Monthly Archives: July 2007

Garden- and Homecrafts

At the moment everything is kind of okay here despite the continuous rain. My allotment is pretty much overgrown and I am frightened to go there because there are so many weeds waiting for me and a lot of raspberries and red currents to pick, whilst the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines did not seem to have really survived this summer’s weather in a productive state and the beans are staying embarrasingly small. So, in a desperately intelligent moment I decided that the only category I could possibly show off in this year’s FEDEGA flower and vegetable show are the house- and homecraft categories. Slight disadvantage that my cooker is limited to one ring burning on full power, something wrong with the electrics I couldn’t sort out yet, and that the last time I knitted something must have been about at least twenty or so years ago in primary school.

Never mind, so I went round to the local library and Baba’s Cave to get instructions, wool and a knitting needle to put last year’s master of the house- and homecrafts to shame. I tried to follow the instructions, but could only really understand how to do one stitch, and have been continuing it for two wool balls. However, there is at least one relaxing thought: homecrafts don’t seem to save you any more money nor are at all geared towards creating something practical that isn’t available cheaper in shops.
First, how to wash all these knitted wooly items? There is absolutely no special washing powder in our local supermarket for wool products. Although Stiftung Warentest recommended to use shampoo instead about some decades ago, that was only really aimed at 100% sheep wool items, as the microstructure is similar to our hair. Unfortunately most wools today are either acrylic or polyester or made of cotton, and this advice is therefore not applicable. Then I really don’t like handwashing. Too time intensive, too wet and takes up too much space. I’ll try the special wool category on my friend’s washing machine, and if it shrinks, well then it has to be donated to the kids or to charities. I really try my best to avoid wool items in future, so why should I knit these? So, if they get dirty, its relatively complicated to clean, often they are made out of scratchy, expensive wool and it takes so much time to do the knitting, too.

So I thought about embroidery, especially as my aunt makes the most beautiful items, specialising in table clothes. But most things in magazines and catalogues are actually pictures, and somehow I really don’t think of hanging up self-made cross-stitchery as pictures. And I really can’t make sense of most cartoon-like cross-stitchery motives. Well, somehow it makes sense to have the pictures of the Grand Union Canal in a houseboat, and to continue to do medieval tapestry and motives to keep the history alive. So I quite like this pattern. But if I would want to start out with something, I would like to do this Green Man. But, unfortunately that’s an US website. They also have nice Art Nouveau and MacKintosh patterns and offer even some possibilities in transforming the result into something useful, like coasters or keyrings or purses.

Documentaries – the debate

As an enthusiastic reader and commenter of the Guardian and its Comment is Free, I am delighted to link to this debate about the state of documentary films and also to this rather amusingly enlightening blog of a TV commissioner.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival people have confirmed my press accreditation for this year’s event, which is really nice of them, because I chanced it a bit as freelancer without any commission and only poor old indymedia as the main publication. Ooops. Didn’t have time yet to look for another outlet. The programme looks interesting, though in the documentary area, there seem to be less social-political documentaries with less interesting content on than last year. A lot of Palestine – Israel conflict films, but none about Iraq it seems, and hardly any about Latin America, which is sad, because these are usually my favourites. I still regret not having been able to watch “The Refugee All Stars” last year and the documentary about some prostitutes collective at some railway path ( could have been titled “The Railroad All Stars” ?).
This year I am looking forward to Current TV’s and FourDocs open session on commissioning short docs, because I am curious about their editorial policy. Of course, many favourite events coincide on Friday, 24th of August.

By the way, I will try to sort out all the broken links, additional funny characters and spelling mistakes on this blog later on today as they keep reappearing with upgrading the system. The old websites also dumps a lot of huge core-files on the server which shut down my emails as well. No clue where they come from. But at least I have now been taught how to delete them.

How to catch a lost hamster… – The Movie !

Fluffy jumping into the bucket.
Finally, the new video, also subtitled “Success with containers” has uploaded. You can watch it either on current.tv or download the 97 MB big heavyweight from this website. It has been made with the help from Pilton Video, the best community video project in the world!

Fluffy has been a brilliant movie star, very quick he was on his feet, but after he got accustomed to the camera, he quite liked all the treats he was getting for doing funny stuff, like hopping into the bucket or coming when called.

The video was initiated by all these poor fellows loosing their escaped hamsters, its a little guide on how to prevent it, how and where to find the hamster, how to tame him or her and how to catch him/her.

Riots and Repression in Oaxaca

The conflict in Oaxaca has flared up again. I wouldn’t have noticed if Tom would not have put up an article on Indy Scotland. Quick look around and apart from the BBC website, no mention at all about these events in the media, and the BBC takes the usual authority-supporting stance. Maybe article is written by a news agency, not sure if they have anybody in Latin America and if so, where.

On Indy, it’s a completely different picture, though. It has been discovered, that a former teacher has been arrested unharmed and then been beaten into a coma by police. At such moments, I just love indy – whilst most of the British media is focusing on if the Queen walked in or out in some BBC documentary, only this little, volunteer-driven project is bringing you the news that really matters and cares, and reports from the local people’s perspective and not the authorities points of views.

At such moments I could just cry out of disappointment, relief and fear that it might not be there some time in future, its existance is a pretty uncertain one and raises and falls with time, money and effort of its volunteers. Quite often, the newswire reports are, quite terribly arrrrrrrgh !!! But then, every now and again it’s the most unbelievably fantastic project on Earth. Kind of a Love-Hate relationship.

I quickly did a summary and rewrite of events, but it seems difficult to get updates in English. There are radio streams in Spanish. After I finish the dissertation I will have to learn Spanish and upgrade the shorthand, too.

and the dissertation drags on..

The last days I have been fighting with my dissertation topic. I am not quite sure what it is about. Given that it has to be handed in at the start of September and August is filled with reviewing the Festival, it’s getting a bit late.
I know it is about the G8 and the protests and activists, because I have done a lot of interviews and already written my reflective essay, which only needs to be intellectual-ified with quotes and references and beautifying the language, but the headline and take on the whole issue is still varying greatly. My supervisor is nearly as frustrated and nervous as I am, he insists that it needs to be a topic attractive enough to sell for publication and the work should be about something totally new. This marketing aspect is like totally throwing me off the track.

Add it then together with the news that Veritas has once again managed to hit the short list of the Press Gazette’s prize draw, I am wondering if I am in the wrong universe at the wrong time. Although Lewie Peterson has always been nice, tolerant and open-minded to me. But most of the content of Veritas seemed quite boring this year, except for Arlene’s cooking recipes, though I read the interview with Noel Edmonds – but it didn’t add anything to my quality of life.

One nice aspect of German news is, that it contains a lot of dry in depth background explanations and is sometimes frustratingly theoretical. Now, here in Britain it seems there are too many weird unusual personal stories of entertainment value in the media and you wonder how much background research has been done and what’s actually going on and why.
Maybe the balance is right in the middle in philosophical France then?

Anyways, I wish I knew where I and how my weird sort of journalism would fit into.