You are currently browsing the monthly archive for März 2009.

I’m in Weilheim in Bavaria at the moment. Not exactly where we planned to be at this time. We left the ship close to Offenburg for a few days so that Markus could attend his father’s funeral and help his family to get things organized. A sad and tiresome business.

For me it is an odd situation, since I am a total stranger to the family, but Markus keeps saying how much he appriciates that I went with him, so maybe I am doing some good here.

We will head back to Offenburg on Wednesday with a stop in Munich to collect Kurt, who will accompany us for 1 1/2 weeks. I haven’t met Kurt yet. Another thing I am sometimes a bit nervous about, all the additional crew members who travel with us for parts of the way are friends or relatives of Markus. I have met most of them by now, at least once, but still I have no idea what it will be like to live with them in the relatively confined space of the boat.

At them moment the whole situation feels pretty depressing, but I hope that my mood will change as soon as we are really on the way south.

I hate goodbyes. I am not very good at them, either.

What can I say? I did get my packing done in the very last moment. The seabag weighs 17 kg (not that much for 5 month) plus my guitar plus my laptop case (which holds not only my netbook, but also my video equipment, some books, a photo camera and all the odd items which fell into my hands in the last minute and just did not fit into the seabag anymore.

Funny things, seabags. A bit like dimension portals. You throw stuff in there and you have the feeling you will never be able to find them again. And forget any notion organizing your stuff in there. Not a chance.

I said goodbye to the musical ensemble tonight. Awkward. Much less sad than I thought, though. Have done all my crying last week, when I made the decision, I guess. Or maybe the thing with Markus' dad kind of outweighs everything else.

Okay, I should go to bed now. I have a train to catch in the morning. I am not sure I will be able to sleep much, but I should at least give it a try.
If you want to read more about the tour, check out our German blog and Markus's homepage:

No idea when I will have internet again, so this is Capella at 52°N 7°33’W signing off.


Okay, emotional rollercoaster ride and some last minute stress.

First of all, I am suffering from TMS-syndrom. TOO MUCH STUFF!!! I tried to clean up my rooms today and to get at least my most personal belongings out of the way. More and more forgotten piles behind piles under piles turned up. I threw out three huge plastic bags of old clothing and what felt like one cubic meter of waste paper. And the rooms looked as full as before …

I did get a lot done though. It was like little chain reactions, acutally. I started to go through my piles of letters/notes/forms etc. which prompted me to do my tax refund application after all. Yay! According to the software I used (WISO Sparbuch, thanks to Svenja for letting me use her laptop) I am eligible for a refund of 1400 €. That’s cool. I just hope the revenue office comes to the same conclusion.

I also started making new piles, this time piles of stuff I want to take with me. TMS strikes again. I am packing too many clothes. I know. But I have so many nice new things (thanks to my Mum, actually, at least clothing-wise I wouldn’t have that TMS-problem without her). It is okay to spend the whole summer on a Canadian farm with three T-shirts and two pants, but the Mediteranian is a different matter altogether. I want to stroll along the beach promenades of the Cote d’Azur in style, after all. Naw! Actually it is more the fact that it still can feel like winter outside at the moment, especially when you are on a ship and it will be searingly hot in Greece in August. So I really have to be prepared for all kinds of weather.

Just when I was boasting with energy, quite proud of myself because of that tax thing and in the middle of packing, Markus called. His father committed suicide last night, pretty much out of the blue. Terrible shock for one thing, especially since Markus is already on the boat, alone, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, and a bit of an organisational problem as well, since we wanted to raise ancor on Friday. Now we will have to wait till after the funeral and until at least the most important family issues are resolved.

I will still leave here on Thursday, but it might be a while before we actually start our journey up the Rhine river and then into France.

I feel so terribly sorry for Markus. It was one of those moments where in the movies the hero always finds exactly the right words, while in reality, every variation of „I am sorry“ you can come up with feels flat and awkward. We talked for a while and maybe that helped a little bit at least.

What a lame day! I had planned to celebrate the „release“ of my audio play with some of the participants tonight and I was really looking forward to it, but during the day one after the other called to let me know they couldn’t make it. It also turns out that the few radio stations which accepted short audio plays a few years ago have stopped to do so, the only thing that still is in demand seems to be features. I can’t do features, I don’t like features and anyway, I have a SciFi play that I want to publish!

So I decided to just put it online and announce it on as many audio-play forums and sites as possible and send it as an entry to one of the few remaining competitions for amateur audio, the „Leipziger Hoerspielsommer“.

The good thing about this is, that you are now able to listen to it:

I will also compile a CD version with a few extras and offer that for download (kind of a „build-it-yourself“ CD kit).

Turns out, one of my housemates is a Buffy fan. Haha! And I didn’t even know. We discussed TV shows for hours. She also offered me a ride to the station for Thursday, so that I don’t have to take the bus with all my luggage. That’s so nice. Did I mention that I love this house, lately?

I had planned to work on my idea for Script Frenzy today, but after the premiere thing went bust, I was totally stumped and depressed and did not get much done. I did play around with Sol Stein’s FictionMaster software. It did not impress me much, but I have to admit that it helped me to get a better grasp of my main character. She never meant much to me, but now I have grown to like her. The exercise was to bombard your character with questions which will make him/her uncomfortable. I wrote a little piece of dialogue, a kind of job interview, not to use it in the script, but just to get her talking a little. It ended with her pouring a glass of water over her (now no longer) new boss’s head, which made me laugh. She definitely has more spirit than I gave her credit for. I also decided that she is tall and big-boned and terribly self-conscious about it, which made me like her even more. It makes her vulnerable.

Maybe it wasn’t such an unproductive day after all.

Actually, it’s -4, since it is just past midnight, but who is counting? (Well, me, obviously)

Do you like the new theme, btw? I wanted something with water for the upcoming adventures, there wasn’t that much to choose from.

Very successful day. I found a sublet. Paul will live in my rooms and – much more importantly – pay my rent while I am gone. That saves me a lot of money. And he says he doesn’t have much stuff, so I can leave most of my things where they are at the moment, which is great. I am really so relieved. I think he will like it here. Our house is a love it or leave it kind of deal. People are either taken by the whole atmosphere and my housemates at once or you can tell that it will not work out in the instance they come through the door. It’s totally a laissez-faire place, very relaxed with a lot of soul, but pretty worn, too, so definitely not for the neat-and-clean-fanatic.

I also opened a travel blog at Nothing wrong with this one, but I wanted a blog in German exclusively for the sailing turn where Markus can post as well. Not much to see yet, except the first pic out of my „mood theme“. That’s a fun feature livejournal has. For every entry you can select a mood and a corresponding picture is shown. Normally it is smileys or the like. And Khalaris (a Doctor Who fan I met at last year’s NaNoWriMo) used to have a theme with little animated pics from doctor who episodes. She changed it to Jekyll now. Neat. I wanted ours to be – well – more personal. So I took 79 snapshots with my webcam of me drawing faces. Sad, happy, angry, weird … you get the idea. Lots of fun, lots of work, too, since I had to cut and resize all the images. But I like the result. And making faces is fun.

Thursday I ordered „The Writer’s Tale“ by Russel T Davies about the making of Doctor Who. It arrived today (well … yesterday with the who’s counting again). Beautiful book. I had planned to take it on the ship with me but now I am almost reluctant to do so because I am afraid that harm could come to it there. Lots of pictures, lots of script excerpts and really a lot of information. And it weighs 3.7 tons. Well, roughly. Which is another argument against taking it. But, but … want to read! Now!

Hah! Synchronicity! I love it when the universe plays those little tricks on you. I was just reading in Jane’s blog again (I really cannot recommend it enough … if you ever want to find out why Buffy worked as well as it did, especially how the humor works, read it … see, I knew I’d hook some of you with that … you know who you are). And she mentiones an episode title for Grey’s Anatomy „The First Cut is the Deepest“. Which would not have been notable at all, had I not just been listening to Cat Steven’s Greatest Hits and exactly that song. So it was really a weird moment and I had to mentally switch between what I was seeing and what I was hearing to make sure that this was really happening and I was not just hearing the song in my mind or something. Probably does not sound as special or weird as it felt when it happened. It is very hard to describe the effect synchronicity has … it’s a bit like the Matrix … you have to be there to grasp it. It is one of those tiny moments which suddenly raise all the huge philosophical questions that have been bothering humankind forever. „Was that meant to happen?“, „Did I pick that album so this could happen?“, „Are we all driven by chance or fate?“ You get the idea. It is a bit like recurring themes (you know, the things in your life which happen over and over again, so you finally get the impression they must mean something). Only sharper and with much more impact, even if it is just a small detail like a song title.

Enough with the philosophy. Actually, I should also decide: enough with the blog reading for today or I won’t get anything done again.

My seabag arrived today. Black, US Navy, double-strap, very cool. Looks a bit like I am going to war and not on a sailing cruise. I am so looking forward to packing it.

I also bought my train ticket. Online. This time it worked (I had an interesting odyssey when I tried that last time … going through all the booking process to be told in the end that I could not pay without a credit card or bahncard. Turned out you could use the EC card for identification but not for payment. How dull is that? Anyway, as bahncard owner I can now simply transfer the money from my bank account.) I will leave next Thursday at 9.04 from Muenster’s main station, which means I will have to get up pretty early. 6.30 or so, seven-ish if I cut it closely. Waeh ….

I should go to a copy shop to get the CD covers ready for the audio play, but I haven’t even finished the cover design completely yet. And I so don’t feel like cycling to the city, even though the weather is lovely outside (wasn’t winter supposed to return this weekend?).

One week to go. I am seriously getting the jitters here, in case anyone is interested.

What else? I decided to quit the Titanic musical after all. I just can’t travel on two ships at once. It breaks my heart, but it is also kind of a relieve. It makes me a bit more flexible in when to return from my trip. Also I remember last year, when I came back from Canada and just did not feel like returning to the ensemble until more than a month later.

I don’t feel too well today. I seem to have a migraine coming up. I took some aspirin, so the pain isn’t to bad yet, but everything is a bit dull and muffled and I can’t really concentrate on anything. Maybe I am just PMSed. Still, precious time ticking by and I just kind of sit it out instead of doing useful stuff … like income taxes … like working on that Doctor Who vid … like getting my netbook ready for the trip … like cleaning my rooms … well …

I just discoverd Jane Espenson’s blog. She is one of the Buffy and Firefly scriptwrights (and worked on many other good shows as well). She discontinued the blog last December, but it is still worth looking into, it is full of articles on script writing and the American TV industry, really fascinating if your are into that kind of stuff. Sound advice mixed with humour and personal anecdotes. I like it. Actually, I spent a lot of the time I don’t have on reading it today.

BTW, I wish blogs (especially one’s like that one) had a feature to reverse the order of articles, to make it easier to start reading the oldest one first. Same goes for travel blogs, for example. When I stumble onto a blog that has been in existence for a while, I am normally interested in how, when and where it all started.

You know what the nice thing about writing scripts is? You can watch TV and movies for hours or listen to audio plays and call it research 🙂 So, I guess this is what I am going to do for the rest of today. I have been wanting to look into Rosenheim-Cops for a while now, rumor has it they are looking for writers (well, not rumor, an article in the writer’s magazine Federwelt, actually). And now I found that the current episodes are online on the ZDF website. So! Research!

Okay. I am officially crazy. I just signed up for ScriptFrenzy (that’s like NaNoWriMo, just for scripts … movie, TV, comic, stage plays, audio plays etc.). Great idea to commit myself to write 100 pages of script while (literally) learning the ropes on a boat. And I don’t even know if I will have internet access or even enough electrical power to regularily recharge my Netbook. And I want to keep writing this blog and set up a YouTube video blog as well. Note to self: even on a sailing yacht there are only 24 h to a day … except in the odd case when you cross to a new timezone.

Why do I keep doing this? Well, for one thing the motivation emails by Chris Baty are really irresistible. I just added him to my wishful thinking list of people I would love to meet in real life one day (where he now resides amongside people like John Cusack, Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon, David Tennant and Derrick Jensen). And furthermore I really am normally at my best when I work under pressure. Actually, being under pressure seems to be the only way I can work at all.

I have decided to write another audio play, a longer one this time. I love the medium and it really is a challenge to tell a story that way. ScriptFrenzy asks for 100 pages, which is a bit too much for an audio play (the BigFinish Doctor Who adventures are about that length or even a bit more, but as much as I like them I find them a bit too long, actually). I am aiming at a standard length play (which means 45 to 55 minutes) or (should I find that the story is too complex for that) a two-parter. I calculate one script page as one minute of finished play (as with movies) which worked out pretty exactly for „Freiflug“.

I haven’t decided on English or German yet. German would surely be the better choice if I planned to produce it myself again (which I might), but English would give me the opportunity to offer it to the BBC, the only broadcasting company I know who have a regular (daily!) slot for SciFi audio drama in one of their programms (BBC7).

I got a lot of the burocratic nonsense done today: I quit my normal health insurance (again … people there must think I am crazy by now, or at least highly undecicive), quit the public TV and radio fee, signed a contract for my travel insurance etc. pp. Now I only have to fill out my income tax refund forms and then I am more or less ready to drop out of sight for a while.

It is a beautiful spring day (even though the weather forecast predicts the return of winter for the coming weekend … but who believes in weather forecasts anyway …) and I enjoyed riding the bike into the city. And as a result, I think I just got the first moskitoe bite of the season. I mean, seriously, there must be other creatures out there who taste just as nice … why always me? Note to self: buy and pack insect repellend!

When I came home, there was this smell of burning or melting plastic in the hallway again. Kind of like electrical wiring melting away or something. The last time I smelled that, a plug in our kitchen overheated and almost burned the house down. Note to self: whatever else you quit … keep fire insurance!

It still feels like yesterday that I came back from Canada. I can’t believe that I have been back for 4 1/2 month already. And in less than two weeks I will be on the road again. Well, on the waterway, more appropiatly.

I visited my parents last weekend. Turns out they haven’t told anyone about my newest travelling plans. It is as if they are ashamed of me. I guess by now they are completely convinced that I am indeed a changeling, some strange creature left by gypsies who stole their real daughter as an infant. How else can they explain that strange wanderlust in their only child, which is so completely foreign to themselves.

And of course it happened to me again: I have been planning this trip for several month, actually I already started thinking about it before I left for Canada last year. And still here I am with only a few days left and so many things yet to do. I haven’t even found a sublet for my rooms yet, let alone organized things like travel insurance or a second bank account. I will end up like Bilbo Baggins again, leaving home in a rush and without even a handkerchief.

One of the things I did do though is finish the audioplay I recorded with some friends more than one and a half years ago. It is not uploaded on the internet yet, because I might want to present it to some radio stations first (you never know, they might buy it and it would be a shame if they declined it just because it has already be published elsewhere). But there is a trailer you can listen to, which will give you a rough impression. It is in German, of course, sorry, English-speaking world …

März 2009