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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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Biography: The Most Important Attributes

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 28, 2015 in Publishing |

I grabbed my usual copy of Philosophie Magazin from the kiosk while waiting for the bus and leafed through it with great expectations. The June / July issue is about food, and food, while not something I write about a great deal, is one of my interests. It is fair to say that I, along with many other Europeans, Americans and other First World citizens, consider the subject of food three, maybe even five, times a day if not more. We are confronted with images of food, with the smell of food, with food itself – in all its forms – everywhere we go, from the hotdog stand on a street corner to the display of rolls and muffins in our coffee shop of choice. Fascinating to read in this issue that there are nearly eight million vegetarians in Germany, and eight hundred thousand Vegans – which would suggest to me that a few more shops and supermarkets should offer food in this direction.

Amongst all the philosophical articles on food, our character according to what we eat, Marxism and the quantification of luck, there was a small thing which bothered me right at the start of this issue. The biographies of some of those featured. My illustration shows the page, and you might just about be able to read some of the text.

Philosophie Magazin 04/2015

Screenshot Source: Philosophie Magazin

Yanis Varoufakis is the Greek finance minister and taught at Cambridge. David Harvey is a geographer and philosopher. Nils Markwardt is a new editor at the magazine who studied the science of literature, as did Philipp Felsch, who also teaches in Berlin. Frédéric Gros is a professor in Paris teaching political theory. Have I missed anyone out? Sarah Wiener, the only woman in the list, who is fifty-one years old and was born in Vienna.

You can imagine what my first impression was: all the men listed have their qualifications in the first sentence of the biography, but whoever wrote these short introductions notes the age of the only woman listed first. I must admit, this threw me. I don’t know a great deal about five of these people – who doesn’t know Varoufakis at the moment? – but felt that the fact of Wiener’s age alongside the qualifications of the men was completely out-of-place. Why mention it at all?

I went further through the magazine and discovered that no other biography handles age in the same way. Tomi Ungerer is noted as being born in 1931. Juan Carlos Monedero as being fifty-two, but not in the opening sentence. Is Wiener’s age of such importance that it has to be noted before her qualifications?

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Summer Sun And Bellybuttons

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 25, 2015 in Absolute Hot! |

If the sun would just come on out for more than an hour at a time, and not be broken up in its visits by rain, we could almost claim that the summer is here. And with the summer we’d see the end of those enticing half-warm spring fashion statements, and the real ‘summertime’ attempts at glamor and ease.

Summer Sun and Bellybuttons

Photo Source: Unknown via Tumblr

And perhaps we’ll be lucky this year and have fashions which catch the eye from the front as much as from the back although, to be honest, I’m not sure I have too much time for fashions where the pocket lining is showing! All the rest, well. it’s a matter of taste.

Read more…

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The Selfie Stick: A Warning

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 23, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

Fine, they want to sell a new pizza to you, but still: amusing.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Getting On My Nerves

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 22, 2015 in Internet |

Sometimes I have the feeling that if you compliment someone – or something – too soon after a change, things go bad. I don’t mean that a relationship sours off or anything like that, but what you have complimented, what you considered good, an improvement or whatever, tends to be overshadowed by something else. So it is with my recent post on Flickr and Yahoo. There is no doubt in my mind – and in the minds of others who have used the new version – that the appearance, the usability, the overall feel of Flickr has changed for the better. And I really have no problem in Flickr telling me that there have been changes, even though I can see them.

Pop Up Window: Flickr

Screenshot Source: Flickr

What bothers me is the fact that Flickr is telling me about these changes each and every time I log in to my profile. It is telling me with a pop-up window which also tells me that I don’t need to worry, Flickr will remember the views that I select.

Well, excuse me, but: if Flickr will remember the selection, why can’t Flickr remember that I have already seen this pop-up window and clicked it away more times than I care to remember?

Aside from that: carry on, you’re doing fine.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Reasons Not To Send That DickPic #1

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 21, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

Sound of cell phone ringing.

Young woman: ‘Mom, could you get that? It’s probably just William saying he’s coming soon’

Don't Hit Send!

Photo Source: Garry KnightCreative Commons

Mom: ‘Well dear, it looks to me like William already came…’

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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It’s Not Just Old Age

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 19, 2015 in Personal |

I am reminded, in a timely post from an online friend here in Germany, of how easy it is to forget, to lose, to grow out of the habit of using a language. In my recent post on various problems in the local area, I constantly referred to a certain road structure as being a ring-road. I am reminded that a ring-road is one which takes drivers and their vehicles around a town or object so that it is avoided. What I should have been writing, and the word which not only makes sense but also conjures up a much better picture of what people have and what they want, is roundabout.

I wonder whether other people have experienced this too: you start using a different language every single day, almost without a break, and the old language, the one you have used for the bulk of your life, seems to fade into the background and, worse still, starts to vanish. I have caught myself trying to find a simple, common word many, many times. Constantly thinking of the German word, the word that I do not want to use because it is the wrong language, and unable to translate it into English.

Photo Source: din bcnCreative Commons

I hope that I am not the only one who experiences this! The strange thing is, as those who know me already appreciate, I concentrate all of my communication through the written word. It’s not as if I am trying to juggle different means of communication. I write as much in English as I do in German, and the two are separated by what I write. My use of German is more on the academic side – although we also write papers in English – and everything else is in English. So why am I starting to forget words?

Could it be that, since I communicate by other means, and since I tend to think more and more in German, that I am gradually changing from an English-language first person to a German-language first person? Not that this would necessarily be a bad thing, but I do wonder whether it is common or not, this forgetfulness, this searching for a basic word everyone else knows… Any ideas?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Changes For The Better

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 14, 2015 in Internet |

Back in March, as some may well remember, I complained that I felt Yahoo could be killing Flickr with their advertising policy, with slow connections and so on. I am one of those who enjoys going through Flickr, seeking out photographs, even using Creative Commons images from Flickr on this site. Slow is what I do not need. Slowness caused by trying to connect to another server to show me ‘relevant’ advertising is something I really do not need.

Well, it looks as if things have taken a turn for the better. A major update on Flickr has not only sped up the process, but also brought a whole new look – which is relative in the Internet – to several major pages. Photographs are now laid out in a much better, clearer manner and, something which impresses me no end when it comes to commercial sites, the advertising which had slowed down pages such as Explore has vanished.

Photo Source: Kazuhisa OtsuboCreative Commons

It is fair to say, in my opinion at least, that Flickr has once again become a pleasure to use. Oh, but there is one small point: having a pop-up window tell me about the changes to Flickr every single time I log in is going over board. I’ve seen, I’ve appreciated, technology is far enough advanced that you should know this, Yahoo. Otherwise, carry on, all is good!

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Education For The Road

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 12, 2015 in News & Opinion |

There is a petition laid out in several shops and petrol stations around town following a fatal accident on the roadway near here. A young motorcycle rider was killed when his bike crashed into a car at a crossing near the edge of town about a fortnight ago, and a few local people are now demanding that the town, and the municipal authority, build a ring road to replace the four-way crossing. This would be the first ring road in our town, but not the first in the area. Many have been built over the last few years to replace junctions, to ease the flow of traffic, to allow new bridges over railway lines to be accessed. Whether this one is necessary is a matter which could be debated.

It is likely that the young man was speeding. The town sign is a few meters away from the junction and he would have been able to speed up and enjoy the freedom of the road. At least, until the next village. Many, and it may also be the case here, speed up before leaving town, seeing the last few hundred meters as a race track rather than a part of town, rather than an area where they should still hold their speed down. Many car drivers see matters in exactly the same light, accelerating as early as possible, overlooking dangers which might still be lurking before the town boundary is reached.

Photo Source: jbdodaneCreative Commons

The new ring road, if it ever gets the go-ahead, should prevent this. It should force drivers not only to maintain a reasonable speed, but also to look and see what is coming from their left, which dangers are still present. The sad fact is, and two other accidents this week prove this, ring roads are not ideally suited for accident prevention.

Over the weekend another motorcycle rider entered a ring road in Nienburg – one which has been there for many years – cut across the edge of the central reservation, across an island separating the entering and exiting roads, and lost control on the far side of the exit. Speed and possibly alcohol were at play here.

At the second ring road – a new one completed last year – two cars crashed one into another as one entered the ring road area and the second drove through it.

What the petitioners do not appear to appreciate is that it is not necessarily the road which is at fault. The junction here is clear on all sides, there is nothing to block the view of anyone driving. What is missing is education: how to drive on a road properly; how to look for danger; when it is allowed and safe to speed up. Perhaps, rather than spending more money on road developments in an area which really doesn’t need any drastic change, it would be better to improve the education, the most basic education, of those on the road.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Mother’s Day: Abusing The Memory

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 10, 2015 in Internet |

Today, in some countries around the world, is a day when we say Thank You to those who, selflessly, cared for us during those first years of our lives. We thank our mothers for the time they sacrificed for us, for the effort in bringing us into the world and the love and care shown once we were here.

Sadly there are those who cannot even let this heartfelt sign of thanks, of gratitude, pass by without heaping abuse, without denigrating a memory, without trying to inflict hurt.

Salman Rushdie, Mother's Day, Twitter Abuse

Screenshot Source: Twitter / Salman Rushdie

Most of the commentators to Salman Rushdie’s simple, loving post on Twitter have understood, just a few cannot. Sadly it is these few who gain more attention. A shame too that they do not respect the memory of their own mother, of their own childhood, and seek only to hurt, to insult, to belittle.

Despite all the abuse, I am sure that Salman Rushdie will never let these small-minded people get the better of him, and that the memory of his mother will remain, as it should be, above politics, above religion and well above the uneducated, pathetic abuse some feel is their only way through the world.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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The Great British Erection

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on May 5, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

Everyone is out there giving their best effort to get their message across, to get their candidate, their party elected. It happens everywhere around the world – sometimes with just one candidate rather than a choice – and for some countries it can begin years before a cross needs to be put on paper or a button on some mysterious – trustworthy? – voting box is pushed. As the world watches amazed at how much money is wasted spent on such campaigns, some people are getting more than a little thrill out of the whole thing.

Election Campaign Fail

Screenshot Source: Twitter / TPM

Now, I know some people claim that the more conservative a person is, the more upright and staunchly religious, the more likely they are to have dirty little (sexual) secrets, but putting the word out on the streets with an advertising campaign is, perhaps, going one stage too far.

Either that, or it is such a rare event that they wanted everyone to know what they’ll be up to, rather like lions on their day… or people who imagine themselves to be the king of the jungle.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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