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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.
Photo Credit: betta design – Creative 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.
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.
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.
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.
What’s in a name? When it comes to the Internet, everyone and their dog wants to have a domain name which matches either themselves, or what they do. Competition for the best names is high, if not bitterly fought, and there are plenty of court cases, court judgements, which show just how bitter a fight it can be, especially when it comes to brand names.
Outside the business world, in the real one where we live, there is also a form of bitter struggle going on: one where we all try to keep up with the latest technology in order not to be seen as so last year by our friends and work colleagues. Laptops, Tablets, Smart Phones, Software, you name it, we need to have the newest, the fastest, the most up to date imaginable, and that before everyone else.
Now let us combine the two and find us a company with an excellent name for their services, possibly thought up by a marketing company, which brings the appeal of modernity, advancement, speed and connectivity instantly to mind. For those who wish to be right up there and constantly available to everyone whenever they are needed, even in the bathroom:
Screenshot Source: Constant Contact
Or not. Sometimes a name can be a good indication of a service. Sometimes, as in this case, it can bite you in the butt.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Having hinted at the idea that hiding a natural part of a woman’s body seems to me to be a little strange – in my post from yesterday – I thought I might go one step further today and, perhaps, justify it. Perhaps not justify in that I propound a general freeing of all barriers, of all modesty, but more an idea of what reality is and why we shouldn’t be so cut up about what other people wear, what they show and how they act as a person. There are, naturally many aspects of a person’s character which we do not have to appreciate or accept – I could list homophobia, racism and many more here, but I’m sure you, as an intelligent reader, know exactly what I am referring to – but also many which are banished from normality by society and by a prim and proper attitude, in public, which do not match our true feelings or desires.
Photo Source: unknown, via Tumblr
The first thing is, of course, why should a woman be embarrassed, or made to feel embarrassed, by her body? Why should she be subjected to jeers, to catcalls and all the rest – we all know about the videos showing sexual harassment on the streets, and not just of women but also of those with a disability – when all that she has, her body in this case, although there is a good deal more, is natural and normal? Why is she forced to hide herself away from view but, at the same time, can see all the celebrities with their fashionable see-through clothing being lauded along the red carpet of fame?
And we’re back with another riveting post about the art of Selfies, those wonderful self-portraits which do not seem to know any fashion limits, and which are so sought after by the masses, by hackers and those with far too much time on their hands!
Photo Source: unknown, via Tumblr
Today I thought I would concentrate on those selfies which are not quite so revealing as many might hope, but which certainly excite the imagination. For me, a sexy selfie is one where the viewer cannot see absolutely everything, right down to the last pimple, but has something left to the imagination. I find them considerably more interesting, more erotic than a full frontal, nude, bare-it-all image. With my first image we see how some brave women manage to hide their bits and pieces, but still capture an interesting photograph, although there are other means to maintain modesty.
I’ve recently noticed what is for me a new trend on Twitter: people or companies who follow at random and expect a follow back, then, when they get it, promptly unfollow. The people tend to be those who offer certain services, such as a mass of new followers on Twitter, Facebook and so on, for a small fee. When I say small, I mean of course a fee which is far more than anyone needs to pay since followers should, in my opinion, be earned and not bought.
Screenshot Source: Twitter
Watching my own numbers, I have seen quite a few instances of this, I get a follower whose interests have absolutely no connection to mine. My follower tally goes up a notch. A few days later, whether I have followed that person or not, my follower tally goes down a notch again, the person has disappeared. Their own follower rate, however, remains high.
Now, this shown profile could possibly be such an example. Why should he want to follow me out of all the thousands of followers that he already has? We have no connection whatsoever, no similar interests, no friendship, no prior communication. It smacks to me, although I could be wrong, of bolstering through following and then unfollowing, something which, according to the rules on Twitter, shouldn’t be happening.
I haven’t followed – because there are no mutual interests – and I can almost guarantee, when I look back in a few days time, he won’t be following me either. Not because I haven’t followed back, but because that is the way he works. And what, I ask, is the point? Clearly he is selling his company, his services, but through a means which, for me, are unorthodox if not downright despicable.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
A great deal of hard work goes into producing a book, more than some people imagine, and just as much goes into marketing it in the hope of selling every single copy printed. One of the major ways in which books are publicized today is through the Internet, and that goes especially for independent and self-published books. Details of the book, a good presence on various Internet platforms and, probably most important for some, reviews. Not just any reviews, but critical, honest and prominent reviews in the press and on web blogs. For the Internet marketer, blogs are of major importance.
But what happens when the review is published and both author and publisher are happy with it? It can’t just sit there, on the blog, hoping for a few views, the review needs to be marketed too. And this is where I start having a few problems, not over the fact that the book has been reviewed, but over what happens next.
Photo Credit: Kristin Roach – Creative Commons
If the review appears on Amazon or Goodreads – and maybe many other platforms – there is a rating system. The reviewer can give a work one to five stars alongside their written appraisal. Here, in my opinion, the system fails writers. There are simply too many people who rate a book with five stars, the highest award, as if this one work has changed their lives. Does the reviewer seek prominence themselves? Are the following a trend, or are they simply not being honest?
Every time I see a five-star review I sigh and move on. There cannot be that many outstanding, life-changing books out there. What really gets me, though, is those reviews which claim that the reader couldn’t put the book down until they’d finished, or that they read it right the way through in just two hours. For the first, I pity the author. They have written something where someone cannot leave and come back to the words. They don’t stop to think about what they have read, but just plow on through to the end.
For the second claim, I feel almost as if this is an insult. The author has spent months working on their piece, and someone claims to have read all the way through like a whirlwind across Kansas. Did they get anything from the book? Did the words speak to them in any way?
I’d rather, for my short works, know that someone has enjoyed what I’ve written at length. That they have taken their time over what I have presented them. I don’t need a five-star review – fine, I do have them too, but still… – what I need is to know that the reader has enjoyed, reveled in my work, and not simply devoured it like a chicken leg covered in herbs and spices which will go cold if you don’t throw it in your face as quickly as possible.
Love & Kisses, Viki.
I think it must be because I do not look like an American that some people believe they can correct my use of my own Mother Tongue, especially when they have spent so much time learning the language in school. Today I was peacefully making a few notes ready for a future piece of writing, when I felt the hot breath of someone across my shoulder, something which I do not like at all. Someone was reading as I wrote, and that within what I would normally regard as my private sphere.
Worse still, he decided to correct my use of the English language with the words:
You have got that there wrong.
Yes, of course I make mistakes, we all do. And I have no objection to someone correcting me, when it is the right time for corrections. I was. however, just making a few private notes, jotting down ideas and complete sentences for use later.
I can understand what he meant, this young man whose first language is not English; there are some words you simply cannot use when writing in German which work in English perfectly. Take, for example, the word Mist. This is, in fact, the word I had written, and I used it in the sense of someone traveling through a misty landscape. In German, however, it has a completely different meaning, which is one of the reasons why you will never find a Rolls Royce Silver Mist on sale here. Mist is the German word for dung and, no matter what the weather may be like, I do not wish to have one of my characters driving through dung.
I guess, just because of my looks, the distinct Asian slant of my features, that many people cannot believe English is my first language, that I have been learning and writing it almost since birth. Let them believe what they will, but please, no more breathing over my shoulder when I am doing something private!
Love & Kisses, Viki.
Censorship is a strange thing, especially when it is political censorship. Take, as an example, the decision by the Chinese censor to remove all references to Vladimir Putin placing a warming blanket around the shoulders of Peng Liyuan, wife of the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, to protect her from the rain. Clearly, for the Chinese, this is just as bad as someone touching the Queen is for the English, it simply does not happen. And, since it simply does not happen, it is removed and simply did not happen. Well, sort of, as far as the Chinese are concerned, officially, it simply didn’t happen, but too many of them already know that it simply did happen, and that’s an end to it.
Screenshot Source: Twitter
What was, for me, far more amusing was the group photograph of major world leaders taken during this meeting of the minds.