Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on September 23, 2013 in Personal with Comments closed |

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Selfies: Bad Hair Days

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 23, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Every image tells a tale, paints – as has been said and repeated more times than I care to research – a thousand words. Imagine what it must be for those really interested in evolution – and I’m not talking about the creationist / evolutionist argument here – to be able to follow changes from the first through to the last. Of course we can do that at any time we want: any family album is going to have the first baby photos, the first walking, first school day, first bicycle ride, graduation, college, wedding celebrations caught for all time and preserved for grandchildren and unsuspecting visitors.

Viktoria Michaelis: Selfie, Bad Hair Day

Photo Source: unknown, via imgsrc

We can follow celebrities from their first appearance on the stage through to the final facelift if we want. But ordinary people, the changes which happen through fashion and aren’t seen by the whole family? The personal changes that a woman – or a man – performs for themselves? Such things were once rare but, now that we have the selfie amongst us, could become a staple of our daily diet, beginning with the most innocent, the most attractive and then moving on…

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Losing That Precious Sense Of Humor

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 22, 2014 in Internet |

I am constantly amazed at how some people can find humor in the most ridiculous things, but completely lose it when that humor could be seen to refer to them, or to something that they are connected to. A perfect example is this post – by Mara Mascaro – showing the difficulties of producing items in a foreign language. Now, I know that most people will obviously remove their child before cleaning the clothes they were wearing that day and such advice isn’t really needed, but we all know how difficult it is to translate from one language to another without a more than adequate knowledge of both languages.

Viktoria Michaelis: Chinese Washing Instructions

Finding it amusing, and knowing of many other examples which fall into the same #FAIL category, I commented:

Viktoria Michaelis: Google Plus Comments

Why such a comment? Because we all know, or should do, that many, many things available on the US and European markets are manufactured in China: production is cheap; the quality can be good; it’s a profit and supply thing. But not everyone seems to understand that.

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Are These Shorts Too Short?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 21, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Shorts are in fashion yet again this year, making me think that the short skirt or the mini-skirt has had its day. In fact, it was hard to find a single younger woman out and about in Bremen on Saturday who wasn’t wearing shorts, some with considerably more flair than others according to the cut, their size and a few other factors. A few I was tempted to ask whether they’d borrowed their legs from a mannequin, as they were whiter than a pop stars’ teeth.

Photo Source: Unknown, via imgsrc

The style is either tight and incredibly short, leaving next to nothing to the imagination, and I mean front and back, or cut-off jeans with the pockets hanging down at the front. This is a style I have never been able to make friends with: why don’t they remove the pockets? I mean, they are totally useless and, to my way of thinking, look stupid. But with some of the shorts, well, you have to ask yourselves a simple question.

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Copyright: There’s Something You Haven’t Quite Understood

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 21, 2014 in Internet |

All this talk about copyright, the commercial use of photographs, photo theft and the like reminds me a little of the misconceptions over commercial use of individual images by certain social media web sites we frequent and the means some people go to, to try to protect their property. I am thinking specifically about sites like Instagram, Facebook and the many dating sites out there, the first two being completely different to the last.

When we sign up for a specific service, whether it be a telephone contract, a cable service or Facebook, we read (hopefully) and then agree to a set of Terms and Conditions designed to define exactly what may and what may not be done by both the user and the company offering the service. Sticking entirely to social networks, there are two distinct types of service involved. There are those, such as Facebook, which are free and those, such as the dating sites, where there is a free service and a paid VIP or Pro program. Here is where the problem arises: some people seem to be under the impression that by signing the Terms and Conditions, they are giving away the copyright for their images, and they try to get out of this clause by adding a suitable paragraph to their profile.

Photo Credit: christopher.berryCreative Commons

Fair enough, you’ve done a good deal of work producing that wonderful selfie which should, hopefully, cause all your future friends to swoon in admiration and, for those specific sites, find you a date or a partner for life. But no one is taking away your copyright for an image, they simply cannot do that without a clear-cut contract for each image or for a set of defined images.

Dating sites tend to have a clause allowing them to use your images for commercial purposes, and this is what gets people up in arms. What they do not realize is that these sites are commercial, they have a paid program too. If you sign up and pay your monthly dues, you get a better, more complete service. That means, certainly when it comes to the more sexually explicit photographs, that only people who pay for the service get to see the intimate side of things. This, then, is the commercial usage.

Sites such as Facebook and Instagram, which are free to all, do not need to have a commercial clause in the Terms and Conditions unless, that is, they plan on using profile photographs to sell the service or, very much worse, to gain income by selling the images to third parties. Dating sites need this clause in order to show the images to paying customers, which doesn’t mean they are going to sell them on to others.

If you sign up for a service, you agree to the Terms and Conditions laid down by the service provider. Once you’ve signed the contract, you can’t opt out of little bits and pieces which you do not agree with, it simply doesn’t work that way. Either you accept the contract complete, as it is, or you don’t use the service at all. PayPal and eBay have it down to a fine art. Each time there is a change they are careful to point out that, should you not wish to accept the updated Terms and Conditions, you are free to cancel your account. There is no other way around it.

But do any of these sites really use private photographs to promote themselves? Adult Friend Finder is one of the biggest dating sites, and they do not. With millions of members, they purchase images to promote their services from outside commercial sources. Others steal images – although these are clearly the less serious companies more interested in making money than in providing a good service for what you pay.

Would a statement in a profile refusing to allow commercial use of images stand up in a court of law when placed against the Terms and Conditions? I doubt it, unless it can be shown that the commercial use is detrimental to the user or falls outside of national and local laws. Each individual signs up of their own free will; they post photographs voluntarily; they use all the services available to them. Each individual user has signed the agreement and is presented with a clear-cut choice: you agree, or you go elsewhere. Write what you will in your profile, you can’t change or opt-out of what you’ve already agreed to.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Selfies: The Sunday Afternoon Mix

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 20, 2014 in Absolute Hot! |

Yesterday I posted about what I see for the future of this blog, where I will be concentrating my efforts – although not exclusively – and what I plan for the future. Today, to brighten up a few dreary Sundays – although the weather here is scorching and I have every intention of going out into the garden in a few minutes for the evening – I thought I’d share a small taste of part of my plans.

Viktoria Michaelis: Selfie, Erotica, Women, Self-Portrait

Photo Source: Unknown

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows that my interests include photography and that I have a certain area which fascinates me more than any other: the self-portrait. This is something which has evolved over many years but, with the advances in technology and the wealth of readily available mirrors everywhere you go has become almost a fashion fad to rival all others. I do not think that I am overstating it when I suggest that everyone who has a smart phone with camera, or who even has a camera has, at one time or another, made a self-portrait. There have even been attempts of late to determine when the first selfie was shot and who shot it, something doomed to failure since most are meant for personal use and, back then, the technology to share – or be shared unwillingly – is a recent phenomenon.

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Blogging: Evolution Is The Way Forwards

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 19, 2014 in Internet |

It’s fair to say that after more than four years this blog has gone beyond the creation stage. It has a firm and relatively stable place on the Internet, frequent and regular visitors and a relatively good ranking against other, similar sites. With creation completed, it is once again time to look at how it should evolve further, how the small niche can be expanded and the contents made more interesting. This is, of course, not something which only affects me, every single blog which survives the first three months or longer needs to be constantly looked at, constantly improved and advanced. Getting into a rut later on in blogging life is just as bad as giving up in the first few weeks because there have been no visitors. A blog, the same as any other web site, needs to evolve to retain interest, to farm new markets, to gain new readers.

Viktoria Michaelis: Blogging

Photo Credit: SkleyCreative Commons

It’s not that I have run out of things to write about, nor am I likely to in the near future, but perhaps a little concentration on one or two areas might be good, perhaps the introduction of something new too. To be honest a reader might gain the impression I write about far too many things: Social Media; Sex, Lesbian Culture; Travel; Politics; Religion; Europe; Germany; Photography; Books, Writing and Publishing; Life in general. There is no real concentration on one specific area or, to put it another way, there is no single subject area which really stands out as being the strong point, the stable of the whole. Perhaps, in some ways, this is a good thing, but a little introspection, a little thought about the future is always a good thing. No one wants to stagnate, not on the Internet, not in real life. But what exactly is the way forward? What can be done to evolve this blog even further?

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How Can You Not Want Children?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 18, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Everyone knows that lesbians can’t have children; it’s in the nature of things that when you have sex with other women, children are pretty much not on the agenda. What I find strange is those people who seem to think because you sleep with another woman, because another woman is your whole life, you don’t want to have them. Whereby they clearly overlook the many thousands of married and unmarried single-sex couples, male and female, who do have children and manage to raise them quite successfully. How many surveys have claimed that single-sex parents raise happier children?

Viktoria Michaelis: Sweet Child

Photo Source Unknown: via imgsrc

The thing is, many women simply don’t want children, no matter how sweet and endearing they may be, and by this I don’t just mean lesbians. Are we still at the stage in our evolution where children are the be-all and end-all of a relationship? Is no family complete without them?

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Taking Note Of The Title

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 17, 2014 in Publishing |

Yesterday I wrote about the various means by which a writer can begin their work: by using a provided opening paragraph; by simply writing until the fear of a blank page is gone; by using notes and ideas planned long in advance. Despite my post title, I didn’t write anything about using Titles or Grammar, as absolutely no one has pointed out to me, so I thought I would remedy this and post a few thoughts on these two important areas today.

Viktoria Michaelis: Twitter, Illiteracy and Grammar

Photo Credit: bernat…Creative Commons

The first is, clearly, the Title of a work. If you don’t have the right title, one which fits the work itself, you’re not going to do any damage, as such, but it may well put people off reading what is otherwise an excellent book or story. The title is of great importance: along with the cover – for printed works – it is one of the first things a person sees when browsing. I do it myself when trying to decide which Goodreads books to try to win, which books to take off a store shelf and look at further. Something which is clearly not within my interests, from the title alone, isn’t going to get me reaching out, isn’t going to make me want to check any further. Many people have a working title when they begin, just to keep them on top of things when more than one piece of writing is in the works, others have a fixed idea and stick to it throughout. I tend to be one of these last people: I have planned roughly what I wish to write, even if it doesn’t turn out that way, and seek a title which reflects something of the content. For books, however, a title isn’t always hard and fast; a publisher may well suggest a different idea according to market trends.

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Blank Pages, Titles, Writing And Grammar

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 16, 2014 in Personal |

I read recently on Twitter an entry by a female novelist about how she begins writing, how she overcomes the fear of a blank page. She says that, rather than planning how to start, she simply sits down and writes whatever comes into her mind for the first ten minutes. This removes the fearsome blank page which, more often than not, baffles many would-be writers unaccustomed to simply planning, ordering their thoughts, thinking up the first lines away from the writing desk, and those with writer’s block. I’ve never tried this method, and I’m not so sure that it would be one which works for me.

Rather, I enjoy planning. I make copious notes throughout the day – and the night – until a set idea for the start of a work comes to mind. This is what I then set down on paper. How it goes from there all depends on my mood: I often do not have a set idea about exactly where a story should go, but let the words lead me, let the ideas come as I write.

Viktoria Michaelis: Notebook

Photo Credit: Florian RathckeCreative Commons

This has its good and its bad points. It is possible to sit down and write a really good draft over several hours – or days – just as easily as to write yourself into a corner; surrounded by fresh words and with no way out.

Another method I saw recently, again on Twitter, was the opening paragraph method. The writer – or someone else – writes a series of opening paragraphs for a story or book with a lead in of suspense. The idea is that this opening will draw the writer further in to the story and, hopefully, a future reader. An opening paragraph might just be fifty words, but it introduces an idea, perhaps a character too, and some form of scenario. Whoever takes over the writing after that merely needs to expand upon the idea. This actually quite appeals to me, mainly because I have a whole mess of opening paragraphs amongst my notes as well as conclusions, bits and pieces which can be included anywhere and a wealth of wonderful words which I would love to be able to use some time.

Even so, the one method that I have found to work the best is still working with notes and ideas before coming to my desk, before I set pen to paper to really form the ideas into a product. I may well try a few of the other methods sometime, just to see if it brings anything but, for now, I’m happy with what I have and, a moment of joy, it’s working well enough with my new creation.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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The Image In The Mirror

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on July 15, 2014 in Absolute Hot! |

The trouble with selfies, aside from the fact that some are really not worth more than a sneer, a sigh or the need to retch, is that there are so many good, sexy, erotic, well created examples, it would be possible to publish a post with ten or so almost every single day, and not repeat a single one, or run out of examples. It remains one of the most intimate forms of photography available – aside from making your own sex-video, but that’s another thing entirely – and, with modern technology, one of the easiest ways for anyone to either express themselves, or show trust and (sexual) affection.

Viktoria Michaelis: Sexy Selfies

Photo Source Unknown: via imgsrc

Far more than that, for those interested in the social history side of things, in people rather than poses and the erotic, they can be seen as something of a fashion statement, especially when taken in a dressing room or when someone – whether partially clad or not – wishes to show off their own style.

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