Monthly Archives: March 2012

9 hours, 9 activities: Banishing boredom from long-haul flights

Today is the day. It’s almost 8 o’clock here at Hamburg Airport and chances are pretty high that I’m in the air while you are reading this. My flight is headed for Newark Liberty International Airport in New York. So I have about 9 hours of economy-class-sardine-tin-travelling ahead of me. Nine long hours of boredom… I hope it won’t be like that this time. I’ve taken precautions and come up with my personal Anti-long-haul-flight-boredom-plan:

  1. Try and strike up a conversation with my seatmate (this might not be an option depending on who it is I’ll be sitting next to. But I’ll at least be polite and say “Hi”/”Bye”  to him or her)
  2. In case I get to sit next to somebody nice and friendly, I packed a game of ninepennies and draughts. Tic Tac Toe and battleship are also and option because…
  3. …I packed pens and paper. I also have my sketchbook with me, so I could sketch or doodle some too. (Will definitely do that!)
  4. On board crafting: I did put the supplies for a small in-the-air-crafts-project in my bag. I’ll tell you all about it and supply you with a DIY-tutorial some other time.
  5. The classic: Read!! I packed a popular-science magazine and the epic-fantasy novel I’m currently reading.
  6. I bought a puzzle magazine. I chose one with logic puzzles. Each correctly solved puzzle will reveal a simple picture or word which I think is really cool!
  7. Listen to music. Of course I also packed my iPod nano and bought a couple new songs on iTunes as well.
  8. I will turn off the wireless antenna on my computer while on the airplane so I could also use my laptop to… maybe prepare some new post for you guys! ;P I have nine hours, I could do some serious writing…
  9. … and last but not least: I could try to sleep, check out the on-board entertainment system, look out the window, take a gazzilion cloud-pictures (given I get the window-seat) and not foget to do some strechtes now and then to keep the blood circulating and the muscles from getting too stiff…

So, what do you do to chase away the bordeom during long-haul flights???

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P.S. Please excuse any typos and such; I had to kind of rush to get the post done… blogging at the airport is a lil’ difficult 😉
Now of I go: Up, up in the air !!!

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RECEIVED CARD #9.1 & #9.2

It’s Sunday, so I’ll show you not one, but TWO of my postcrossing cards : )

This is one of my favorites! It’s from Monika in Poland and it had to travel 365 miles (588 km) before I got to find it in my mailbox. On its front you can see a Polish folk-art papercut. I love it – it’s so colorful!

Monika also send me a great proverb:

“Co cie nie zabije, to cie wzmocni.”

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.”

“Was dich nicht umbringt macht dich stärker.”

It’s a quote from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in a slightly varied form. The original quote reads:

“Co mnie nie zabije, to mnie wzmocni.”

“What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.”

“Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich stärker.”

And here is the second card I promised you at the beginning of this post. I received it on the same day as the one from Monika. This card is from Egon in Slovenia. It was my first and has been the only one from Slovenia for me so far. As you can see it’s one of those beautiful village-and-landscape-cards.

How do you like the postcards? Have I already told you how much I love receiving postcards!?!

Well, that’s all for today ; )

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Flood Art

Hey

I hope you are enjoying your weekend. The past three days I’ve been busy preparing for my trip to the US on Monday. Since yesterday I’ve been busy packing, unpacking and repacking my suitcase, desperately trying to reduce its weight to the allowed 50 pounds… I’m down to 52 right now, but simply don’t know what to take out anymore : (

Oh well, enough of my luggage-drama; I just wanted to stop by and drop you some visual stimulation along with a few lines.

So this is some interesting mail art I received from Christine “BrisChris” who lives in Brisbane, Australia.

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………………………………………………………. They had a great flood in Brisbane last year. The photographs that Christine used to create her piece of mail art were stacked together and affected by the flood water. I think it’s fascinating how art is sometimes created by accident.

I’ve already gotten something in the mail for her too : ) Can’t wait to show it to you at some point next week.

Now I’ll return to my suitcase and brood some over a solution to my baggage-dilemma…

I wish you a great weekend and a happy St. Patricks Day!

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On the horns of a dilemma: Die Zwickmühle

Okay, today for a change, I will have to go a little academic on you and let lose the linguistics-chick in me. Don’t worry I’ll take you through my train of thought step by step.

Well, when I received arttower’s “dilemma”-mail art (I showed it to you in my Saturday post) I decided that I wanted to pick up the dilemma-theme in my response mail art to him as well.
I then got out my elephantine Oxford Dictionary & Thesaurus and looked up the correct definition of dilemma and its synonyms before all else:

I found some more synonyms on Wikipedia.com and added them to the list just like all the German synonyms I could find, including the word “Zwickmühle”. Well, now that particular synonym  struck a chord in me and I came up with this piece of mail art:

"Zwickmühle" (2012)

Me being ground to flour like grain by two millstones because I’m feeling unable to make a decision – so I’m – to throw in some more imagery here – on the horns of a dilemma…

Now, etymologically Zwickmühle doesn’t really refer to a real grain to flour grinding mill but a certain position in the board game mill (ninepenny/nine men’s morris/merrelles/cowboy checkers). The first part of the word “Zwick – mühle” doesn’t derive from the German verb “zwicken” (to pinch), as I’d mistakenly assumed, but from the Old High German words “zween”, “zwo” and “zwei” meaning two. So Zwickmühle basically means “two mills” and if you`ve ever played mill, you might know how fatal it is when your opponent can shuttle a piece back and forth between two mills and thus pretty much sealing your fate.

I don’t know what you think but I’d say both explanations, my wrong one and the etymologically-correct one, are in the end fitting imagery for a dilemma.

Well, to counteract the academic tone of today’s post at least a little bit, here is a link to a cool website where you can play mill online for free. Mill is one of my favorite board games by-the-way, next to draughts/checkers of course 😉

I hope the linguistics-chick in me didn’t scare you too awfully much and you’ll brave to stop by my blog again to read more.

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Credits:
definition and synonyms of the word dilemma:
Oxford Dicitonary & Thesaurus, second edition 2007, as edited by M. Waite; p. 280 

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RECEIVED CARD #8: If Cinderella were Dutch…

Dear friends,

I know I’m way late with my Sunday-post but I had a good reason for taking my time with it…

This is my good reason reason for being late: The postcard featured in today’s post first had me simply think of clogs, then of a Dutch Cinderella losing a clog and then getting it back from her Dutch Prince Charming… do I need to say more?! – haha - you can see the result for yourself…

… Let me ask you this: Have you ever been to the Netherlands? Or seen their traditional clothing; especially their traditional footwear, the clogs?

No? Yes? Maybe? Can’t remember? …

Well, I have not been to the Netherlands so far…

– Yes, shame on me! I’ll add it to my travelling-wish-list right this minute — hold on a sec…  okay, done! –

BUT I’ve received this amazing card from Jeanne:

It shows the traditional clothing of the Dutch, well to be exact of the people from Volendam, a small town in North Holland. Especially the high pointed bonnet women wear with this traditional costume is recognized as Dutch pretty much anywhere in the world. Many, many postcards feature the bonnet and clogs. Of course they are very popular with tourists visiting the Netherlands but also postcrossers who have never been to the land of the Oranje will do the happy-dance upon finding one of those pretties in their mailbox : ).

Thank you, thank you, thank you Jeanne for this great snippet of Dutch tradition and inspiring me to create some semi-funny art today : )

Oh, I almost forgot to show you the stamps!

Now, thank YOU for stopping by today too!

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__Dilemma with place of discovery__

Art in my mailbox!

Today:

               “Dilemma mit Fundort”              

_____________ Mail art from “arttower” (Germany 2011) ____________

For more…

VISIT —–> http://arttowersmailart.blogspot.com/ <—– VISIT

Thank you arttower for sending this! Your mail art is always food for my thoughts and a well of inspiration.

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The Finns, their dogs and a nifty gadget

Hi there,

For a couple months now I’ve been the proud owner of a Wacom graphic tablet and I must say it is a really nifty gadget to have. It came with so much great software too, like Corel Painter and Photoshop. I already had PS but was in dire need of a version upgrade – seriously, I’d been stuck with PS Elements 2.0 until I got the tablet. I can be so cheap sometimes!

Okay, enough of the geeky computer-software-talk and on to the more interesting part of what I did with my new shiny:

Mostly I had intended to use it as a digital drawing and painting tool but I soon noticed that somehow it’s just not my thing – I love my real paints, pens and papers way to much! I have a friend who creates really cool Manga/Anime characters with the help of her tablet. Like these…

I don’t know how she does it. They are amazing, aren’t they?

Well, even though I do not use my tablet to draw or paint, it has become a very handy tool for me when editing and altering photographs in Photoshop and sometimes Corel Painter too. The first real project I tackled using my tablet was – of course – creating a postcard for a fellow postcrosser.

It was my 15th sent postcrossing card which went to Pirkko in Finland. She loves dogs and has three of her own. On her profile she mentions that receiving postcards featuring a picture of a national dog breed would make her day – and hey, that’s what I want to: Make someone’s day a little brighter by sending them a lovely postcard! So, off I went to create a German-dog-breed-card for Pirrko using my graphic tablet, Photoshop and Corel Painter. And this is it:

I created it using a simple layering technique: First I created a collage using different images of German dog-breeds and then covered it with a simple white layer. With a few sketchy strokes of my tablet pen and some Corel Painter magic I made the dogs visible again as rough sketches. I didn’t just trace the images; I removed the white in the top layer to make the color of the dog images beneath reappear. I hope you get what I mean.  The finishing touch was adding the black quote box and my signature at the bottom in a third layer and voila: A German-dog-breed-card for Pirrko!

“Natürlich kann man ohne Hund leben – es lohnt sich nur nicht.”
(“Of course you can live without a dog – it just isn’t worth it.”)

~ Heinz Rühmann, German actor

When I printed it I also experimented with different color paper. Ten postcrossing-cards later (#25) I sent the exact same image printed on yellow paper to the also Finnish and dog-loving Kirsi – especially Finns seem to like dogs a lot for some reason : ) while Russians seem to be cat-people (but that’s a different story altogether)

Well, my dog Fredi and I send greetings to all dogs and their doggy people out there!

I had some fun sketching in ink and felt markers as you can see : P

Have a great Friday! *bark*

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