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Philosophy, tonight

posted Feb 5, 2009, 7:48 AM by dan@projectvolunteering.net

Sorry, I kept forgetting to post about the philosophy discussion group I mentioned a while back.
It's meeting again TONIGHT in the bar 'Gagarin', Knaackstraße 22 / Ecke Rykestraße, from 8pm. If that's too short notice (sorry!), it'll be happening again in a fortnight, same time and place.
This is an event that involves maybe a half-dozen people talking about philosophy. There's normally some kind of pre-arranged theme, but sometimes not (like tonight), and the whole thing is fairly informal. It's held entirely in German.

While posting, I should probably also explain: Yes, I am consciously drifting out of the group a little, because I think right now it's more important for the people living in the project to sort things out amongst themselves. Don't worry, I still love you all!

Week Jan 19-25

posted Jan 19, 2009, 1:25 PM by dan@projectvolunteering.net   [ updated Jan 19, 2009, 1:44 PM ]

I don't anticipate having much free time this week, so I won't be very ambitious here...

  1. Turn up to the meeting on wednesday
  2. Take some time to think about the project, rather than getting blown away by day-to-day practicalities
  3. Make a dent in the backlog of (personal) emails I owe people
  4. [space left here for whatever I take on on Wednesday, and the rest of the week]

Ongoing things:
  1. Find some excuse to get out of the house each day
  2. Practice/study German
  3. Keep moods under control
  4. Carry on writing

Week Jan 12 - 19

posted Jan 14, 2009, 4:33 AM by dan@projectvolunteering.net   [ updated Jan 19, 2009, 1:24 PM ]

I've recently had two weeks of mainly socialising, then one week mainly working. This week's going to be mainly working on personal projects: reading, writing, coding, learning, planning. [not that I planned all this; that's just how it has worked out]

I won't put any concrete aims here, because I'd rather let things shape themselves. But by next week I want to have created something, while not falling behind on work or other commitments.

Results: Well, I did a bunch of work shepherding my notebooks into some kind of usable format, and I wrote a silly spreadsheet for a competition, but I'm not sure either really counts. Also, I let myself get very distracted by a book, which I don't regret, but which did mess up my plans

Also, I've really been falling away from the project lately, mainly through not really knowing how to contribute. I need to figure this out - as somebody who will be staying in my current WG in February, what can or should my relationship to the project be? How can I do something, rather than just hanging around on the edges and chatting to people?

Result: I didn't even think about this yet. But thanks for the comment, Anick - that gives me some places to start. And going to the meeting on Wednesday should be useful

Ongoing things:
  1. Find some excuse to get out of the house each day
  2. Practice/study German
  3. Keep moods under control
  4. Carry on writing
Results: Mixed. still at home too much. Feeling very awake and alert, in a way I haven't for years, but I'm not sure what I did to achieve that. German has been slipping somewhat, and I haven't written much, even to myself..

Spoken words

posted Jan 5, 2009, 12:20 PM by dan@projectvolunteering.net

At the silvester party, Paul and I discovered that we are both fans of this series of recorded lectures on German history, by Margaret Anderson at Berkeley. They're a really good overview; if you have any interest in that kind of thing, put them on an mp3 player for when you're bored or traveling! There are also some reading lists and topic summaries

[this isn't the first time I've met somebody who loves the Berkeley lecture recordings; I'm somewhat scared to imagine how huge the audience must be, around the world]

German vs. English

posted Jan 5, 2009, 11:38 AM by dan@projectvolunteering.net

[this began as a comment on .. and the end of the Results... brought some questions but got a bit long and off-topic to leave there]

We (as a group) seem to spend a lot of time talking in English to each other, even though most of us want to learn German. I wonder why that is:
  • Habit?
  • Shyness?
  • Not wanting to exclude non-german-speaking couchsurfers, etc?
  • Inability to express what we want to say in the language?
  • Wanting to relax after a day of using German at work/school?
  • Uncertainty about who speaks what level of German?
Are we happy talking English, or would we like to use more German? [I am very much in favour of talking German, but that's partly because, as a native English-speaker, I feel more than usually guilty when I spend my time talking English]. Switching needn't be too hard - perhaps just on certain days, or certain occasions.

For that matter, what about this site? I'd be keen to try writing some of my log entries in German, but might that exclude some people who would want to read them?

Week Jan 5 - 11

posted Jan 5, 2009, 11:04 AM by dan@projectvolunteering.net   [ updated Jan 14, 2009, 4:33 AM ]


Results: A dull but necessary week, where I didn't do much other than working.

I probably won't be around much this week; I need to catch up on things not done over the last fortnight, which means a grim and ghastly week alone behind a computer :(

Project-related things:

  1. I don't know. I'm a bit lost as to what I can contribute, right now (help!)
result: still haven't done anything, or really worked out what to do
Other things:
  1. Work: I think I'll keep details of this off the site from now on, because I don't want to break confidentiality or swamp this list with stuff of little relevance to anybody else
  2. Finish the exporting force site
Result: finally caught up on (1), which should allow me a bit more time to do interesting things from now on
Maybe:
  1. day-trip to Potsdam (probably won't happen until next week, it relies on me catching up on work enough to take a day off)
result: postponed

Ongoing things:

  1. Find some excuse to get out of the house each day
  2. Practice/study German (books! radio! grammar!)
  3. Keep moods under control
  4. Carry on writing
Result: was at home most of the time (because of work); otherwise did OK here

Speed-folk?

posted Jan 3, 2009, 12:25 PM by dan@projectvolunteering.net

I'm just about to go to Supamolly with Tom, to see some 'hungarian speed-folk' (?). So if any of you don't have plans tonight...

Otherwise, I'll maybe catch up with some of you at brunch tomorrow.

Week December 29 - Jan 4

posted Dec 30, 2008, 10:09 AM by dan@projectvolunteering.net   [ updated Jan 5, 2009, 11:27 AM ]

This week was a lot of fun, but a near-total failure in terms of getting things done. That's probably OK, as long as the next week is suitably and industrious.

Project-related things:


  1. Email to find out which interesting properties are still available (but do we really want this?)
  2. Turn up to the silvester-party (giving myself all the unpleasant jobs)
  3. ...What else? (tell me what I should be doing, people!)
Results: Bad. I spent a lot of time chatting to people, but didn't do anything constructive. Particularly, I still need to figure out what I can do; I'm worried that my involvement in the project hasn't contributed anything lately.


Other things:
  1. Work: finish what I should have done last week, plus whatever new jobs turn up
  2. Finish the exporting force site
  3. Plan a day-trip out of Berlin (Weimar? Potsdam? Frankfurt/oder?)
  4. Sort out various paperwork :
Results: dire. I fell further behind on work, thrown off by fixing bugs nad by handling something that turned up at the last minute. I've not done anything on the paperwork. The day-trip will be just be to Potsdam, on the grounds that it requires little planning

Ongoing things:
  1. Find some excuse to get out of the house each day
  2. Practice/study German (books! radio! grammar!)
  3. Keep moods under control
  4. Carry on writing
Results: OK.  I've been out and about a lot, probably too much. Although my German has suffered from being around the project and other English-speaking groups, I've been making a lot more sense out of the grammar, and I'm still listening to the german radio most nights as I fall asleep. I'm feeling much cheerier than last year. I've been scribbling too much in my notebooks, and too little in public.

Week Dec 22-8: review

posted Dec 28, 2008, 1:28 PM by dan@projectvolunteering.net

Things I should do this week:
  1. Figure out how to use this log, & rest of the site. Write a bit more about myself here
    Partial success: I wrote some things here, but mostly not the stuff I wanted to write
  2. Cooking: I have a kitchen to myself all week, I should use it
    Total success
  3. Work: finish the herald code; do a good chunk of the Mongin translation
    Failure; maybe I was too busy cooking and socialising to keep up with the work :(
    I'm also getting back into the bad habit of letting things pile up as nearly-complete.
  4. Make it through xmas eve/day without getting maudlin
    Success; it's hard to be gloomy in a labyrinth
  5. Make the necessary xmas phone-calls, emails to family & friends (too late for cards now)
    I did a little; probably should have done more
  6. Figure out what to do with mika/tom/george/kelly, incl. where to go for silvester.
    Failure; they're in Berlin, but it's pretty hard figuring out what they're up to
  7. http://events.ccc.de/congress/2008/ : go? (but expensive - maybe I can afford one day?). In any case, turn up to cbase etc. to meet people
    Didn't go, but have been spending time with participants, and watching a few sessions online. I think this is the right balance.
  8. start posting something again on http://berlin.metblogs.com
    I only wrote one short post; Partial success, if that

Things I'd like to do, but probably won't have time for:
  1. update, make public and publicise http://www.ohuiginn.net/panama
    1. get the data protection act details from Mike
    2. run the scraper for new companies (&automate?)
    3. set up google-friendly pages for each individual
    4. put it on it's own domain?
    5. mention it to people at CCC
      Partial success; did everything except 3 & 4. Should have spent the time working instead, though :(
  2. Email to find out which interesting properties are still available (but do we really want this?)
    Didn't do this
  3. Write a patch for the urllib2 bug
    ...or this
  4. Finish the exporting force site
    ...or this
Things I should always be doing:
  1. Find some excuse to get out of the house each day
    Failure. Spent several days mainly at home - not all of them unpleasantly, but I need to work on this more
  2. Practice/study German (books! radio! grammar!)
    Partial success. Lots of reading in German, and listening to the radio, and a bit of grammar. But I have mostly been talking English; disadvantage of meeting foreign visitors, and German-speaking housemates being away
  3. Keep moods under control
    Near-total success (unexpectedly)
  4. Carry on writing
    Success (mostly just little posts around the internet, but it's more than I get round to most days
Overall: I'm pretty happy with much of this, esp. the cooking. Let the work slip a little, but that's OK over Christmas. Also, none of it contributes much to the project; I'm a little unsure what I can helpfully do for the project at the moment.

More food

posted Dec 28, 2008, 1:23 PM by dan@projectvolunteering.net

Tomorrow (Monday), I'm thinking of going to Druzbar in New Yorck/Bethanien. Anybody want to come along

Also, I'm wondering what to do on New Year's Eve. Suggestions?

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