What had me all riled up yesterday

After enjoying church and a nice Easter meal with my parents, I came back online to find that Amazon.com had removed sales rankings from many LGBT-themed books, making it impossible to find them with a normal Amazon search. An automated response to complaints stated that those books had been removed because of “adult content” – however, not only did many sexually explicit heterosexual books keep their ranking, but completely non-explicit books like lesbian parenting guides, LGBT- themed books for young adults or autobiographies by gay men and women didn’t.

Needless to say, my head exploded with RAGE. 🙂 By now Amazon has backpedalled, stating the whole thing was caused by a “glitch”. I find it quite reassuring that online outrage (for example, we google bombed the term Amazon Rank, making it #1 in Google search results) resulted in an immediate reaction.

amazon fail

The image links to an overview of the whole issue by an author who was affected by this all the way back in February. I also found this recent AfterElton blogpost summarising quite nicely what bothers me so much about the whole thing, glitch or no glitch. And now I’ll go back to enjoying my day off…

Oh HAI, American elections…

Have been on a bit of a Jon Stewart kick the past few days. I’ve gotten into the habit of listening to audiobooks on my way to and from work, as I can’t read on the bus into town – and one of the books was America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction by said Jon Stewart, which totally reminded me why I love that guy and his brain. (I get ‘brain crushes’ sometimes, on seriously smart and funny people like Stephen Fry or Neil Gaiman.)

So I decided to see if I couldn’t find a place to watch The Daily Show, which I’d caught in New Zealand a few times (it aired on the music channel C4 there, on the same day as the US, thanks to the international date line) – and ‘lo and behold, you can actually watch the episodes on the show’s official website, no matter where you live! See, that’s why I love the internets… 🙂

And following Jon Stewart of course also means following Obama – I actually remember hearing about Obama’s speech on race on The Daily Show in March:

And, because it’s less than one week until the elections are finally here, let me be the last person on this planet to post the “Yes We Can” video, because it’s a lot of fun to play “name the celeb” (and because it is a seriously awesome speech, too):

Okay, enough politics for this blog, I promise! (Actually, in the past – during the 2004 elections, as a matter of fact – I caught serious flak from an “online friend” because I dared to have an opinon about American politics – but, although I’m not American and don’t live in the US, I think it’s safe to say that American politics affect the whole world. Sometimes with… rather tragic consequences.) Umm yes. This was supposed to be a simple squee post about Jon Stewart, but there you go. *g*

Ups and downs

This whole internship search has been quite a rollercoaster these past two months, bringing with it quite a bit of disillusionment and disappointment, as I realized how little of value for the job market I actually have to offer. It even made me doubt my whole career plan of working in the area of international relations/NGOs.

Now I’ve finally got an interview with a youth exchange organisation lined up next Monday, and my chances are looking quite good, as I’d be a last minute replacement for an intern who quit. So for the time being I’m in very good spirits and full of hope – and the lovely warm sunshine certainly doesn’t hurt either. 🙂

Also, you can find the photos I took on my short trip to Germany at the beginning of the month: First I met up with Märrie und Katharina (a friend from Hamburg) in Potsdam and we visited the LotR Exhibition, then I spent a couple of days with Märrie and her family near Bonn. This also included an afternoon in Düsseldorf, where I met Karin and Shuichi’s little baby boy Kaito for the first time.

-> Flickr album

Boring life

And that’s not going to change in the next months. All I do is sit at home and work on my thesis. Now and then I meet up with some friends, but since several of my closest friends are also in their final year of uni that’s not very often. At least that way I don’t have to feel too guilty about leading such a hermit’s life…

The other thing I do is watch CSI. Love that show, and for some reason the orderliness and structure of crime shows like that feels reassuring, relaxing. And, to satisfy my hankering for organization, I put together a list of my TV obsessions. After all, you can already see the photos I take, the books I read and the movies I watch, so TV just had to follow, I guess… Huh, this line of thought could lead to some interesting theories about opening one’s life to strangers. Maybe another time… 🙂

Yesterday I broke my routine a bit, though, and made a little something to hang over my desk, cheer me up while I’m working: a collage of my closest RL friends and family.

friends collage

Wedding waltz

Sick at home right now, but trying not to let it get me down, as I’m already feeling decidedly better than yesterday. So, on to the topic of this post: My love for the Gilmore girls is common knowledge by now, I’m sure – what I’ve never mentioned before is how much I always enjoy the soundtrack. Just my taste, and it’s led me to discover a number of really great musicians, like Sam Phillips, whose songs and music are in every episode.

Also, I have found the song I want to dance to at my wedding one day. 🙂 Seriously, it’s perfect – it’s used when Luke’s sister gets married, and Luke and Lorelai dance together for the first time.

Sam Phillips – Reflecting Light
Now that I’ve worn out, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination
Looking through the night
And the moon’s never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

I wrote the pain down
Got off and looked up
Looked into your eyes
The lost open windows
All around
My dark heart lit up the skies

And now that I’ve worn, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination
Looking through the night
And the moon’s never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

Give up the ground
Under your feet
Hold on to nothing for good
Turn and run at the mean times
Chasing you
Stand alone and misunderstood

And now that I’ve worn, I’ve worn out the world
I’m on my knees in fascination
Looking through the night
And the moons never seen me before
But I’m reflecting light

You can download the song from Sam Phillip’s website.

So that was a full week

Märrie came for a visit, for the first time in over a year. She came by car, so we made excursions every day, in Switzerland but also across the borders into Germany and France. But we’d have had a great time even staying home all the time, because we always have lots of fun when we’re together.

The trips we took:
Monday: A Magritte exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler.
Tuesday: Bern, the Swiss capital, where we saw the floods from up close. Not that we’d planned on being catastrophe tourists, but it was fascinating in a scary kind of way.
Wednesday: Along the Rhine to the Bodensee (Lake Konstanz), seeing the Rhine falls, visiting the old monastery island of Reichenau and spending some time in Konstanz.
Thursday: Schloss Hallwyl, a beautifully restored castle that’s been owned by von Hallwyl family since the Middle Ages and houses a great museum.
Friday: The Ecomusée in the Alsace, the biggest open-air museum in Europe, with about 70 rebuilt houses from all over the region.
Saturday: The Roman festival in nearby Roman town Augusta Raurica.

On Sunday Märrie was supposed to drive home – but on her way down the stairs to put her luggage into the car, she slipped and hurt her ankle so badly that my mom had to take her to the emergency room, because unfortunately I had to go to work. The poor thing won’t be able to drive for a while – so yesterday, I drove her home and then took the train back. It was exhausting, to say the least, as I’ve never in my life driven such a long stretch (about 470km), mostly over German highways.

Now I’m back home and really have to work on my paper. I’m leaving for Singapore and Japan in 10 days, after all. Not that it’s going well at the moment. But I have to. If only I wasn’t so scatterbrained still…

Btw, the Firefly podcast I mentioned in my last post read an email I wrote to them (using my online nickname ‘Shirasade’) in last week’s show. That pleased my geeky heart quite a bit! *g*

Discovering Podcasts

Currently I’m procrastinating badly on my paper. Not because I don’t want to write it — it’s definitely the most interesting (and close-to-my-heart) topic — but because I’m overwhelmed at how much information I want to include, which doesn’t get along with the 25 page limit I have. I mean, I’m already over 1/4 done, although I’ve not even started the main chapters. That just kind of paralysis me, I’m afraid.

But while I’m letting myself be distracted, I discovered a new fun plaything – podcasts. I came across it because of my love for the short-lived sci-fi show Firefly (created by Buffy‘s Joss Whedon), which has now been turned into a movie called Serenity. Some fans created a podcast for it, called The Signal, and out of curiosity I downloaded it using iTunes and started listening to it while working on my paper.

In the meantime I have discovered that there are podcasts about all sorts of things. Basically it’s like radio shows — although I rarely listen to music podcasts (seeing that I already have several thousands mp3s on my external harddrive) — but you can simply download and listen to them at your own leisure, on your iPod (which is where the name comes from) or your computer. And by subscribing to a podcast you’ll automatically get the new episodes as they are published. Now I have to be careful not to get hooked on too many podcasts, because they just please my geeky little heart… *g*

Anyway, some links I’m using:
iTunes Music Store: Podcast Directory
Podcast Alley

The Signal (by Firefly fans, with interviews, etc.)
Doctor Who: Podshock (by Dr. Who fans)
Battlestar Galactica: DVD commentary (by Ron Moore, producer of BSG)
Bored-Again Christian (Christian indie music)
Lord of the Rings Radio (by LotR fans)

And just because I’m being so geeky, I feel I have to mention that we now have wireless internet access in our flat. That led to me sitting on the balcony working on my paper and looking up words in my favorite German-English dictionary. Geek heaven, indeed! 🙂

FedCon photos

So I uploaded the photos I took at FedCon to my Flickr account – feel free to check them out! 🙂


FedCon 2005 shirasade’s FedCon 2005 photoset

RingCon photos

It’s impossible to share all the awesome memories I have from RingCon last weekend. Maybe some of the pictures I took will do the job as well…

I didn’t get a lot of photos from the actors, mainly because my zoom is really really crap, so even sitting first row (well, actually right beneath the stage, craning my neck to look upwards) didn’t really help. Click the thumbs to get to the bigger pictures (which are also resized and cropped – let me know if you need the original for some reason).

I took some at Billy Boyd’s first panel on Friday evening, where he’d come rushing in straight from the airport. To top things off they’d lost his luggage – but luckily he got it back. He was very charming and almost knocked me off my feet (luckily I was already sitting *g*), although he seemed a bit tense at times. Not surprising, he must have been terribly stressed! But it just showed the strange dynamics of con life – often it’s the ‘small names’ that become instant favorites, because of their enthusiasm. They feel closer for some reason… But still, it was simply amazing to experience Billy from up close – I never thought I’d get the chance!

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