Sunday, February 25, 2007

Something about Simon

This post - while touching the subject of "Killerspiele" lightly - is none of my rants. It's a post about one of my favourite hobbies: computer games. In this case about an adventure - or rather a series of adventures: "Simon the Sorcerer".

The first "Simon the Sorcerer"-adventure was one of the first adventures I played. I got the English version and it was extremely funny - very much like the books by Terry Pratchett I discovered a few years later.

Hero - if this he could be called - of the game was an 11-year-old boy named Simon who, after touching a magical book hidden in the attic of his home, found himself in a strange fantasy world. The interesting thing about Simon was that he was an obnoxious, foul-mouthed little brat. By the looks of it, this hasn't changed over the years.

The adventure itself was both funny and challenging and I loved it - especially after I got the English "Talkie"-version (as this, you see, was in a time when games did not have voice-overs by default).

There were a few scenes I was especially fond of - like the "spying mirror" (answering to the old fairy-tale question about "who's the fairest of them all" "well, it ain't you, that much is for sure"). Or the scene with the four wizards trying to act like normal country lads ("Oi bain't be seeing any wizards"). The answer one needed to give in order to get them to help actually was "When I move my mouse-pointer over you, it says 'wizards'.".

The story ended with Simon returning to our world - after defeating the evil sorcerer Sordid, as he was supposed to. On the road from the beginning to this end lay a lot of interesting and logical puzzles and a lot of strange people like the Swampling with his swamp stew, a two-headed ogre always arguing with himself, a were-frog druid and two rather stupid demons.

A few years later the second game came out. This was during a time when most games were produced in two versions: one on floppy disk and one on CD, because not everyone had a CD-drive then (today hardly anyone has a CD-drive, because DVD is the average). First I owned the floppy disc version of the game, later on I bought a bundle of "Simon the Sorcerer 1" and "Simon the Sorcerer 2" on CD. The second game was just as funny as the first one, even though things had changed in that fantasy world (in which Simon this time arrived with a dimension-travelling wardrobe [which he still owns in part 4]). The nice little village had grown into a large city, Calypso (the good wizard Simon was supposed to save in the first game) had opened a magical shop and the Swampling (who tortured Simon with his swamp-stew in the first game) had become the owner of a renown chain of fast food restaurants (resembling surely not by accident a certain chain of fast food restaurants with the trademark golden arcs).

Calypso had sent the wardrobe to fetch Simon, because his (Calypso's, that is) granddaughter had disappeared - probably kidnapped by Sordid. Someone (a wizard in training named "Runt") had brought Sordid back - but into a mechanical body, as Sordid was originally shoved into the lava by Simon in the first game. Now Sordid wanted both revenge and Simon's body.

Just like the first game which had a lot of jokes about fairy tales and fantasy stories, the second one featured strangely deformed, but recognizable characters (like Goldilocks who is a burglar and hunted by Papa Bear who's head of the police). The subtitle of the second game alone - The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe - was an allusion to "The Chronicles of Narnia", even though all three things (the dimension-travelling wardrobe, the wizard Calypso and the pet-lion of his granddaughter Alix) turn up in the game.

In the end Simon rescued Alix, but got caught by Sordid and Runt. Sordid returned into his body and Simon ended up in the mechanical body Sordid had inhabited.

The third part of "Simon the Sorcerer" is something fans rather tend to stay silent about. It was all in 3D (which was the rage then), but horrible. While Adventuresoft (the company behind part 1 and 2) showed with the Sci-Fi adventure "Floyd" that they were able to produce a good 3D point-and-click adventure, "Simon the Sorcerer 3D" - not produced by Adventuresoft - was abysmal. Apart from the simple fact that first-person perspective and an adventure only rarely fit together well (even though I've got fond memories of the adventure "Normality" which was completely from first-person perspective and felt a lot like an ego-shooter - even though there wasn't a weapon around), the game was bug-ridden and simply not up to the first two parts. Simon was brought back into his body and (as I've never finished the game due to the bugs, I'm checking an old magazine full of walkthroughs here) fought Sordid (who, it seems, had discovered modern technology by then) again. It's quite probable that character from the first two parts turned up there again (especially the Swampling has too much of a fan-base to be neglected).

Now, finally, a new part has been produced. "Simon the Sorcerer 4" does still have 3D - but three-dimensional characters in adventures instead of the old 2D bitmaps are standard these days. Luckily they have returned to the old ways as far as the controls are concerned. Simon may still be in 3D, but he's controlled with mouse-clicks, just as the hero (if such the by now about 16 years old boy can be called) of an adventure should be.

I've just bought the game this Saturday - and it came out on Friday -, but what I've seen (not much, admittedly, currently I'm trying to outsmart a bridge-troll, but I spent most of the evening working on a new version of one of my websites) is good. I've already met Little Red Riding Hood who turns out to be a feminist brat with a skate board and - after I'd solved the puzzle - black base-cap instead of the red one.

There seems to be a second version of Simon around (and could this be a new trick Sordid is trying out?) who is everything the 'real' Simon isn’t: polite, friendly, helpful, reliable ... or - in the words of Alix who seems to have had a relationship with him - boring.

I just can't wait to learn more about the story of this new part of one of my favourite adventures (as the other are more or less dead, it seems). I'll return to saving the world in "Oblivion" later on.

Friday, February 23, 2007

"Killerspiele" Update (The "I really wish the TV-stations would finally get something right" Edition)

Yes, it's still the same old story with the TV-stations.

Whenever they produce something about computer games these days, they work with the good old description "Killerspiele" and usually get about 40% and more of the actual content (and I don't mean things like the different point of views of psychologists about such games) dead wrong.

This Thursday I watched "Panorama", a usually quite good TV-magazine about political and social issues. They had - after the law, that should have forbidden "Killerspiele" for good, died a lonely dead - a short documentary about those games. This time they did not start off with "CounterStrike", but instead with "Call of Duty" which is set in World War II. Actually players only play on the side of the Allied Forces in this game, so you actually fight against the Nazis in the whole game, but "Panorama" seemingly didn't get it ... they pointed out that people play on the other side as well. (And even if it would be different, the point still is that it won't be the absolutely immortal Nazis against the helpless Allied Forces, both sides would be about as likely to win.) Then they went on showing scenes from "Grand Theft Auto San Andreas", which actually is a very bloodthirsty game with a lot of violence - but therefore it's strictly for adults -, to show how violent some 'ego-shooters' are (neglecting to mention the fact that by definition a game in which you can see your own character while playing isn't an ego-shooter - because in an ego-shooter you see the world from your characters perspective).

They are probably - as someone who started playing computer games before the graphics became something you could remotely call 'realistic' (you should see "Dark Forces" and "Heretic", the first ego-shooters I played, from a modern point of view, they look absolutely ugly and unrealistic), I can't judge that from an objective point of view - right about those games looking very bloodthirsty and violent to someone who has never played them before and is just watching. A lot of things in real life look a lot worse that they are. The way some people can bent their body looks quite painful to me, but to them it's not painful at all, from what I've heard.

In short: While some basic information was correct, most of it - especially those parts people really are interested in - are basically wrong. That is what I can't stand about the way journalists write about computer games these days: They don't do it right and they don't even try.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Killerspiele" Update (The "There could well be a new party around" Edition)

During one of my posts in the MangaSzene-forum, I mentioned I wanted to create a new political party in order to work against the current politics.

The law I wanted to fight against, is by now clinically dead (it didn't pass the Bundestag, which would have been necessary to become a real law). But the whole "Killerspiele"-issue is not the only issue that is of interest to the normal people the politicians ignore. The "Deutsche Gamer Partei" could become a new strong party - "Die Grünen" already did it, after all. Maybe this new party could become a real force, since I've got a few ideas about it.

First of all, I want to put it down in our charter that no member of this party is allowed to take money from lobbyist groups. Whoever gets caught doing so, will immediately be kicked out of the party. The members of the "DGP" are supposed to serve all people in Germany - not just those who happen to have enough money to pay them.

This brings us to the second point. The "DGP" will have a website on the internet - it's high time the parties in Germany put more emphasize on the new media. On this website we'll have forum where everyone can post - this way the people in Germany can tell us, the party, what they really worry about and want to get done. After going through the threads, we will decide what the people want - and this will be what we'll fight for in the parliament. Of course, we can't do it the right way for everyone, but we'll at least try to find out what most people want.

The third point will be that the "DGP" will not allow itself to be 'used' in a coalition. We are, of course, ready to build up a coalition with other parties, but we will not be forced to agree to issues we know the people don't want solved this way (see the second point, right above). We'd rather always be opposition instead of - like the FDP has done in the past - become a little 'addition' to a major party that uses our votes in parliament to get what it wants.

This rather short statement of the new party might sound strange to you, but the fact alone that so many people react favourable to my short remark about creating a new party, was just as strange to me. Nevertheless I have to admit I have the mouth for it - and probably the mind, too. There's other people I've met over the internet who also would make formidable members of the party, especially in the Bundestag.

The way I see it, the modern media makes it more possible for all people in Germany to vote - or at least let the politicians know what they really think about - and the political parties should use this possibilities. What better to do?

There will be people writing very dumb stuff, of course, there will be people making fun of the whole forum on purpose, but even that is part of the process of democracy. Currently there's only very few places where people can make fun of the political parties: comedians are allowed to, mainly. There's a few satirical pictures and of course there's the more or less political correct jokes.

What is the problem with "political correctness"?

Even though in Germany the whole issue of "political correctness" is not as prominent as it seems to be in the States (from what you hear in the media or from people you know who were there), the phantom of "political correctness" nevertheless rears it's head here as well.

Basically, as a member of a group always discriminated in the past (the women), I like the idea of laws or at least guidelines protecting my right not to be discriminated against. But if you take a deeper look at the whole issue of "political correctness", you realize it's not the great thing it is supposed to be.

It's nice to tell people not to judge someone by his looks, gender or the colour of his or her skin. But what does that basically mean? It means people don't get it themselves that all those things do not define a person. So what should we be doing? We should, if you ask me, teach our children that those things don't matter. We should make sure we get to know someone first before we judge him or her. The problem in those sentences is the little word "should", because as long as not everyone is doing it, we'll always have discrimination. No amount of "political correctness" will change the human mind, it will only change the way they talk, hiding what is really on the people's mind.

And there's times when the pure idea of "political correctness" doesn't even help. Of course, we Germans tend not to speak bad about Israel, as there's the whole World War II issue - and a lot of people probably think we should keep very quiet in foreign politics -, but the really bad point is, we can't speak bad about Israel because of "political correctness". What the Israelis - or at least the government in Israel - does to the Palestinians, is bad, no matter who says it. They were there first. The war going on there is - if seen with the eyes of someone who's not from that area - absolutely pointless. I know, to them - all of them, actually - it's the Promised Land, but to me - and most people not currently fighting for it - it's just a great stretch of desert not able to sustain half the people living there. I could understand two parties fighting for, say, Bavaria. It's a nice place, there's a lot of fertile land, good climate and you can make tons of money with tourism. Yes, I really could understand people fighting about who has the right to live in Bavaria, but fighting for Israel or Palestine?

Finally "political correctness" makes it very difficult to say the truth sometimes. Just because in the past people went around saying that most foreigners were criminals, today people hush you when you say that one certain foreigner is a criminal. While the first statement about all foreigners (or most) being criminals surely is wrong, the second statement quite often might be right. There's foreigners committing crimes in Germany - and a lot of Germans doing it, too, of course.

I don't really think "political correctness" will help the world to change, because the seemingly happening changes are not from within. People don't stop saying something against certain minorities, because they believe it's wrong, they just stop because it is not "political correct". And what exactly is "political correct"?

The word itself suggests two things. There is something "correct" and it has something to do with "politics". So that would suggest that there are things in politics which are not correct at all. Such things might be discriminating remarks against women, foreigners or other groups in a country that are considered "minorities", even though that does not necessarily mean they're really a small part of society.

But "political correctness" has grown into a monster which watches us very carefully and tries to attack us every time we say something that could be seen as a discrimination of minorities - even if it's objectively correct.

So maybe the real problem by now is no longer the discrimination (although it's still a problem), but the corset we've created for society by obeying the rules of "political correctness".

Monday, February 19, 2007

Something New...

I've been working with "CoolPage", a program for creating websites, for quite some time (I've redone "Night-Shade" at least twice with it). But now I've found something better.

As I'm learning to be a webmaster, I've installed the "Dreamweaver" today. I also started working with it and it's great. Unlike "CoolPage" I immediately get the website, I don't have to export it first. I can also see the coding (html is a programming language and as a such has a code) and the design ("Dreamweaver" is some kind of 'what you see is what you get'-editor) simultaneously, which helps me to learn more about html, while at the very same time making the design of the page easier to do.

The most useful thing about immediately getting the website is that you can test it out completely, including the links, not just the looks. In addition "CoolPage" could not incorporate flash-animation into a website, "Dreamweaver" has no problem whatsoever with it. That's useful for me, because a) I've downloaded a lot of flash-games over the last couple of month and always wanted a real menu to call them up (I've build it this afternoon within about one hour and a half; including one homepage per flash-game) and b) I want to learn how to program flash-animation when I'm through with learning to be a webmaster.

I will have to put a lot of hours into learning how to do everything with this new program, that much is for sure, but I know it will be worth it - and I'll put off working out my second website ("Geschichtenschmiede") until I've mostly mastered the program. It'll look much better for it (and I might go over "Night-Shade" again as well) and I will feel much better about it, too.

Friday, February 16, 2007

"Killerspiele" Update (The "I can't believe what some people say" Edition)

Yes, here's yet another update about "Killerspiele". This one, surprisingly enough, was not sparked off by the politicians themselves - even though I do have a few words I'd like to say to Mr. Beckstein ... and he won't like them. This one comes from going through the MangaSzene-forum this afternoon.

There are two discussions about the topic going on in this forum, one in the "news"- and one in the "off topic"-section. The posts which I read and had to write about here were in the "news"-section. I can remember - from a thread I created myself in the old forum - that the person writing these posts is a member of a political party (the CDU even, if I remember it correctly). And I find it only normal for him to defend his party's view on the topic. That's not the problem I have with his posts. No, the problem is his arguments. One of them, especially.

Answering to my own post, he asked whether the discussion would be the same if it were about bullfights instead of "Killerspiele". This, to me, made him look absolutely mad. I think everyone has the right to stand on the topic of "Killerspiele" the way he or she wants. But comparing a computer program, in which the beings suffering are made up of bits and bytes and do neither lead a 'real' life nor feel pain, with a real-life 'game', which I find absolutely disgusting and which makes real animals suffer just for the people's amusement, is more than just a little bit odd.

The man - and I'm quite sure the user is male - is very aggressive which I can understand to a certain degree, as he's the only one defending the party. It's a good thing someone is doing it, because that gives the whole discussion balance, but the way he does it, he's not - from my point of view - doing his party a favour. Most of his arguments basically are from the deepest instincts (the kind of argument you use when you've realized there's nothing qualified you can say). I know those kinds of arguments and I have used them myself, in scientific essays I had to write during my time at university, in forums and even in my blog sometimes.

But he's overdoing it because, I suspect, he doesn't have a lot of real arguments to sustain himself. He doesn't seem very acquainted with computer games and so - unlike the rest of the users posting, who are fans - he's not well equipped with positive or negative examples.

Where he overdoes it a lot is whenever it comes to how horrible the games are. Yes, there is blood in those games and usually it's red. But the games he refers to are for grown-ups (people above the age of 18 are considered grown-up in Germany, as I've already written before) and I highly doubt they'll be easily impressed with red blood. Some of them are quite disgusting and there's a couple of them I surely don't want to play. But I doubt they have such a big influence on the people playing them. That's where the whole "Killerspiele"-issue starts for the parties.

All the bad things, they say, come from the brutal computer games. The same thing, a couple of years ago, was said about videos (that was a long time ago, before the DVD was even created). To most logical thinking people who go through the world with their eyes wide open, the suggestion alone that there's but one reason for the way society has started to decline is ridiculous.

The others who are arguing in that thread mostly claim it's because kids often grow up with nothing but TV, DVD and computer games as examples for their behaviour. That's the real problem, if you ask me. It's called socialisation and it's supposed to take place why a child is still young and easy to impress. That's when the parents should make sure the child learns about what is right and what is wrong in the society (as that differs from society to society). Of course, there's still no guaranty that there will be no people running amok, but maybe our society would be off a little bit better if more parents did that ... or if we finally got workers for the kindergarten who are actually trained to teach the kids right (unlike all other European countries, Germany does not have studied educationists working there).

There are countries around in which even more kids are sent to kindergarten early (in Germany most kids start at kindergarten at the age of 3, in France, for example, they can get in when they're 6 months old), but they don't have all those problems we have.

Another reason for the cold society in Germany might be our 'survival of the fittest' point of view when it comes to work and success. We are told that only the best will survive and that there's nothing really forbidden to achieve success (provided you don't get caught). Kids learn that, too, at school and practice it there. So we've got a lot more mobbing there than any other time in our history (for as long as we've had public schools).

Just because of computer games? I don't think so. Because there's so many unemployed people and kids are basically taught from their first day in school "you can either be the best, no matter through which means, or you can be a looser"? That sounds far more likely to me.

But back to the main topic and the way this user argues. He's always accusing the rest of us to be 'polemic' whenever it comes to the CDU and Mr. Beckstein - and sometimes we have been, we're not too blind to see this and I'm not too proud to admit it - and at the same time he uses even more polemic words when it comes to "Killerspiele" or other things.

Some of his arguments - a lot of them, actually - just don't really fit. Yes, the CDU traditionally has more voters in southern Germany (where I live as well), but that doesn't mean we're attacking the area as a such (and especially I would be attacking myself in that case...). So arguing that Munich is very modern just because there's a lot of nude - or at least top-less - sun-bathing people in the English Garden during the summer doesn't really work. There's a lot of sun in Munich in the summer, it's a very large city, there's a lot of students from all over Europe there and - finally - there's a lot of tourists coming to Munich. I highly doubt those sun-bathing people all vote for the CDU.

Surely people who have been in World War II do not find it amusing to see a game in which their grandchildren can 'play soldier' and rather realistically kill people with machine-guns or grenades. But I doubt those people will like the war movies any better - both brings up the same memories.

I can basically close this blog with the English translation of a motto I've read in another forum once, because here it seems to fit. But first I'd like to point out I like a good fight, provided the other one fighting it does it well. Now, here's the motto:

I don't go into intellectual fights with unarmed people.

"Oblivion" and "Killerspiele"

This isn't a regular "Killerspiele"-update - there's one right above this post. But I've been thinking about what that new law would mean for "Oblivion" which I currently play.

As I've already pointed out, "Oblivion" leaves a lot of freedom to the player. That doesn't just mean you can do a lot of different things in this world, it also means you can do a lot of evil things in this world.

There are four groups in "Oblivion", for one thing: Fighter's Guild, Magician's Guild, Thief's Guild (there's one of those in a lot of role-playing games, simply because fighter, mage and thief are the three basic character classes) and the Dark Brotherhood, which you could also call the Assassin's Guild (I'm translating the names of the groups from German here, they might be different in the English version of the game). None of them has a very high moral codex. You're usually not allowed to steal from or attack the other members (though that should be logical), but apart from that they mostly (the Magician's Guild seems to be a bit more caring about this) don't give a damn about whether or not you go around and steal from and kill other people. Especially the Dark Brotherhood (to which you can't belong without committing at least one murder) isn't a group for the 'good' guys.

Why I'm telling you this?

Well, the new law states that all games with "violence against humans or humanoid beings" will be forbidden - and most adversaries in "Oblivion" are human or humanoid (if you count goat-legged demons as humanoid). There's blood in the game and you can actually see the arrows sticking in your adversary - provided you really hit.

In addition to this the game does not punish you for killing innocents (provided, inside cities, you don't mind getting attacked by the guards who are always a lot stronger than you) and - if you want to be a member of the Dark Brotherhood - it even encourages it. You need to murder an innocent person for this (people who attack you don't count as innocent, but normal people living in the cities or outside them do count).

You're free to do as you want and a lot of people, including one of my ex-colleagues, like playing the bad guy even more than playing the good guy. I've got problems with being bad, even in a computer game, which probably shows my parents have taught me well when I was a kid.

So what the law actually wants, in regard to this game, is taking the freedom away. A game which allows (and in some ways even encourages) anti-social behaviour would be forbidden in the future, not because it forces people to be bad, but because it allows people to be bad.

In reality this freedom is known as 'free will' and has - if you're religious - been given to mankind by God himself, who obviously does not favour controlling His creation ... instead He'll judge us when He's ready.

It's strange to think that the political party with the "Christian" in their name does not want to give people the right to decide for themselves God gave us all.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've started a new blog!

In addition to this blog, I've started a new one. It's not going to be a 'real' blog, but I've somehow got it into my slightly dizzy head to do some sort of fake Barbie Diary.

It's not going to be filled with posts about why I hate Barbie (I hate some things she stands for, but not the doll as a such) or something like that. I will use my skills as a writer - as good or bad as they may be - and write a diary about my fictional 'Barbie' and her life as a role-model. I'm trying to make it funny ... but I'll probably not post there as much or as regularly as I do in my main blog, which is - and always will remain - this one.

Just in case you wonder about my slightly dizzy head: I'm sick at the moment and my body goes from sleepy to more or less alert and back every 30 minutes or so. Sometime during the transition from one state to the other I must have conceived this idea. Well, I've had even less inspiration for some stories who turned out to be quite good.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My 100th Post

This is it, the 100th post I've written for my blog. I've thought I should do something special for it ... after all, it means I've managed to write 99 posts before this one.

I've got no idea what's going to become of this during the next 100 posts. To be completely honest, I had no idea what would become of my blog when I started it - but I've written about that before, haven't I?

I just wrote down what I've always wanted to tell others about - and I felt a lot better once it was stored on my hard drive and I could publish it.

I know I'm bitching a lot - though I think it has gotten better -, but that's just my way to deal with things. From my point of view I see a lot that's going wrong around me. And instead of just cursing it in the privacy of my own head, I can type it all down and share it with the world - or at least possibly share it with the world...

So, what can you expect from the next 100 posts? More of my views, more of my bitching, more about my hobbies - and maybe even things I'm not imagining as being possible right now...

Looking back and groaning

Due to a new TV-station I get over cable (not that new, but newer than most others) I've been able to watch old TV-programs I was very interested in about 15 years ago. There's a lot of them, most prominently maybe "The A-Team", "Air Wolf" and "Knight Rider" (yes, I was an action-fan when I was a teenager). What I found out rather quickly after starting to watch those series is this: they suck.

This, of course, made me wonder what I saw in them. As I was a loner at school, I surely didn't watch them to be considered 'cool'. There's other series I watched because everybody did (like "Beverly Hills, 90210" or "Melrose Place"). But why did I watch those action series with talking cars (though I still think K.I.T.T. would be a good car for me), modern helicopters and modern day mercenaries always on the run?

I think part of it was the humour in there. Most comedy-programs were late-night (and I still was underage and in school then), so I had to find comedy wherever I could.

Sure, I've also always liked to watch adventurous stories (which is why I'm a fan of "Relic Hunter" for various reasons). I liked well-coordinated stunts.

What those series miss a lot (so do "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "Melrose Place", but for other reasons, maybe) is good stories. And that's what I'm usually after.

Was I too easy to please as a teenager?

I surely never pined after David Hasselhoff - or any other actor - while I was a teenage-girl. I liked the car, but I wouldn't have minded seeing someone else (maybe a woman) driving it. (After all, K.I.T.T. could park in alone, so what would have been the problem?)

I wasn't a fan of muscles either (and still can't stand them), but I liked watching B.A. of the A-Team.

And I've never been a fan of the military, but nevertheless I watched "Air Wolf".

So, was everything bad then? (Which probably would mean that the series today are much better?)

Surely not, there's a lot of trash produced today as well. And there's a lot of TV-series produced years or even decades ago which are a lot better. I like the first "Star Trek"-series much more, even the second one ("The Next Generation"), my interests started to decline after then. The same goes for other series I still like (both animated and real-life).

I guess it just was because I was young and a lot easier to impress then. Or the many developments in special effects have spoiled me by now. Whatever it was, today I look back on those series, remember how much I loved watching them ... and groan.

"Rugrats" vs. "All Grown Up"

While I was going through the forum at, I stumbled over a discussion about the worst cartoons from Nickelodeon, a TV-station for kids (even though I personally watch some programs on the German branch as regularly as I can, too). One of the cartoons mentioned there quite often was "All Grown Up", which is a spin-off from the cartoon-series "Rugrats".

"Rugrats" was aired first about ten years ago in Germany - when the last incarnation of Nickelodeon was on air here - and it surely was an unusual program, too. It centred around four babies (Tommy, Chucky and the twins Phil and Lil) and a three-year old (Angelica, Tommy's cousin). The four babies were the stars, going through adventures which quite often were a combination of their abilities (Tommy was masterful with his little toy screw driver) and their imagination. Angelica on the other hand was some sort of Nemesis for them, usually cheating on them to gain something (more cookies, more admiration or other stuff). The second season featured Dil, Tommy's younger brother, and Kimi, Chucky's adopted sister, and had Susie (the same age as Angelica and her friend, but much nicer) appear more regularly.

"Rugrats", though unusual in style, was an extremely successful TV-series, successful enough to even sprout of a movie a couple of years ago. This probably was the reason why Nickelodeon decided to create the spin-off "All Grown Up" in which Tommy and his gang are about 11, Susie and Angelica are about 14 and Dil is about 10. There are some connections between the two series. For example the "Java-Lava"-café which Chucky's father and the twin's mother opened in the second season of "Rugrats" still exists in the spin-off.

Unfortunately "All Grown Up" is regular in everything except style (which is based on the "Rugrats"-design and still not common). It's in many ways a run-off-the-mill junior high school series with the usual problems and stories. It could be exchanged with other Nick-programs easily, for example with "As told by Ginger" (which is even a bit more innovative) or some of the real-live series like "Unfabulous" or "Zoey 101".

As such series go, it's not bad, but compared to the predecessor "Rugrats", which really was innovative and interesting to watch, it's just not up to par. On the whole it would have been advisable for Nickelodeon to either put some more energy in the development of the series or not create a spin-off of such a highly-successful (because highly unusual) series.

The characters - which were already mostly developed in "Rugrats", except for Dil who was just a little infant then, even compared to the others - surely would have allowed for a better and more innovative series. They aren't that usual (even though I still wonder why Tommy has turned from the creative inventor he was as a baby into a wannabe producer), especially Dil, and they would have made an interesting group going through a more unusual adolescence. Just using the characters and coupling them with the usual junior high school stories doesn't do them justice.

Those probably are the reasons why most people seem to see "All Grown Up" as one of the worst cartoons. I can understand them and I mostly agree with them, but I see that it's not the series as a such that's so bad, it's the fact that Nickelodeon has taken the basics of a very unusual series and turned them into a mediocre one.

I'm done with Gespensterweb

I'm just fed up with the admins at Gespensterweb and I'm not going to visit this site ever again. Why, you ask? I'll tell you:

Last Tuesday (that was February 6th), I got an e-mail with a new password, and ever since then I wasn't able to log in under my nick there. (I guess I've already written about this, but I'll retell it to make a point.) In the chat - where I could still log in at that time - the admin just told me I had been sacked as an admin and mod. He also told me they hoped I would "continue to participate in the discussions on the site", which I would happily have done - had I ever gotten the chance to.

What first made me suspicious was that I got kicked out of the chat for good soon after my little (on my side private on his side public) talk with the admin. I've not been able to log into the chat ever since - and I know I wasn't listed as an admin before I got kicked, so it can't just have been to change my account in the chat.

What angers me most now isn't that I'm not an admin any longer. I've started working again - even though I'm home sick at the moment ... great timing - and I probably would have asked to leave this job this weekend anyway. So I'm perfectly alright with it and would just have continued to post as a regular user.

No, what angers me is the way they told me about it. I mean, I just get an e-mail with a new password, that can mean anything (they hacked my password, something has gone wrong at the site, it's just a security-measure because they're in trouble at the moment and so on). Both the technical admin and the owner of the site and the forum have my phone number. Both have an e-mail-address. They could have written about it in the same mail I got the new password in, they could have called me. RUPPU (that's the technical admin there) even has my ICQ-number. Instead I have to log into the chat (luckily RUPPU was there) to ask about my new password. There I don't get a private message via whispering (which just I and he could read), I just get told publicly "you're out". That's no great style - and especially doesn't show a lot of ability in working with other humans. Then I write them "I need a new password, so please tell me per e-mail, cause I can't log into the forum or the chat". I even ask them to tell me whether or not they've banned me for some reason. No answer to this mail, either. They just play dead.

So now Gespensterweb has died for me. It's over, I'm going to post in other forums from now on, I'm not even going to visit the site again. It's dead for me.

I doubt anybody there will ever read this - although I gave my blog address as my homepage, because my two websites link to it as well -, but I feel a bit better after writing this post. I'll continue posting on MangaSzene and I've started taking more of an interest in, where they have a very good forum, too.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A new "Killerspiele" update

Because of recent events (a law that's to be passed by the Bundestag sometimes in the future), I have reawakened the "Killerspiele" crusade. Wallow in fear, all ye politicians and journalists...

The Bavarian CSU - one of the two conservative parties in Germany (actually, everywhere outside Bavaria CSU and her 'big brother' CDU are one party) - has filed in the draft of a new law that will prohibit the sale, purchase and possession of games defined as "Killerspiele". In addition - and that's a new twist to it - real-life games like 'paintball' will also be prohibited.

In essence, a grown-up person who owns a game considered a "Killerspiel" will face a longer stay in jail than a child-molester. And every game - digital or in real life - that is supposed to show "violence against other human or humanoid beings" (and in real life features something vaguely gun-like) will be considered such a prohibited game. But, and that's one of the things that make me want to throw up, those who actually practice shooting in a club are not among those who will be criminalized. Not really a surprise...

I wonder whom the politicians picture as the 'typical' gamer.

It surely isn't the grown-up, rather successful young man who works at a bank, dresses in suits during the day, speaks various languages, maybe even has spent some time at university and - in his meagre spare-time - likes to play "Counterstrike" with his friends over the internet. It probably isn't the thirty-something woman working as a telemarketer, who has spent some time at university as well, is fluent in German and English, currently learns in order to become a web-master once and sometimes enjoys a shooter or role-playing game - those would, as a sword is a very crude form of weapon and most adversaries are either human or humanoid (like an Orc, for example), also be prohibited - after work, either. (You might guess whom I'm describing here - yup, it's me.)

I rather would bet all my money that they still think only retarded kids of 14, who will not even pass the lowest form of secondary school in Germany and will never, ever in their lives vote, play such games. Well, they're wrong (not completely, though, as there are such gamers).

I think it's time for us, the grown-up gamers who quite often are 'valuable members of society' (whatever that means, I've never completely figured it out), to come out in force, write to our representatives or gather signatures to bring this case before the European Court. We can - and should now - show the politicians that it's their current and futures voters whom they discriminate against. After all, in about thirty years the majority of those who play computer games will probably also be the majority of voters - while those who vote for the conservatives today will mostly be gone ... or so senile that they will no longer be allowed to vote.

In other words: In a time not so far away those who are supposedly too immature to decide what game to play or to distinguish between real life and virtual reality will be the ones who decide about the major parties' fates.

We are the People, in a democracy we have the Power - it's high time to make use of this fact. The politicians owe us - we have elected them, we pay their salaries (which come from taxes we pay, after all), it's us they serve, not the other way around.

I'll tell you about a secret: After reading the comments to an article about the new law and reading about the law itself, I'm that close to find out about how to found your own party - and go and kick those politicians' big asses all over the country.

I might even be good at it - there's nobody more able to speak at great length to people who don't really want to listen than a telemarketer (except maybe, these days, a teacher...).

Fear all ye who have awoken the Wrath of Cay Reet! The consequences of your mistake will be too terrible to bear!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

My first day

... of the new job is now behind me.

We - my two new colleagues and I - didn't get to do any 'real' work as we first had to learn about the job we'll really be doing from tomorrow on.

For those of you who've been lucky enough to avoid working in telemarketing, the main job of a telemarketer is, of course, talking to people over a telephone. My new job will mean talking to businessmen (of businesses that have need of tires and rims) and get them to register on the page of an online company selling tires and rims over the internet. The whole thing is sound, there's no price to be paid (unless for the tires or rims when ordered, of course) and there's no cheating. I'm quite confident that, after a couple of days to get into the whole thing, I'll be able to do quite well.

This job will keep me out of unemployment until the end of April, at least. What will happen afterwards? I've got no idea, but nor do I care right now. I will see it when it is time for it - and then I'll deal with whatever life will be throwing at me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm no longer an admin

As I can't spent that much time online - especially now, as I'm going back to working fulltime again -, I'm no longer an admin at Gespensterweb.

I just wish they manage to get my account there working again, currently I can't even log in as a simple user ... and I'd hate to leave the forum and chat completely.

I have to admit I'm not worried a lot about not being an admin any longer, especially this afternoon it was very stressing and with my work, learning to be a web-master and this blog, I've got more than enough to do. Writing in forums when I've got the time, is great, but having to spent time in the chat or the forum and look for a lot of things was quite stressing. I just would have liked it if they'd written me something instead of just sending me an e-mail with a new password which doesn't work - and then tell me in the chat "Sorry, we've decided you're not fit for an admin". I won't argue with my fitness for this job - I really couldn't spent as much time online as I probably should have. I just think it would have been fair to tell me directly, not just after I'd logged into the chat to tell the webmaster there - because there was no other way I could reach him, as he's not online with ICQ a lot these days.

If they get my accounts working again, I can go online whenever I've got the time and write whenever I feel the need, not because I'm responsible for something. If they don't manage to ... well, to be honest, currently I'm not sure whether or not I'd register again under another name - I'm not sure whether it would be worth it. I've still got another forum to follow (MangaSzene, where I'm just a user anyway) and I don't see the point in living with the consequences of other people's failures.

That's what you get

... when I don't have the time to regularly post in my blog. As I've been occupied with getting a new job (see below), I didn't have a lot of time for this blog during the last week - and so you get eight new posts all at the same time (this short one and seven more).

I'll continue writing this blog, that much is for sure. I will maybe have to 'optimize' my spare time a little, because I've got a job for eight hours a day now and still work on my web-master. But I'm quite good at multitasking and I see blogging as something relaxing, so I'll have enough time to write more - whenever I feel the need for it.

About my web-master: I'll learn about css-files soon, so maybe I'll then change the look of my blog and create my own style. It will surely take a few more weeks - maybe even months, but I'll do it when I'm ready.

It's still a weakness

When I was a kid, about 10 years old, I was absolutely set on crime stories. I even sneaked into the sections for older kids and grown-ups in the public library in order to find more things to read. And one of the basics for me was everything about Sherlock Holmes I could find.

Years have passed and even though I still like to read crime stories and thrillers, I thought I was over this classic. I'm wrong, obviously, as I have a 'digital book' with all "Sherlock Holmes" short stories and novels on my hard disk - and a couple of the movies as well. Currently it's "Das Halsband des Todes", a German-British production from the late sixties with Christopher Lee as Sherlock Holmes. And the first volume of a collection of very old movies (the ones with Basil Rathbone), which I bought today. There are twelve movies altogether, so I guess there's going to be three volumes.

I always tried to get them on video while they were shown on TV, but unfortunately they're usually shown at the ZDF and that's not a very reliable broadcasting station. I usually ended up with having about 15 to 20 minutes of something different and about 15 to 20 minutes missing at the end of the movies - and that's annoying. This way I've not only gotten the whole movie in high quality, I also get both the German and the English version. That's great.

I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by Sherlock Holmes, as I'm more some kind of 'empathic' Miss Maple when it comes to solving crimes. I like to get into the mind of a criminal and solve the crime from this point of view, the "I can see from your movements that you've been a sailor"-style of Sherlock Holmes is not my cup of tea. I'm not that logical myself and I doubt anybody else really is - except for Mr. Spock and Data from "Star Trek", of course. (It surely isn't a coincidence that Data likes to play Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck of the Enterprise ... as an android with a perfectly logical computer brain he's absolutely suited for this role.)

But somehow the way Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has created the character and written the stories (which are much, much, much better than his historical novels - they're dreadful) makes them timeless. They may be set in the Victorian age, but that doesn't mean that in the times of cell phones and the internet they're no longer interesting.

I think I'll always have a weak point for Sherlock Holmes; the stories, the movies, the character as a such. It's one of the essential things I've ever read (like the novels to the first "Star Wars"-movies - episode 4-6 - or "Dracula"). I don't write my crime stories the way Doyle would write them, as I like the psychological side of crime, but that doesn't mean Sherlock Holmes didn't teach me anything about solving a crime. The ideal detective for me is someone with a sharp intellect and a strong empathy. That's the kind of character I try to write whenever I pin down a story myself.

I don't always succeed, but then, who does? Even Sherlock Holmes couldn't solve all problems...

Women are machines

... or at least that's what a Japanese politician claims, calling grown-up women "birthing machines" and demanding that they all should have more children to ensure the society does not "grow old". Well, Mr. Politician: Welcome to Germany.

I read about this man while browsing the 'news'-section of one of my favourite forums (MangaSzene). Obviously the Japanese have the same problem we have in Germany: There are only a few children born. The discussion of the thread did soon leave the Japanese situation far behind, anyway. It's been mostly about "why women don't want to have children" and "what to do against it". I've participated a lot in the discussion as well, because it's one of those things I've been thinking (and getting angry about) a lot.

A lot of older people claim that it's solely the fault of the women. We are too egocentric to give up our own career in order to have children as we're supposed to. But I know a lot of women who would like to have children if only they had a little more security while raising them.

What older people seem to forget is how insecure the situation of their children and grandchildren is today. When they were the right age to have children, there was plenty of work and most people spent their whole working life with the same company. You could be sure you'd always have a job. In a situation like this it's easy for a woman to stop working (at least for a couple of years), have children and raise them. There weren't as many divorces either (in the western part of Germany, but the East had it's own security, thanks to socialism and communism).

Would they have as many children today as well? That's what I often wonder about. Would they take all the risks having children means today, especially for women?

But back to the discussion in the forum. Interestingly the women usually had one point of view and the men had the other one (as far as you can guess the gender from the names, as not everyone freely gives it). The women quite often said "I would have children (or at least 'most women would have children') if it wouldn't mean the end of my career (meaning: the danger of becoming a poor single mother living on social support) and if society were a little more supportive" while the men said "women should just have children and forget about their careers". That's easy to say if you're a member of that gender which will not have to stop working because of a child.

There is a way to combine children and career, but it's not open to women in Germany. In the Scandinavian countries women are supported much better, they can go to work again after a couple of weeks and their children are well cared for. This is something women in Germany can only dream of (mostly, I think, because of our conservative party which was in control right after the war and never designed a sufficient system to build up enough kindergartens for all children).

In Germany the society wants children, because they'll be needed for our pension system (see the last post), but it doesn't want the children to behave like children. Admittedly, sometimes I curse the neighbours above me as well (the family has two teenagers - with a stereo nearby), but I do it softly and think "I wasn't any better when I was that age, let them soon find something better - and more silent - than Heavy Metal". Children are loud - or at least louder than most adults - and that's it. It is like that and it can't be changed. But people in Germany - especially old people (yes, the same who claim women these days are too egocentric to have children) - expect, it seems, children to be born, to hang around in stasis until they're about twenty and then go to work straight away to earn money for the older people's pensions.

I can fully understand why women these days don't want children - and as long as society doesn't change, there's not as many children as necessary born.

Strange Politics

Germany has a big problem: pensions. We don't know who among the young ones will in old age be able to live off the pensions he or she gets.

The German system for pensions works like this (and I have to explain this first, because otherwise you won't get the point of the whole problem): Those who are still working give a certain amount of the money they earn to some kind of insurance company. This company pays the people already too old to work (the age at which most people start receiving a pension is between 60 and 65 currently) with this very money. This is called "Generationenvertrag" (Contract of the Generations) by the German politicians.

The first problem with this is that this "Generationenvertrag" is not a contract as a such. A contract is signed by both parties - and none of the young people today has signed the contract. We do not get asked "Do you want to contribute to the contract so someone in 40 years will contribute to it to pay your pension?" when we start working. The moment we have a job and make money (above a certain amount), we contribute to this contract. We don't have a choice. Sure, a lot of us would still do it, but then they'd be doing it out of their own free will, not because the laws force them to.

The second problem is that when the system was created a lot of people did not even reach the age of 65 or - if they did - did only live for a couple of more years. And there was a lot of work for the younger people, so hardly anybody was unemployed (except for those who really didn't want to work). Today people usually reach an age between 80 and 90 - and work is getting sparse. So even those who are still young don't have the chance to work continuously for 45 years or so (that's the span usually calculated for people to work before they get a pension - only very few people went to university then).

The pension system in Germany is at stake - it actually has been at stake for quite some time now, but finally politicians have realized they have to react (well, their pensions still are safe). There's less and less children around and the people get older and older. Sooner or later it won't be one old person being sustained by five or so young ones, it might end up with one young person sustaining two or more old ones.

The first reaction of the politicians has been to rise the age at which people receive a pension (from 65 to 67). The joke (in a very un-funny way) about this is that a lot of people in Germany above the age of 55 have problems in finding a new job. So instead of managing to make all people work till 65 (currently), we've got a lot of people who have to quit working early. Why do politicians expect it's going to change that much during the next thirty or so years?

Some politicians claim that the demand of older workers will increase simply because, with less children being born, the companies will need older workers to fill the gaps. That's all good and fine, but will they really? We already need a lot less workers to do the same amount of work than we did about twenty years ago. Machines have taken over whole production processes. Work is passed on to countries with less wealth, where people will work for a lot less. This won't stop, just because politicians want it to (unless, of course, they find a way to create laws against it).

I will have to work until 67 (at least) and due to the fact that I went to university and tried to work as a freelance editor for a while, I've been forced to build up reserves for old age anyway. As I'm currently learning how to be a web-master (and I'm quite good at it), I will have to go on learning about all the new things for the rest of my working life. But how many people are ready to change their profession at the age of 50 or 60 simply because they can't go on doing it (for example for reasons of health)?

Our whole society is going to change massively. Those who make good money can afford to stop working earlier (even though their jobs usually can be done until 67 or later). Those who really can't afford to stop working earlier on the other hand will often have to stop working at 60 or so, loosing part of their pension and being poor even after decades of hard work. Yes, I know there's a lot of countries out there where people fare worse when they don't have a lot money, but still, it's highly unfair. It's not impossible that this will lead to unrest and rebellion sooner or later - and that's what I'm really afraid of. I will probably have enough money to live modestly in old age - as long as nothing unsuspected happens to me (unless the unsuspected thing is me finally being published and landing some best-sellers, in this case: bring it on) -, but a lot of people won't. They're bound to be pissed off somehow.

And it's not the politicians who will suffer when they're getting pensions, because even after six months as a politician, you're getting a much higher pension than most people in this country. Maybe I should be looking for a political career already ... at least for around 50 or so. Then I can quit working early and will have a lot of money at my disposal.

Maybe that's the solution to this problem: every person in Germany serves as a politician for at least six months and we'll all get a good pension...

The Real Scooby Doo

I'm a fan of "Scooby Doo", always have been. When I was a kid I used to watch the animated series over and over, whenever it was shown on TV.

So when a couple of years ago a real-life movie was made, I was interested. But as it got very bad ratings, I didn't watch it at the movies. Later on, when it had been out on DVD, I bought it quite cheap (DVDs get quite cheap about 6 or 7 months after they've come out). I like the movie - and I like the second one as well.

Admittedly, the characters have been changed slightly, but that's to be expected. The movies don't deal with the young adults (about 17 to 19) as the series did (and the new series does now), they deal with a group that's already famous. So unlike the series that's mostly for kids (and I've already said more than once that I don't have a problem with watching series 'for kids'), the movies give the characters a new depth.

Maybe that's the reason why many fans (who, like me, probably have grown up with the series) don't like the movies. They show Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy as rather different people (even though admittedly Shaggy and Scooby are more or less like they were in the series) than the ones we've seen. They're more ... human, you could say. They've got doubts, they've got their little vanities, they don't get on as well any more as they did when they were younger. That's only to be expected - and it happens to a lot of famous groups in the 'real life' as well. Yes, at first it is hard to watch this - the way the group breaks up at the beginning of the first movie and the way their name is demolished in the second. But in the end they always come out stronger, which is something good from my point of view.

I love the new animated series which shows the Scooby Gang just as the old ones did (and it's a lot better than some of the spin-offs in the eighties were). The only difference there is the new technology - which gives the 'ghosts' a lot of new abilities. But I also love the movies, because they give the characters a new depth.

Playing a man

This post is closely related to my last one, the one about the game "Oblivion". While writing about my first impressions of this game, I also stated that I created a male Dark Elf as my alter ego in this world. Now that I think about it - my characters in role-playing games and other games in which I can choose whom to play with quite often are male.

In "Oblivion" there's no real reason for this. Males and females of most races aren't that different, so playing a female character isn't any more difficult than playing a male one - or so I guess, I haven't tried it yet. Somehow I just quite often end up with a man, even though I'm a feminist normally.

It's not that I won't celebrate the fact that I'm a woman (though probably not during a 'certain time' of the month), it's just that I find it more relaxing to be a sword-wielding warrior while said warrior is male. If I could make myself play a mage for once, I would, maybe, create a female character for it. Has this been programmed into my very soul by society? I don't think so, because I've read about a lot of men who, in role-playing games, prefer female characters.

So, maybe creating a character of the opposite sex has nothing to do with society, but is a logical result of wanting to play such a game. In the fantasy world of a role-playing game I can be whomever I want and, as I'm a woman every day of my life, I find it fascinating to be a man at least in those fantasy worlds. Nevertheless I would answer "No, thank you" if my fairy godmother offered me to change my gender.

What I find most amusing about playing a man - apart from 'undressing' my character to the underwear while fighting some zombies and then watching from third-person perspective -, is that I can act as idiotic as I want without wondering whether I'm that much of an idiot in real life as well. After all, it's just a game and I'm playing a man...


Here's something new about my weakness for games. I started playing "Oblivion" a couple of days ago. I didn't get far yet - it's a complicated role-playing game with a vast, very picturesque world ... and I had a lot of other things to do. (See "I've got a new job!" for details.) Nevertheless I think I'll like it there.

Okay, the first thing I realized - and had heard about before, anyway - is that sometimes the translation, especially the sub-titles, does not work the way it should. That's bad, but I can live with it (and by now there are mods out there to fix it). The next thing I realized was just how realistic the surrounding was (that was while I was escaping the dungeons of Imperial City). I shot an arrow at a hanging bucket and it swung realistically. I'm more of a hands-on person in role-playing games, I like to go into close-quarter combat, but during the escape (which is the game's tutorial) I used the bow as well.

(Quite some time later I cursed the realism of the world when I climbed off my horse and the creature ran away because there were wolves around. I ran after it and - after a long and fruitless search and the demise of one of those wolves - loaded up the last save game, because I was sick of searching for the dumb animal and didn't have the money to buy a new one. Had anyone else seen me, they probably would have found it amusing, both in the game world and in the real one. I was sitting in front of the pc, my character sprinting up- and downhill through high grass and flowers with the sword drawn, and swearing under my breath. Had he been able to, my character would probably have sworn as well.)

I'm still fascinated by the mere freedom I have in the game. There's probably at least one hundred ruins around, each of them full of enemies to defeat (they are always adjusted to the player's current level). There's flowers you can pick (and use to create potions and poisons). There's loads of people around, each of them leading their own life. While I usually have at least one objective, I can decide when and mostly even how to accomplish it.

What else can I tell you? I'll start by telling you how the game starts. I was in a cell - I've still got no idea what kind of crime my character (a male Dark Elf called 'Cay') had committed, but while I was listening to the guy in the cell opposite to mine, I felt the deep desire to go over and shut him up forever. I've read that if I become a member of a secret brotherhood I'll actually be allowed to do it ... and it's tempting. Anyway, I was in one cell, he was in another, so he was safe from me. Then, suddenly, the emperor himself and his bodyguards entered the cosy cell I was in - because, as it turned out, it was the gateway to their secret escape tunnels. So, really, what do you think I would do after they'd passed through (and the emperor had stated he'd seen me in a dream before)? Of course I followed them.

A couple of fights later - most of the tutorial, which is very well done - I witnessed the emperor's death and had my first real mission: to take his amulet to a priory not far away. After I'd gone to the priory and spoken to a guy named Jauffre, I was on my way to another city, to find the last living son of the late emperor. A fast career, wouldn't you say? From a criminal waiting for execution to a man trusted to find the next emperor and help him to ascent to the throne. And I'd gotten my horse. Well, it wasn't my horse as a such, it was just led to me by one of the brothers there. But as he was dead when I came back with the emperor's son (whose name is Martin), I consider the animal my possession anyway.

By the time I came back, I had travelled to the demon realm called "Oblivion" for the first time, I'd killed my first demons and I had more or less freed the city of Kvatch. I was all set to become some sort of hero. A little while later I even became one of his bodyguards. Yes, I'm a blade now and it's not bad, either - they get a katana and I just love katanas.

The strange thing I've found out about myself while playing games in which I can decide whether to be good or bad is that I tend to be good. In "Jedi Knight", for example, I always took care of not killing innocent bystanders (even though I would have loved to gain the possibility to shoot those Dark Side of the Force Lightning Bolts from my hands, just like the Emperor). In role-playing games I usually create some sort of fighter - I don't like playing a pure mage, even though I learn a few spells, provided the game mechanics allow it for a fighter to use magic ("Oblivion" does) - and even though I'd like to, I've never played a thief or an assassin (except for the three parts of "Thief" in which, logically, you play a thief, because that's the point of the game; but even there I tried not to kill anybody). In "Oblivion" I will at least train my abilities in alchemy, because being able to create your own potions and poisons is quite useful.

I often wonder about this, because I surely can imagine to be a bad person. I'm sarcastic and sometimes have a very negative view of the world around me. But somewhere under this person I seem to like 'playing by the rules' and being nice to people. And, as you can see from the remark about the guy in the other cell, I'm very able to wish for somebody's death ... but only after the person has seriously pissed my off.

So I’ll go on playing warriors and going for close-quarter combat - with a little magic on the side - and I’ll go on being a good guy ... at least until I find out why I was in that cell anyway.

I've got a new job!

Good news fist, today ... I've got a new job, at least for a couple of weeks. It's more or less safe for three month. Afterwards? I can't say now.

But I don't mind this uncertainty, I'm more than prepared to go 'job-hopping' for the time I need to finish my education as a web-master. Afterwards I will search for a job that's safer on the long run.

Nevertheless I might have less time to write new posts now, after all I've got eight hours of work each day, plus one or two hours of learning. I start on Wednesday, so I'll have some more time left before the work-life has me back.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thank God, I'm not alone!

I am not alone. This very happy realisation has dawned on me today. I was reading the blog of 'Girl with a one-track mind' and suddenly there was someone - a very sexy and sexual active someone - who hates shopping for clothes just as much as I do.

I know that most people expect women to be naturally tuned to shopping for clothes, shoes and accessories for as long as their money holds. And I probably won't lie if I tell you that most women (at least in the so called 'Industrial' countries) really are. Up till now I thought I was the only woman around who despised shopping for clothes. And I was willing to just blame it on the fact that I'm overweight and find it hard to find good-looking clothes for my size.

Today I realized that any women not the preferred shape of the fashion shops these days has a lot of problems with buying clothes - and considering how few women these days can wear Size 0 (oh, oh, here comes my crusade again) there's bound to be a lot of those around.

Fact is, not all women love shopping for clothes. Yes, we all need to wear something, we all want to look respectable - which more or less means wearing something that can loosely be defined as 'fashionable'. And as fashion for women changes faster than that for men, we are forced to 'update' our clothes more often.

But buying clothes you need is one thing, buying clothes just because you love the process of buying is something else entirely.

I know someone who loves shopping for clothes, but I do not. I basically wear the same clothes anyway (my style could be described as 'casual'), so I just pick up clothes when I really need to.

'Killerspiele' Update

Here's another update on the "Killerspiele"-discussion.

While surfing the web this Sunday, I found a pre-formulated letter of complaint with which adult gamers were asked to complain to their representative. After all the whole discussion about "Killerspiele" only means one thing: those who actually have the right to own and use those types of games usually described with the word get discriminated against. As we are not all adolescents or children - and thus have the right to vote as well as the right to play those games - why should we not exercise our rights as voters and write to our representative to show him we do not feel represented the way we should?

I'm going to sent this letter ... it's not insulting or anything, so the politicians can hardly complain - and if every representative in our Bundestag gets at least 10 or so of those letters, that'll be over 6.000, enough to show we mean business.