22 April, 2017

How to make the perfect cup of tea

One of the most delightful aspects of living in Germany is their cafés. Every city and town has numerous cafés to while away in. They all serve a wide selection of beverages, though admittedly, most fuss is made around coffee. Unfortunately, the majority of people working in cafés are not tea drinkers and therefore they often make a miserable cup of tea. I’ve lamented this fact over and over again. This is what prompted me to make these three videos.

I’ve tried to keep the tone light and not be too disparaging about the current state of affairs. I might add a video in the future about “what not to do” when making a cup of tea, so I can out my bitchier self. Things like: don’t put the lemon slice into the boiling water before the teabag, or if the tea cup is so small that the tea bag takes up half of the space – the tea is going to be bitter…. The possibilities are endless.

I’m going to work on the German version soon. So, if you have the time and see any mistakes or needed changes, please write a comment. Thank you for your help.

Hope you enjoy watching the videos. 

10 April, 2017

The right attitude: school is good

Years ago, I was working in a university research institute developing projects that focused on how media can be used constructively and creatively in schools. We did a few cross-cultural projects with schools in Germany, Kenya, and Canada. Since the projects were research projects, we gave out questionnaires to the participants and their teachers before and after each project.

The questions of the pre-trail survey established current practices of media use and what did they like or dislike about going to school. The questions of the post-trail were focus on the children’s experiences, team communication, and learning motivation during the duration of their project. Even though this sounds very academic, it was really interesting to read the stories of the participants through the numbers.

Most notably, was the difference in children’s attitudes towards going to school. As in the case with Jonathan in the video above, his attitude of “school is good” was prevalent in all the responses of the school children in Kimilili, Kenya and the inner-city school children in Toronto. Whereas, the children in Germany often saw having to go to school as a chore and not a privilege.

What a disservice parents and society are doing towards our children, if we cannot communicate how marvellous education is. We need to tell them how proud we are that they are working hard and are doing well. Not the marks on the report card, but the day-to-day effort they extend towards learning all that they can.  

08 April, 2017

Mulling over this very real inconvenient truth

It is amazing that Al Gore is still so fired up about the topic of climate change. You would think that a normal person’s passion would tire in the face of such ignorance, apathy, and indifference. He is still up on stage, as well as down on the ground, imploring his fellow countrymen to a call to action. (Because let's admit it... if the US doesn't get on board we are all **ck*d.)

Here we thought the Paris Agreement was a done deal… not any more. Wow, how difficult it must be for him to intellectually run on high-octane and sit patiently while others are reluctantly cranking up their cylinders on crude oil.

Just as an experiment, I decided to test my husband and my carbon footprint and see how we fair. Surprisingly, for someone living in a city in a 3-story home with multiple parties, committed recycler, not possessing a car, an avid walker or public transport user, vegetarian of local foods, etc… we didn’t do as well as I thought we would. 

It is rather a slap in the face to be told we are in the 67%, when I thought we would be much higher. The main culprits are the size of our apartment (now the kids have moved out) and we do not have access to a source of renewable energy for heating. Well, we are going to mull over this inconvenient truth for a bit and make some changes. That's for sure!

06 April, 2017

Rare diagram and witness marks (S-Town)

Just spent the last hours listening to S-Town from Serial and This American Life. Sketching/tracing the drawing above and meandering through this mastery of storytelling.

If you haven't listened to the series yet, please do. Then you should go over to one of my favourite podcasts, Longform. For this week's podcast is an interview with the host of the series, Brian Reed

For anyone stating that good stories can't find a place any more in media... this is your chance to be proven wrong.