Monday, December 31, 2007

For New Year's Eve

As I don't drink alcohol, this is for me:


Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures


Invisible champagne with invisible alcohol!

Makes me very curious

... because the new "Batman" will be out next year.


Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures


Will the 'new' Joker be better than Jack Nicholson?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean revisited

What could have happened to Davy Jones in the end?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


This, obviously.

Weekend update

And now - for the last time this year, mind you - the weekend update!


DVD to watch: "Shadow Creature" (b-movie, I've no idea what it will be like)


Book(s) to read: "Relic" by Preston and Child and (ta-da!) the first volume of "Ai No Kusabi" (finally I've found a version I can read)


Game to play: "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland" (just don't ask, I simply felt like digital skating...)


This is the last weekend of the year and still I'm working on Eva Herman's book. Will this torture never end!

Close to home

This it is, the currently last post with pictures from my hometown. Those have been taken in the vicinity of my own flat.



This actually was taken from my window. I've no idea what kind of lab is situated right in face of my living-room window, but I know it has to be some kind of lab - as the people entering and leaving wear lab-coats - and they some days keep strange working hours. It's in the northern part of the Siemens Technology Park which, unlike the southern part where I worked for over a year, is not open to the public.



A very nice view of the cafeteria of the Siemens Technology Park. It's situated in the southern part - facing the northern part, as it is - and open to the public. The first floor is the cafeteria while the ground floor houses a shop, a bank and will soon also house some kind of bar/café.



This is the only thing which has remained from the original office building of the Siemens area. The old building - looking quite old fashioned - was removed quite some time ago (it would be right in front of the cafeteria you've seen in the last picture). But the middle area of the roof was quite nice-looking and so it has remained, as a reminder and remainder of the old building.



This picture (and the next) show the hugest building in the Technology Park which houses offices, server rooms and probably a lot more. I've never been inside and thus I've no idea what really is done inside there. The Siemens-logo shown on the picture is alight at night.



The huge office (and what not) building features in this picture as well, in addition it shows the lower end of the main street in that area, leading towards the rails separating the western and eastern part of my hometown. I walk that walkway a lot - as it's the shortest way to the centre of the town.



Finally the park. Where this small park is situated today, two huge rows of houses have been standing in the past. The area in the front - in this picture - has been a park for quite some time. I was still a little kid when the houses were torn down and never replaced with new houses. But the area in the back has had houses on it for quite some more time. A good friend of my during my childhood has lived there - and I've visited her quite a lot when we were both kids. But her family moved out before the houses were pulled down. Today, both areas are a park, quite useful for all people with dogs, for younger children and the many crows that have taken residence in the general area over the last couple of years.

That was my overview over my hometown for now. I guess I'll be doing some more photographs in spring, currently things aren't looking too good. Then I'll also do a post about the local palace build by an archbishop and other interesting places.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ultimate Sequel

A sequel to end all sequels:


Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures


After all, who could take care of all those birds?

Hotdog

funny dog picture, loldogs, hotdog, wtf, eated, beagle
moar cute puppy pictures


And a big one it obviously was.

Blog-Cleaning

If you take a look at my labels, you'll see that I threw out all the little labels (used once or twice) except for a few which I think will get used more in the future.


With this deed I've finished blog-cleaning for the moment. And, just in case you think "she doesn't read comments anyway" - I now get an e-mail whenever a new comment is posted, actually. Also something I managed to turn on - finally - a few days ago. Not that there's much to comment on at the moment, but then, I'm planning ahead.


And, yes, I know I still owe you a post about my hometown, the last one with pictures. You will get it, promised. And it'll still be this year.

The bean has grown

Quite some time ago I've written about the bean I was rising. Then it only had two leaves and a little bit of a stem above.



It still only has two leaves, but the stem has grown quite a bit. Normally it's wrestling with my drapes.


That bean is sure growing well, I wonder if it will bloom...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The well-known problem

Don't you know about this, too?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Some people are always tricky when it comes to presents...

Too late to get it for Christmas

... but that's one GPS-system I'd like to have.


daschund, loldogs n cute puppy pictures I Has a Hotdog!
moar cute puppy pictures


Well, maybe next year...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Actually

... there once was an anime series called "Sherlock Hound".


sherlock bones, loldogs n cute puppy pictures - I Has a Hotdog!
moar cute puppy pictures


Talk about obvious ideas...

If it were me

... in that costume ...


i hate everything, loldogs n cute puppy pictures - I Has a Hotdog!
moar cute puppy pictures


... I would hate everything, too!

Books on CD

I've written about books on CD before, when I got the first of that kind. Now I've gotten three more for Christmas and, although my computer doesn't play them, meaning I had to get my CD-player from the kitchen (don't ask...), I enjoy them very much.


They are real novels, all three from the same team of authors: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. As I've read all the novels before (two in English and one in German), they're not exactly new to me, but nevertheless they're good: "Relic" (by now the same name in Germany), "Reliquary" (named "Attic" in Germany, but I won't comment on that, after all, I'm not going to start bitching before the second of January) and "The Cabinet of Curiosities" (named "Formula" in Germany, see the remark about "Reliquary"). Those three happen to be my favourite novels of those authors (and one day I'm going to get "Relic" in English, too), so I enjoy the "book on CD" versions, although each of them lasts over six(!) hours.


By now I'm through with the first ("Relic") and have started on the second ("Reliquary"). They were done very professionally and read by an actor, so I know I will enjoy the rest of them, too.


When I first heard about the principle, I wasn't very thrilled about it, because curling up on my couch and reading a book is half the fun for me. But by now, after having listened to various books on CD, I find them quite interesting. For one thing, I can listen to a story while working on another one or do something completely different. And I can - unless my DVD drives don't want to read the CDs - take them with me on a trip or while I walk through town.


Especially given the quality of the TV program on Christmas, I'm really glad to have them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Cat

What else are good ears good for?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Have a good time!

Under the mistle toe

That's a nice start for my Christmas season, I guess.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Happy Christmas to all of you!

Reading Cards

Christmas has arrived and thus I have stopped bitching for this year. Instead I'll write about a couple of other topics I find interesting. Starting with card reading, something which I have done ever since I was around thirteen.


Actually I got my first deck of tarot cards on my thirteenth birthday. But I wasn't happy with the "Rider-Waite" deck. It is one of the most renown (and most sold, too, I should guess), but it just isn't my cup of tea. The "Ancient Tarot de Marseille", which I bought about a year later, worked better for me. And it was the start of my collection of tarot decks. Currently I've quite a lot of them - and got one more for Christmas, the "Magic Manga Tarot" which is both marvellously designed and intuitive.

Among my most favourite decks are "The Black Tarot" (quite erotic designs), the "Primavera Tarot" (with marvellous nouveau art designs), the "Dragon Tarot" (your guess) and the "Ansata Tarot" (which only contains the 22 Great Arcana). But my new deck has great chances of becoming one of the new favourites, for various reasons.


Tarot cards can be divided into two groups: the Great Arcana (the big secrets) and the Small Arcana (the little secrets).

The Great Arcana consists of 22 cards, numbered either from 0 to 21 or from 1 to 22, depending on the deck. Some decks start with the card "The Fool" as card no. 0, others start with "The Magician" as card no. 1 and have "The Fool" as card no. 22. Each of the cards of the Great Arcana has a distinct name, for example "The Fool", "The Magician", "Death", "Justice", "The High Priestess" and so on. The Great Arcana are easier to read and, as there are fewer cards in the Great Arcana, easier to learn to read. They all have a distinct meaning and it usually shows in the designs.

The Small Arcana consists of 56 cards (making it 78 cards overall in a deck) divided into four more groups: wands, cups, swords and pentacles. Each group consists of an ace, numbers 2 to 10, a page (or princess), a knight, a queen and a king. In addition, each of the four 'colours' of the Small Arcana symbolizes an element: wands are for fire, cups are for water, swords are for air and pentacles are for earth. If this rings any bells for you: the modern card deck with 52 cards, as it is, for example, used for poker, has been created out of the Small Arcana. The wands became clubs, the cups became hearts, the swords became spades and the pentacles diamonds. The page and the knight have been combined to form the jack. The design of the Small Arcana varies from deck to deck. Some decks, as the new one and almost all my favourite decks, have a design for the number-cards that contains the cards meaning in some form. Other decks (like the "Rider-Waite" or the "Ancient Tarot de Marseille") only put the right number of symbols on the card (for example five swords). The first kind of design is more helpful - and more artful, too, if I might add that. (And hey, this happens to be my blog, so I'll do whatever I want.)


Tarot cards are not the only type of cards for reading, though. There are some others, but, although I own a deck of Lenormand Cards and one of Klipper Cards, I'm not an expert when it comes to reading them. I've concentrated on the Tarot mostly - and I'm quite good at reading, too. These days I don't do it very often, but nevertheless, my success rate has been quite high when I was still doing it regularly.

Apart from the deck of cards chosen, the spread has a certain influence on the way of reading cards. There are various ways of doing that (and even a spread can be done differently). I usually use a spread called "The Dare" in the book I got it from for an overview of my current situation, as the spread shows the past, present and future, including fears and thoughts. It's not useful for answering a question, but if you want to know where you stand and what your situation in life is, it's the perfect spread. The "Celtic Cross" (which I have found in various versions in various books) on the other hand only works for question with a distinct answer like "yes" or "no". There are variations of the spread containing 7 or 11 cards. Seven cards is easier (and sometimes this spread is known as "The Oracle"), of course, but eleven cards is more precise. There are more spreads, a lot more, I should guess, but those are the two I usually work with.


I don't see card reading as a look into the future, though. For me, especially when I'm doing it for myself, it's a way to have a new look at a problem. The cards, with their meanings and their position in a spread, force me to think over a situation or problem, use new angles to find out why this card was lying there instead of somewhere else or (as the "Celtic Cross" doesn't use all cards of the Great Arcana while "The Dare" does) why the card is lying there at all.

And, of course, there are questions I would never answer (or even ask myself). It is unethical to read cards when it comes to things like "when am I going to die". The second book about card reading (and the one that helped me most with it) was very clear about that. Certain questions should not be answered, no matter why they are asked or by whom.


Even when you don't believe in fate, a card reading can open your eyes, not to destiny, but to new facets of a problem or your current situation.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Can I hire this guy

... for those people who get on my nerves?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


I'm sure he would find them tasty...

How many legs

... are in this picture?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


No idea! ROFL!

Weekend update

And here we go again, as promised: the weekly Weekend Update.


DVD to watch: nothing new, but maybe "A Nightmare before Christmas"

Book to read: "Quantum Gravity Book Two" (in German, though)

Game to play: currently undecided, but probably "The Sims 2" - still a lot to build in my own neighbourhood


I've still not decided about the book for Christmas, but currently I'm tending towards "Rest you merry", because I haven't read it for quite some time.


Anyway, as Christmas is coming up next week, I hope you all have a good weekend and not too much stress.

Detective work

I've already written about part of the games I'm going to mention in this post. But as I've currently returned to the 'crime games' in my little collection, I decided to bundle them up in one post (and make up for the many picture-posts of the last time).


One of my all-time favourites is "A Series of Unfortunate Events" - based on the novels with the same title. It's a logic game - all three featuring in this post actually are.



"Inspector Parker" works mostly like "A Series of Unfortunate Events". You have a couple of statements and with their help you have to work out where suspects, victims and so on where at the time of the crime to find out who did it and how (or, in the case of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" what happened to the orphans that time). It gets more and more difficult with time, of course (the first picture shows level two or three of the game, the second picture level 8 of the other).



"BeTrapped" on the other hand had a post to its own, a couple of months back. It's a bit like the Windows mine-sweeper. There's a couple of traps in each room and they have to be removed before Inspector Parker (featuring in this game as the main character while he's only the mentor in "Inspector Parker") can try to find out who's planting them and why. During the game, a couple of people are murdered and strange things happen. In the end, there's the usual gathering of the (surviving) suspects and the great solution - which the player has to provide. This way the game works on two levels: first, find the traps, and second, find the criminal. Even after the first or second time, the game still is fun to play, which is why I still play it every now and then, although it was the first.


I still like those games a lot, especially as they don't require a CD to run and can be played in windowed mode, allowing me to play them for a couple of minutes while working at other things.

A little plant gallery

I'm still playing "Plant Tycoon" regularly, so here's an update.

I've upgraded everything to the max and I'm making a lot more money than I need to keep everything going - wish it was that easy in the real world, I'd have a store by my own then. By now I've sorted out all plants worth less than 70$ and I've found five out of six magical plants (the goal of the game being to find all six). Here they are:



Actually, I'm not really in a hurry when it comes to finding the last plant. As the game runs nicely while I'm writing or doing other stuff, it didn't get too boring.


Growing digital plants is quite relaxing and doesn't get anything dirty in the real world, either.

Friday, December 21, 2007

On lazyness

Funny Pictures
moar funny pictures


... it's an art form.

No comment needed

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Post 400

Aw, come on, you knew this would happen! Yes, shortly before Christmas this blog has reached 400 posts in about 14 months.


I'm quite proud of myself, although admittedly a lot of the posts lately have mostly contained pictures from Icanhascheezburger. But so what? I've still not lost sight of my crusades and I like commenting on things through funny cats - or dogs, as there's also a funny site with dog-pictures. In addition it's a good training for the time between Christmas and new year.


What else to expect in the future? I'm going to go over my labels, eradicating those I don't use a lot (I've already gotten rid of "animée"). There's going to be more Lolcats and Loldogs. My crusades still aren't over and Miss Herman is going to get a very sound treatment once I've made it through the book. I'll also try to get the labels more logical (so people going after posts with certain labels will find a logical collection of posts). And I haven't forgotten about my last "Bruchsal" post. The pictures are going to be up before New Year, promise. I'm also going to try and be more reliable when it comes to my Weekend Updates.


400 posts - this really isn't a fad, that much is for sure.

Snow!

It's the 21st of December and we have snow:



I wasn't all that happy this morning, though, because I was going do drive to a mega-market today and imagining the roads being treacherous. I was wrong, luckily.

Outside my hometown, it turned out, the streets were all nice and free of snow and dry. Perfect driving through forests with snow-dusted trees. Well, there's fog - and it's still not lifting -, but apart from that everything was quite nice.


So I've got a few more snow-impressions I did this morning from my window.




Unfortunately, it's probably not going to hold until Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I always knew they had one

... so this wasn't much of a surprise:


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Now I only have to find it, don't I?

Let me tell you a story

funny pictures
moar funny pictures


But I won't tell you what happened afterwards...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is it the way you're born

... or the way you act that counts?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


A serious question...

One for the gamers

I think only people who play computer games understand this one immediately:


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

For the rest: in ego-shooters you quite often respawn after getting shot. This might happen if the program still has a few bugs.


Hey, and where's my big, dog-scaring gun?

Update on Crusade "Size 0"

Before the year ends - and I stop bitching until the 2nd of January next year - I will give you an update on my crusades and other interesting topics. So be careful: Bitching ahead!


About my first crusade - "Size 0".

Still, whenever I look at the glossy magazines in passing, there's a thin model on the cover.


And I wonder why. Various models have actually died during the last year, because they had to be too thin to get work. More and more girls (and boys by now) get bulimic or anorexic - and some of them will do real damage to their bodies or even die. And the actresses of Hollywood slowly start to resemble zombies - even when they're not working for a horror movie. Scratch that, I've seen zombies with more decomposing meat on their bones than some of those actresses and nearly all of those models.

It seems as if someone has taken that stupid proverb about a woman never being "too rich or too thin" to the extreme. Unfortunately it has been someone who's got the power to actually enforce that female role model.


The distance between "what a woman looks like" and "what a woman should look like" (as dictated by the fashion magazines and designers) is getting bigger and bigger. While, in all so-called 'first world' countries, women and men are getting heavier (not healthy, too, I know), the magazines and designers in the same countries are designing 'fashion' (if something next to nobody outside the 'business' can wear, can be considered fashion) that will never, in a million, zillion years fit those people.


Girls physically 'age' faster than in the past. When I was a teenager, I started looking like a woman around the age of 14 or 15. When my mother was a teenager, she started looking like a woman around the age of 15 or 16. Today girls start to look like women around the age of 12. Mentally, of course, those girls aren't grown women, but they look the part and are easily mistaken for adults. And, like all kids that age, they want to be seen as adults and use that.

But while girls are physically growing up a lot faster than before, fashion designers make it 'chic' to look like a pre-pubescent girl, even if you happen to be 29 already. The woman in fashion isn't a woman with all the curves and shapes that meant once. It's an androgynous creature, a little girl playing an adult, a being that could, with different clothes, easily pass for a teenage boy.


This seems to be what men want - or at least what the fashion industry thinks men want: a little girl. I won't say men today are paedophiles, because that would be wrong, but what they seem to want isn't a grown up, self-assured partner. What they want is a little girl that will look up at them and find everything they do and say awesome.

Of course, that's not what all men want. But, at least to a certain degree, it's an ideal a lot of men seem to be able to live with.


Fashion and beauty ideals were always dangerous. Women would even take poison to get that 'in' look (while paleness and wasting-away were 'in'). But the trend fashion has today, is far more dangerous, because more people subscribe to being 'trendy' than in the past.

Update on Crusade "Killerspiele"

And on to the second crusade - "Killerspiele".


Not much has moved in this one - at least, as far as the politicians are concerned. The psychiatrist have tried to get in, also claiming it was doing dreadful things to children, but they are even less believable.


On the other hand, the contents of games and the way Germany reacts to them, are still an important topic.

The fourth part of "Call of Duty" has been discussed by quite some people online, mainly because it's not set in the 'safe' environment of the past (e.g. World War I or II). Especially looking at the reality out there, some of the content of the game is questionable, yes. And I'm personally torn between 'everyone considered an adult should be allowed to play whatever he/she wants' and 'some stuff should not be openly available, even to adults'. In the case of "Call of Duty" I don't really face that dilemma. It's not my cup of tea - the whole game series isn't -, but I don't find it really questionable. The underlying tendencies of the story are understandable, if you realize where it was produced. And, as I say, I don't find playing a soldier that thrilling, anyway (well, I liked "Commandos", but that is mostly strategy and little actual action).

In my favourite forum, some people are really angry about cut versions of games that are done for Germany only. As I have played some of the games and not really missed anything, I can play the devils advocate on this easily enough. I don't like censorship any more than them, but I'm old enough to understand that certain things aren't necessary in a game - and sometimes also questionable when it comes to morale and ethics. To me, cutting a game (mostly violent graphics) to publish it in Germany, isn't exactly a case of censorship. And also, cutting a game to get a lower classification so it can also be sold to younger people, isn't exactly censorship. That's marketing, mostly.

And, as today you can easily buy those games uncut from other countries via internet, I don't really see the problem in it. If I really, really, really want a game uncut, with all the gruesome details, I buy an uncut version somewhere else. As an adult, I'm not forbidden to do it and I have the means.


Sometimes, when I play a game that's been forbidden after I bought it - the most extreme case was "Dark Forces", the first Star Wars ego-shooter, which was forbidden mere days after I bought it -, I wonder about the reason. I also know that it depends a lot on the political and social climate whether a certain game gets through or not.

Even with the "Killerspiele"-discussion going on and on and on, the whole issue is treated a lot more liberal these days. Contents of games (or movies) are judged less strictly than ten or twenty years ago - and I seriously hope for this trend to catch on and not reverse itself because of some politicians.


And as much as I treasure the Freedom of Speech (including the contents of various media), I won't go so far as to scream "we're going back to the Third Reich" just because some games don't get through in Germany without being cut.

About Miss Herman

... there's basically nothing new. I have changed my approach on the book lately, treating it like one of those I had to read during my time at university. It makes it easier for me to get through the chapters without throwing the whole book out of the window. (That wouldn't work anyway, I'm living on the ground floor, it's about one and a half meters of drop to the ground).


Still, the things she says in the book make me question her sanity and intelligence. A lot of it is quite traditional stuff. Women are born to have children and not to have a career - as if one would necessarily mean you can't have the other. Women are not build for the working world, that's for men only. Other stuff like that, which you hear a lot from conservatives of every country.

And, of course, coming from a woman who put her career before her child for most of that child's life (her own daughter is 13 or so by now), it doesn't really sound very convincing. Some of those things I really can't understand, like having the child crying on the phone because she can't take it to bed herself (as the news magazine she was anchor of is on screen at eight p.m. every evening). First of all I should say that someone else wasn't doing his or her job, as she surely had a babysitter or husband/partner who dealt with the child while she was away. So what was that person doing wrong as to not instil enough faith in the child to be able to take it to bed? And if that happened often, then why the hell did she go on working, if it worried her that much? It was one of those wrong choices we all make during our lives - and we all have to live with the consequences.


What comes out when you read the book, is mostly a woman whining about what she did wrong in her own life. But instead of simply writing a book on the essence of "I was totally set on career, but I wasn't happy with it" - which would be honest -, she wrote a book on the essence of "because I wasn't happy with having a career, no other woman should be allowed to have one". In every chapter - in almost every sentence -, she is talking about what 'we' (all the woman in this world, including you, if you happen to be one) are doing wrong. What 'we' feel. What 'we' secretly dream of. What 'we' would immediately exchange our job for.

And that sets me on edge more than everything else. Had she written about what 'I' ('I' meaning she in this and the following cases) am doing wrong, what 'I' feel, what 'I' secretly dream of, what 'I' would immediately exchange my job for, it would have been honest and understandable. But she took her life - which was never average for a woman, the average woman in Germany doesn't work as a news anchor and talk-show moderator and making a lot of money - and decided that everything she did wrong was done wrong by every woman in the world. She was privileged from the beginning and able to afford to coordinate being a mother and a career woman in Germany at the same time. That isn't easy. Most women working in Germany are not doing it for the career, they are doing it for the money, so their family can live off it. Especially at the moment, when you can't say how long you'll be employed and often have to accept payment that's below what everyone would need to make ends meet, they usually don't even have a choice. But they do have women without those problems writing books about how dreadful working mothers are. Thank you very much, Miss Herman.


I've still not given up the book, but finishing it might take some time. Currently I'm thinking about writing a little essay about the contents when I'm finished reading. But, as that will be in German, I'm going to translate the essence into English as well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Alien Invasion

... or just a case of hungry cats.


Glow in the dark cats
moar funny pictures


Could use one late at night. I used to stumble over the cat we had once.

Teachers should see this

So much for the old "my dog ate my homework" excuse, eh?


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


But would "my cat ate my homework" be believed more easily?

My LEGO self

I blame it all on E.


I just had to try it out and that's what became of me ... although admittedly that two-bladed lightsaber was quite tempting, too.


I'm waiting for the LEGO Indiana Jones Computer Game, by the way.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Yin-Yang

I've never seen a cuter version of the sign:


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Really.

Grim Grimms

The fact that the second volume of "Ludwig Revolution" is out (finally!) has once more made me realize how grim the traditional fairy tales are.


The Grimm brothers (well, the oldest two of four, actually) were not gathering the fairy tales and legends for children. At that time, a lot of adults were interested in traditional German folklore and read such stories. Gathering the fairy tales wasn't as strenuous as it's often pictured these days, either. Mostly the brothers - who were working as librarians - got the stories by letter. Friends and acquaintances would gather the stories in their local area and write them down, then they would sent a copy of those stories to the brothers who, in turn, would put it in their collection. Later on their younger brother Ludwig (after whom, as I learned from the epilogue of volume two, the prince in the manga is named) would draw some pictures to go with the text.


Today a certain number of those tales - like Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood or Sleeping Beauty - are very well known, although rarely in their original form. To make them more suitable for children, quite a lot of the gruesome details (like the end of the evil stepmother in Snow White who is forced to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she dies) were simply cut out. As were some other details (like Rapunzel being pregnant...). The 'true' fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers actually go quite well with the movie "Brothers Grimm" which came out a couple of years ago. (I actually like it.)


  • Snow White is almost killed various times: by the hunter first, then by her own stepmother.
  • Sleeping Beauty herself is cursed to die on her 16th birthday, only the involvement of the last good fairy prevents that, turning death into a deep sleep. The princes trying to get through the thorn bushes fare less well: they die slowly in there.
  • Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are eaten alive and, today a definite no-go, the wolf is cut open while still alive, too.


The list goes on and on and on, believe me - I was lucky as an older child and could read the very good reprints of the original stories. But during the time the fairy tales were told this way, the idea of strict punishment for the sins the evil characters had committed was quite normal.


Even when watching the sweet and children-friendly Disney version of various fairy tales, one should never forget that they are old stories and all old stories are - as Terry Pratchett once wrote - sooner or later about blood.

My Christmas Books

Christmas is approaching and it's time for me to decide which book(s) to read this year throughout the holiday season.


I do have very few favourites for this time of the year - and might manage to read them all:


  • "Rest you merry" by Charlotte McLeod (first of the "Balaclava"-series)
  • "A Christmas Guest" by Anne Perry
  • "Hogfather" by Terry Pratchett


"Rest you merry" and "A Christmas Guest" have two things in common: they're crime stories and not too long. "Rest you merry" has about 225 pages (German paperback) and "A Christmas Guest" has about 160 (English paperback). "Hogfather" is quite a bit thicker (445 pages, English paperback), but Pratchett's novels are a quick read for me. I might also consider "The Greene Murder Case" by S.S. van Dine, but the book is - despite not being as long as "Hogfather" quite a long read. The language of the 315 pages (German paperback) is difficult, it has footnotes, too. I've nothing against footnotes (I didn't go to university for nothing, after all), but all of them gathered at the end of the book and usually 'fake' themselves (pointing to other novels by the same author) is a bit too much. "Dracula" actually is an easier read (and might be a good idea ... it has been some time). Or maybe I'll read a completely different book ... who knows.


Christmas is approaching and I'm starting to plan everything. And I will put in place a new "No Bitching between Christmas and New Year"-resolution.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Back from the grave

Yes, some people are hard to get rid of.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


And I'm one of them!

Weekend update

This week I remembered my update.


DVD to watch: nothing special, probably some of this and some of that - the "Detektiv Conan" movie again, maybe.

Book to read: Eric T. Hansen "Deutschland-Quiz"; a funny book by a Hawaiian professor about the most important German questions.

Game to play: Probably "The Sims 2" - still most of my neighbourhood to design.


Apart from that I'm going to enjoy the quiet that comes with the closing in of Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

That's how I felt yesterday

I should have slept more than a meagre six hours, but I couldn't. Hence I felt like this:


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Can someone hand me a blanket and point me at a comfy couch?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Look, a gargoyle!

Reminds me of Goliath and his friends...


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Only they had a dog...

Dark Side of the Force

This is the picture for a "Star Wars" fan like me:


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


May the Force be with you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Toner Warning

I wish I would get my toner warning like this:


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Instead it's just a little pop-up window ... sigh.

A Nightmare before Christmas

Every person does have some holiday traditions, I think. For me, "A Nightmare before Christmas" is a Christmas holiday tradition.


It's been on TV early this year, but nevertheless, it was shown. Well, even that wouldn't be a problem for me any longer, as I own the movie on DVD. But it's a difference between watching the movie on DVD and watching it on TV. TV is more of a 'this is for real' feeling for me.


What I like most about the movie is the story, closely followed by the looks.

As the movie is a couple of years old already, I'll summarize the story for you. Jack Skellington is the master of Halloween, the Pumpkin King. But he's bored with always designing new ways of scaring humans. Once, just once, he wants something different. Then, while walking in a forest close to his home - Halloween Town -, he finds himself in the world of another mystic figure: Santa Claus. Everything there is strange and new for him, because in his world it's always Halloween. And he wants to be in the middle of this holiday, just once. With the help of others he even manages to kidnap Santa Claus and take his place (although skeleton reindeer pull his sleight and the presents are a little ... odd). It backfires of course and he just comes back early enough to save Santa from the clutches of one very evil being in his world. Luckily, Santa can put everything right and Jack realizes that he doesn't have to walk through his world alone ... that someone was always waiting for him.

As far as the looks are concerned ... well, if you've never seen one of Tim Burton's stop-motion movies, I'll try to give you a short description: Whether it's in "A Nightmare before Christmas" or the younger movie "The Corpse Bride", the characters always look a little like sketches, but are done very artfully. Jack, for example, is very tall and thin (fitting for a skeleton) and wearing a strange kind of tuxedo with pinstripes and a collar that always reminds me a bit of a feather boa with a lot of the feathers pulled out. (Or Count Dracula's favourite cape, quite frayed from using it so often.) Sally, who's secretly in love with him, is a living rag doll, sewn together and animated by a mad scientist living in Halloween Town. She looks quite normal, save for the stitches running everywhere. Every character is unique, from the main characters right down to those only appearing once, but then, perfection seems to be a main trait of Mr. Burton.


"A Nightmare before Christmas" is one of my Christmas traditions and I love it.

Successful Sim-Date

Although I've not written a lot about it lately - apart from moaning about the huge amount of work for my own neighbourhood -, I'm also playing "The Sims 2" normally (not only building houses) every now and then.


To the left of this paragraph is Stella Blake, my newest sim and still in college. Oh, and the guy she is kissing is named Nils. The Picture I cut this out from was taken during their second date, which was just as successful as the first had been - even more. In fact, at the end of the Date Stella and Nils got engaged (which is as far as you can get during college).

It's a good deal different from what I expected when I created her. Stella dreams of being a game designer one day and she lives in a dorm with a guy she also finds quite hot, Ralf. But while Ralf has indeed become a good friend, Nils, who never stopped calling her on the phone at least once a day, is now going to be the sim of her life. Well, at least that's how it looks at the moment. Stella still has one year of college ahead of her and will not have many troubles with learning, because her abilities are already well developed.

Two dates were all that was needed - and I've never managed a really successful date before, but this time it was surprisingly easy. And, as Nils is very family-oriented while Stella likes to gather knowledge, they'd be a good couple. It's not strange for sims if the father stays at home and takes care of the babies, anyway. So Stella can work and, with a little bit of luck, reach her life goal of becoming a game designer, while Nils can stay at home, once they have a child, and take care of the family. Once the child is old enough to go to school, he can return to work as well, if he wants to. They might even have several children, but I'll have to wait and see to find out. Currently children are out of the question anyway, making children isn't possible for a college student (unlike in real life).

I now plan for Stella to finish college, then I will let them have a nice vacation together ... who knows what might happen there … and then I'll see what I can do when it comes to family.


Sims are strange people sometimes, but then, so a real people...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Preparations

As I've decided to go through with my 'no bitching between Christmas and new year' resolution this year as well, I'm currently preparing myself - and hoping both for good ideas (and I'll surely copy the games from last year again) and not too many bad things to happen. Last year, Saddam Hussein was executed during that time and I had to wait until posting about it. Bad thing.


Between December 24th (Christmas Eve is when Christmas starts in Germany) and January 1st I will not rave or rant about anything, I'll just write nice things. Well, it's going to be easier this year because I've already done it over the year, as I decided during the last 'no bitching' resolution. And I'm sure the new site with funny animal pictures I've found (and used already) will help as well.


But I can't promise January 2nd will be nice as well. There might be quite some bitching posts coming around then...

"Das Eva-Prinzip" - first thoughts

Currently I'm fighting my way through "Das Eva-Prinzip", so I can really comment on what was written. Up till now I've mainly commented on what I've heard about the book. It's not going well...


I've gotten myself the paperback, because there's no way in hell I'm paying more than necessary for this book. It's only got about 250 pages - an afternoon's read, normally -, but I've been working on it, bit by bit, for over a week now and I'm hardly past the prologue. I really wish I were a masochist, right now.

That's not mainly because of the style - which would be okay, nothing great, but not bad either -, it's because of the content.

I wasn't even through with the first page of the prologue and already angry about the book - not a good thing.


What angered me most, is the way this woman (or rather women, as she didn't write the book completely on her own) sketches up her ideal of female behaviour and expects everyone else to secretly nod their heads and agree with her. In her world, I fear, there's no lesbians, there's no unmarried women above a certain age, there's no women unable to conceive and there's no men who'd leave their family (whether out of their own will or by dying). Looking around me and seeing all those things - and more -, I wonder which cloud she's currently inhabiting. Or what kind of drug she took to reach this non-existent world. Must be damn good stuff.


Judging from the description of every woman in the world she gives in her book, I'm not a woman at all. Unfortunately I seem to lack the right equipment for a man, so what am I? Well, look to the title of this blog, you're not an average woman. Thanks.

Miss Herman denies there's women who can't bear children. She also denies, more or less, there's women who are happy without a man (either all alone or with another woman). In her eyes, all the women in Germany who like to work and are proud of having a good job just lie to themselves. They really don't want to do that, she claims, they just aren't brave enough to admit that they just want to marry and have children.

I've nothing against women who see this as their ideal way of life. If they choose it out of their free will, it's perfectly okay with me.

I've got a lot against people who see this as every woman's ideal way of life and would like to enforce it.


Those are just my first thoughts about the book, but I will continue to fight my way through the pages. And I'll continue to write about it.

Late Weekend Update

I just realized on Sunday evening that I didn't do a weekend update this week. But then, there wasn't much to update, anyway.


DVD to watch: I've watched "Hot Fuzz" again this weekend - and the recordings of some sketches of a local comedy duo.

Book to read: I'm still fighting with "Das Eva-Prinzip", but I'll finish it and write a couple of posts about it.

Game to play: A handful of games I've gotten from my parents who found a DVD with freeware games in their new TV magazine.


So, sorry I forgot about the update before, but then, there wasn't much to update anyway.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Truer words were never written

... even though the grammar isn't completely right.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

And that doesn't just go for cats!

Friday, December 07, 2007

102 Percent?!

Is it just me or is something not working here?


style="border:0px solid="">

Lets101 Quizzes - online fun quiz


On the whole I’m happy though. Could be worse.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

And another one ... curse Kate

Lets101 Quizzes - blog quizzes

One for Kate

This one reminded me of Kate's blog.


funny pictures
moar funny pictures


Hoist the colours!

It's really scary

Yes, this really is a post with something else than a picture in it. Sorry for the last couple of days, but I didn't have the time to write long posts - and no real topics either. This post is about the movie I watched this weekend (and named already in my Weekend Update): "The Nun".


I don't really expect a lot from low-price movies I've never heard about before. If they aren't very good, I'm not angry, because I haven't paid much for them. And if they are good, I've made a good deal. "The Nun" definitely was a good deal.

The movie was produced in Spain - where a lot of the action also takes place. It's divided into two stories: what happened to a couple of girls in a religious school in Spain about 20 years ago and what becomes of them in the present. Most of the movie centers around a young woman, Eva, who is the daughter of one of the girls. Eva's mother also is the first to be killed by the Nun - a vengeful spirit of a nun murdered by the girls.

The nun herself was not an innocent victim, either. She was a sadistic woman who should not have worked with teenagers at all. But, of course, that doesn't justify drowning her and then hiding her body in a pond.

20 years later the former school is converted into a wellness hotel and the pond is dried up - freeing, as it were, the vengeful spirit kept imprisoned by the supposed 'holiness' of the water. The Nun is bound to this element, she can only strike where there's a certain amount of water - but then she's impossible to destroy and extremely powerful. In the end, there's even a surprise, but I won't tell you about it. (About all of the elements of my summary can also be found on the back of the DVD package, so I'm not spoiling anything this way, either.)


What fascinates me most about this movie, is how the Nun herself is show. The actress playing her spent hours in the water, being pulled through a pool in full habit (without shoes and socks, as she didn't wear those when she was murdered and her body was disposed of). This way the movements of the vengeful spirit (which only the murderesses and Eva can see) are always special. She doesn't walk out of the revolving door of a hotel early in the movie - she floats out of it.

Then there's the colour scheme, a lot of dark blues, hinting deep water. And there's Eva - who has got more to do with the Nun than she knows herself. Eva seems so fragile, blonde, slender, young. A woman, one thinks, almost broken by seeing her mother die.

Also well done - and only slightly out of the ordinary ("The Abominable Dr. Phibes" has a similar approach with the ten Plagues of Egypt) - are the ways the murderesses die. Each of them was named for a Catholic saint - and they all die like the saint they've been named after. This doesn't seem too constructed, as names like Mary or Sarah are quite common and not usually associated with saints. And - in accordance with the countries the girls come from - the names don't seem too unusual. The Catholic Church knows a lot of saints, both male and female. It's not a surprise to find six girls going to a Catholic school and having the names of six female martyrs.

Especially towards the end, when Eva and a few others try to trap the nun in a bathroom (the bathroom she was murdered in, actually) and you see two young woman diving and floating through the water - Eva's long hair flowing around her not too unlike a veil itself -, the movie also has a great look and suspense.


The idea of a vengeful spirit coming through the water is scaring all by itself, because humans can't live without water - but having the story executed that well, makes it even worse. A scary movie and a good one, too.