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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!

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And There She Was, Gone.

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on December 19, 2014 in Personal |

I don’t know about hundreds, but maybe one or two have wondered where I’ve been for the last few days or so. Usually I’m fairly active on the Internet, with an almost guaranteed post here each day and visits to other social media sites at all hours of the day and night. Despite my keen hopes, this didn’t quite work out and I hadn’t prepared myself with advance posts as in the past. The thing is, I was gone. Not really gone, but in such a place that contact with the Internet world was either impossible or about one inch to the left of impossible. I have discovered that there really are places in Germany where no Internet is available, and a cell phone connection needs a very high hill, a good wind behind you and all the luck of the gods.

Photo Source: fred zillaCreative Commons

It doesn’t matter what the telecommunication companies tell you, they do not cover the whole country, and there are some places where the people, in their small villages and outposts of civilization,  simply do not want to be covered. They can talk with the neighbors, drink a beer in the evening, and go about their daily lives quite content without knowing what is happening in all corners of the world. And that, without any adequate warning, is exactly where I was.

Normally I don’t write about college, as I don’t mention my really private life too often, but this is perhaps different. This was a work experience venture set up partially by me and partially by the college, something I have been spared so far but which, despite all the problems it causes, I have to go through. All the other people here have made it unscathed – well, in most cases – and it is obligatory, so it had to work out once.

However, now I need to unpack, do my laundry and a few other ‘coming home’ type of things. Tomorrow the Ungone Girl will report in full.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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How Other People See Me?

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on December 3, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Here in the West it is a sign of affluence, of power, of having made it in society: a good cigar. Taken after dinner with a sniffer of brandy, sitting in your leather armchair in the club lounge, there is nothing more relaxing after a hard day’s work delegation.

Why, then, did someone suggest today that I am a cigar kind of woman? Is there something special about smoking a cigar when it comes to women, or are we also elevated to the highest ranks as a result?

Cigar

Photo Source: hyfatherCreative Commons

No, it appears that this was meant as a snide remark, based on the fact that I am doing things, that I have a life, that I am relatively successful and don’t just sit around waiting for success to drop in my lap. I am the sort of person, apparently, who will end up relaxing with a brandy and cigar in that London club and let the world work for me.

No, I don’t smoke – I can’t stand the smell for one thing – but if I did, well, I’d be the calm, considered, thoughtful, literary pipe-smoking type. Just so you know.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Stop And Frisk: An Assumption Of Guilt

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on December 2, 2014 in News & Opinion |

I was asked a strange question today, one which was designed to reflect on me as an American and on American society as a whole. The fact that it backfired with me makes no difference, I am not the same as others, it saddened me that such a question should be posed at all.

If you were a white police officer on patrol and saw a black man and a white man walking down the street, which one would you stop and frisk?

In our present American form of society, the question is most certainly relevant: many laws are seen as being racist or applied in a racist manner. Those of color are more likely to be stopped on the street than a white person although, in some areas, it also depends upon the manner of dress. A white rocker in full biker outfit is more likely to be stopped than a black businessman in a suit.

Stop & Frisk

Photo Source: dfirecopCreative Commons

What saddened me about the question more than anything is the fact that there is nothing there about a crime. A police officer is on patrol, not investigating a crime. Two men are walking down the street, not trying to avoid the police, not acting in a suspicious manner. There is an assumption of guilt inherent in this scenario, even without the knowledge of a crime, and this is the impression many foreigners have of the United States: guilty first. Similar to shoot first, ask questions later. American society has now hit the point where it is assumed that someone is guilty from their appearance. Guilty of what, makes no difference, just guilty.

This is the way many Europeans see the United States. It’s no longer the small town sheriff exerting his power against someone, it’s the police as an organization, whether in a provincial backwater or a major city. If foreigners see the police force in such a manner, with a complete lack of trust simply because of their enforcing of laws which are clearly borderline if not against what we would wish to understand as Rights and Freedoms, why is it such a surprise that Americans themselves no longer trust those who are meant to Protect and Serve?

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Shock, Horror And The Art Of Clickbait

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on December 1, 2014 in Internet |

Have you ever seen something which really grabs your attention, either in real life or here in our virtual world, gone into or clicked through to see what it is all about and discovered that there is nothing there of interest? Or, worse still, that the attracting headline, title or offer bears absolutely no resemblance to what you find inside? You’re not alone, and it happens more than you imagine, by design.

In supermarkets there used to be – and probably still are for all I know – things called loss leaders. These were special offers, often at a ridiculously low price, of basic foodstuffs every single household needed. These days we call it Black Friday and the offers refer to things you really don’t need but they are cheap so, hey, let’s get in there! A loss leader was designed to bring the customer into the shop, and may well have been the forerunner of the idea behind IKEA’s store layout. A loss leader was never at the front of the store; the shopper had to walk past all the other offers, all the real prices, all the inflated prices and, perhaps, they’d be enticed to buy more than the super cheap sale item hidden in a back corner.

With so much competition in the Internet to gain attention, to capture interest and profit from a click-through, it should come as no surprise that something similar to a loss leader is on offer from many hard-pressed news sites, eager to tell you their story rather than having you go to the competition and read the same facts and fictions there. The problem is, how can you create a something similar to a loss leader when you’ve nothing to physically sell?

Read more…

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More Numbered Days

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 30, 2014 in Publishing |

Speaking of retirement, which I did a couple of days ago, the end is also approaching for Etsy. No, no need to panic, Etsy itself is not being retired from the Internet, it’s not going to vanish at the end of the year and only be stored on the WayBack Machine or in the memories of those of advancing Internet years. The end is approaching for me and Etsy, and that simply for business reasons.

Etsy

Screenshot Source: Etsy

I have no doubt that Etsy is a wonderful outlet for many, many people who use it, and some of the items on offer there are really out of this world as well as being unique and original. The platform, however, didn’t work for me. Plenty of people – well, five or six – came along and marked my books as a favorite, and there has been a steady if small trickle of visitors to the shop. That, however, is all. My own Internet store is doing far better than the Etsy, which hasn’t covered even the very minor charges they demand for including items.

So I am retiring Etsy from my selling portfolio during December, a minor cost saving but a big saving in time.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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My Quote Of The Year

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 29, 2014 in Immoral Conversations |

Sometimes you can find a little touch of honesty in even the longest, most staged interviews. The Guardian newspaper interviewed Mel B – the former Scary Spice in the Spice Girls – with a long rundown on her life from the earliest days, through the bad times and the good times up to today. In the end it’s nothing special, many, many women have been through the same, whether they have become stars or not, and it is clearly a promotional interview rather than a real personal interest one. What is amusing, though, is the one section many are bound to pull out of the interview – and it is not short – the fact that Mel B had a relationship with a woman – which, to be honest, is also one of those things linked to fashion for many stars, and nothing special – and where she is now.

I’ve pulled it out too, the quote of all quotes:

“Which is true,” she says. “Well, I did have a four-year relationship with a woman. But I’ve been very happily married for seven years to a penis. Ha ha! An amazing guy.”

Yes, Mel, we all know what you mean, but do you?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Internet Retirement: Your Days Are Numbered

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on November 28, 2014 in Internet |

Retirement is something many people simply do not look forward to: what will they do with all their free time? So much leisure all of a sudden, and no plans whatsoever. Either that, or they look forward to it more than anything else, have already made copious plans, and can’t wait to get out and about in the world and see what’s what. There are, however, other forms of retirement, the ones which are forced through in one way or another, no matter whether the retirement is desired or earned. Amazon is pushing one such ‘retirement’ this coming month: the Alexa Toolbar ‘What’s Hot’ feature will be retired during December.

For most people this is really a nothing piece of news. A small part of a single toolbar is going to disappear: who cares?

Alexa Toolbar for Firefox

Screenshot Source: Alexa

The ‘What’s Hot’ section of the Alexa Toolbar shows those web sites which have a large number of visitors and might be of interest to others: rising news stories, videos, shopping opportunities. It is regulated by the people who already have a the toolbar installed on their computer, and shows what other toolbar users are looking at. From this point of view, it is a useless addition to any browser; it is not representative; it is easily manipulated; the usual suspects – eBay, Amazon, Yahoo – are always there simply because of their high visit rate.

What about the rest of the toolbar? If the ‘What’s Hot’ feature disappears, is there anything left of interest? To be honest: no. The only reason I have had this toolbar on my browser is to show me what other people are looking at. Everything else, right down to the Alexa ranking, is available on other toolbars and, in many cases, in a far better manner.

So there will be a double retirement during December. Amazon / Alexa retire their ‘What’s Hot’ feature, and I retire them. No point in having an old toolbar which doesn’t fulfill any useful function. At least we won’t have to pay a pension.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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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.

Read more…

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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!

Read more…

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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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