My bicycle. And my saddle. <3

My bicycle (and a brick wall)

It’s one of these under appreciated everyday items. My good old bicycle. And when I say old, I mean old. At least relatively. I think my parents bought this for me in 1994 or 1995, when I was 14/15 years old. So this bike has been for me for more than half of my life. Well, some parts of it are that old. The bicycle is one of the few (more ore less technically complex) things, which I am able to repair. And I repaired it a lot and changed most of this parts, by now. The frame broke in 2001, but since its producer Fahrradmanufaktur gave ten years of warranty, I got a spare frame and transferred everything from the old frame to the new one.

Rims, handlebar, rear sprockets, low riders, pannier rack, lamps, kickstand, … about everything broke once or more times. Dozens of brake pads, gear and brake cables, tires got replaced. Splash guards, pedals, bottle holders and reflectors from other abandoned bikes got reused. Cork bar tape and bicycle chains got battered and renewed. And of course I didn’t buy a kiddy seat before 2008, when our first child turned one year.

So what’s left from my original bicycle?

The sun tour gear and brake lever are original, so is the crank and the Abus lock. And one thing I really love, and which I did never think would last 20 years: my Brooks bicycle saddle. It took a thousand kilometers to make it comfy, and I blame it for destroying dozens of jeans through out the years. But I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

I often dreamt of buying a new bike. But always resisted. I had five or six Macs since I got my current bike. I bought about ten phones since 1998. I even owned three cars by now. My bike is one of the last remaining non-disposable articles I own. And I think I’ll stick to it for a while. – simple, beautiful, ad-free and beta. – Screenshot

The last social media service, I got (at least) a little excited about has been (now, used by about a dozen people. The concept to build an open protocol as a fundament for many services seemed noble and for me it was much more appealing than diaspora.

Well, isn’t open, but it’s as its claim is promising: simple, beautiful and ad-free.

As some people wished for Twitter and as tried, ello aims to build its business model around Freemium:

From time to time we offer special features to our users. If we create a special feature that you like, you can choose to pay a very, very small amount of money to add it to your Ello account forever.

We’ll see, how that works out. Ello is currently very beta and thus lacks of a lot of features (some of them gotta be free) and it’s vividly discussed on elli, if its minimalistic (featureless) state isn’t also a strength of ello. For example there is currently nothing like retweests or shared items that spam the timeline.

Reactions on Ello about Ello vary between: wake me up as soon as it’s working and take good care about Ello, it already grow dear on my heart. I will definitely try to keep faith with Ello for a while, since not only it’s minimalism is a a nice change to Facebook and Twitter, also noise is virtually banned in a separate tab. And while I manage Twitter pretty well with private lists and am quite thankful for Facebook’s arbitrary filtering, on both channels there is still a lot of automated content, ads, spam, noise and redundancy on those channels. If not for more: it’s pretty relaxing to follow just a couple dozen people who are – yet – pretty attentive on what they post. And it has been a great opportunity to just follow a couple new pepz, I didn’t already knew from elsewhere, which has is own appealing.

Long story short: My first impression of Ello is quiet pleasant. Yes, it’s very beta. But it is very neat, very unobtrusive and most def got some potential. … Good Luck, Ello. Hopefully you don’t end up too soon on this list of services I actually really liked to use, but which I don’t really use anymore:

70 years after D-Day! Thank you, allies!

You better grab a chair and sit down, Gate, you’re
Gonna hear some news of a military nature.
There never was a finer sight
When all our boys were fixed to fight
On D-Day, D-Day, D-Day, D-Day.

(Nat King Cole with the Nat King Cole Trio)

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations on 6 June 1944 (termed D-Day) of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the Allied invasion of German-occupied western Europe, led to the restoration of the French Republic, and contributed to an Allied victory in the war.

(Wikipedia on D-Day)

But D-Day was much more than a military event in history. It was a turning point in the course of World War II and a mayor milestone in defeating Germany. It was crucial to liberating Europe from Germany’s regiment. Today, it is the 70th anniversary of this important day. And a good occasion to give a great THANK YOU to the allied troops who made a free Europe possible.

The web is loaded with interesting sources on D-Day. Take you’re time and look through them and give credit to the allied forces! Here are just some suggestions:

The last sips of #thirdwavewichteln

Here I sit in the dark. Having my second to last cup of coffee from my Wichtel Laura Clark from Kansas. A really nice cup of coffee. Sweet blueberries, chocolate and a sprinkle of cherry coke. Seriously fun stuff. It’s a Yirgacheffe from Kaldi’s where Laura works as a barista.

Not only the coffee has been fantastic, but the whole #thirdwavewichteln experience, and for that I want to say thank you to @bosch, @lastguest_hh and @roitsch who startet this in some comments on Instagram.

Wichteln is the German word for the Christmas “game” Secret Santa. Originally you have a small box, everyone writes down her/his name on a slip of paper and puts it into the box. Then everyone takes out one slip of paper and thereby chooses a person. Now she/he is this person’s Secret Santa and has to get her/him a present. In times of the internets we want to do this digitally, so we created this page. The theme is coffee. Good coffee. Special coffee. Third Wave coffee. Thereby we want to support small producers and roasters that love coffee as much as we do.

I got to discover a lot about coffee while browsing the #thirdwavecoffee-hashtg on Instagram and twitter and the people and post’s behind that. Also #thirdwavecoffee started a series of coffee tastings and gatherings of which I had the pleasure to join one organised by Alex.

I am really looking forward for the next round of #thirdwavewichteln and in the mean time feel free to contact me for a peer to peer coffee swap. 🙂

Back from Tunis.

While the focus of the organization where I am employed (ABC Bildungs- und Tagungszentrum is civic education within Germany, I am fortunately able to create opportunities to broaden my work field to international projects. After a workshop on online journalism and blogging, I held in Minsk (Belarus) last year, now I got the chance to take part in the development of a youth exchange program between Hamburg, Tunis and Marseille with a focus on citizen journalism.

A long site with our partners Une Terre Culturelle and Club Unesco Alesco Bardo we just gathered for a preparation meeting in Tunis, where the first of three project phases will be launched in October. It has been my first time to Tunis and besides a brief tourist visit of Sinai my very first time in Northern Africa. Of course this three-night-visit has just been a glimpse but nevertheless really inspiring.
Continue reading “Back from Tunis.”

What we learned while camping…

We went to the East German peninsula Usedom for a ten day vacation. Actually, we’ll leave tomorrow. And since I got all kinds of pens and a paper notebook in my bag, I spontaneously decided to do some visual note taking for our vacation days. And instead writing a diary every day, I sat down and took some sketchnotes for each day.

And besides that I started some more general sketchnotes for me to remember certain stuff. Like this one on the art of packing the right gear for a camping trip. Although I spent approximately a 1/12 of my life in tents, I still tend to forget, what’s useful to pack. Maybe this helps me:


Chickpea (gram flour) waffles

Chick pea is best pea. And more than that. For a longtime chickpeas occupy an important place on my plate. Indisputable my favorite variant form of it is Hummus. Incomparable. Unbeatable. Unsurpassable. This recipe from Humus101 is a good starting point, although I usually quardruple the amount.

But by far Hummus is not everything you can make from chickpeas. I love it as an ingredient of pasta sauces (i.e. in tomato sauce or with mushrooms), as a salat (just with some garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper), in soups or straight from the jar or bin. Also, roasted chickpeas are a great snack for on the run or on the couch.

Today I tried something new (for me) and used some gram flour (flour made of dried chick peas) to make a waffle dough.

I whisked

  • two eggs
  • ca. 300ml sparkling water
  • ca. 250g of gram flour
  • about 30-50g of crushed almonds
  • a shot (maybe 5 spoons) of sunflower oil

in a large bowl and scooped it in the well preheated and greased waffle iron.


It turned out pretty yummi. Nutty aroma, rich but not to heavy. A little dry. But soaked in white almond cream just perfect. I guess I’ll try more fat or maybe some blueberries in the dough next time.

Discord Lamp – 2 seconds in My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Within 20 work hours on my shelf.

Keep Calm in Flutter
has been one of my favorite episodes of My Little Pony Friendship is Magic so far. Not only because of the rebirth of the great and chaosful Discord, but also because of a lot of really nice slapstick scenes and animation details. And one has instantly engraved upon my heart: the scene where Discord smashes Fluttershy’s lamp and recreates it as a sculpture of himself. My instant thought was: I’ve got to build that, too. And I did.

It took my about three weeks two buy all the materials I needed and over the course
of a week I spend hours and nights to build it from wire, Creall Do&Dry modelling clay, a brick, mesh wire, aluminum foil, acrylic paint, fabric and of course a lamp socket and a cable. Großes #mlpfim-Bastelprojekt. Starts now. I bought two and a half kilogram of clay, turns out: one would have been enough.

Irgendwie so. In die Richtung. Könnte das was werden. Mit der Discord Lampe. #mlpfim #discordlampDiscord Lamp… I just hope it will ever stand somehow… #mlpfim #discordlamp
If you plan to do something like that: Use thicker and stronger wire. And less aluminum foil. 🙂 The beast gets pretty heavy, it needs all the support it can get. I used (another) lamp to stabilize it. It still sacked to much while drying. Ich habe Acrylfarben. Und ich werde sie benutzen. #discordlamp The painting wasn’t the hardest part and it took only about five of the total twenty or twenty-something work hours I spent on this project. But the colors
don’t really match, although I am very happy about the result. Of course, without his skirt (lamp shade) my beloved #discordlamp wouldn’t be complete. I considered making it from clay or paper which both would have been easier to match color and shape but I decided to go for fabric, which for my taste suits the origin of
the skirt as a shade much better.

And well: this is how it looks now, sitting on our router cabinet in the home office room: Finally ready: Discord Lamp. In direct comparison you see, it’s far away from perfect. But I am perfectly happy. And I hope you like it, too.