absolutely do understand and appreciate that this is a minority publisher aimed at and run by a specific minority, but I admit I'm getting uncomfortable by the way the publisher emphasises this: 
    Und ja: Dies ist ein lesbischer Wettbewerb, für Lesben, weil das hier nämlich eine lesbische Webseite ist, weil el!es ein lesbischer Verlag ist, der ausschließlich lesbische Bücher herausbringt, und weil ich eine lesbische Schriftstellerin und Verlegerin bin, die sich nicht ständig mit irgendwelchen sexuellen Phantasien von Heterofrauen herumschlagen will, die nichts mit dem lesbischen Leben zu tun haben.
    Ruth Gogoll.
    .... So, not me, then, I guess, ok. Going by this as well as her other comments, I also kinda doubt that she knows non-monosexual people even exist.

    Still, I'm looking forward to this year's submissions, the inevitable drama and the possible additions to my to-read-pile.
    Current Mood: sickly
    28 January 2011 @ 07:33 pm
    Something shiny.  
    Someone pasted together twenty versions of Walther's Palästinalied, and I quite like the result.

    The text in MHD and NHD: Álrêrst lébe ich mir werde...

    20 January 2011 @ 05:33 pm
    Look, we've got idiots, too!  
    I always feel bad for laughing so much and so gleefully at US idiots and being glad that we didn't have many comparable people over here, but now I can proudly present this guy. A person who thinks that Jewish people are smarter because of genes and Muslims are lazy and stupid and it's impossible to integrate them, among many other points that make the mind boggle.

    He decided it'd be a good idea to give a BBC interview. If I can be bothered I'll supply choice quotes later.
    • "The lack of economic and integrational success of the Damascan people are due to cultural features which are due to the Muslim faith."
    • "Most of them [Arabs and Turkish people] don't feel discriminated against."
    • "If you're discriminated against if you wear a headscarf that's your own choice. [...] You could as well live in the United States or in Turkey." 
    • "The Turkish woman which lives in Germany told me some weeks ago, 'Please don't take these mental aggravations seriously, oriental people tend to play with their emotions and love to raise guilt in others.'" 
    • "I have alienated nobody. I have just stated facts, and that's alienating nobody."
    • "I think if the United States would be better off if they were careful with having two different languages in one country."
    So, to sum up, we have a powerful white male German saying, "You Muslims are stupid underachieving welfare leeches, possibly because of genetics, but I'm going to mumble a bit over that point. If you're discriminated against, you're exaggerating because of your emotional nature or have chosen the bed you lie in and are welcome to move to another country if you don't like that. Gee, why don't you people integrate better and insist on keeping to yourselves?"
    Current Mood: aghast
    23 December 2010 @ 07:46 pm
    Are You A Kissing Book? Part II  
    It seems that the best chance of finding books about women without love plots is when searching among YA novels and historical novels involving royal, crossdressing characters hell-bent on learning how to fight, as long as they can keep their hands off servants and mentors, that is. Not entirely surprising, but sad.

    The books below, judging by summaries and reviews, have good chances of not containing love plots.
    • Dorothy Canfield Fisher's Understood Betsy - orphan Elizabeth Ann leaves her sheltered city life for a life on her aunt's farm and its various chores, which she rapidly grows to love too much to leave again.
    • Allan Frewin Jones' Warrior Princess series: Branwen, aided by faithful former slave Rhodri, becomes a warrior princess and defends her home and hearth against the Saxons. I'm foreseeing Branwen/Rhodri, but who knows.
    • Astrid Lindgren's Ronja the Robber's Daughter - in spite of her family history, Ronja does not want to become a robber, neither does Birk, the son of her clan's closest enemy. They flee and their families have to work together to find their children.
    • Donna Jo Napoli: Hush. Irish Princess Melkorka and her sister Brigid are sent away for safekeeping when a plot on her family is threatening her life and are captured by Russian slavers instead. They try to keep their royal birth secret by not speaking. Upside: no love plot, downside: gangrape.
    • Rebecca Tingle's version of teen Æthelflæd, The Edge of the Sword. King Alfred's teenaged daughter Æthelflæd is not happy with the prospect of having to marry an older ally of her father, even unhappier with her bodyguard, but learns how to fight and protect those close to her gladly, which soon becomes necessary.
    • Theresa Tomlinson's Wolf Girl. Wulfrun's mother is accused of stealing a neclace and Wulfrun sets out to prove her innocene.
    Other loveplot-less books:
    • Michael Ende's Momo- Orphan Momo live s in a ruined amphitheatre. When everyone she loves start falling prey to the Men in Grey and their timesaving bank, she steals their life time back. German classic really eveybody should read.
    • Annika Thor's Sanning eller Konsekvens (Ich hätte nein sagen können)  -Nora doesn't like the way her class, especially rich Fanny, are mobbing big-chested Karen, but finds out to what lengths even she herself will go to get her best friend Sabina back, who is best friends with Fanny these days.
    Current Mood: chipper
    23 December 2010 @ 12:54 am
    Book challenge  
    Lehrerzimmer, by Marcus Orths.
    Grotesque German satire on schools after PISA, though it's closer to reality than one might assume, sadly. Trainee teacher Kranich arrives at his new school in Baden-Württemberg where the headmaster's draconic regime has caused the teachers to form a secret resistance. This very short novel is sadly too absurd to entertain on one end and too realistic to be funny on the other. The plot, much-lauded as Kafkaesque and Orwellian, is more of a collection of bizarre anecdotes loosely connected by a very short plot. I was disappointed.

    Föhn mich nicht zu, by Stephan Serin.
    Another novel on the pains of being a trainee teacher in Germany. Some anecdotes are funny, at times the humour is extremely forced, and where it is forced, it's completely out of line and very crude, but the parts which aren't forced really are funny. There were several situations which I sadly immediately recognised and it makes sense that most of the trainees in my year purchased and read this book. Still, it has serious issues, like the fact that I think we're meawnt to sympathise with the narrator, but I am not about to sympathise with a trainee intent on rating the breasts of his students or telling them to work as a sex worker if they get their answers wrong. 
    Current Mood: busy
    19 December 2010 @ 09:24 pm
    More books  
    Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann (The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, Or: how violence develops and where it can lead), by Heinrich Böll.
    Independent divorcée Katharina Blum meets a bankrobber, falls in love, has an affair in the Germany of the seventies. The most influential tabloid react with a very intrusive smear campaign claiming that she's knowingly harboured a criminal and slept around a lot which destroys her reputation, causes several threatening and molesting phone calls and eventually leads to her shooting the journalist heading the campaign when he molests her.
    I like Heinrich Böll, I liked this book. What disconcerted me in the lessons I've visited that were about this book is how much they tend to downplay the sexual violence, which was frustrating to watch.

    Die Feuerzangenbowle, by Heinrich Spoerl and Hans Reimann.
    Distinguished writer Dr. Hans Pfeiffer attends a party at which a lot of the title drink is consumed and his equally distinguished friends reminisce and share nostalgic stories about their school days and the tricks they played on their teachers. This causes him to lament the fact that he has never attended a school and a drunk plan is hatched for him to attend school. He does and gets to experience this indispensible chapter in life, play tricks on teachers, and otherwise experience school life first-hand.
    Though it does have some serious issues I love both this book (the inscription! "Dieser Roman ist ein Loblied auf die Schule, aber es ist möglich, dass die Schule es nicht merkt" - roughly, "This novel is an encomium on school education, but it is possible that school educators will not notice this") and also the 1944 movie, in spite even of the Nazi overtones and the chilling circumstances of the production. I consider both book and movie essential for an understanding of contemporary German culture because of all the issues this touches, which is why I find it odd that it hasn't been translated.
    14 September 2010 @ 07:46 pm
    Reality check  
    The following are the categories in the children's section of the nearest Hannover city library (and I quote): 

    - Fantasy
    - Action
    - Crime
    - Reality
    - Romance.

    Yeah. I don't know. Fantasy and action, sure, but reality?? Really? (That's where they put the books on WWII, drugs, child pregnancy and life in the GDR. Reality is depressing in Germany. Romance is a redundant category, because every book I looked at in the other categories had a pretty prominent romance plot, yuck. Kissing books, man).

    Am I happy about that because it means no one will have to go through the trouble of teaching the kids these words at school, or am I worried for the future of my mother tongue?
    Current Mood: annoyed
    22 August 2010 @ 11:55 am
    Poem of the month  
    My German students, who are from different schools spread all over Hannover, are all reading this poem this month. Students the same ages didn't last year, and they're all using different books, most of them the same they used last year. They're in different years and are doing different things. Still.

    Schlechte Zeit für Lyrik

    Ich weiß doch: nur der Glückliche
    Ist beliebt. Seine Stimme
    Hört man gern. Sein Gesicht ist schön.

    Der verkrüppelte Baum im Hof
    Zeigt auf den schlechten Boden, aber
    Die Vorübergehenden schimpfen ihn einen Krüppel
    Doch mit Recht.

    Die grünen Boote und die lustigen Segel des Sundes
    Sehe ich nicht. Von allem

    Sehe ich nur der Fischer rissiges Garnnetz.
    Warum rede ich nur davon
    Daß die vierzigjährige Häuslerin gekrümmt geht?
    Die Brüste der Mädchen
    Sind warm wie ehedem.

    In meinem Lied ein Reim
    Käme mir fast vor wie Übermut.

    In mir streiten sich
    Die Begeisterung über den blühenden Apfelbaum
    Und das Entsetzen über die Reden des Anstreichers.
    Aber nur das zweite
    Drängt mich zum Schreibtisch.
    Current Mood: amused
    02 August 2010 @ 07:24 pm
    • Bionic legs! So cool!

    • We can all live real healthily on €160/month (German), for those of you who don't know yet. Oh, we're also all male, so forget money for tampons or cosmetics (we do shave, so we get the razors), and we don't have sex, so no contraceptives (or do we use free condoms? Not sure...). Go us! I kinda want to try this next month to see if I can really pull it off (a visit to the hairdresser apparently costs €7, so does the membership fee for the library, should we get bored. We could also go to the zoo for €2,50 (lawl) or to the swimming pool for €1,50. Should we get hungry, we can always fill up on fresh grapefruits that are available for purchase at a price of €0,99/kg, or on apples for €0,76/kg. Why work if all these luxuries are so readily available?)
    Current Mood: aggravated
    26 July 2010 @ 08:40 pm
    Shelves!!! It's a challenge!!!  
    Trawling for jobs, I come across this:

    Herausfordernde Aufgaben warten auf Sie

    - Ausräumen der Ware
    - Einräumen der Ware
    - Verräumen der Ware nach Vorgabe des Marktes
    - bei Verschmutzung, Reinigen der freien Regalflächen
    - MHD gerechtes Handling der Ware

    Wir legen Wert auf
    * Sie haben Spaß an Teamarbeit???
    * Sind mindestens 18 Jahre alt???
    * Sind zeitlich flexibel???
    * und arbeiten stets zuverlässig und gewissenhaft???
    - Büttgen GmbH.

     ... yeah. Maybe you need to revise your understanding of "challenge" there.
    Current Mood: cheerful
    25 June 2010 @ 02:08 am
    Tutoring doesn't fix everything, 1868 edition  
    My most recent acquisition is a German book on essay writing for German students from 1868, though the book I own is a later edition from 1893. The author, Karl Leo Cholevius, a German teacher teaching at a Gymnasium, issues his advice in letter format to an imaginary addressee who is an Abi or A-level student in need of essay writing advice.

    The book, Praktische Anleitung zur Abfassung Deutscher Aufsätze (Practical Guide to Writing German Essays) was a success at the time because it wasn't a collection of rhetorical figures of speech, but offered a how-to approach for, as the author says, "weaker students" who might require it. As one of the few of its kind it was an immediate success at the time.

    In the second letter (and the second paragraph in the excerpt below), he addresses tutoring and its lack of usefulness when it comes to essay writing:

    I'm too lazy to translate, but the short version is that he made the experience that it's usually the sons of rich fathers who'd like some tutoring a couple of months before their finals and think that paying for private lessons will fix everything.

    Right now, I can think of three students I've been tutoring in the course of this school year to whom this applies. Heh.
    Current Mood: nerdy
    20 May 2010 @ 06:08 pm
    I took my first class in of the very short introductory course on German Sign Language that Crocky's uni's offering today, and it was awesome. Hard, though, because I missed the first class. It's only a very basic class for beginners and we won't get further than basic introductions and easy sentences, but it definitely leaves me wanting more. There are also a few really good resources online, too, like the German Sign Language dictionary, and I also very much like the look of Signing Savvy, which I wish were available in DGS.

    Given our oralist past, it's not surprising that there is more material online, though. Most of my linguistics lecturer's deaf DGS teachers were forbidden to sign in class at their school back in the day. If they did sign, which the hearing teachers would interpret as being fidgety and not paying attention, they'd go so far as to tie their hands behind their backs.

    Signing in general was frowned upon, the teachers couldn't speak DGS, as the central idea was to train them how to to lip-read instead, as DGS wasn't recognised as a language at all.

    Until, oh, 2002 or so.

    Go, Germany.
    15 May 2010 @ 02:13 pm
    Some expanded thoughts on Homeschooling - I still don't like the idea of legalising it here  
    Recently, dear [ profile] daharyn pointed out that my view of homeschooling may be too simple, and I gave the matter some thought, but I still didn't get any further, and I still can't agree with legalising it. I'm no expert on this, as it's outlawed in Germany and I've been more interested in trying to find ways to adapt the methods and qualities that makes homeschooling so successful for some students for teaching in a public school. Homeschooling, at least as understand it, is not so much a correspondence course done at home (which I think is an option that ought to be open for more people and state funded, especially for school drop outs), but an educational system which has the parents overseeing the curriculum, didactic means, and duration of their child's education.

    So, I've got five big concerns against that particular system, and not "learning at home". Basically, I fear that legalising homeschooling could put a strain on children, would put an unfair strain on and parents (financial as well as educational) as they take on what is the responsibility of the state to provide and what they're already paying for, that this only would only be an option for affluent, well-educated families and allows the state to dump even more (financial) responsibility on the parents rather than to incorporate the parents concern and change the school.

    Read more... )
    Now if there was a way to guarantee that all students have the access to education and the financial, parental and other support that they may need to learn whatever they want the way they want, I don't see a reason against letting students do just that, but until that's the case, I like having instutions in the background that ideally see to it that those students who don't have access to this get it.
    Current Mood: thoughtful
    13 May 2010 @ 10:58 am
    Petition fun  
    I regularly check our government's official e-petition page. It's a political barometer as good as any to find out what are the burning issues on my compatriots' minds, and naturally these days, there are petitions on our laws concerning sexual crimes and sexual predators, petitions against financial bail-outs in the Euro-zone, but there is also this:

    «Einstellung der Förderung des LHC-Experiments an der Großforschungseinrichtung CERN»
    Der Deutsche Bundestag möge beschließen, die Förderung des aufwändigen und unabsehbaren physikalischen LHC-Experiments an der Großforschungseinrichtung CERN ab sofort einzustellen und die Richtlinien zur Förderung der Naturwissenschaften um klare Ziele zur Erhaltung von Landschaft, Artenvielfalt, Gesundheit und Menschenwürde zu ergänzen.

    "Stop funding the expensive and unpredictable LHC experiments at CERN and work to include clear objectives for the conservation our landscapes, biodiversity, health and human dignity into the application guidelines!" - For those of you who speak German, do click on that link and read his explanation of why we need to support his petition and find out why LHC experiments are esoteric.

    There's also a petition which has 2k supporters right now, 2k too many in my eyes - a petition to decriminalise homeschooling in Germany, which I am really not a fan of. I like our compulsory school attendance and having children educated by professionals trained and paid to do so rather than their parents - unless these parents are trained to do so.

    «Hausunterricht straffrei stellen»
    Hausunterricht oder Homeschooling wird in allen EU Ländern und englisch sprachigen Ländern bereits schon länger mit großem Erfolg praktiziert und erweist sich immer mehr als der Bildungsweg der Zukunft. In Deutschland ist es eine noch weitgehend unbekannte und mit zahlreichen Vorurteilen behaftete Form des Lernens. Die unzureichende Vermittlung von ethischen und moralischen Grundwerten an öffentlichen Schulen, Gewalt und Mobbing, negative Sozialisation der Kinder, fehlende Lernfreude, sinkendes Bildungsniveau, die Unfähigkeit vieler Schulen Kinder individuell zu fördern und ihrem persönlichen Begabungsprofil zu bilden, haben dazu geführt, dass immer mehr Eltern sich Alternativen im bestehenden Bildungssystem wünschen. Bis dato existiert die Schulpflicht in Deutschland statt einer sinnvolleren Lernpflicht. Schule wird somit in Deutschland direktiv verordnet. Eltern, die ihre Kinder selbst unterrichten wollen, müssen mit staatlichen Strafmaßnahmen wie Bußgeldern rechnen und werden somit unnötig kriminalisiert. Es sollte mündigen Bürgern frei gestellt sein wo sie ihren Kindern Bildung zukommen lassen. Alle staatlichen Sanktionsmaßnahmen gegen Eltern, die ihre Kinder selbst unterrichten, sollten aufgehoben werden.
    His main arguments are the lack of ethical and moral values students are taught public schools, mobbing, violence, negative socialisation, lack of motivation, falling standards, lack of support according to the student's individual aptitude and talents.

    While I'm aware that especially for gifted students with gifted and didactically savvy parents this model might be ideal, especially if the child was subject to mobbing and endemic boredom, I doubt that it's a model that ought to be encouraged on a larger scale in Germany right now. It's not a model that's likely to be successful for families without a lot of cultural capital.
    Also, I don't know about countries which do allow homeschooling, but I'd like to believe that enough trust in our educational system is warranted to make changes in the system and our institutions a solution even for those who are currently so unhappy with it that they'd like to take their children out of school.
    Current Mood: busy
    08 May 2010 @ 09:18 pm
    da mitte er swaere stunde / möhte senfter machen...  
    «  aus: Der Arme Heinrich, 1356-1370  »
    do erkande ihr triuwe und ihr nôt
    cordis speculator
    vor dem deheines herzen tor
    vürnames nicht beslozzen ist,
    sît er durch sînen süezen list
    an in beiden des geruochte,
    daz er si versuochte
    rehte alsô volleclîchen
    sam Jôben den rîchen.
    do er in des siechen hant
    bärmde und triuwe vant
    und ouch die vil reine maget
    an triuwen vant sô unverzaget
    daz si benamen ir leben
    in gotes güete wolde geben,
    dô erzeicte der heilic Krist
    wie liep im triuwe und bärmde ist
    und schiet si dô beide
    von allem ir leide
    und machete in dâ zestunt
    reine unde wol gesunt.
    ~ Hartmann von Aue. 

    06 May 2010 @ 05:31 pm
    Ok, people. Imagine you are a gun enthusiast, owned guns, and wanted to keep them in your house.

    Now, pick your option of choice for gun storage from these two.


    Made your choice? Awesome!

    And now for storing ammunition. What looks like the sensible option here?


    If you chose the first option in both cases, you ought to meet the father of last year's German school shooter Tim, who seems to have similar ideas about safety as you do. His son surprisingly got hold of both gun and ammunition and became, well, a school shooter with them.

    Seriously, wth. )
    Current Mood: angry
    17 April 2010 @ 07:12 pm
    Never read the comments.  
    That also goes for reviews on Amazon! Stupid me. Still, reviewers, if you have to sign your review with "BTW, I'm neither racist nor religious, just my opinion", then you ought to know that there's something wrong with what you were writing in the first place?

    Also, I just read through the entries for the 4th lesbian literary award hosted by Édition El!es (if you speak German and like bad writing, check it out!), and those entries scare me. They read like something that has a high potential to end up on either [ profile] canonrants - only that stylistically, I'd expect that kind of stuff on FFR or [ profile] verreiss_mich . Though considering the host I probably should not be surprised - apparently, they're publishing books of authors who terminated their contract with this publisher and changed to the other notable lesbian publisher, the Konkursbuch, and there's also been trouble concerning authors not getting paid for their work. Classy.