header photo


This is supposed to be a year of consolidation of all our new tools and toys.

This is what we wish for this year, but then, we read this:

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso declares: "The euro crisis is over".

This is just an other example of the political schizophrenia: It is one thing what they say to the people, but it is a completely other thing what they do and know behind the scenes. No way to trust the political elite, really, not a single word.

And for sure the crisis is not over. Since years politicians fix a small bubble recursively with a bigger bubble which - until it will burst. An incredible global Ponzi scheme.



This time we spent our traditional end of year vacation in Vietnam. And again we booked with Intrepid travel agency. But for the first time we were disappointed about the concept of the trip. We have spend almost the entire time in huge cities and could not see anything from the beautiful landscape.

To make things worse, first it was in Ho Chi Min with more then 35 °C to hot, and for second half we had below 15 °C and not a single day with sun which was kind of depressing.


New Content Management System

With a new year, it comes a new CMS. While Typo3 is a very powerful CMS and we use it since '05, it is also difficult to configure and to maintain over the years, specially if you do it only sporadically. Therefore we migrate our content to something more simple: GetSimple. We start with version 3.1.2 and a modified theme Unbound.

It will certainly take some time to move the whole content into its new home, but it is also a good occasion to overhaul the site and get rid of all the Flash stuff which soon becomes obsolete (which is not a bad thing after all). And as a welcome side-effect our site will be iPad compatible. Within a few years nobody will use PCs anyway, right?

This is now the third incarnation of gontarczyg.org.


Replicator 2

Our first desktop 3D printer Replicator 2 from MakerBot has arrived. But being busy with all our other stuff, it will take a while until we can start to play with it.


Reworked Website is Online

After one week obsessive working we have the reworked content online. Not that everything would be finished now (remember, we are Under construction - forever), but the content is quite more consistent and complete. And it turned out that the maintenance and the generation of new content, specially the image galleries and slide shows, is now much easier and quicker then it was. It was worth the effort.



Our newest toy, a Polargraph is up and running. No, that hasn't anything to do with cold and winter, it is about polar-coordinates, electronics and software. With our machine we got even mentioned by the producer.


Quite a Winter


This year we have endless snow, just as we would remember our childhood was. No global warming so far, but of course a global average temperature increase does not tell anything about local changes. And anyway, whatever you summarize into a single number is nonsense.


Again a new Camera

How to define new?  It is a Panasonic Limux GF2 which was released in '09 (nowadays they produce the GF5), but our local photo dealer had still an leftover exemplar to get rid off. So, for 100 Fränkli we just could not resist to take it for our microscopy and toy lens photography. And we love it. It is quite heavy and feels robust in the hand.


Infrared Photography

Today we started with our first experiments of infrared photography, just by using the GH3 and a Hoya IR filter.



Robots On Tour

We thought it would be fun to see Robots On Tour, so we bought the quite expensive tickets for 40 Swiss francs each.

But we only found robot-like humans, willing to stay more then three hours in a queue just to see a disappointing tiny exhibition.

Slightly annoyed we left that place without having seen anything closer then this. Maybe in 20 years we will have a look again.



For us Singapore always seemed to be a strange and sterile place. So we had to check it out. With temperatures above 30 °C and very high humidity we didn't felt too comfortable walking on the streets. But anyway, the city of Singapore seems to be an ever repeating series of air conditioned shopping malls. And on the sterile streets there isn't anything interesting to discover.  

But at last a good place to take impressions with our new UV camera.


Das Wetter ist zum Kotzen

It is middle of April and we still have snow. That really starts to hurt our mood.


First field test with our new vehicle

It was not really camping weather, but we just had to try our new mobile home. We made immediately use of the heating system.



And now a bigger trip to Kielce in Poland and back through Slovakia. A few rain drops here and there, but nice and sunny weather over all. Nice.



Damm it, again snow! After three days of endless rain or snow, we found us locked in the valley of Pinzgau. All roads where blocked due to landslides or high waters. Instead of a camping we ended in a wellness hotel. Not really a place for us, but at last safe and dry.


Edward Snowden and the End of Trust. Any Trust.

In what kind of world are we living in where an average young men decides that it is less worse to give up all his life and his future instead to continue to live in a world of total digital surveillance?

Everybody with only a little bit knowledge about computers and Internet was expecting some kind of surveillance. Still it is deeply shocking to learn how far they already are gone.

This whole NSA program is not about safety of the people, it is about the safety of the ruling class. The economy goes down, social tension heats up, and every citizen not totally in line with the governmental doctrine becomes labeled by as a terrorist an is taken down.

It is a sick world where we have to live.


Bruce Schneier: Government and industry have betrayed the internet, and us. And: Trust is essential for society to function.

But there is no trust any more.


Czech Republic

Oh, just an other trip to Vienna and Brno.


Black Forrest, Karlsruhe and Alsace

This is the view from a lonely camping ground somewhere in Alsace. Lovely, isn't it.

We enjoyed an Ural ride to Karlsruhe to visits friends and from there we meandered back home on smallest roads through Alsace.



Attended a tree day course Magic of Paper with Marlis Maehrle at the Centro del bel libro in Ascona.

We met Marlis in November 2011 and her work on the exhibition and where fascinated equally from airy work and her personality. When we discovered that course at the Centro it was immediately clear the we had to join. Indeed, it was a wonderful course.



First stop of our two week trip to Czech Republic is the Donau. We enjoy beautiful autumn weather.


Bily Kriz - Beskidy Mountains

Point of return: This was the most east point of our trip. In the night we get first frost. Summer is over, we head back to the cold season.


Ostrava-Vítkovice, Old Steelmill

One can not pass Ostrava without visiting this Old Steelmill. Just a perfect place for our infrared photography.


České Budějovice

Last stop in České Budějovice before returning home. The weather is changing to rain, but the food is just delicious.


It's all about Fibers

From weaving it is only a short step into spinning. And on the way back we got a chance to buy a spinning wheel directly from the producer.

Sure we did not miss this opportunity.




And then it's all about Sheep

And from spinning it is only a short step to the sheep wool. From friends we got 16 kg raw wool. Our car smells like a sheep barn.



So we got to Huttwil to see how the professionals once have washed an prepared the sheep wool in order to have it ready for spinning.



Just in time before the cold weather starts we finished the isolation of our workshop. We won't have room temperature, but it also not be freezing.



Started to build a XY-plotter based on the Makeblock kit.


Super Awesome Sylvia's WaterColorBot

We just could not resist to join this kickstarter project in July. Finally we got the parcel and indeed, the project is very well done for what it is. Now we do not intend to use it for watercolor drawings, it is a rather a machine to test our own drawing software which we develop in Processing. The same software we can use for the XY-Plotter and the Polargraph as well.


Museums-Spinnerei Neuthal

There is a museum about old spinning machines and the processing of the raw wool. Since we got interested in all types of fibers for spinning and learned already quite a bit how it is done by hand, we started to wonder how it is done on a industrial scale. It turned out that this museum gives an excellent overview about the industrialization of the spinning business.


Plaster Course with Klemens

Since our course Small Sculptures in Concrete with Klemens Pasoldt in 2011 we always wanted to attend is plaster sculpting courses as well. It took some time, but finally we could visit two of his excellent organized courses.


End of the Year

For the first time since many years we decided to start the new year at home and do not travel anywhere. It was somehow a strange year, with a lot of excitements, but at last an equal amount of disappointments. We need time to recover.