Jan 212015
 

About two weeks ago when revising the novel of doom (and yes, I’m still not done after fifteen months) I read one of those “Oh no, everything is going downhill we’re doomed”-scenes that are mandatory in urban fantasy novels and found I had unwillingly inserted something funny.

Now the thing is while I think I am rather funny in person (not always on purpose), and while people have told me my podcast is funny (can’t imagine why) I was really sure that in my fiction there was no fun at all.

But then I was. All Buffy-like in the middle of an important and major fighting scene. Wham. Funny and ironic. Sarcastic even.

Decades ago I went to a music education congress in Cologne, and a guy said to me that he thought I was British. First because of my clothes (which I still don’t quite understand but I tried to dress as elegant and businesslike as I could), and second because of my sense of humor. It seems that sarcasm is something I do without thinking. I even met a friend in college who said he liked my sarcasm. I, of course, didn’t really know what he was talking about.

So it seems that Germans think that I have a British sense of humour. While I just think that I had to do something to lift myself above the dreary existence that is daily life in Eastern Westphalia. No,. despite what my husband thinks that is not a joke. There is a tiny bit of Westphalia that got chopped off some time ago, and now it is separate. Though united with “Lippe” (don’t ask me what that is in English) which nowadays is shortened to the unfortunate acronym OWL (for “Ostwestfalen-Lippe”). Of course Lippe is an abomination because people are all catholic there. ::shudder::

Oh wait. I was talking about being funny.

So.I never quite know how that works. Sometimes I say something that I think is common knowledge, and not unusual at all, and someone will think that’s the funniest thing. Sometimes I’m making a really good joke but nobody laughs, and there’s this really awkward silence. So I really never know.

I do know that I like to hear myself talking, and I always laugh at my own jokes but I also know that you’re not supposed to. If I were a real, sincere, artist person I wouldn’t love listening to my own podcast. I wouldn’t chuckle at every pitiful joke.

I’m sorry, I can’t help it.

On the other hand I then think that maybe it’s a good thing I like hanging out with myself. I know one shouldn’t, a worthy person would be all humble, and “Oh, you’re so much nicer than I am.” And yes, most people are indeed nicer than me, still I’d love to hang out with myself all the time. The fun I could have! I could talk about the books I’ve read, and the projects I’m working on forever without boring myself. Brilliant! I could watch “Doctor Who” with myself, and we’d both sitting there, spinning along with a big grin of pleasure on our faces, and then we’d both drink the same beer and love it. I could have real conversations about everything that I find fascinating without my listener’s eyes glazing over which is a definite plus. (Try to talk to your 12-yo. son about your current spinning project, and you’ll see what I mean.)

Still. I’d love to be able to write something funny on purpose. Usually when people find me funny I’m just being myself.

And sometimes I think that I’m living in the wrong country, and that I would be happier in Britain. Well, at least I would know why I’d feel like a stranger there.

The thing is that I never really can tell if I just made a joke or not.

What about you. Can you be funny on purpose? Do you even want to?

 

Jan 142015
 

It turns out that ITunes doesn’t like it when I put two audio files in one post, and only downloads the first one so this is the post for part two. (You can find part one here.)

Jan 102015
 

The episode turned out so long that I had to divide it in two. So there is an episode 50a, and an episode 50b which can be found in the next post here. Enjoy!

Knitting:

Crochet:

Spinning:

Weaving:

  • dish towels
  • leftover sock yarn blanket part two

Embroidery:

Everything else I talked about can be found in the show notes to the respective episodes which you can find by looking in the „podcast“ category of the blog.

Jan 072015
 

You know I read a lot of self-help and self improvement books, and am pretty much constantly trying to change things and myself for the better.

I am at a point where I feel my most important projects are stalling, nothing is moving, and so when we had a discussion on ravelry about how good it is to set precise goals, and hold each other accountable I jumped right in.

Every Monday I would post my goals, specific and measurable ones, modest ones that I could surely achieve with a bit of effort. And every Monday I would report on how I had failed the week before.

I hate failure. I bet all of us do. And my goals really were attainable. And yet I failed. Not in a „and then I got sick and had to miss a day“-way but in a „I wanted to make music for ten minutes five times a week, and I only touched my ukulele once“-kind of way.

In fact I started feeling that writing the goals down, and telling others about them made me less likely to succeed. Which goes against everything that is common knowledge. If you want to reach a goal you should break it down into small manageable chunks, and then you should tell everybody about it so you’ll be more motivated to actually do it.

As I said it feels as if that’s not for me.

Take losing weight. I managed to lose a bit when I stopped eating sugar (mostly) because I found my body wasn’t happy to digest that much fructose. Then I lost some more because I decided to drink way less alcohol for health reasons. And then I decided to eat just a little less still because I wanted to be able to walk uphill without feeling dreadful. (The first thing I did about that was exercise more, though, losing weight alone would have been rather pointless for that.)

I am totally against dieting (and it never works for me anyway), I know that it’s unhealthy, and I also know that only 5% of all people who lose weight will keep it off, and I know that being fat is neither unhealthy nor unattractive, and that things like exercising a lot, and getting enough sleep are much better ways to become (and stay) healthy but still – I decided to lose weight.

And I did, quietly so, without much fuss. My husband and son knew, and nobody else, and I made great progress. When I went out I basically ate as I used to, and when I was home again I’d go back to eating just a little less. I had to buy smaller pants, and was sure enough of myself to buy them just a bit too tight. (And right now they fit. With long johns underneath.) And sine everything was going so well I started telling people, „I am currently losing weight.“ And guess what happened?

I gained half a pound back.

Now part of this is due to the Christmas and New Year’s food extravaganza but part of it is for the same reason I never achieve the goals I publicly state.

What happens is this: When I state something like, „I am currently losing weight.“ or „I will be practicing every weekday.“ my subconscious thinks, „Oh, that’s alright then, already taken care of.“ and then it leans back and takes a nap.

The part of publicly stated goals that gets most people to succeed anyway seems to be fear of shame. They are afraid of what others will think of them if they fail.

In my experience other people couldn’t care less. I used to belong to a group of women who did the whole goals-and-accountability-thing every other week, and every time I said that was disappointed about how I failed to do the things I wanted to get done they would say, „But everything is fine! You worked so hard! It’s not your fault!“ But to me that was not the point.

I have also found that other people are often somewhat glad if I fail because if I can’t change things then they don’t have to as well.

So. It seems that after a long period of trying out and testing I won’t set goals publicly like that anymore.

Which still leaves me with the problem of how I get moving on the projects that I deem important. Any thoughts?

Nov 192014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gehäkelt habe ich:

  • Plains Hat: angefangen, wieder aufgezogen, das dritte Mal angefangen, nur ein paar Reihen bis jetzt

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • mein erstes Silk-Cap eine Winzigkeit weitergesponnen
  • graues Merino für einen Pulli für meinen Mann: 200 Gramm gesponnen und gezwirnt, eine weitere Spule ca. 3/4 voll

Erwähnt wurde:

 

 

 

Nov 182014
 

just so you know it won’t work.

 

The other day I followed a link from an author and teacher I trust to the website of a guy who promises to help you get rich by teaching you how to sell stuff, any stuff. The person I trust had said that that method had helped her a lot, otherwise I wouldn’t even have followed the link.

That link led me to a site where the main content was a video. A video that didn’t tell me how long it was, and that I couldn’t download onto my computer. I started watching, sat through about two minutes of “Hi, I’m this great trustworthy guy, and my method is the best ever.” and wanted to kill my computer.

I don’t usually watch videos online. I don’t quite know why but if you embed a video in your blog I will most likely not look at it. Not for more than 30 seconds anyway. Especially when that video is about something I’m supposed to learn.

I’m the one who watches videos on knitting techniques with the sound muted because I can’t be bothered. I also don’t learn well by listening to something, and so most of what you’re telling me will go in one ear and out the other anyways. (By the way I don’t do audio books as well.)

The main reason I don’t watch those videos, though, is that video is so damned slow.

When I’m reading something I can do it at my own pace. And my reading pace is rather fast. If something is repetetive or not interesting for me I can skip a paragraph. In a video I have to sit through all of it. It makes me very restless.

Still with that video I thought the whole thing might be useful for me, so I fetched my knitting, took an hour of my day, and sat all through it. I have to say that somewhere in the middle I cheated, and just listened to the thing while reading something else on the web. You see, there was this guy standing in front of changing scenery, just talking. And talking. And telling his story, and basically just saying, “I have this great marketing strategy, and it made me rich, and it is just so awsome, and it can make you rich as well if you just buy my crouse.”. For 55 minutes.

At the end of the video he told his audience to like him on facebook, and leave a comment. Which of course I didn’t do. I don’t use facebook much. I don’t like that whole facebook culture, so, no.

I did contemplate leaving a comment. Saying, “Hey, if you had made this a text instead of a video I would feel much more positive towards you and your course. Also I found that you haven’t given me much information.” but then I read about a hundred of the “Oh, this video is so great, I have learned so much, can’t wait for the next one.”-comments and decided not to.

I know that I need less repetition than most people to learn something, and it seems that I know more about marketing than I thought I did. (I actually loathe marketing and sales tactics but I’m thinking about self-publishing my novel eventually, and that means I need to learn more about this abhorrent subject, apparently.)

This guy did the whole thing where we had to sit through three of these extremely long videos until we finally got the informationg about his course. You know, the one that will make us all millionaires. I actually sat through all of them, though I have to say I stopped watching the third one halfway through when I still didn’t get any more information, and had turned so cranky that I was snapping at my family all the time. I went and watched “Monsters, Inc.” with my son instead.

Yesterday he opened his class for registration. I was curious to see how much his course would be but in order to get that information I would have had to sit through yet another video. So I have no idea.

The guy has written a book on his whole subject, and I am actually thinking about buying that. The book is about 8 €, a sum that I’m willing to part with. I can read a book much faster than I can watch a video, and when I read something I actually remember it, unlike the things someone is telling me, especially when there is stuff going on in the background. (At one point he was filming in what I suppose was his kitchen, and I kept looking at the kitchen, and the copper pots behind him and all that instead of paying attention to what he was saying.) I know that not everyone works as I do but for me the only way to learn something someone is telling me is to repeat it back to myself instantly. Out loud if possible. Or to make a ton of notes and read those later.

And what kind of time do you think I have? I just wasted almost three hours of my life just watching those damn videos for getting three bits of new information. And I haven’t even started to watch the last one (and I won’t) which is at least forty minutes as well. I bet I could have read the whole damn book in that time.

I know that the nice thing about videos is the visual aspect. Like that guy was standing in front of a whiteboard drawing mind maps and such. Well, let me tell you that is too slow for me as well. So someone stands there with a marker talking, and talking, and talking, and then he draws an oval, and then he writes three letters in there and then I have to pay attention to learn what those three letters stand for. Please, give me the diagram in plain English, and then let me figure it out at my own pace. (I really, hate, hate, and hate power point presentations as well, by the way. I have to sit in a dark room which makes me extremely sleepy, and all I do is read the text on the screen about ten times until there’s new text on the screen. If something is blinking, or if I have to look at pictures of sunsets that have nothing to do with the topic I’m out. And the mere fact that there is something moving on the screen makes me completely unable to listen to what you’re saying. But I know I’m weird, and that modern learning theory says getting information on more channel than one is very good for us. Well, for you. Probably. Not for me.) And don’t get me started about how I hate mind maps. This is not how my mind works. Not at all. (Interestingly my son came home from school the other day saying, “I really hate mind maps.” I have never talked to him about this. Never I swear. Seems to be genetic.)

So. I don’t know how many of us are out there. This whole “selling stuff with videos”-stuff seems to work because otherwise it wouldn’t be everywhere, wouldn’t it? But really, trying to get me enthusiastic by telling me how great all of this is repeatedly won’t work. Trying to get me to like you by smiling at the camera with a twinkle in your eye, standing on The deck of your house wearing a nice “I’m only one of the guys”-t-shirt won’t work, and telling me that no business can get anywhere without your strategy won’t work as well because, you see, I already have a business, and it is working, and I didn’t use any of your advice.

I admit that I’m not a millionaire. But people who become music teachers because they want to be rich are a bit delusional anyway.

So I know I’m not representing the majority here but still: If you want to sell me something? Stop using video all the time. Thanks.

 

Nov 022014
 
  1. Tidy and clean the top of the fridge.
  2. Read all the books that sit on the kitchen bench. And in my studio. And on my ebook reader. And on my desk. And on the shelf above the kitchen bench. And on the dresser in the bedroom.
  3. Finish sewing the two skirts that I started years ago.
  4. Sew the bag for my DSLR. (Because I need to finish the skirts first. And the two t-shirts for which I bought fabric ages ago.)
  5. Clean under the porch.
  6. Work on the revision of my novel-in-progress. I was pretty sure it would be finished by March. Last March that is.
  7. Put the things on top of the shoe cupboard in the attic.
  8. Clean the bathroom.
  9. Take pictures of my finished knits and put them up on ravelry.
  10. Give myself a pedicure.
  11. Make my son pick up his room.
  12. Put a new zipper in my husband’s favorite fleece jacket. (It’s only been three years or so, he’ll hardly notice.)
  13. Record the next podcast.
  14. Sort through the piles of paper in the house.
  15. Finish spinning the yarn for the sweater I’m currently knitting.
  16. Make my son study Latin.
  17. Finish knitting the projects that have been sitting next to the kitchen bench for months now.
  18. Sort through my clothes and only keep the ones that fit that have no holes.
  19. Buy myself new hiking boots because my old ones (and also the pair I bought last year) make me feel like someone smashed my toes with a hammer. I will probably wear those again all winter instead of winter boots because I’m too lazy to get new ones. Also my record finding hiking boots that fit is not good. (Note to self: next time don’t buy ones that are intended for men even if they are on sale.)
  20. Do anything productive today.

So. Do you have any plans for this nice Sunday? do you do weekend to-do-lists? Life to-do-lists? I actually love the lists and like making them but then I usually ignore them completely.

Oct 252014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

Gehäkelt habe ich:

  • Die Jehanne-Jacke: fertig, noch Enden vernähen, waschen und Knöpfe besorgen und annähen
  • Plains Hat: angefangen, wieder aufgezogen, das dritte Mal angefangen, nur ein paar Reihen bis jetzt

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • mein erstes Silk-Cap eine Winzigkeit weitergesponnen
  • graues Merino für einen Pulli für meinen Mann: 200 Gramm gesponnen und gezwirnt, eine weitere Spule ca. 3/4 voll

Gewoben habe ich:

  • mein erstes Brettchenwebband
  • und das zweite gleich angefangen

Erwähnt wurde:

 

 

 

Oct 092014
 

Of course I’m thinking about learning all the time, I am a teacher after all.

But I took two classes last week, a spinning and a weaving one and that got me thinking about how I approach classes and learning in general.

I had known about the classes since February or so, and I immediately studied the list of things I needed to bring, bought some hand cards, a flicker brush, and weaving tablets, downloaded the class description and let it sit for a few months. I also ordered a book on spinning flax but then I made myself not read it because for once I wanted to go to a class and actually learn something.

Because my first impulse is always to get every information I can before taking the class. I found and read about tablet weaving on-line, and I had watched a video on flax spinning a while back. And that usually makes me a very grumpy student in class. I’m sitting there, muttering under my breath, „But I already knew that.”

The good thing about classes like flax spinning and tablet weaving is, though, that knowing about it still doesn’t make you perfect at doing it.

So I went to class, and they were all very good. And I sat and listened, and tried to spin hemp and linen, and thought I did very well until the teacher pointed out to me that I was doing it all wrong because I was using my hands like when spinning wool, and when I started doing it her way everything got much harder, and my thread was not as even as before, and then she sat down at her own wheel to show us and did it completely different. Well. I will re-watch the video I have, now that I know what to look for, and I will definitely read the book I have.

Tablet weaving went somewhat better. The teacher had us warped and weaving in a rather short time, she teaches a no-nonsense way of warping and threading the tablets which I love, and I even got to weave about 20 cm (8 inches) right there. And I made all these interesting mistakes, and got to learn what I did wrong, and how to fix it, and that band is like a visible record of how focused I was while weaving it.

Then I went home. And found myself thinking about what I learned, and how to do the things I learned, and about what I need to know more about, and the mistakes I made, and how to avoid them in the future. And I pulled out my tablet weaving pdfs again, and read them all through, and had the joy of understanding much more this time, and then I wove a bit more on the band, and ordered two more books on tablet weaving, like you do.

And like everybody else I often think that everybody is like me though I really should know better by now.

And then I thought about the person in the flax spinning class who wasn’t really sure if she wanted to spin flax, and she tried for about ten minutes and then decided this was not for her. And I thought about all the people who go to a class, try something, and then never do it again. And I thought about knitting and spinning students of mine who took the class, went there happily but never touched their knitting needles or spindles between classes. And then I realized that no, there are people who approach learning very differently from me.

I keep telling people that I didn’t ever study for school. I did most of my homework, and that was that. But now that I can see how my son does this; he comes back home from school and forgets all about it, does homework because he must and spends his thoughts elsewhere; now I can see that the thing that I do, the thing where I think about what I learned, and what I understand and what not, that thing does count as studying. The mere question, „What did we talk about?“ followed by, „Hm, I didn’t quite get that, I should look that up.“ is all that is needed. Well, unless you study something that needs a lot of rote learning but I don’t tend to do that.

Seems I’m taking my learning more serious than I thought. And you?

Sep 292014
 

Gestrickt habe ich:

  • Viajante: fertig gestrickt, noch nicht gewaschen
  • Stinos mit Rippen für meinen Mann fertiggrüner Stinos
  • Gush-Socken agefangen und geribbeltGush
  • Circle Socks angefangen, erster Socken ist halb fertig
  • Autumn Tee
  • Autumn Featherweight: wurde endlich fertig gestellt und das erste Mal getragen
  • Hyrule Warriors Scarf: angefangen

Gehäkelt habe ich:

  • Die Jehanne-Jacke fast fertig, es fehlen noch ein, zwei Reihen Borte

Gesponnen habe ich:

  • grünes BFL von Knitting Spiro fertig
  • mein erstes Silk-Cap eine Winzigkeit weitergesponnen
  • noch mehr grünes Merino und oranges Merino für die Häkeljacke
  • graues Merino für einen Pulli für meinen Mann probegesponnen

Gestickt habe ich:

Gewoben habe ich:
  • ein wenig mehr beim Pickup-Band
  • 2. Hälfte Sockengarndecke angefangen

Erwähnt wurde: