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Welcome!

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

Welcome, traveler. Thank you for visiting. Now take a few minutes to browse, to enjoy and show that you were here with a comment! And, just to add a little extra interest:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Temptation Of Words by Viktoria Michaelis

The Temptation Of Words

by Viktoria Michaelis

Giveaway ends November 30, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Little Things Amuse Me

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 27, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Sometimes it is the really mundane which amuses, things which cannot be explained to anyone else, no matter how hard you try. Take the Tumblr log-in page as an example. When I call the page up on the Internet, my name and password appear in the right boxes ready for me, for about half a second. Unlike with every other (non https) web site, they disappear and I have to click on the box to highlight them. Fine, but what happens when I forget?

Mild Amusement

Screenshot Source: Tumblr

Yes, Tumblr, you are quite right, you do need to put something in here. Their 404 page is also amusing, telling visitors that the site they have sought no longer exists, unless they happen to be searching for the 404 page, in which case they are congratulated, having found it.

Other things amuse not just me.

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Selfies: Am I Hot Or What?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 26, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

It’s a question every single teenager, and probably many who are considerably older, will ask themselves at some time or another. Maybe not the exact wording, maybe not ‘hot’, but attractive, presentable, sexy, bootilicious, interesting and, of course, fat. Regardless of the word used, you can almost read the question in their eyes, and pleading, puppy-eyed look begging an answer. Are they brave enough to voice the question, or just hoping someone will come up with an answer of their own volition?

Photo Source: unknown, via imgsrc

If they don’t come out with the question, if they aren’t all that forthright, you can be sure they will try to convince someone that an answer should be given. And the best way to do the convincing? Why, send out a really hot selfie of course!

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Special Offer: Last Few Days!

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 25, 2014 in Publishing |

Just thought I would mention it in passing, for those who haven’t seen the ‘sticky’ post at the head of my blog, but November 30 is the final day. After Sunday you probably won’t have another chance and then, for all I know, you will be kicking yourselves for having let such an opportunity slip through your fingers.

There is an alternative, of course: there is always an alternative. You can go to the ‘sticky’ post at the head of my blog – that’s the main page for those who are wondering – and click-through the link. Or, if you happen to be reading this after November 30, and are one of those who didn’t get there in time, didn’t react quickly enough, didn’t seize the opportunity with both hands, you can click on the link in the right hand menu.

What’s it all about? Well, I thought you would have checked it out by now! Up until November 30 I’m giving away two free copies of my short story The Temptation of Words, which was published earlier this year. Is there a catch? Of course! You have to click on the link – and be a Goodreads member – before November 30!

Oh, and I’d really like someone who actually reviews what they read this time, and is prepared to tell me what they think of my work. So, what are you waiting for?

Finally, if it is after November 30 when you get to read this, all I can say is: you should come here, to my blog, more often. Now you’ll just have to click on the link in the right hand menu and buy a copy to make up for your tardiness.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Worse Than A Scrawl

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 24, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Someone wrote, many years ago, that you can tell the character of a person by their handwriting. Someone else decided that it was the state of their workplace, another person which animal they own, another…. you get the idea.

The thought about handwriting came to my mind the other day when someone, who was not reading over my shoulder and correcting my English for once, tried to take a look inside one of my many notebooks. I keep notebooks for a wide variety of things, but mainly to hold the ideas which come to me at all hours of the day and night which I can’t write down immediately: impressions of places; people’s actions; incidents along the way; quotations from books and elsewhere. I also have a handwritten diary, which I must admit to having neglected recently. Somethings are too intimate, too personal even for a private diary!

He commented that he’d never have thought, looking at me, that my handwriting could be such an illegible scrawl. Apparently I am seen by many – according to him – as being prim and proper, neat and orderly, a paragon of virtue and innocence. Obviously you can’t judge people by their appearance either, or at least he can’t. What he had expected, he claimed, was neat, legible, ordered handwriting from a real fountain pen in navy blue ink.

Handwriting

Photo Credit: AbizernCreative Commons

All I can say is, there is no way that I am going to wander about college, Bremen or anywhere else with a fountain pen in tow. Does anyone have an idea how much a good pen costs these days? I have a Waterman which I dearly love, which I have had for many years, and which stays in a safe place on my desk at home. With my Waterman, which is used for writing personal letters, I can write neatly, orderly and legibly. But that is because other people have to be able to read what I have read.

Apparently my handwriting should be all rounded and big, with little hearts instead of dots above each i. This is what is expected of a woman my age, and nothing else is right, or proper, or acceptable. I think I have burst someone’s bubble with my spidery scrawl. The thing is, I can read it, and I don’t need to hide my true character behind feathery writing to convince myself of who I am. I already know what kind of woman I am, and pretty-in-pink handwriting just does not do it for me.

The next thing I am likely to hear is that I ought to be coming to college in a kimono or wearing a typical schoolgirl sailor uniform. That would really hit the generalization nail on the head.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Review: The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir Who Got Trapped In An IKEA Wardrobe

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 23, 2014 in Articles and Reviews |

What is it about this work which reminds me of an IKEA store? It might have been the fanfare which accompanied its release, a novel written in spare moments by a former cleaner at the Brighton Pier on his mobile phone. Perhaps the very idea of someone trapped inside a wardrobe and then making his way around the world, not that I can see all that much excitement in the concept; it’s not as if someone trapped inside a wardrobe gets to see a great deal. Perhaps, and this strikes me as most probable, it was the title which first caught my attention. There seems to be a tendency, amongst some publishers, to go for longer titles, after years of just three words.

IKEA

Photo Credit: anitacanitaCreative Commons

Whatever it was, I regret it. I have never been a great fan of the guided tour of IKEA to find that one, small kitchen utensil. The stores strike me as being bland, contrived, lacking in any real humanity. There is not even an attempt to create individuality. With IKEA, you know that what you are buying has been produced in massive quantities and that everyone who shops in IKEA is likely to have one or more item that you also have. There is a certain shallowness about the stores, and that is what I found in this novel too. The wordplay, especially upon various names, was contrived and shallow; despite adequate descriptions, I couldn’t get into the characters at all, the seemed to be taken out of an ordinary box and only partially constructed.

The storyline could have pulled the whole together but, here too, I found it wanting in description and depth. What could have been a very humorous, touching investigation into the plight of those illegals caught on the border of one country and sent packing off to another they have never visited before, lacked the wit, the charm, the sarcasm needed.

Published by Vintage. ISBN: 978 0 09 959979 1.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Looking Back To The Old Home

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 22, 2014 in Personal |

Of course I still keep up with the news from back in the States, who wouldn’t? I am sure there are plenty of people who leave the country of their birth, the land they have called home for their entire lives, and still need to look back, to see what is going on, even stay in touch with the way things are, if not with the people who now belong to the past. No one can just drop everything and disappear to a new life without glancing back now and then, no matter what they may claim.

Snow Storms

Photo Credit: JMS2Creative Commons

My looking back, at the moment, brings strange thoughts with it. I keep on thinking about the weather back in the States, all the people who are snowed-in, who have been cut off from the outside world, and then I take a look here. We had the meters read this week, to see how much fuel we’ve used up, and the man who visited us simply sighed as he wrote down the numbers. Fuel consumption is down all over his area, he told us, because of the mild weather. No one really needs to heat that much when temperatures don’t even bothering slipping down into single figures.

So we will be saving on heating this winter – if you can call it a winter with all this mild air – as we do on the costs of air-conditioning during the summer. You want a cool breeze during the heat of the day? Open two windows, one on each side of the house, and sit in the middle. I must admit, though, I do not miss the snow. It was fun as a child, to play in, when we were still allowed to throw snowballs without being sued, but now? Now it seems to get in the way, perhaps my innocence has gone with it. No snow this year, perhaps, or, if at all, just a light scattering. That suits me just fine.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Art And Other Thoughts On Staying Here

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 21, 2014 in Personal |

Yesterday I wrote about the questions leveled at me, about the pointlessness of staying on in college, going back to the States, living a life of comfort. Today something which I have been giving a lot of thought to in recent weeks: staying here. Now, by staying here I do not mean the same as yesterday, staying in Germany. Rather, staying in this small town where I live at the moment.

There are several things which have struck me about living here, some of them good, some of them not so good. For many this is a small community town with a grand history; those that have any notion of the history are proud of it. The trouble is, most here don’t know anything about where they live and, even worse, are not interested in either finding out about it, or getting out and living in it. All have the televisions, their football on a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, a few friends for a beer and a chat, the children in the school, grandma and grandpa in a home and a dog to walk mornings and evenings.

Amongst the good things, the peace and quiet. The fact that I can travel into Bremen easily both for college and for a good night out. The ease of shopping and ease of access to other towns with good shopping facilities. The high standard of cultural events held in the town. And then there are the bad things, one of which really annoys me no end.

Wasteland

Photo Credit: HimbeerdoniCreative Commons

You need to have ease of shopping access in other towns simply because the supermarkets here have killed off much of the local trade. Hardly anyone is going to buy groceries from a real grocer when every single market – and there are four major ones in town – has a grocery section. The same goes for clothing and, sad to say, electronics. With the latter, they offer computers, televisions, radios and all the rest at good prices, but only as a short-lived offer. There is no background service, no real repair or selling knowledge. And the people buying look at the price, not the later costs. There isn’t a furniture store here. If I want to buy a mattress I need to travel to another town, or take a chance and order online.

The main bad point, for me at least, is the fact that this town is a cultural wasteland. There is a cinema, there are musical concerts, theater performances, art and photography shows, comedians, discussion groups, all manner of things every single day of the week. And yet it is, for me, a cultural wasteland.

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So, Why Are You Still Here?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 20, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

It’s a strange question to be asked, and yet someone thought it a good question, one that had to be asked, without knowing the background to my life or my interests: Why are you still here? Why didn’t you stay over there, in the United States, once the estate was settled and live your life there? Why travel all the way to Baltimore, have everything sorted out for you, and then take a plane right back to Germany and carry on with college and a life that you no longer need?

I believe some people have the wrong idea about what life is. Some, it appears, believe that I could have just dropped everything here in Germany, left things as they stand, that I do not need, or no longer need, all the hassle and stress of completing a series of college courses and ending up with a piece of paper at the end. Fair enough, this piece of paper, the title that it will bring with it, is probably of no use to me at all. Who needs me? Why shouldn’t I just go back and live a life of ease and luxury back in the States?

The answer is not quite so easy to frame as the question was to pose. It has a great deal to do with reality, with personality and with expectations. To be honest, I would have considerably less in the States than I have here in Germany. Here I have built up, over the last few years, a real life with a real relationship which means more to me than anything else. Here I have a purpose as well as friends. I never lived in Baltimore, I was born and bred in Wichita, where I have no connections any more. No contact to those I grew up with, attended school with, neighbors or whatever.

Studying

Photo Credit: betta designCreative Commons

Yes, but… the questioner might have continued …all the hard work you’ve got in front of you with learning and examinations, why bother? It’s not as if you need them any more.

Someone, I fear, has the wrong idea about a person, about me in particular. There is a common belief, it appears, that I have inherited vast sums of money and could live a life of luxury with no cares in the world. Even if this were so, why would I want to give up all that I have here and sink into a life which has no meaning for me? Why should I stop attending college, just dump all the learning – which I greatly enjoy – and live life from the couch, so to speak?

The inheritance, well, I’m not going to give out facts and figures. I could live, let me put it that way. But would it be living the life that I wish to live? Is starting all over again, in what is now, for me, a foreign country, the way that I should go just because a few pennies came into my hands? I would rather not have had the inheritance, small as it may be. I would rather have the person, the man, the support that my Dad always gave me. Money cannot replace it. And, above all, I have something that I wish to do: I want to study; I want this worthless piece of paper, this useless title at the end, not because it is a title, not because it will set me above someone else, but because I have worked to gain it.

I have already started from the beginning, more times than most people know. There is nothing exciting about giving up and starting again. There is a lot exciting about starting afresh, but not the running away part, I don’t need that, I don’t want it either. I am staying, I am continuing with my studies because I want to, because that is what makes me what I am, who I am. Is that so difficult to understand?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Selfies: Checking Out The Rear View

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 19, 2014 in Absolute Hot! |

Just the other day I commented here about the selective sexism surrounding men and women film stars and other celebrities. This is where men are generally photographed looking nonchalantly into the camera, hands in pockets, photographed from the front or, rarely depending on where the photographer has his or her position in the throng, the side. Female celebrities, on the other hand, are often asked to turn and look into the camera over their shoulders. This gives a perfect view of their butt which, possibly, is far more interesting to some than the front view with a smile, unless they happen to have a very low-cut top on. Some journalists in the media have commented on this form of sexism, but it is so prevalent no one has really taken it up, and most of the female celebrities seem to find it acceptable.

Check Out This Butt!

Photo Source: unknown, via Tumblr

I say ‘seem’ because it is part and parcel of their work. They have to present themselves; they have to be well dressed with the latest fashions; they have to look good from all angles. Most appear to accept their role in the world of stardom as a form of model, rather than pointing out that it should be their acting abilities which hit the headlines, and not the cut of their dress or the flow across their butt.

We, however, as ordinary mortals without the advantages and disadvantages of fame and the red carpet treatment, are fascinated with our own butts. Perhaps because we don’t get to see them directly, just in passing, or with the aid of a camera / smart phone. Not that we can tell how good it looks until the image is blown up in all its glory, or until someone leaks it on the Internet and we get one or two sensible responses amongst all the catcalls and vilification.

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Beer: Masculine And Feminine Marketing

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 18, 2014 in Internet |

I don’t know if it is the same for you but sometimes when I come across an article on the Internet, I begin to wonder where all the information contained comes from. Is it an original piece of research, where the writer has gone out and explored for themselves, or have they taken something already written and simply changed a few words? Plagiarism is nothing new, we have seen it across almost every single news medium as well as in the dissertations submitted by high-ranking politicians – something which caused several German politicians to lose their jobs not all that long ago. We see it in learned journals as much as in newspapers and magazines, in books and, undoubtedly, in more than a few pieces of homework sent in during High School.

I was caught up with this article on the Smithsonian Magazine site this evening. The idea of having reusable beer bottles seems to make sense, not just that they can be refilled, but that they could also be used for other things too. In this case, as building blocks for housing in poorer nations. We all know that when it comes to building, poorer folks are more likely to buy beer than bricks, it stands to reason. In fact the idea, even if my take on it is a little strange, is a very good one. In India (if I remember correctly) skylights have been made of water bottles to bring light into homes, where windows are few and electricity a rarity. So why not build a complete house out of bottles?

So, yes, it makes sense, but let me get down to the main area of my post: masculine and feminine marketing and, of course, plagiarism or rewriting.

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