Cherry Blossom Kite Festival 2017

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It’s that time of the year in Washington, D.C., when tree branches puff a pink cloud. It’s a special time of the year that signals spring- so special that a festival was created around the occasion- The Cherry Blossom Festival.

One of the activities lined up each year is the kite festival, which I wasn’t aware of, until my roommate/landlady told me about it a few days earlier. I usually just go to the Tidal Basin, and gush about the flowers for the rest of the year.

Back in late March, I attended a one-day workshop to learn the basics of smartphone filmmaking offered by Docs in Progress, a non-profit that promotes documentary filmmaking based in Silver Spring, Maryland. What better way to put my budding (no pun intended) filmmaking talent to good use by shooting a fun event like the kite festival held last Saturday. And here’s the result. It’s not worthy of an Oscar, but at least a like or retweet or two. Enjoy!

 

CO2 rise video infographic

Maybe this video won’t make a climate change believer out of a skeptic. But it sure elicited from me a ‘wow’ effect. The connected dots look like a jumping and slinking centipede. The rising ppm over the years also provide a dramatic effect, as if it won’t ever stop. I hope many scientists would present findings of their studies as compelling as this visual presentation. Bring out those data sets and transform them into this beautiful infographic, just like this video:

Source: Dystopian present

And another Hamburg winter video

This video mix I made always make me smile every time I watch it. The contrast between the icy visuals and tropical tunes from Trinidad reflects the situation where I am now. Me wishing for the end of winter and the onset of summer, or at least spring. If only music could melt snow and ice! At the very least, the days are getting longer of about four minutes every day (no kidding!).

Two videos of Hamburg in winter

Spot a Colombiano in this video.  We were classmates back in postgrad and who’s now based in Berlin.  We went to the Alster Lake last Saturday. It has been frozen for a some weeks now.  It even made the headlines of the online version of Abendblatt, the local city paper. It’s not on the route of my daily commute even it is less than two kilometers from work. I feared it would thaw before I actually see it and set foot on it.  I’m glad it hasn’t. It seems all of Hamburgers were on the frozen lake last weekend. There were about 40 000 of them last Sunday.

Try to see the almost invisible snowflakes and birds drifting by.  The white foreground is a canal full of ice.  Both videos taken with a Nokia E63. If you want better mobile phone videos, please give me an iPhone. Lolz.

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We love MEG

Photo courtesy of my classmate Tempei

The graduation ceremony and party are over, and I am glad I went all the way from Hamburg.  The airfare and the waking up in the wee hours of the morning to catch the train or bus to the airport were all worth it.  It was probably my last days in Freiburg, but then again, who knows?  The city gave me a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, after two months of dealing with the hustle and bustle of Hamburg.  Don’t get me wrong, I am loving Hamburg. The laid-back lifestyle and familiarity of Freiburg were not missed, until I got there again.

Out of the 24 which form the MSc in Environmental Governance class of 2009, 19 of us gathered for our last hurrah together.  Four have left for their respective home countries.  We had a champagne reception and started with the programme afterwards.  The graduating class of the Forest and Environmental Management programme were also part of the affair.   Some of our professors and a handful of friends and parents were also present.  We have changed our venue from one of the classrooms in our faculty to the cozier Peterhofkeller.

After two years of studying together, we have come to learn what we love.  This video is inspired by Discovery Channel’s Boom De ah Da video.  This was Shannon’s (from Canada) production wherein I helped in the filming and directing.  I didn’t hear about this video as she was putting this together for a long time so I thought it just went down the drain.  Surprises of all surprises, it premiered during the graduation night, and is now for everyone to see:

A “cleaner” version of the video, without the laughing and clapping is here.

One part of the graduation programme included introducing each members of our class.  Leo, from Portugal, and Annie from Canada, did a great job in presenting us.  Do you agree on their impression they have of me?

All I can say is that the past two years as a Master’s student was one long… Boom de ah dah!

On my way to work in Hamburg

I may be in Freiburg for my graduation (woot woot!), yet I am sharing with you something Hamburg-ish.  I video-recorded one of my routes on the way to work.  With my proximity to different public transportation nodes, I know of at least four ways to get to work.  This is just one of them, probaby not the quickest, but the most enjoyable I would say.  This one though involves a bus which allows me to see the street scene as opposed to the S-Bahn (Stadtbahn or city train) and U-Bahn (Untergrundbahn or undeground train/tube.  A not-to-be-missed exemption though is the U-Bahn that goes over the street along Landungsbrücken and gives you a sweeping, if not fleeting, view of the harbour and the Speicherstadt).

I filmed this a few weeks ago before the switch to daylight saving time.  And if I were to film this now at about the same time I usually go to work, it would either still be dark or gloomy and raining, or a combination of the three.  Enjoy the video!

No Reservations goes to the Philippines

Filipino cuisine.  If you’re in Europe and most parts of the world other than the Philippines, chances are you won’t find it anywhere else other than on your friendly Filipino neighbor’s table or one of their gatherings.  It’s never found as an Asian food stall around the corner, nor mentioned in Southeast Asian cookbooks compared with neighboring Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia.  What gives?!

One of the TV shows I liked while still in the Philippines is Anthony Bourdain’s  No Reservations.  It’s a show I could have hosted had I been a TV personality.  Travel, food, and good script distilled in one programme.  I stopped watching it, or TV in general, once I arrived Germany.  I was scooping spoonfuls of choco muesli and oatmeal drowned in milk when I saw a Youtube video of No Reservations featuring the Philippines on Facebook through Gratz’s (a friend from highschool) update.  The programme surely made my mouth water while watching Bourdain have a good time with the food I am used to- sinigang (sour soup-based meat), sisig (random pig parts sizzling on a hot platter), and fish balls (no, not testicles).  Although there were some versions of which from other parts of the country that I have never tried, like sinigang consisting of goat’s head.

The show touches not only on gastronomy, but also history and culture from the eyes of a New Yorker and an American.   This was made possible through Augusto, a Fil-Am from Long Island, New York.  He submitted an entry to the fan-special feature of the show, and convinced Bourdain to pack his bags together with the rest of the show’s crew to fly and get a taste of Filipino food- with no reservations.