Sunday, April 29, 2007

An interesting idea

As I've already pointed out (and written prominently on the right side of my blog as well), I'm a writer and rarely have a problem finding new ideas for things to write. While going through my favourite blogs, I found quite an interesting idea in Bitchy Jones' blog about an Upside-down Gor.

I've checked the English Wikipedia for the "Gor"-reference, because I hadn't heard about it before (that's the problem with supposedly badly written English erotic literature - it's hard to get in Germany, though I'm not sure if that's a good or bad thing). And I do have to admit that I would probably not enjoy reading them ... if anything, I prefer the woman to be dominant, not a slave (hooray to Eric Stanton, while I'm at it!). So why not turn it around? The concept of male slaves and female owners isn't that new, after all, that's what the principle of the Amazons is about: female warriors who take (and own) men for propagating (and probably fun as well - they must be quite aggressive after all). And if we're about to turn such stories around, I would add the principle of "Fencers of Minerva" to it (if you haven't heard of this, don't worry too much, it's a Japanese animation series about a world in which all women are 'owned' and a princess who finds herself in a rather strange 'relationship' with a man she loved as a boy and became slave off after trying to free another girl).

I must admit I find the idea quite irresistible - even though I hope that I could write better than the original "Gor"-novels seem to be written. I would like to write some stories about this 'Not-Gor' (and yes, I too think that "Gor" is a great name for a planet), about dangerous and dominant females (though if it comes to dangerous females, I'd rather name hyenas instead of lions, because hyenas are absolutely matriarchic in their structures) and about male slaves ... good-looking, hot slaves.

So what? If men find it 'hot' to read about females slaves who love being enslaved and used and punished and so on, why shouldn't I as a woman find it 'hot' to imagine the same with the roles switched? Good-looking, muscular, but efficiently submissive slaves - and men who don't want to be slaves and fight back in vain. That's an interesting idea for a feminist writer.

"Upside-down Gor" is a bad name, though, so I'd have to find an equally good name for my world ... but that can't be too difficult. Well, let's see about this...

EDIT: I’ve found one: Teria!

Multiple personalities on- and offline

While browsing the TV-program I stumbled over a psychologist claiming that humans do not have the capacity handling multiple personalities (and I don't mean them as a disorder, but having various personalities to work with) online. From my experience in the 'real world' I have to counteract him: We do not only have the capacity, we do it regularly.

Having multiple personalities online simply means having different identities online (such as I have Cay Reet in this blog [and various forums] and Mara in some other forums). Someone who plays "Second Life" or "World of Warcraft" or other online-games like those has even more of an (or two or three or sixty) additional online personality(ies). They aren't just a name in the internet, they have a body (even though it's digital and does not necessarily look like a human being / and by the way: even I am more than a name, I have some avatars in picture form, like the one on the right of my blog), they have a history (of defeating this monster or meeting that person or building those houses over there or whatever), they have relationships and so on.

Now a lot of people who do not lead an 'online life' think that you can only lead one life all over, so if you're a person online, you can't be complete offline. That's quite a strange idea, considering how many personalities (I'd rather call them 'personae' - due to Uriel's masks in "Angel Sanctuary" [gosh, I just love that Angel of Death]) all of us have 'offline' anyway.

Not true? We'll see about that.

But first, let's return to the digital world online.

What is so strange about having one or more identity online? It's only natural for us to 'protect' that part of us we can't change - the identity we have in the 'real world' where we can 'really' get hurt. (Well, of course you can change your 'real' identity, but that's difficult and not always possible.) On the internet (just as while you're on the phone talking to someone who doesn't know you - sex hotlines are a good example for that) you are what you make of you. If I create an online personae, I can be everything I want: man or woman (or a small, fluffy creature from Alpha Centauri [a digital cookie to whoever knows where I took that from]), young or old, attractive or ugly, experienced in all forms of sex or a virgin and so on... As I've already pointed out, I tend towards male characters while I play role-playing games ... but online I'm usually female. There's no way this will keep me from being who I am in everyday encounters, it only gives me the chance to be somebody else from time to time online.

And now to our personae in 'real life'. Do you really think that in your life you're almost 100% you? Then think again.

During your work hours you will - normally - suppress your aggressions, due to the fact that they might get you fired, especially if you're angry about your boss. So you're not showing all aspects of yourself.

During a date with your boyfriend/girlfriend you'll normally suppress your desire to stare after good-looking boys/girls who are not your relationship. Otherwise you'll soon be free to stare after them all you want, because you won't have a relationship then.

There are loads of situations in your life where you won't show all of your aspects of personality. In fact, I can't think of a situation in which anybody would show all aspects of his/her personality.

We all learn from early childhood that there's the time and place to show certain aspects of ourselves. So we form those personae I've written about already and use them whenever necessary (only we don't need a mask for it - that much for my "Angel Sanctuary"-reference).

And if we're able to suppress various aspects of ourselves in the 'real world', thus creating 'multiple personalities', then why should we not be able to hold up various identities on the internet as well without risking our sanity?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Nodwick or Somebody has to die in an adventure

My first crash with the comic "Nodwick" actually came when I read about a card-game the creators made. The game, which I own by now, is quite funny. It's about the main running gag of the whole comic - the henchman Nodwick who's dying about once a day, more or less regularly. In the game you have to 'build' a complete henchman by getting the right 'pieces' before the others do. It's almost as funny as "Munchkin" (about which I might write another post).

But - as the whole is set in some sort of role-playing world - Nodwick revived every time by Piffany, the priest of the adventurerer group, who isn't thrilled about the way her colleagues treat the henchman (henchmen in role-playing games are some sort of walking 'equipment', carrying stuff and being sent forward to find traps [usually by walking into them]). The group Nodwick belongs to actually overdoes it with sending him into certain death (I think, after staying with them for some time, un-certain death would be okay) continuously. Nodwick on the other hand is quite clever and could be a real asset to the group if anybody apart from Piffany ever took him seriously.

Mixed in with the stories are one-picture jokes like the one above this paragraph and some other comics (most of them "Star Wars" or at least "Star Wars" related). The comic itself can be read online and is quite funny as well, so I'll add it to "DorkTower" and "Girl Genius".

MYTH-ical Stories

I was still a teenager when I discovered Robert Asprin's "Myth"-series. To be honest, I haven't thought about it for years, ever since I changed from stories like those to "Discworld" - which is easily as funny.

But recently I've started thinking about it again - soon after I found out that there was a collection of all stories out, and with illustrations from one of my favourite comic-book artist: Phil Foglio, one of the creators of "Girl Genius". Actually, the first time I saw the cover of volume one of the two-volumes-edition, I knew he had drawn it, his style is easy to recognize. In addition to covers drawn by him, the two-volumes-edition also includes quite some black-and-white illustrations done by him inside the books.

The "Myth"-series mainly revolves around a young magician named Skeeve who, by pure coincidence, is teamed up with the demon Aahz ('demon' in this case meaning 'dimension traveller') and goes through a lot of different adventures during which the host of characters grows more and more bizarre. The stories themselves are - as I can see now from my vantage point of view (being 32 instead of 15) - stories about growing up as much as about magic and fantasy.

I've started to read them again now - and found them just as amusing as I found them at 15...

Friday, April 27, 2007


I've finally finished my tax declaration for this year.

I don't know why I've waited that long - it's not as difficult as many people make it seem and I've had all the necessary documents since the end of February.

I guess I shun the process of adding up all the necessary figures and counting the work days (especially as I've been in and out of work last year, first because of a knee surgery and then because I was unemployed). I'm not very good at maths (even though I can easily add up numbers with a calculator) and I hate searching for all the necessary numbers beforehand.

I'm done with it for this year ... but unfortunately taxes turn up every year - unlike Death.

When spring is summer

We're nearing the end of April, a month usually associate with wet weather, a lot of rain and low temperature - at least where I live. Of course, we do sometimes get good days, with warm sun and nice weather. But this year it was more than that.

I won't say I'm not grateful for the good weather, but 30 degrees Celsius (that's about 86 degrees Fahrenheit) just isn't normal for April in southern Germany. On the other side, we haven't had much rain during April (unlike normally) and the farmers aren't very happy. (And I'm not happy with 30 degrees either, I'm not a fan of high temperatures - and in Germany 30 degrees is a high temperature, even in summer.)

A lot of people are saying that this extraordinary spring is a sure sign that the climate is changing - but today I also heard that at the beginning of the 20th century there has been an April just as hot as this one. I think that the climate is indeed changing, but I doubt that one hot spring is the proof for it.

How to prevent teenage pregnancy

First of all: The whole "Love Can Wait"-movement is not the right answer. Why? Read on.

Teenage pregnancy isn't my problem, obviously. On one hand I can hardly become pregnant without a man (which means I'm pretty sure that I'm not pregnant right now), on the other hand I'm 32, so I can hardly be called a teenager any longer.

But even in Germany teenage pregnancy is a problem for society. It's not as much that there are additional children (as my post yesterday has pointed out, we direly need them), but that there are less adults who've finished school and learned a profession - mainly the girls who give birth to those children (as the teenage fathers rarely have to deal with suddenly having to take care of a child). And usually it's not the children of the higher classes who become pregnant during their teenage years - meaning those whose parents can afford to raise the child so their daughter can finish school and learn a profession. No, it's the girls from the lower social classes who have children while still being children themselves. And their parents hardly can raise the children they already have.

Especially in the United States (but in Europe, including Germany, as well) the churches (and especially the Roman-Catholic Church) advocate movements like "Love Can Wait" or others, basically telling the teenager that the best way not to become pregnant is not to have sex. While this surely is right, it doesn't help much with the problem as a such.

Lets say a girl becomes member of such a movement at the age of 12. She's more of a child than a teenager then. She'll grow older and older and sooner or later the teenage hormones will kick in. She will watch boys more closely (or girls, but lesbian love isn't a problem when it comes to pregnancy), start to giggle when one of them talks to her (cliché, I know) and find a boyfriend. Then what? She has never learned about preventing a pregnancy because she always thought she would wait until she's married - and then having children would be okay. Boys are chronically bad at the whole prevention-business, so it would be up to her to take care, as she will have to live with the consequences. But she doesn't know how. Sooner or late they will land in bed - and she runs the risk of becoming a teenage mother...

Yes, the best way to prevent a pregnancy is - and always will be - not having sex. But in case you have sex, you should know about the other ways (and both the pill and condoms are quite safe, even though in both cases 1 out of 1,000 women will get pregnant while using those means). In addition condoms protect both teenagers from sexual diseases. My mother - and my parents were both quite modern when it came to such topics - also told me that not having sex was the best way to prevent pregnancy, but in addition she told me about the other means and made sure I knew I could come to her if I wanted the pill or just some good advice. (Ever since AIDS was discovered, buying condoms in Germany has not been a big problem [and when my parents had just gotten married and didn't want children immediately, they bought them through a mail order sex shop].)

So what I advocate is teaching teenagers early enough about preventing pregnancy. Most of them will have sex before they get married (if they get married at all), so instead of pretending that it won't happen, we should make sure that they are prepared when it does.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Too many books

When I look at my bookcases, I realize that I've gotten far too many books. I mean, I've got four bookcases full of books and keep more books than most people would put there in every one.

My manga-bookcase is extremely full - I've meant to take out those manga I don't read any longer for ages, but I never do. So all the shelves are full and there are even books lying atop other books or in front of other books.

It's pretty much the same in the other bookcases as well. When I moved into my own flat, I sorted out my books and only took those with me I wanted to keep. But that was more than 2 years ago ... and I've bought loads of books in the meantime.

Now, I know I'm a really passionate reader - I've always been, from the moment I've been able to read for myself. I've always found books a good way to escape the rather boring life I lead ... ways that weren't dangerous (like drugs) or in any other way unproductive (because my love for stories went along with my love of writing). That's how I developed my imagination and my fantasy. Actually, my parents found it hard to punish me - confinement to my room did not work, I didn't go out much anyway and I had my books there to read, my school books, if nothing else.

Unfortunately knowing that doesn't solve my problem, especially since I started reading English books during my time at university - which means I can't get them from my local library. My tastes are quite special on the whole ... I read fantasy, but not only the stuff most people read, I read thrillers, but only very few authors. The same goes for my other favourite books. And I tend to read books more than once - which means I fare better buying them than trying to get them from the library every time I want to reread them.

Sometimes I like it hard

... and that's not going to be a post about my sexual preferences - promised.

What I really mean is this: usually I listen to softer music, stuff that qualifies as pop music in my country (meaning not being Hard Rock, Heavy Metal or anything else associated with this - or Rap, Hip Hop etc.). I like listening to music while I write, especially while I write my stories.

But there's two situations in which I need 'hard' music: travelling by train while I'm not completely awake and writing action sequences.

I think the first situation is easily explained: When I'm not really awake and have to travel by train, I need to stay awake, not nod off again. So by listening to harder - and thus louder - music, I can make sure I stay awake.

The second situation is a bit more tricky. While writing a story, I need to get into the right mind-set to write a scene. Normally I don't have a problem with this and can do it with every kind of music running in the background (even though writing a love-scene while listening to Hard Rock surely is hardcore). But as I'm not a specialist for fighting, I need a certain, 'hard to enter' mind-set when I'm writing an action sequence. For this, as I've found out in the past, there's nothing better than some loud, hard Rock. The fast beats resemble for me the quicker heart-beats of the main characters and the loud voice(s) of the lead singer(s) give me the actual battle noises. This way it's easier for me to envision the scene and write it down, including sword fights, fist fights or dangerous escape acts with a lot of attackers.

Why am I thinking about it at the moment? Because I bought "The Arockalypse" by Lordi this morning. Those shocking Hard Rock beats will surely help me with the fights I've already penned out for various stories.

Oh, and for those of you who don't know about the band: Lordi is a Hard Rock band from Finland that won the Eurovision Song Contest last year (with "Hard Rock Hallelujah" - a song I like very much).

Normally I'm not a fan of Hard Rock (as a look into my CD-collection would prove) - but sometimes I just need it hard...

Anger = Fear (Part 2)

The discussion of 'anger=fear' has died down by now - as most of the people writing in the thread were thinking along the same lines I did.

I personally still wonder why somebody thinks this theory is correct. To most people it's obvious it's wrong by just thinking about their own experiences with fear in the past. We've even had a slight philosophical discussion by now which has also led us to the question what an irrational act is.

Some people, including me, have pointed out that an irrational act can't have a goal, because in that case the act would at least be rational for the person committing it. That doesn't make the act itself logical or even 'rational' for somebody else, but it means the act isn't what most of us will understand as 'irrational'. There are irrational acts, of course, but they don't have a goal - and thus do not fit with Schopenhauer and his philosophical views of mankind. Schopenhauer actually claimed that we always have a reason - or at least a goal - for doing something and the guy starting the thread took this as a basis for his 'anger=fear'-theory. So if somebody can prove that Schopenhauer is wrong, in essence the theory of the guy starting this thread also is wrong.

You probably can imagine the heated discussion about this point...

I still don't think anger equals fear and I guess I never will.

Children for Germany

One of the main problem for politicians in Germany still remains: not enough children.

I'd like to say "that's not really a problem and it will pass", but, honestly, I'm not sure about that myself. There are just that many reasons why people in Germany don't want children any longer. As long as those reasons aren't gone, there won't be as many children born each year as would be deemed necessary.

Now, a lot of people probably will stare at me and say "well, you're a woman, too, and you don't have children, so start getting some". But, first of all, I'm not in a relationship at the moment, and, second, I doubt I could be a good mother anyway.

I don't get along well with children, I never have (even when I was a child myself). I guess I'm either not patient or else not female enough for it. I don't get these 'motherly' feelings either when I see children. And I don't feel as if something is missing from my life just because I don't have any. I know, my biological clock is ticking, I'm above 30 and should be thinking about children - but I doubt I'll ever will. And I guess those children that could have been mine will be quite happy about it - they'll surely get better mothers this way.

My parents aren't that happy about not getting grandchildren, but I guess by now they've gotten used to it. After all I've always said "I don't want children" and they've had more then enough time to come to terms with it.

But I'm not against children in general, very much unlike some people. I don't want any of my own, for the reasons I've explained above (and some others), but I'm more than happy for women who want children and have some. That's what I understand when I'm thinking of balance: I have no children, but a woman who loves to have children will have more of them. I think our society should start supporting those families a lot more.

Fact is, politicians are screaming "we need more children" a lot - and some groups are very aggressive when it comes to women who have an abortion (for whatever reason) -, but the moment the child is actually born, nobody is there to help the parents. There's not much support for a family in which, for example, both parents have to work and really need a place where the child can stay a little longer (kindergarten in Germany usually opens between 7 and 8 a.m. and closes between 5 and 6 p.m. - and quite often you have to pick your child up for lunch). Places in the kindergarten usually cost money in Germany which especially the poorer families (in other words: those where both parents have to work) quite often can't afford.

Quite often even our society is accused - rightfully in many cases - of being set against children. Children in theory are fine, but the moment they actually exist, in other words run around and can be heard, they are not welcome any longer.

Families with children have a problem in finding a flat - that's a fact. Even pets are more popular with a lot of landlords than children.

Women with children have a problem in getting a job - that's a fact, too. Most bosses seem to think "She'll miss work a lot because the children are sick".

Families with many children (4 and above, if you want a definition for 'many') are in danger of being seen as anti-social - that's a fact as well. Even though the parents may both work and earn more than enough money to raise the children, a lot of people immediately think "They just have that many children so they get money from the government".

So, under those circumstances, would you like to have children in Germany?

Then there's the whole 'social security' issue.

About 20 years ago, there were enough jobs for everyone in Germany - so the future of children looked bright.

Most couples stayed together for their life - so there weren't that many single-mothers and -fathers around.

More people than today got married - so it was harder to split up than for a couple today which might have lived together for 20 years, but can split up in seconds, because there's nothing official to do.

The way it looks now, there's no chance the low birth rate will go up until the people in Germany wake up and realize that in order to get children, there has to be a place for them.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Post 150

Yes I'm celebrating a number again here. With this post - provided the 'Post Count' of my blog is correct, I've written and published 150 posts - in about 5 months. And to me it feels as if Post 100 was just written yesterday...

So what to expect next? A 'Post 200'-post? Maybe, if I feel like it. More posts about my favourite topics? You can bet all your hard-earned cash on that. Random ramblings on other topics just because somewhere on TV or in the internet somebody wrote crap? Absolutely sure about that. And hey, maybe I'll even get creative and celebrate my 202 post instead of No. 200.

Salem's Lot vs. Salem's Lot

There are two movies based on Stephen King's "Salem's Lot". One is from 1979 and one is from 2004. Until Saturday I only knew the older one - which isn't bad, actually, provided you keep in mind it's over 20 years old. But I think the new one is better.

Now, I usually am not a fan of remakes of old movies, normally the original, the first one, is better. But in this case I have to admit that a lot of things are better in the remake.

First of all, although both movies actually have been made as TV-miniseries - and thus have the time to stay true to the novel -, the new version features more of the actual scenes from the novel (which, admittedly, I haven't read in a while, but until a couple of years ago it was one of my all-time favourites, very much like "Dracula").

Secondly the vampire in the novel - and the new movie - is heavily based on "Dracula", a gentleman with a deadly secret. The older version features Reggie Nalder looking pretty much like Max Schreck in "Nosferatu" (a movie loosely based on "Dracula" and produced in 1920 in Germany). The vampire in "Nosferatu" was ugly as sin, bald, with long, clawed fingers, a hunch (which must have given the actor quite a pain in the back after a while, since it's obvious he produced it with his body alone) and two longer, pointed front teeth (instead of the usual fangs we would expect from a vampire these days). The Barlow in the older version of "Salem's Lot" looks just like that - with a blue-green-greyish skin and glowing, red eyes. That surely is scary, but it's not the way King described him in the novel. And, as King points out in "Danse Macabre" - a book about horror he wrote in the 80's -, he has written the book by using the story as a ball he played against the wall "Dracula", so Rutger Hauer fits the role much better in the new version (he also played the head-vampire in the infamous "Buffy"-movie in 1989, as he played a lot of other 'bad guys' and demons over the years). Actually Barlow doesn't appear often in the remake, he's in the city dump with one of his first victims (though it's not sure whether he or his 'servant' is following the two boys earlier), later on he turns up to kill the mother of one of the main characters, he's heard in the cellar of the old house on the hill, inviting Marc Petrie, the same main character, to join him. And of course, finally he is staked in his hiding-place in the cellar of the local guest house. Unfortunately that doesn't kill all the other vampires (about 90% of the town's populace) as well.

Finally, the effects in vampire movies have become a lot better over the last 20 years and even though that's not the most important thing in a movie (not for me, at least), it makes quite a difference. I personally am a very big fan of vampires crawling along the walls and ceilings of rooms - something that has been described in various stories from "Dracula" onwards. And I like the voices coming out of nowhere whenever there's a vampire around, some sort of supernatural singing as if to lull in the victims.

The new movie has 'modernized' the story to a certain extend. There's emails, computers and cell phones in the movie - things which did not exist when the novel was written in the 70's. But that's not a big change, those are just minor details that make sure the audience gets deeper immersed into the story (because this little town in the USA is pretty much like their own and the live of it's inhabitants is pretty much like theirs). There are also some things which have been changed (Susan Norton, one of the main characters, is staked later in the movie than she is in the story, but by the same person; the priest, Father Callahan, goes over completely to the 'dark side' instead of fighting it as he does in the book). On the whole, though, the basic story is still the same. The evil comes to the small town and it spreads, turning more and more of the populace into vampires until, finally, the whole town has been turned into a hiding place for the un-dead - thus it is 'dead'. The burning of the obvious hiding-places (the Marsten House, the guest house and so on) is just the 'cleaning up' after the dead - it's just burying the town, actually.

So on the whole the new movie, the remake, is a lot better. (The same, actually, goes for "The Fog" - which quite surprised me when I saw the new movie, as I was a fan of the old one.) Both are good and worth watching, but if you want the one that 'feels' like the story a lot more, it'll be the version from 2004 - and not just because of the more famous actors (like Rob Lowe, Donald Sutherland or Rutger Hauer). The famous actors are just a little bonus in this case, I would have liked it just as much with unknown actors (providing they're good).

Is a cross a cross?

This is the question some people in Bavaria are asking themselves at the moment. And this is the reason:

A couple of months ago, the parents, teachers and even priests of a Bavarian town (Miesbach) have decided to replace the old crosses in the school rooms of the primary school (in Germany, crosses in school rooms are not uncommon, especially in Bavaria). Instead of the 'classic' cross complete with the body of Jesus Christ, they chose a 'modern' variety from South America with pictures more suitable for small children (as children usually attend primary school from 6 to 11 in Germany). Everybody was happy with this decision - except for the head of the local CSU (one of the major parties in Germany and the major party in Bavaria).

Now the main question is: is a cross a cross or is just a traditional cross a symbol of Christianity? Even the priests of the city (both the Roman-Catholic and the Protestant) have agreed that those crosses are suitable. Apparently the church itself does not know as much about the 'true' religion and it's symbols as a political party...

The leader of the CSU has already announced to use every possible means to stop that from happening - even though the crosses are already bought and the old ones are slowly falling a part and can't be repaired. There are vicious emails, letters to the editor in various newspapers and so on. For although the CSU can't stop the crosses from actually being changed, they can do a lot to make the public think it is wrong.

Not too long ago there was even a discussion about whether or not crosses should be displayed inside the school rooms. With more and more children from other countries (in which, quite often, Christianity is not the main belief) attending German schools, the 'worth' of the cross inside those rooms (originally showing the children that God is watching over them) has become questionable.

I personally think the new crosses are much better - especially for small children. And I've seen enough crosses in my life to know that a Jesus-figure on them is not necessary. And especially younger children can surely live without a tortured, dying man in their class room.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Deadly Females

I've written about the movie "Ginger Snaps" before, in a post about female sexuality and why it is often portrait as dangerous. This post is about part two and three of the movie - but not about female sexuality as a such. It's about the best 'werewolf'-movies I've ever seen.

"Ginger Snaps" isn't the first movie which portraits female werewolves - actually there are more females in the movies than in the novels, though I've got no idea about the reason for this - and it isn't the first movie I've seen. But the whole story, the way the main characters (Ginger and her sister Brigitte) are shown and the effects are very good - better than in a lot of other horror movies I've seen over the years (and I've started watching those movies around the age of 13 or so).

In the first movie Ginger, the older of two sisters, gets attacked by a strange animal and starts to change afterwards. She becomes a werewolf, both physically (hair is growing on her body, starting with the quick-healing wound, her red hair slowly turns into white and she even grows a tail) and mentally (the withdrawn social outcast becomes a self-assured, sexually active and very aggressive woman). Her younger sister Brigitte, who up to that moment has always been the weaker one in the relationship, tries to help her, finding a cure and keeping the new developments (including the first murder Ginger commits, though by accident) from the world around them. Brigitte even finds a cure: Wolfsbane (what else?). Unfortunately Ginger does change completely before she gets the cure, even though Brigitte is able to cure a male victim of her sister with it - and just in time before he kills a small child. During the final showdown in the basement of their parents' house (where the two sisters have been sharing a room), Brigitte gets infected with the virus herself while trying to placate her sister. In the end she has to kill Ginger - but now she's the one who is dangerous and will turn into a monster.

That's where, more or less seamlessly, the second part "Ginger Snaps - Unleashed" begins. Brigitte has been on the run for quite some time, trying to find a way to purge her blood from the virus, delaying the time until the change by regularly injecting herself with a dose of wolfsbane. But she's not alone, a male werewolf is following her - seeking a mate. Quite in the beginning of the story Brigitte ends up in a hospital for drug addicts and is seen as one herself. After all she bears the marks of the many injections and in addition she has cut her arms quite often (monitoring how long the wound took to heal to determine how fast she was changing - in the beginning of the movie she's already down to a little over four hours until the wound has closed completely and become a scar). Of course, her 'drug' is taken away from her and her warning (that there will be death in the hospital if she is kept there, especially without the wolfsbane) is not heeded - what else, that's normal for horror movies. Only one other occupant, a girl named 'Ghost', seems to believe her and in the end helps her to escape - narrowly. By that time Brigitte is close enough to a 'true' werewolf to regenerate a broken lower leg in the matter of half an hour or so - and able to walk on that leg after a couple of minutes. Together with Ghost, who's been staying with her grandmother who's badly burned, she returns to the house the girl and her grandmother inhabited before the 'accident'. Brigitte turns more and more, so they call in one of the male nurses of the hospital who has blackmailed the inmates into sleeping with him for a dose of their drug and still has some of Brigitte's wolfsbane. He arrives - but at the same time so does the male werewolf who almost got Brigitte while she was running away. Ghost - who isn't as innocent as she seems - tricks Brigitte in sending the male nurse outside where he's killed by the male werewolf. The leader of the hospital - whom the man has called before - also arrives while Brigitte finally almost has turned and the werewolf is outside the house, looking for a way in. Ghost and Brigitte have already build a trap in the cellar, the burned-out mattress has been fitted with every pointed object in the house and drenched in gas. When the attack starts, Ghost and Alice, the leader of the hospital, retreat to the attic where the girl has been creating her own, 'optimized' versions of various comic characters. It is Brigitte who confronts the werewolf - after having confronted Ghost about the fact that she has burned her grandmother -, but they both fall into the cellar. The male werewolf dies, but Brigitte survives. Alice does not, when she goes down to look for Brigitte, Ghost hits her over the head with a hammer and sends her into the trap as well. Then she locks the almost-turned Brigitte into the cellar, using her to 'protect' Ghost - who is actually seriously disturbed and mentally instable - from the outside world.

With the end of part two, the fates of the sisters Ginger (who turns up in various visions Brigitte experiences during the second movie) and Brigitte have more or less been fulfilled - even though I would like to think that one day Brigitte (or what is left of her soul by then) will escape Ghost, probably killing the other girl in the process, and roam the world as well.

Part three of the story is set in the past. "Ginger Snaps - The Beginning" tells the story of two other sisters, also called Ginger and Brigitte (and played by the same two actresses) who stumble into a fort surrounded by werewolves who attack every night. In fact the leader of the fort has hid his own son (who's been infected himself) inside the fort and the boy infects Ginger. She manages to escape before the men can kill her and both she and Brigitte learn about a prophecy: Brigitte is meant to kill her sister so the curse of the werewolf is not cast upon the world. But Brigitte does not. She returns to the fort and is accused of being the reason for the werewolves' attack. But the men there learn the hard way not to underestimate a woman: Ginger, having become the 'leader' of the werewolf pack, comes to find her sister, opening the door for her more animalistic werewolves and taking Brigitte with her, infecting her sister so that they might roam the world together.

All three movies are devoid of the usual Hollywood beauties - maybe because they were actually produced in Canada -, but show believable characters.

Ginger and Brigitte are 'normal' girls, not outright ugly, but not beautiful in the sense movies usually define it either. They are outcasts in their high-school (in the first movie) and Brigitte looks rather sick and neglected in the second one. She's a believable 'drug addict', even though her addiction has nothing to do with a thrill, but all to do with the fear of becoming a mindless monster like her sister has (whom she was forced to kill in the end). But Brigitte is strong - even though she falls for the seemingly harmless Ghost (as probably does everyone watching the movie). Ghost seems to be a 'new sister' for her, a girl who can take Ginger's place - or rather take her place while she becomes 'Ginger' (meaning the older, protecting sister) herself. In the end she becomes Ghost's victim - but that will probably not last forever ... she only has to be lucky once, Ghost will have to be lucky all the time.

The third movie does not fit as seamlessly with the story - as the original werewolf who has attacked and infected Ginger was male and the werewolf who follows Brigitte is male, too (as are the other werewolves who obey Ginger in the third movie).

Nevertheless I have to admit that I like the third movie very much. It's a dark fairy tale with strong pictures (set in the winter when the blood will look even redder in the snow and in a desolate surrounding in which the sisters can't really escape their destiny), reminding me of the 'Snow White' horror movie with Sigourney Weaver.

The first two movies are grim, dealing with the fight for survival of two sisters who are, in a way, doomed from the beginning. The sisters - although living with both parents in a nice suburb - are alone, have no one but themselves. They have sworn to stay together until they both die - but they will not. Brigitte agrees to be infected by her sister towards the end of the first movie - she heeds to the vow, but nevertheless has to kill Ginger. In the second movie she's not really alone either, getting visions of her sister who, in essence, tells her to give in and accept the change. But Brigitte fights it - and she doesn't change like her sister does (in part three just as in part one, changing her hair colour among other things). Brigitte stays dark-haired and she is never shown as a full-fledged werewolf. Brigitte in the end does not fall prey to her instincts (in that case she would have changed completely and probably mated with the other wolf), she falls prey to her desire not to be alone any longer. Ghost seems to feel this, she instinctively plays into Brigitte's hands quite often. And she, the blond-haired girl with the long locks and the large, dark eyes, looks so innocent and helpless. So in the end not the half-changed Brigitte turns out to be the monster - it's Ghost who's the real monster. She's the mad murderer who uses the werewolf to keep her own world from being destroyed by anything or anyone outside. She builds her own world where she will reign with terror through the werewolf forced to serve her.

So there are a couple of 'Deadly Females' in the movies.

Ginger is one, awakening as a self-assured woman through the werewolf blood and finally becoming a mindless animal forced to kill.

Brigitte is one, using her physical strength coming with the change to destroy the werewolf following her to claim her.

Finally even Ghost is one, using her own 'innocence' and the werewolf she has trapped in her house, to become as powerful as she always wanted to be. Ghost has not killed, but severely wounded before (burning her grandmother), in Brigitte she finds the tool to erect her 'reign of terror' she's been speaking of during the movie.

The last picture of the third movie shows Ginger and Brigitte just outside the burning fort. Brigitte has already been infected and lies in her sister's lap, holding the already clawed hand of her sister. Unlike during the first two movies, Ginger and Brigitte are destined to be together. And Ginger has become strong, not controlled by the change, but rather controlling it. She has lead on the male werewolves - even though have already changed completely and she has not. She is more than the average werewolf and the same - the end suggests - will be true for Brigitte. They will spread the curse - the infection - throughout the country, travel far and leave behind a trail of death and destruction. The fort was just the beginning.

I personally like all three movies (even though I've yet to find the first one on DVD) very much. There aren't many good horror movies around. (I define a good horror movie by having a plausible story, good actors and a good balance between outright "blood and murder" and the psychological components.) And there aren't many movies around which show Deadly Females without really condemning them.

"Killerspiele" Update (The "Something funny on the side" Edition)

Yes, there can actually be funny updates on the "Killerspiele"-issue. This is one of them.

"Der Spiegel", a German weekly magazine about society, politics and culture, does have an online-edition. That's not something special, as I regularly follow the online-editions of various magazines and newspapers.

But today I actually stumbled upon a review for the new "Oblivion" add-on. I've written about the game "Oblivion" before - as I fear it might fall under the "Killerspiele"-issue because of the many fights and the rather illegal things you can do (steal, murder etc.). It seems that the magazine - despite being against "Killerspiele", doesn't see it that way.

Or maybe it's just because there's so much 'madness' in the add-on...

Friday, April 20, 2007

That's not all, Folks...

There's more to come yet, even though today's posts weren't very long. I'll write a couple of posts during the next days, most of them on serious topics.

Side Stories

This isn't exactly the most important thing I've ever written about, but then ... this is my blog, so I can write whatever I want.

Most manga series I read - or have read - contain side stories in all or at least some volumes. So does "Kizuna", one of the first yaoi-stories I've read (though not the first one). I prefer the two side stories in volume 6 and 9, dealing with a pair of hit-men. The story in volume 6 explains how the younger of the two - they both also feature in the main story of volume 5 and 6 - became a hit-man. The story in volume 9 deals with some mission they take over after they've gotten together again (during the main story of volume 6).

There are other side stories I like (almost) better than the main stories. One of the "Zetsuai"-volumes, for example, features the story of a bodyguard which is quite good.

And in addition they are much shorter, of course...

Anime vs. Cartoon

I found this picture online this week - actually it's a t-shirt motif. I must admit I couldn't stop myself from laughing when I first saw it - and I still find it quite amusing.

I think on the whole the picture incorporates everything anime is about - at least from a 'Western' point of view: girls in school uniforms (because that's what the 'sailor'-dresses really are), huge weapons and mechas. And in addition it also names the two major cartoons known to anybody outside the USA: Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What is it with bald women?

Or rather: What is it with bald women and the way men react towards them?

I stumbled upon this topic while browsing "The F-Word" once more. There were two articles about Britney Spears and her bald head. I personally have heard about it, but I didn't really think about it. I'm not much interested in gossip and so I wondered why anybody was talking so much about it.

Maybe I'm not the right person to judge this, anyway. I wear my hair short - and I mean really short. 'Two more inches and the scalp is gone'-short, actually. I like it that way, it's practical and I think it fits me. I'm not one of those 'girly girls', anyway. Most people I meet - especially most women I meet - also say it's good that way.

You see, I've worn my hair long for over ten years, from around 13 to around 26. So I know what it is like (and every time I hesitate to go to the hairdresser to get it cut, I just have to remind myself of the feeling in the summer heat and the hour I spent every time washing and drying it). Short hair is practical. Short hair can look sexy (though probably not on me, but that's another topic entirely). Short hair doesn't make a woman any less feminine.

Actually, if you've got a pretty face, having short hair will draw more attention to the face (as there's no long waves to hide it behind or to be stared at instead). And if you happen to have thin hair (I don't, another good reason to keep it short, because it gets quite heavy when it gets long), it looks better when it's cut short.

Okay, so you can rightfully point out that 'short hair' and 'no hair' are something different (even though, without regular shaving, 'no hair' will soon enough be 'short hair' anyway - hair grows, after all). I haven't had my hair shaved off completely either - and I think I don't have the head for it, to be honest. But I've seen women with shaved heads, as well as men, or women who lost it due to some sickness. Some of them, those with a well-shaped head, look pretty good without hair. And those who take off most hair (usually either Punks or Goths), despite their rather strange looks usually don't seem ugly to me either.

Now, one of the explanation the articles featured to explain why Britney's shaved head was discussed so much, was the fact that in past times, women's hair usually was just shaved to punish them or to mark them (for example as murderesses or mad). Even nuns usually don't shave their head completely, they just cut their hair pretty short (meaning that I'm but a veil away from becoming a saint … well, that and a lot of faith, obviously).

All cultures on earth (except for a small tribe in Africa) associate female beauty with long hair, it seems. And they associate missing hair on a woman's head with either illness or some sort of crime. Admittedly a woman with long, glossy hair usually is healthy - otherwise the hair wouldn't look good. On the other hand - unlike what some men still believe - women aren't turned off by a man's bald head (even though not all find it extra sexy).

I personally often think that associating female beauty with long hair has a lot to do with associating female beauty with passivity and vanity. A woman who works hard a lot and can take care of herself usually doesn't wear her hair long - she would have to spent too much time on it. The 'trophy wives' on the other hand - those women who get themselves a rich and successful man and just live up to societies expectations at his side - usually wear their hair long and spent a large amount of time (and their husband's cash) on maintaining their looks.

Women in Hollywood, too, usually wear their hair long (unless it's for a role they've gotten). How many female stars can you name who usually wear their hair short (shorter than chin-length, that is)?

I think it's time our culture changes. A woman should not be seen as strange (or gossiped about) just because she's bald (whether she chooses this hairstyle or has no choice). Of course, I don't deny a woman the right to wear her hair long, if she wants to. And I don't deny a man the right to love long hair on women (just as men have different tastes when it comes to clothes size, hair colour and other stuff). I just think that women should no longer think they need long hair to be pretty and men should no longer think that women with short hair are strange, sick or lesbian (or all).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What I got this weekend

If my blog were a school essay, this would rather be titled "What I did on my holidays", I know. But as this isn't a school essay (it would be waaaaay to late anyway, I've been out of school for 12 years now), it will only feature what the weekend brought me.

To make it short: one more "Girl Genius" comic, my You Higuri art book "Jewel", a sore throat and a common cold.

How I managed to get a sore throat, is beyond me, but the common cold definitely came from a colleague at work (which is over now, actually) who came to work even though he had one himself (very dutiful, but in essence also very stupid, risking to make everyone else sick).

I had planned on going to see the movie "300", but due to the first bouts of my sicknesses (can't I just have one at a time, please?), I didn't go. I guess I can live without seeing all those almost-naked men. (My main motivation, actually, I don't care about Sparta loosing a battle, they fought enough of them anyway - if men go to see a movie because there's a good-looking and scantily clad woman in it, then why can't I go see a fantasy-history movie just because of the good-looking, well-build, almost-naked guys, huh?) And I know what the story is about, thanks to Harald Schmidt, a man who can explain everything with a couple of children's toys and some food. (Watch for yourself, I hope you understand German, it's not half as funny otherwise.)

I'm now waiting for two more "Girl Genius" comics. One is on it's way … if you can trust the last email from amazon I got. I've gotten volume 1, 2 and 5 at the moment and will have volume 3 before the week is over (if I'm right and it's the one with the slaver wasps and the big battle on board the airship). Volume 4 will follow - some day. I can't really say when.

I'm also really, really happy about the art book. I own a couple of them by now - among them a Frank Frazetta art book (he painted covers for a lot of cheap paperback novels, but his pictures are great, most of the time better than the contents of the novels), a Brom art book (the guy is specialized on fantasy environments and monsters, works for books, role-playing games, trading card games and other stuff), an art book from both "WarCraft" and "World of WarCraft" and two Japanese ones ("Angel Cage" from my favourite manga artist Kaori Yuki and the "DragonBall" art book). With "Jewel" - a 'best of' of You Higuri's work - I have a third Japanese art book now (I used to own 6 "Sailor Moon" art books, too, but I'm selling them).

I like You Higuri's work (even though I like Kaori Yuki more) and most of the pictures in the art book are awesome. Some I know already - or can at least identify -, because they come from manga I know. There's a lot from "Cantarella" (a fantasy variety of the story of Cesare Borgia - go and google for the guy if you're interested in the historical background). Then there's almost all the coloured stuff from "Gorgeous Carat", a story set in the 1920s featuring an Arabian-French thief called "Noir" and a French aristocrat with the name "Floréan". I love the characters and the story (but would have liked a coloured picture from Solomon Sugar or Azura). Then there seems to be one "Gakuen Heaven" picture (though it's not the cover of the German version). Apart from those I can't recognize much, but I've already fallen in love with several, among them a very good picture of a vampire and some male couples (slash/yaoi - one of my great weaknesses). I would have liked some stuff from "Seimaden" (especially Titius, the angel-demon and his lover Zadei), but I guess those coloured works are in another art book, maybe "Poison" which I would still like to get.

So that's what I got this weekend. The sore throat is already passing and the cold will be over soon enough, too. The comic and the art book, on the other hand, will stay. While my nose is running and I think I'll be coughing up my lung soon enough, I'm really glad that it isn't the other way around...

UPDATE: I've gotten volume 3 of "Girl Genius" today, so I'm just waiting for volume 4 now...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Wasted Youth?

Another discussion on TV and another question for me: Are the young people in my country as bad as they seem?

It's true, there are bad things happening: violent videos on their cell phones, sexual phrases in their language (which my generation of 30+ did not know at that age), flat rate parties (where they can drink as much as they like after paying the entrance fee) and other stuff like that (including, of course, violent music and violent games - but this is not a "Killerspiele"-Update, so I'll keep it short).

On the other hand ... what did we have at that age? We still had "Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll" (although not the 'old-school'-stuff), violent videos on TV and video cassettes and sure, we did drink alcohol as well (though usually beer, because 'alco-pops' were not yet invented).

Violence has increased, they say. That is statistically true, I think, but I wonder if there doesn't seem to be even 'more' of it because of the media. There aren't many reports about the good kids who go through puberty the 'normal' way (with a few rows with his/her parents, maybe a few beers even though he/she was told not to drink, a little sex with the first - or second - boy-/girlfriend). That is the normal way to grow up - and yes, I think it still is.

But on TV the only teenagers you normally see are those who commit crimes, drink until they (almost) die or do other 'horrible' stuff (like playing "Killerspiele" - sorry, I couldn't help it here). You hear about teenager mothers - but nobody tells the audience "actually, about 90% of the girls have their first sex between 13 and 15, but most of them know how to use a condom or the pill correctly". You hear about violent teenagers (who usually come from the lowest classes and live in a violent surrounding in which only strength and brutality grant you respect and relative safety) - but nobody tells the audience "actually about every boy between 12 and 18 gets into fights sometimes and may or may not hurt an opponent gravely".

It's mainly due to the media the teenagers today seem to be 'bad'. They pick out the bad examples and make it seem as if that is the majority. But I think - even though I only know a couple of kids myself - that most teenagers aren't that different from their parents during that time. They want to grow up and they slowly outgrow their parents' life and rules. They want to learn about life and have to make both the good and the bad experiences themselves (like the first hangover or the first romantic date). They want to lead a good life one day - and today that means working hard at school to get good grades so you have a chance to get a good job after school.

And what is society doing about the 'problem'? Not much, actually. There's talk - but talk is a cheap way not to solve a problem. There are a few isolated tries to actually change the situation of the kids from lower classes which usually live in some kind of ghetto. But there's no straight lines, nothing that's the same everywhere.

Germany still has to change its rather unfair school system (which splits the kids up into three different types of school at the age of 12), we still don't have day-care for all young kids, we still have to solve the problem of the many kids whose parents both work, leaving them alone during the whole day.

Maybe solving those problems would also solve the problem with some of the teenagers (there's no way to solve the problems of all teenagers, of course, but there could be less violent or pregnant teenagers around).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anger = Fear?

When I went to work this morning, I had a lot of ideas about posts for my blog. I still had them when I went back home. I'm quite sure I even still had them while going over the last chapter of my current "web-master"-booklet about web-design. But then I read a thread in the MangaSzene-Forum and suddenly they disappeared. They were, in fact, overwhelmed by this one.

What was I reading, you ask?

One of the other people posting in this forum said that anger always equals fear and thus people who are angry always are afraid of something. I can't agree with that.

Yes, there are situations in which we get angry because we're afraid, sometimes we get afraid before we get angry, sometimes we get angry before we get afraid (mostly because of what we've done while we've still been angry).

"Don't get afraid, get angry" was a watchword of Susan Sto-Helit (a character of the "Discworld"-novels by Terry Pratchett) - in her case that leads to beating up a bogeyman instead of hiding from him under a blanked. To me this suggest you can either be angry or you can be afraid. This seems right to me, because from my experience fear makes me want to hide or even paralyzes me. Anger on the other hand propels me forward, makes me do things and start fighting (in my case usually with words, I'm not a big believer in physical violence).

If, of course, you see the primal survival instinct of every creature as fear, then you're probably right. A lot of our anger, I think, comes from there. But that's not what I would see as fear. Fear suggests for me that there is something (a person, a situation, a thing) to be afraid of. I've found I've been getting angry (and started bitching in this blog) a lot without being afraid.

I watch the world around me and see things which are amiss - for me, not because they threaten me in any way, but because I hate injustice. And if I hate things, I get angry about them - most of the time, that is.

But injustice is not fear, and neither is it in any way related to it. I don't see something as 'not just' because I fear it, I see it as 'not just' because I have a list of 'just' stuff in my head and it doesn't fit with that list.

Animal getting treated badly are on that list of 'unjust' stuff, because I see animals as living beings and thus they, for me, deserve respect. The same goes for women - or men, it starts these days - getting treated like things, because they look good, or don't. It's unjust to judge a being by it's looks alone. Sharks, spiders or snakes usually aren't 'pretty' or 'cute', but the are useful and deserve to live - and to be respected. The same goes for an ugly man or woman who have their use (in other words their talents and suchlike) as well.

Sometimes we attack out of fear as well, yes, but that's not anger than, it's just a reaction because of the fear itself. So even in those cases the equation 'anger=fear' does not work.

So by now I wonder about two things: what happened to all those ideas for posts I had until around eight this evening and what kind of life do you have to lead in order to think this equation is right? I doubt I'll get an answer to any of those questions...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Some more games

Some time ago - January, if my .zip-archive is right - I wrote about a computer game I bought online: BeTrapped. A couple of weeks ago I bought two more games: "Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst" and "Inspector Parker".

The two games are different in some ways (the "Mystery Case Files" are a game where you have to search for certain objects while "Inspector Parker" is a logical game in which you have to sort the suspects, weapons, motives, victims, clues and means of disposal through statements made by the suspects), but similar in another one: they're both set in a 'crime solving' environment. I love 'crime solving' environments.

Let's have a good look at Ravenhearst first. To the left of this paragraph you will see a picture of the picturesque front porch of the large mansion. As you can see, Hercules with his mobile river would have been quite welcome for the spring cleaning...

The point of Ravenhearst actually is to find a certain number of objects in this picture and gather them as evidence. By playing through the many rooms of the house you will slowly unveil the mystery of the young woman who has disappeared inside - but I still have to find the right seven-letter-word to open the final door...

In addition to the search inside the very odd pictures of the various rooms (can you find the steak in this picture?), there's a number of puzzles in which you have to rebuild pictures to get new pages of the woman's diary. They are quite interesting, too. And there's various doors with ingenious lock-mechanism you have to open.

Inspector Parker (see picture on the right side of this paragraph for the Inspector, the victims and the suspects) on the other hand is a logical game (as BeTrapped, which actually features the Inspector as player character). It is set in a large mansion whose owner - Aunt Agatha - has been killed.

In every level you are given a certain number of rooms - from six as three rooms a row in two rows in the first level to 36 as six in six rows in Level 10 - and a certain number of statements (as, for example, the dagger was left of the poison in the same row). By working your way through the statements (starting with weapons and suspects and working up to suspects, weapons, motives, victims, clues and means of disposal [six of each] in the last levels), you sooner or later find out where everything and everyone was. Then you learn about who did it with what to whom and so on...

During the game you work your way up from police academy to the post of Chief Inspector - quite a career.

I have to admit that I like "Inspector Parker" even more than "Mystery Case Files Ravenhearst", mainly because the levels (which change with every game) keep me entertained longer than the search on the pictures in the other game (and I'm still frustrated about not finding any clue about the word I need to open the last door...).

Oh, by the way: the steak is on the lower right side of the large cello (or whatever else that musical instrument is).

Is it really always discipline?

Discipline is something I can't really grasp most of the time.

For example, as I'm overweight, I guess people look at me and say "she doesn't have the discipline to exercise and diet, that's why she's fat" ... though usually not to me.

But do other people, people who are slim and exercise regularly, really have more discipline? After giving it a thought for over a week, there's just one thing I can really say to this: "I don't think so!" And this post is about the "why".

I don't like to exercise, so for me doing it regularly would afford discipline - and yes, I know I'm lacking it, but I fight my lack of discipline every day, even though I can't always win. But is it discipline if a person who likes sports exercises regularly? Doing something you really like has, for me, nothing at all to do with discipline. Doing something you really like is fun. And we all like fun, don't we?

Spending about two hours every evening in front of the computer and writing (posts, stories, other stuff) is fun for me, but I guess a lot of people would need a lot of discipline to do that.

So does it necessarily mean that somebody has more discipline, if he or she is thin? He or she might, for example, absolutely adore all sorts of sports and thus exercise very regularly - then it doesn't matter what the person eats or drinks during the day. He or she might also just enjoy living mostly on vegetables and other food that is low on calories and will not appear as fat on his or her body.

I was, by the way, inspired to this post by last weeks edition of "Hart aber fair", one of the TV-magazines I watch regularly. There a woman who admits she doesn't like sitting still somewhere and "doesn't feel well without jogging at least once a day" claimed that all the overweight people are just too weak to be as disciplined as she is. Well, if I "didn't feel well" without running a couple of miles every day, I surely wouldn't be overweight either, would I? But I probably wouldn't have the time or the discipline to write a post like this one after eight hours of work (even though, as I'm writing this on the Thursday before Eastern, I won't have to get up early tomorrow and I will go to bed late - what can I say, I'm a night-owl).

"Killerspiele" Update (The "I start to believe some journalists have lost their minds" Edition)

And another update on the "Killerspiele"-crusade.

A couple of weeks ago "Panorama" reported about "Killerspiele" in a way that made my blood boil and made me write a long email to them in order to complain (I've written about that in another post). This time they reported about people getting dependant on computer games - and before the actual report was shown, they expressed their surprise and concern about the many people writing heated and even angry letters and emails about that last report. They, or so the people at "Panorama" saw it, "were afraid to loose their favourite games". Of course, they could not have been angry because of the stupid and outright wrong stuff told in it...

This really has made me wonder about the worth - and the mind - of some journalists. I can understand that every person - and every TV-station - has a certain point of view on things. I can even understand that someone who is not interested in computer games might see some of them as brutal and dangerous for children.

What I can't understand is the way they use every means possible - especially the ones people will not realize immediately - in order to make everyone else believe this is a true, unbiased report. Okay, they don't like computer games. Okay, some politicians don't like them either. But to use the "Killerspiele"-hype just to get some more viewers or readers?

This isn't 'investigative journalism', even though the people at "Panorama" may think it is. This is just appealing to the non-player's lowliest instincts.

So, the way I see it, either the journalists have lost their minds or their morals … let them decide which would be worse.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Got my first "Girl Genius" comics

On Saturday the first two issues of "Girl Genius" arrived - I have ordered all five of them over amazon.

Now, as I already wrote, "Girl Genius" is an online-comic - so, in essence, I could read them over the internet without having to pay any money ... as I do have a flat-rate. But to me there's even more than one good reason to actually buy the comics.

1) I like reading comics while lounging on my couch - and I can't do that while reading them online.

2) I know how fast a website can disappear ... and that would mean not being able to read them any longer - hardcopies are more reliable.

3) The pages definitely look a lot better in print than they do on the screen - and even if I downloaded them all, I still would not be able to get them printed out in this high quality (or only for a price even higher than the comic books).

I'm still waiting for the other three issues (volume 3-5 of the series), but they should arrive sometime during the next two weeks. Then I'll have them all and even be able to actually read what happens in the gap between "Girl Genius 101" and "Girl Genius Advanced" online. (Both areas are still growing and that means that there's actually something happening between the first page of "Girl Genius Advanced" and the currently last page of "Girl Genius 101".) In addition there is a side-story I haven't read before at the end of volume 2 (the one at the end of volume 1 is online, but the other one isn't it).

What I find most amusing - as I am German - is the very generous use of German words in the comic (from names like "Klaus Wulfenbach" or "von Pinn" over the "Jägermonsters" [and their hilarious German accents - I love them] right to "Götterdämmerung"). They are fitting, but it's not something you find often in comics.