Friday, July 6, 2012

Worst Blogger Ever

So I know this is a bit out of the blue considering I've completely neglected your wishes to live vicariously through me (I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry!) but I come baring good news and gifts.

We just finished our guide for June. As a member of the layout team, I battled through a sleepless weekend and (somewhat self induced) food poisoning to get this finished in a month's time. Diana, our graphic designer, has done such an amazing job and I still can't believe how professional it looks. She worked even longer on it than I did, and also suffered from sickness due to lack of sleep. I was photo editor, which meant everyone sent me all the photos they took and I chose the best ones, changed the format and increased the saturation on Photoshop to make the colours stand out more. While this is a relatively simple task, it was all done a few days before it was due as we didn't realise we were all responsible for taking our own photos (the way the program is advertised makes it sounds like someone is on the course to be the principal photographer) so I had to keep sending people out with long lists of the shots I was missing. Also, my laptop struggled with Photoshop as much as my intestines struggled with the four-day-old left-over Indian food I ate out of exhaustion and laziness to go down to the shops to buy something still within it's used-by-date.

So, go to this link for the free PDF, but it will only be available for another five days then it will be removed by CTR (you can download and save it from here). After that you can buy the eBook from Lulu for a couple of euros (I have no idea how to collect the money from this so I have a feeling the company keeps it, ie don't buy it), or I can send you the PDF via emailz. There is also a link to the sample here.

There are quite a lot of grammatical errors in there, we know, so please don't point them out. We had to stop working on it at some point and just submit it. Even with the mistakes, I'm blown away by how extensive this guide book is, considering we really only did it in three weeks (we spent the first week getting used to the city). And it was made by twelve people with limited experience of Berlin and travel writing. It's just...eugh....go look at it. We're all incredibly proud of the work we've done.

We all wrote about 10-15 reviews plus some people wrote features and introductions, but because I was on the layout team I did a little less writing. I was sent on vintage shopping expeditions to review (Garage, Humana, XVII, Class of Berlin and Trash Schick) but I also wrote about other places I visited (Gorlitzer Park, Santa Maria Mexica Diner, Anti War Museum, Mano Cafe, Escadaria, The Circus Hostel and Hot Dog Laden) because two or three other girls we're writing about shopping too. Our names are at the bottom of everything we wrote. I'd also like to add in that Drunk Sian came up with our title “Only in Berlin.” We had all been saying it every now again because Berlin is so freakin' weird/awesome/the greatest city in the world. And then one night while waiting for my kebab in Kreuzberg it clicked, I sent everyone an email and the group agreed with my half formed thoughts from 4am on a Friday morning.

There are seven of us from June and nine new people arrived on Sunday, all British. While I really don't feel like writing another guide that is more or less the same as last month, I think this time we will be a lot better. With four more people on our team and our experiences of what not to do from last month I think it will be even more professional.

I wanted to be an editor this month, but didn't put my hand up fast enough so instead I have been assigned a managerial role (my journalist teacher, Marcus, has given me permission to crack the whip, but in my “gentle Australian voice”, when people don't get their reviews in on time) and to be an advisory photo editor, upon Diana's request, because she liked the way I treated and organised the photos from last month. It's not quite what I had in mind, but I think I'm looking forward to it now that I've had a few days to recuperate from immediately shitting out everything I ate and getting up at 6am to wrestle with photoshop during a weekend I had planned to do things that I wanted to do. This month I don't really have a particular interest to write about (apart from the ones that were already taken) so Marcus has dubbed me “Eclectic Sian” and suggested a series of unconnected things and places for me to review. Which I'm much happier with, because I don't think I can go op shopping for a while now. This weekend I'm heading to Peacock Island, the Buddhist House, Topography of Terror and something called Babelsberg. I might also do something on outdoor cinemas and a cycling tour that I will make up on my shitty Mauer Park bike.

Diana and I went to the movies the other night, with Kate, another girl from our group, as a treat. While I'm normally against paying for movies, I decided I deserved it/had saved enough money from not eating for a week. Besides, Wes Anderson deserves to be viewed on the big screen. We even paid the extortionist price of 4€ for a beer in the cinema (we often drink beer for 50c a bottle, and no more than 2,50€ from the supermarket). I found it strangely comforting that the commercial cinema we went to smells exactly the same as the megaplexes at home; warm buttered popcorn and recently vacuumed carpets. Moonrise Kingdom was amazing and beautiful and just what I needed. In fact it was so brilliant that half way through, I forgot I was in Berlin. I highly suggest that you see it too.

I'm still available for skype/facebook chats from 12-1pm most weekdays, I have so much more I could say.