Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Chance the Rapper, Spotify Daily Mix & Transit App

Weekly Update 2016-52: The last one of the year! This was a week heavy in obsessions from Chance the Rapper and Jeremih's Christmas Mixtape to the new Spotify Daily Mix, to my new favourite app in the world: Transit.

Music: Merry Christmas Lil' Mama
I strongly dislike Christmas music. Sorry, I just do. It's so repetitive and boring, and you can't escape it during the holiday season. So what I really like is when artists come up with modern, new music that instils the same feeling but in a new way. And no, I don't mean covers of classic songs, but the infinitely harder act of creating new music. And so, here we have an excellent Christmas Mixtape from Chance the Rapper and Jeremih, two of my favourite artists. I especially love this song (see if you can spot a special guest about halfway through the song:


Accomplishment:
This weekend, I have been quite busy completing visual composites of my blog! I am also simultaneously creating, documenting, auditing and critiquing the process of this project as a learning experience/portfolio piece, and for someone who isn't too strong in the process area, I seem to be overcoming that handicap quite nicely.

I actually wrote a whole separate blog post on how I went about selecting and creating the typographic style of my blog, which I'll be posting this week. I love to read about process on Medium, so I think some of the inspiration for this project definitely came from that. More on this topic below in my Inspiration section of the update.

Goal:
I also managed to finish fixing up the code of my portfolio site to get it onto Github (you can view it at chloesil.github.io) but I am having major issues transferring over all the domain stuff (which is also why this blog is currently reverting back to its original thoughtsvisualized.blogspot.ca url (thanks, 2011 Chloe!) so I'm hoping to get that all sorted out in the next week.

Other than that, it's holiday time so I will be making a lasagna (why not) and attempting to learn ONE song on the Ukulele this week. How hard can it be?

As an aside, I am wearing my new Doc Martens right now and they are killing my feet. So I suppose another goal would be to break them in. But that will take more than a week if memory serves, so perhaps the goal is not to have my spirit broken by these shoes. On the plus side they look super fresh and new so hopefully the aesthetic appeal will prevail.


Random Thought: Spotify's New Daily Mix
As you have probably picke dup on in past blog posts, I am pretty into Spotify these days. I'd say that of all the streaming services, it's probably the best in terms of UX. Spotify has a good knack for suggesting music based on your listening history that you will enjoy. And so is born a new feature that I just love: The Daily Mix.

It's a mix three components: tracks from your music library, tracks you've recently listened to, and a sprinkle of new music similar to the Discover Weekly playlist. And the best part - this mix is unlimited. It only shows you 30 songs at a time, but when you reach the end, more songs are automatically added. It's actually perfect.


I like to think of the Daily Mix as a Chex Party Mix of music. It's got stuff I know I like, stuff I am getting into lately, and new stuff it thinks I will like. You got your pretzels, maybe some nuts, and, oh what's that? A wheaty-chocolate thing? Okay sure! See, perfect!


Inspiration: Transit App
If you're a TTC slave like me (i.e. no other option to get around), you know the perils of waiting for a bus in the winter inside a ‘shelter’ (I use that word extremely lightly) that may never come. Much of the common commuter's disgruntlement is actually due to the lack of constantly updating information about transit services (both in Toronto and other cities around the world). The TTC has updating transit information, but you may have found that it is often inaccurate. Just think about what it would be like to live in a city like Montreal, with no live updating? That means Google Maps, Apple Maps, and all the other third-party transit apps are scraping information from what is basically a paper timetable. Come on guys, it's almost 2017! This is laughably upsetting.

So how do we solve this problem? Try to get transit agencies to install technology and hire more people to update their transit information more frequently? Yeah, good luck. I just bought my January Metropass for the newly hiked price of $4 more than last month, and I'm sure it will rise again next year to pay for the installation of Presto machines that are probably the least organized rollout of a transit fare system in history.

This problem seems somewhat unsolvable, right? Well, hold on there. In comes an amazing third-party transit app called, well, Transit. Fitting, right? To avoid confusion, please note the capital T to denote the app in the rest of this post.

Transit is making huge waves and overtaking the big guys, which is an amazing feat considering the big guys are Apple and Google, and the app is developed by a marginally small team out of Montreal (yep, the city where they don't even have updated transit information). As per this post from their Medium publication, Transit is using the power of crowdsourcing (think Kickstarter or GoFundMe) to allow users to input their own transit data to help themselves and others in their daily commute. So, where you might fund a project on Kickstarter with money, Transit only asks for your GPS location as you ride the bus (this costs you nothing), and shares that with other people down the line who are waiting for that bus. Voila! They have real-time updates of when the bus is coming, thanks to you! So imagine you share your location in the app on your way to work, helping others, and then use the app to find out when your bus is coming on your way home. People helping people! Not to mention, when you share information that helps others, the app lets you know so you can feel the warm and fuzzy feelings.


And if that weren't enough, you can read this amazing Medium post about their beautiful map interface and how they generate it (again, better than Google and Apple!). The beauty and usefulness of these maps put a tear in my eye. Basically, they have this guy named Anton who uses algorithms and all sorts of development black magic to generate maps that not only look better than the competitors, but also have an extremely improved usability. Just take a gander:

The lovely Anton.

Not only do the maps straight-up look better, they also take into account the ordering of transit paths so they do not cross over each other. Boy, just look at those perfectly curved lines.

I have always rooted for the underdog, but this one takes the cake. You can download Transit from the App Store or from Google Play, or read more in their Medium Publication.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Gold Celeste, Ron Ford & Shrinky Dinks

Weekly Update 2016-51: Getting back on the psychedelia train in time for the Holidays, a posthumous Facebook account from our beloved ex-mayor of Toronto, and the delectable shrinky dink keychains of Tess Reid.

Music: Gold Celeste
Did you know that there are 60s revival psychedelic pop bands in Norway? Well, there's at least one good one, and they're called Gold Celeste. If you want some soft tones to lull you to sleep, this is the music for you. I feel immediately more calm the more I listen. Check them out below, but don't operate any heavy machinery while you do!


Accomplishment:
Onward rolls the blog redesign train. I've got some sketches of the blog post page to show. These were easier to make than the homepage in some ways (because they followed the predetermined pattern and also because there are fewer user goals to keep in mind), but also much more challenging because I had to think a lot more about the user experience as it relates to typography.

Sketches!


 
Wires! Kinda less useful than I thought they would be with their lack of typography.

It's somewhat less useful to look at wireframes of a post page, simply because the actual typography will make up the experience of the page more than the layout. So that will be my next challenge.

I finished reading up about Shabbat and emailed my Chai Mitzvah mentor last night with some questions on the way Jews interact with it. I am hoping this will open a dialogue for us to discuss what it really means to be a Jew and how I can apply some sort of meaning to it.

The business cards for my dad came in! Check out these bad boys. I was even proud enough to post them to social media, which I don't really do with my work.

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

I also made fifteen caramel apples on Sunday (my arm hurts) and attended three Christmas parties last week. It might be time for a rest.



A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

A photo posted by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on

Don't ask me about this last photo, taken at a friend's christmas party. I just think it's a nice family portrait. That's all you need to know.

In other news, it turns out that if you complain a lot about an inferior product, the company will want to shut you up by giving you what you want. In this case, it was a brand-spanking-new pair of Dr Martens boots that originally cost $145. In my defence, the boots I had owned for only two winters were starting to leak, so I felt I was due for some sort of compensation. Now my feet won't be wet in the winter anymore! The only downside is that I have to break in a new pair of boots. My feet are already aching just thinking about it. Pray for me.



Goal:
This week, I am working on the typography of my blog redesign. You'll see some semblance of my process in the form of a blog post culminating my thoughts this week.

I'd also like to print out a few pages of my blog in greyscale, and do a bit of markdown with a pen. I think I've already covered most of the issues with the current version, but I want to make sure I am thorough. I'd say that most of the problems stem from items that are missing more than incorrectly designed, but we'll see what comes out of it.

I'd also like to finish transferring my files to the correct hard drives, organize my photo library, and backup my computer — which I haven't done since I completed a clean install of El Capitan.

Random Thought: Ron Ford
No, that's not a typo. If you search through Facebook for a man named Ron Ford, you may be surprised to find that not only does this account exist, but it appears that the late ex-mayor of our fine city of Toronto is posting hilariously misspelled tidbits of drudgery from beyond the grave.

To be fair, the joke account (not actually run by or affiliated with Ford in life or death) has been around since Ford was still mayoring up the city (from 2010-2014). I still remember the feelings I had about him as the mayor of my city; that he was embarrassing us and basically acting like a joke. It seemed like he was drunk and partying more than actually trying to lead a city or make change. While it was really sad that we had somehow allowed this man to enter office by either voting for him or failing to vote at all (sound familiar to something that might have happened in November 2016?), there was certainly also a lighter side to the ridiculous situation that made some people take a step back, sigh, and let a slight chuckle escape.

And that's where Ron Ford comes in. Just check out the About page below:


I always smiled when there was a new post from ol' Ronnie, to show me that others felt the same way about the ridiculous situation we were in.

A mix of reality and fantasy: a real picture of Ford with a caption from the fake Ron. But Ford really could have said this, don't you think?

I enjoyed the way his followers would comment as well, and Ron would even comment back sometimes.

After Ford finished his term in 2014 and fell ill, I fell off the Ron Ford wagon and forgot about it. After a bout in the hospital, he lost his battle with cancer and no one really talked about him anymore. And then I saw this in my Facebook newsfeed:


Even after the death of the real Ford, Ron Ford's page remained active, often making quips on political goings-on of the day.

My personal favourite.




That like under my comment is from none other than Ron Ford himself. Bless you.

Upon my rediscovery of this wondrous piece of social media, I wondered to myself whether this was in poor taste. Sure, the guy was crazy in real life and made some terrible decisions, but have we no respect for the dead? 

On the other hand, he was in poor taste in life. This could also be considered in poor taste, so maybe it cancels itself out? I honestly believe this account does more for his image than he ever did in life. Especially the interesting posts about Donald Trump (pinko donnie) and Jian Ghomeshi (johnny gomeshi) that are quite poignant in their way. I suppose I'll keep following him, even if it is from beyond the grave (or gravy).

Inspiration: Shrinky Dinks
If you attended any kind of summer camp as a kid, you'll remember that shrinky dinks were these special bits of plastic that you'd draw on, and then pop into the toaster oven to watch them wiggle and shrink down into a hard, tiny version of your original design. I still think about them every once in a while as a bit of nostalgia from my childhood.

This holiday season, my extremely talented friend Tess Reid decided to draw her friends' likenesses onto shinky dink keychains as Christmas presents. First of all, who even knew that shrinky dinks still existed?! Second of all, they look AWESOME.



I've managed to track down some of the others as well, which are just as great.





You may remember Tess on my blog from her lovely program to honour her late mother. Tess has a way of drawing beauty out into the world (literally and figuratively), even in places where others might havesite trouble finding beauty. She is also a talented illustrator in forms including but not limited to shrinky dink art. Check out more of her work here.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Cuushe, Festival Posters & Respectful Memes

Weekly Update 2016-50: Sweet wintery synth vibes from Cuushe to accompany the redesign of my blog, the insecurity of knowing all the bands on a festival poster, and an extra sprinkle of positivity on your Twitter feed.

Music: Cuushe
The beginning of winter always gets me kind of down. No one likes to be hit in the face with a gust of cold wind, but this sort of airy, calm synth beat is doing wonders for my mood. It seems to make the weather feel more manageable. Straight out of Kyoto, Japan, you might consider Cuushe to be the auditory equivalent of a light therapy lamp. And even more than her smattering of albums and EPs, she also composes scores for films. Quite fitting with her ability to produce ethereal worlds of floating dreampop tones and whisper-light lyrics.


Her album artwork is also excellent:


Accomplishment:
I completed some excellent wireframes for my blog homepage this weekend. I am particularly proud of some lightning ideas to display the archive as an interactive timeline, and to showcase the most used words on my blog in a word cloud. This will allow visitors to get a feel for what I write about without having to dig too deep. It all stemmed from a question I had posed myself, “when a visitor enters the site for the first time, how can they tell what the blog is about?” Of course, I am also a big proponent of data visualizations, which allow the user to explore the dataset in the way they see fit, and provides a bigger picture through the story of data collection and presentation.

Sketches!

Slight variations on the recent posts section.

And my personal favourite, with the data visualizations.

I also wrote down some thoughts about the process of making Shabbat, which I'll be sending off to my Chai Mitzvah mentor this weekend.

And what is probably the greatest achievement, I stood in line outside at City of Craft on Saturday for an hour in order to get my limited edition tote bag (totally worth it). The tote bag is really good quality and has this print on it from Doublenaut:


I also got an awesome poster from them. They're so talented! In case you didn't notice the style, they make all the labels for the beer from Bellwoods Brewery. Yum! More on Doublenaut in an upcoming post. Their work is the best!

Goal:
This week, I'd like to keep the motivation going on my blog redesign. I want to finish the post page wireframe, design the search functionality, as well as start thinking about typography, creating a moodboard, and finally take the wireframes up to visual comps. The typography is the part I really want to get right, so I'll be experimenting mostly with that over the next week.

As mentioned above, I'm also going to send an email to my mentor on my thoughts about Shabbat and Hannukah!

Random Thought:
I start to get into the summer festival mood again when festival posters are released, usually around March or April. But some warmer countries are able to throw festivals throughout the winter. Maybe I should move.

And so, whenever I check out a poster for a music festival, I judge my own personal knowledge of current music by the closest band to the bottom of the poster that I can recognize. If I know someone on the last line, I know I'm still hip and with it. Especially if the festival is happening in a country outside of North America, I feel like that's extra points. Maybe I should create some kind of music festival bingo game!

This poster is from 2011 so it isn't relevant anymore and doesn't count.

On the other hand, some festivals refuse to use a hierarchy with their band order, like Primavera Sound. Honestly, this might be considered more ‘fair,’ but it's harder to read and find the bands you want to see.

Such a wall of type!

Inspiration: Respectful Memes
These days, I have noticed that things on the internet rarely make me smile, or really think about the positivity in people. Perhaps because there is a lot of negativity on the internet to begin with. Well, I've finally found a way to combat that. My new daily dose of positivity comes from none other than the best twitter account of all time, called Respectful Memes.


It's been going since November, and yes I have read through all of them. Basically, most of the images tweeted on a daily basis are positive remixes of negative or neutral memes. It appeals to my sense of positivity, but also to my love of remixes that take things totally out of the context for which they were originally meant.


He liked his own photo! I love it.



I have actually had this idea before. But I somehow feel that people would want to punch me?

If you enjoy smiling, I implore you to check out all the tweets here, and also to follow Respectful Memes. We could all use a little more positivity in this scary, scary world.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Unpleasant Design & The Common Bench

Since I recently boarded the podcast train, I haven't really ventured out of the territory of The Moth, (which I have mentioned before on this blog) and one other podcast that is very special to me. Everything you ever wanted to know about very specific, seemingly random, and rarely discussed topics of design and architecture that shape our world. These are the things that we don't really ever notice or think about, but are often ubiquitous in our daily lives.

This podcast is one of the most downloaded podcasts on iTunes, and extremely popular because it answers the questions we never thought to ask, but once we realized they were askable, we were happy to have the answers. It's called 99% Invisible, and it's hosted by the smooth velvety voice of Roman Mars who, if you're a follower of my blog, I mentioned in a post about city flags here.

One episode in particular struck me as particularly noteworthy. When we look at public spaces that are open for all to use, we can notice that there are certain design choices made that actually limit our uses of those spaces. I remember reading that some stores would play a high-pitched mosquito drone sound, only audible to young, undeveloped ear drums. This drone would cause young people to leave instead of loitering around, while not affecting older patrons who might actually purchase something.

Or, as the podcast states, how about using blue lighting in UK train station bathrooms, which will make veins hard to see through the skin, discouraging drug users from shooting up.

How about this bench? It looks comfortable enough, right?


You may think that the armrests are there to be just that, armrests, but they are actually first and foremost to discourage lying down. This bench only really provides one service: three people can sit, straight-backed, and they can't even really face each other.

You might consider this a poorly planned tactic against homeless people lying down/sleeping there, which of course no one wants, but why can't we address that problem in a positive way instead of a negative one? How can this be the best solution we can think of?

Behold the Camden Bench.

With slopes and strange angles forming a massive lump of concrete, this piece of architecture, commissioned by the Camden London Borough Council and installed in Camden, London in 2012, is considered the perfect anti-object. It is designed to be:

  • anti-homeless/sleeping because it's angled to prevent lying down
  • anti-drug dealing because there are no slots or sunken areas to hide drugs
  • anti-theft because there are recesses near the ground for people to store their bags behind their legs
  • anti-skateboarding because the edges fluctuate in height, making it difficult to grind off of
  • anti-litter because there are not crevices for waste to accrue
  • anti-graffiti because it is covered in a paint-resistant coating

Most of those are noble causes (except perhaps for the sleeping or skateboarding), but at the end of the day, this bench discourages 22 things, and encourages only two.

Such tactics, called “Unpleasant Design” are intended to discourage a specific behaviour, usually targeting youth or homeless people.

While these design choices may seem like they do more good than harm (keeping kids from loitering, keeping people from doing drugs, or even keeping homeless people from sleeping on benches), they are actually demoralizing to the end users.

Developing these public objects to discourage more than encourage behaviour is sad to me because it assumes the worst in people. It reminds users that the people who approved this design consider them likely/probable to commit one of the ‘dastardly deeds’ listed above. Or, more likely, since people are somewhat self-centered when thinking of themselves as good people, makes users think that since this bench is designed this way, there must be people around them who would commit these ‘dastardly deeds’ and the users are susceptible to those deeds as they sit on this bench.

Some designers have embraced the concept of unpleasant design and incorporated it into political pieces, such as a bench with spikes that only lower out of the way when a coin is inserted.



I know it may seem ludicrous, but if we continue to deter the negative rather than encouraging the positive, who knows how far into the future this could really be? Maybe I've just been watching too much Black Mirror.

To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog post, check out 99% Invisible.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dilly Dally, UberPool & Typewolf

Weekly Update 2016-49: Grungy garage rock from Toronto's own Dilly Dally, the etiquette of using UberPool, and the delicious type inspiration of Jeremiah Shoaf's Typewolf.

Music: Dilly Dally
Music festivals are serious business. If you're not in peak physical condition, or if you don't have the go-getter attitude of an overachieving maniac, you're probably going to miss some bands that you wanted to see. And each additional stage at a festival just multiplies this. So, when Dilly Dally played Wayhome on the Sunday of the festival weekend, I was too drained to wake up in time to catch them on a side stage at 2:30PM.

I vowed that I would see them in Toronto, and eventually they did come here to play (especially since they're from Toronto). They opened for Grouplove at the Danforth Music Hall in October, and tickets were just too expensive (thanks, Grouplove) to justify a love of an opening band. And so I continued to wait.

Finally, they played their own headlining show at Lee's Palace (my favourite!) last Friday, and it was everything I dreamed of. Their sounds are kind of lo-fi, grungy garage rock, but with some kind of unexplainable soft side provided by the lead singer's range of vocal styles. Listen below:


And a bonus from the set I saw:

video


Accomplishment:
I have now completed four out of five Munich posts, only one to go. As much as the process of looking back on my trips helps me to remember all the cool stuff I did, the process of going through the photos and writing the posts is even more of a transporting experience.

I have also been working on transporting my portfolio site over to Github, and spent three hours cleaning the code on the weekend. I can't believe how my coding habits have improved since I started working at EventMobi.

Goal:
I'm slowing down on the website stuff for the moment until I can sit down and get some coding questions answered from my trusty coding friend, so I'll be focusing more on my blog redesign. The sketches of the homepage are somewhat complete, so I'd like to move into wireframes this week.

I'll also be focusing on reading some of the books that my Chai Mitzvah mentor gave me last week, and posing some questions to her via email. I want to get that going tomorrow night so she knows what to expect of me throughout the rest of the school year (and doesn't think I'm a flop).

Random Thought: UberPool
With the advent of Uber (which has helped me out in some bad situations - mostly when the TTC has screwed me over), there is a whole new set of rules and customs around ridesharing. Especially with UberPool, where you share your ride with strangers who are being picked up and/or dropped off in different places from you. I present, a few questions I wondered while I was using UberPool on the weekend:
  • Say you're the first to get in, and you take the curb-side back seat. Is it customary to slide over when new passengers approach the vehicle, or make them go around? I suppose the nice thing to do would be to slide, but what if you're getting out first (which the app will tell you)
  • If you know others will be getting in, but the uber is currently empty, is it acceptable to get in the front seat (which is arguably the most desirable so you're not stuffed in like a sardine?)
  • What if you know that a less direct route will be faster, but others in the uber will be affected and/or may not agree with your suggestion? Who wins? Probably the route that Uber provides. But it seems like they don't use an API that accounts for unexpected traffic like accidents etc.
Inspiration: Typewolf
This is my new favourite website. I have always appreciated good typography in print, but felt that the joy is somewhat lost in digital media. I can only explain it in a really weird way so please forgive me: good print typography makes me want to lick the page. And until I found Typewolf, I hadn't really felt that way about digital type.

It helps that the site's own typography is also delicious.

The site has many excellent features, one of the best ones being a monthly chronicle of excellent type on the web. Not only do these bring back the joy I felt about good printed type, but they inspire me to work on the typography of my website and blog, both of which are quite lacking. And they show me that the urge to lick the page is possible with web design. Check out their November issue here.


And, as luck would have it, this site has, by pure chance and luck, solved my original issue of the terrible dumb quotes that Blogger has foisted upon me. 

"This is terrible and incorrect."

“But this, this is right. I am happy.”

The site taught me the keyboard shortcuts for smart quotes, and a whole lot about proper usage. So not only the how, but also the why/when. Context and knowing when to use the tools you've been given is as important as knowing how to use them. You can check out the very, very special typography cheatsheet here.

And if all that weren't enough, it's cheeky.

Even from my first once-over of the site, I am so inspired. For example, who knew that a dark maroon on top of a powder pink background would not only be legible, but a joy to read? Who knew that a stark white eight-pixel underline makes a beautiful link affordance, and even moreso with a white background hover effect on a transition of 300 milliseconds? You'll be seeing a similar style here soon, to be sure.


A little about the mastermind behind the project: Jeremiah Shoaf is a designer of quite some note, and created Typewolf as a side project. He felt,
I’ve also noticed that other typography sites tend to be written from a type designer’s perspective rather than from the perspective of someone who actually uses type in their day-to-day work. I’ve been a designer for 15 years, so everything on Typewolf is approached from a designer’s perspective.
It's so true, that you really don't see sites quite like this, that show typography in the wild, in real examples that can be understood in a practical sense. I implore you to check out the site yourself and savour the typography as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hello Bavaria! - Munich Day 4

As you may have seen in the previous posts about Munich, I was lucky enough to convince the company I work at to send me to Germany for five days for a design conference called Push Conference. I have been writing them slightly out of order because I wanted to get the conference posts out as soon as possible, with the tourism posts to come later. And here they are!

Yesterday was the glorious final day of Push Conference, and while I was sad that the conference was over, the feelings soon subsided to make way for the excitement of today - to which I had especially been looking forward. I would be heading out of Munich to the mountain town of Tegernsee, which looked like a quaint collection of alpine gingerbread houses in Google Images.

Before I made my way to the train, I decided to walk over to Marienplatz (where the walking tour a few days ago had been). Today would be my only opportunity to see the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a tourist attraction of world renown. The glockenspiel is an old cuckoo-clock dating back to 1908 that chimes with one of a few different tunes at 11:00AM every day. The tune is accompanied by a delightful two-part story containing 32 life-sized figures that twist and turn.

And as everyone in Munich knows, you haven't seen the whole show unless you wait around (for the 12-15 minute duration of the show) to see the golden rooster make his cock-a-doodle-do at the end. And so I did!

video

After watching the Glockenspiel do its thing, I wandered over to the Victualsmarket to get my traditional German breakfast: a pretzel, mustard, two weißwurst sausages, and a hefty stein of weißbier. I was really hungry because I had been focusing on getting to the clock in time, and was really excited to eat my food. I sat at a picnic table outside in the biergarten in the victualsmarket and pondered how I would go about eating my weißwurst.




As my friend from Munich told me, one is not meant to consume the casing around the sausages. There are thousands of ways to get the inner meat out and into one's mouth, and he suggested I try to most popular method: sucking the meat out through a cut hole on one end. I decided that I would go a more dignified route and make a lengthwise cut, splitting the sausage and scraping the meat out with my knife. It worked quite well!

CLEAN.

Panorama of the victualsmarket from where I was sitting.

The food was very good, including the beer (which was probably more than I usually drink in one sitting, and definitely more than I've ever had before 12:00PM). I drained the last bit of my beer as I chatted a little with a British couple who had sat down to share my table, and then was off with a renewed (beer-fueled) energy to climb the Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) for the best view in the city. I had actually climbed this church last time I was in Munich, and I was excited to do it again. Here are some more photos of my walk through the victualsmarket on my way to the church:







I was probably a little less careful than I normally would have been (thanks, beer) and hip-checked a few people as I passed them on the stairs. So much for polite Canadian tourists! Below is a time-lapse I took as I climbed.

video

The view was breathtaking.






After that, I purchased some fun postcards to write in Tegernsee, and a traditional apfelstrudel (apple strudel cake) from the bakery in the square, and then was off into the U-Bahn to transfer to the BOB (Bayerische OberlandBahn) train that would take me to Tegernsee.

This was tooooooo good.

Tegernsee was a suggestion from my friend who had lived in Munich for some time. It's not too far out of Munich (only about an hour by train), and boasts beautiful mountain views. I was also intrigued by the fact that the annual Mountain Film Festival was happening on the day I would be there! I had taken some time before my trip to find a film in English of course.

I bought my BOB ticket (about CAD$30 return trip) and waited for the train. What I didn't realize was this: the three BOB lines all share the same first five or six stops out of Munich, and start off all connected together until their final shared station. Here, they separate and go their own ways. So you have to make sure you enter the train in the right part, which I definitely did NOT. The conductor explained this all to me in German, which I didn't really understand until we got to this last shared stop. Immediately I knew that this was an issue that other people had also had trouble with, because I ended up following the suit of lots of other passengers getting out and run down the line to their appropriate portion of the train. I ran too, and laughed to myself. It was hilarious.

The train station.

The rest of the ride became extremely beautiful as the train added more distance between itself and Munich. Check out this video that I took out the window. It looks like a Ghibli film.

video









As the train pulled into Tegernsee, I felt like I was in another world. It is drop-dead gorgeous. Words cannot even explain. Just look at the pictures.














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The town is surrounded by lots of mountains and a beautiful glistening lake along one side. All down the shoreline, there were wooden benches to lie on and relax. I took a little rest and removed a bunch of my layers, because the sun was shining and the weather was excellent. I sat and took in my surroundings, and marvelled at where I was for a few moments.





After that, I was off to my first stop of the day - the Olaf Gulbransson Museum. I had seen some pictures of his work online, mostly interesting gesture drawings and stuff like that. I thought it would be a nice little half hour of time. As I arrived at the entrance and showed my student ID for a discounted admission, the woman at the desk asked if I was a student of art or design. I said yes, and she told me that admission was free for me! How amazing! And that wasn't even the half of the amazingness inside.




There was a special exhibition going on - the works of Henning Wagenbreth. I had never heard of him, but as soon as the elevator doors opened, his work slapped me in the face with a shock of colour.














The other works in the museum were also lovely. Only two small one-room-buildings connected underground, the museum was a very nice size to wander through for about an hour.










One of the rooms had these viewing doors, to show you where the focus of the work is meant to be. I liked them for their sheer function and the fact that I had never seen this kind of thing before.






As I left the museum, I considered the rest of my day as I gazed down the hill toward the water. There was a minigolf course between the museum and the shore, which I thought was rather interesting.



At this point I decided not to attempt to climb a small mountain, as had been my original goal for the town of Tegernsee, because there was simply so much to do. Especially as I only had a couple of hours until the film I had chosen would play, I felt I should stay close to town. So I looked out over the water for a few moments, and then wandered over to an old cemetery that I had walked by earlier in the day. I always seem to be attracted to cemeteries, they are just so much more beautiful in Europe than they are in Canada.

There was a rock climbing...thing and some other items of interest along the dock for the film festival.










From the cemetery I wandered over to a supermarket to see what the people of Tegernsee like to eat.

Pretty produce.

Big beers!!


After that, I began to walk toward the theater to get my film ticket. There were booths and stalls lining the street as I walked, including a lovely live band.



Vintage buttons and pins!

I want to live here.

This door is so lovely!

Olive mustard. I could eat this with a spoon.


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I tried a bunch of jams, olives, cheese and mustards (Germans love their “senf” - German for mustard), and ended up buying a little jar of homemade olivensenf (olive mustard) to bring home. Then I bought my ticket for the film, and wandered the streets for another 20 minutes or so until the theater opened.







I was seeing a movie called Drawing the Tiger, which was actually directed by an American, who to my surprise, was present in the theater for the screening. She introduced the movie in English (which was then translated into German for everyone else), and it began. To my disappointment, the film, which was advertised as Nepalese and English with German subtitles, only included about two lines of English. I honestly don't even know why they classified it as an English movie. So, I sat through it and read what I could of the German subtitles. The filming was beautiful anyway.


After the film, there was a Q&A in which I gleaned some more information about what I had seen. I still wanted to chat with the director, so I made sure to steer away from the subject of the movie and asked her where she was from. She told me that she was from Seattle, which is only of my favourite places that I have visited. I told her I was from Toronto, and she divulged that the film had debuted at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (just down the street from me!), which makes sense since the documentary is a Canadian film format.

This was the front of the theater after I left. Already dark out!

I had planned to see another, shorter movie, but it was getting rather cold and dark out by this time. I checked on the train times and noticed that if I stayed for this second movie, my trip back to Munich would take an extra hour. So I made my choice to get on the train back to the city instead. Not a terrible loss, as I had seen a lot of Tegernsee indeed!

I had miscalculated how much money to take with me for the day, so I planned to go back to my AirBnB to grab some more, and an extra sweater. I would grab some dinner and write my postcards (since I had been to caught up in the excitement of Tegernsee to write them there). I considered eating at Bazi's, but accidentally walked into Beverley Kills bar next door by mistake which was fun. It was very loud and decidedly not a take-out window for boxed Bavarian dinners, which was what I was looking for.

Bazi's looked good, but I opted to take the U-Bahn toward Hauptbahnhof to check out the Augustiner Keller restaurant that was on my list of things to see. Hauptbahnhof is kind of like Union Station in Toronto, the epicenter of transit in the city. There were some cool art installations similar to the Contact Festival in Toronto, and lots of little kiosks and places to eat.

The Augustiner Keller is your average Bavarian beerhall. I got a beer and a plate of schnitzel and potato salad, and they gave me two pots of mustard to try with my schnitzel which was wonderful. The mustards in Germany are amazing. I wrote my postcards (all eight of them) and reflected on my day in Tegernsee. I actually stayed until I was the last one there, around midnight.



I was attempting to be out late with the young people, but sleep was creeping up on me from all the things I had done that day. So I called it a night and took the U-Bahn back to Sendlinger Tor. As I was walking to the AirBnB, two tourists stopped me and asked if I knew where Beverley Kills bar was, which I thought was particularly hilarious.

I saw some lovely 3D printed jewelry (or it looked like it, anyway) which gave me some ideas for things to make here in Toronto.



And that pretty much wraps up day four of my trip. Stay tuned for my final day, in which I take in more museums than is probably healthy for one person, and get yelled at by a rabbi in a beautiful Orthodox Synagogue. It was quite a time. Until then!