Thursday, May 31, 2007

Why not here?

And another post with a picture, though in this case the picture is just for show ... and as an eye-catcher, admittedly. The post itself only extrapolates from there.

The main character of this manga is a host - and the manga itself, as the title suggests, is slash, but that's not the main point here. Now, I could write books about slash, but this isn't a post about it. Nevertheless, hosting clubs feature quite often in such manga, I can name at least four without really starting to think. In "Kizuna" one of the two main characters works in a host club. In "Kiss Me Teacher" by the same author one of the main characters actually owns the same host club (so there's a little cross-over with the two stories at a Christmas party). One of the main characters in "Love Mode" also owns a host club and some of the featured characters work there. Then there's "Blood Hound" (not slash) where the main characters (five vampires) also work in a host club. And now there's "When a Man loves a Man" which is set in a host club as well.

That bears two questions: Why aren't there any host clubs (I know of) outside Japan and, for most of my readers, probably, what the hell is a host club?

We'll start with the second question. What is a host club?

Basically a host club (or Ladies' Club) is a night club especially for women. The club employs several young men, the hosts, whose job it is to devote their whole attention to one of the customers while she's in, starting at the door and stopping once the woman has left the club. The men are paid handsomely for this, so only rich woman can afford to visit such a club often - and become regular customers of one of the hosts. Normally - or let's say 'officially' instead - the hosts do not sleep with their customers (but what they do in their spare time is their own decision), so it's not some kind of brothel for women. Those clubs are, as far as I know, not found outside Japan.

But why in Japan? Because Japan still has a very patriarchal structure in which women are usually dominated by men. It is not unusual for women at work to be sexually harassed and - as they usually don't hold high positions - there's nothing they can do against it. The same goes for their spare time. Women in Japan rarely lead such a self-controlled life as the women in western countries. Even arranged weddings aren't unusual. (Although, to be fair, the man doesn't have much to say about that either. Usually the parents of a woman or man they think should marry contact someone who will arrange meetings with acceptable future partners and during the meetings it is determined whether the two would fit together - but women usually have less to say about it.)

But in modern times, Japan also has women in higher positions (or who are widows of rich men) who want to relax somewhere exquisite and have money. And everywhere in the world money is a good reason to start a new type of business. So the Ladies' Clubs were opened where these women can't only drink expensive drinks, but also are 'served' by good-looking, young men who - unlike most men in Japan - are very polite and obliging towards them. The hosts take good care of the women, they greet them at the door, chat with them and give them the impression of - for a change - being the most important person in the world. Of course, some of those men also sleep with the women, but that's not part of their duties as a host - that's rather an additional way of making money for the men and is done somewhere else (a 'love hotel' for example, but that's another story).

This brings me to the first question: Why do those clubs only exist in Japan?

Everywhere in the world (or at least in the western countries) a man can 'rent' a hostess for a certain time, can visit clubs with her and so on (and in may ways those hostesses, who aren't prostitutes, are like the hosts in those clubs, except for the fact that they don't have a fixed place of work). But what can a woman do, if she has money and wants some company and a nice evening? She can call a callboy, but that is a more 'dirty' way, because callboys are, in essence, actually paid for sex. The Japanese businesswoman on the other hand can go to a club, choose a host she likes and have a good time with him, once, twice or even (provided she's got the money) every night. That's not considered something 'dirty', because the official business is 'companionship' and not 'sex'. Even 'normal' women sometimes go to those clubs sometimes - most often with their friends and in large groups.

So why isn't there anything like a host club outside Japan? Admittedly women in other countries often are more emancipated, but on the other hand, then there should be something like a host club in those countries. After all, why shouldn't a woman have the same right to amusement in her spare time than a man?

Actually, if I knew more about the principles of leading a business, I might start one, though probably not in my home town - it's too small.

A shocking discovery!

Going through my books today, I stumbled over a shocking prove that all the theories about the life of people in medieval times are wrong. It looks like this:

As you can see, the lady of the house is already seated on her horse, ready to go to work and says good-bye to her husband in a very touching and loving way. He, on the other hand, is already wearing a good armour so he might survive a day of childcare without being severely injured by their charming kids who, after all, have to train just in case another war happens. (And it did, as we know, about once a year during that time.)

That's a joke, of course. I took that picture from a book about fairies, though I'm not completely sure who's portrait on it. Probably one of the great mythical couples ... though I'm not really sure which one.

Nevertheless, wouldn't it be nice if my theory about the life in the medieval ages were right? If women had been going to work then and men had staid home?

Ridiculous, some people would say, but is it really?

In Germany men more or less expect a woman to stay at home because she has children. Then mother stays at home while father drives to work (unlike my personal theory in which father stays at home and mother rides to work in the morning). That means, especially for women who have studied, to either throw away the years they spent learning their trade or to dismiss the thought of ever having children at all.

Who's to blame for it? Society, that would be the easiest answer. But easy answers aren't always right ... or at least not completely right.

Society has to do with it and that can't be ignored at all. But apart from the conservative people in Germany who still haven't put their heads around the concept of a woman giving away her children during the day while going to work without being a bad mother automatically, there's also the women themselves who, during the emancipation, have made a mistake.

Sometime during the whole process of emancipation that started in the late sixties, the women tried to redefine themselves be being women (which on the whole is not a bad idea) and sort of glorified everything female from our monthly 'problem' to being a mother. I personally don't see anything feminine in glorifying that certain week every month and I don't see the point in glorifying being a mother either - not the way they did it.

Before that women became pregnant, carried out their children and raised them, that was all. They didn't spent most of their pregnancy reading up on the principles of 'natural birth' or how long to breastfeed their babies. They were rather glad, I should think, to live in a world which held medicaments against pain during the birth and they stopped breastfeeding after a couple of month because they wanted to get out more (and before the beginning of emancipation no woman would have ever dreamt of feeding her child right in the middle of a restaurant or other public place ... as that would have meant baring her breast, naturally, and that was considered amoral).

In Germany the women started celebrating their womanhood during the eighties (opposite to condemning it during the seventies when women were not considered Feminists because they shaved their legs or armpits) - which isn't really bad - and that included proudly feeding their babies in public places. It also included being the absolute super-mom, including taking the babies to countless different courses and events and spending hours reading up on every subject. (Former generations had asked their mothers, aunts or other female relatives or friends whenever a problem with raising the baby occurred, but that was too easy for a super-mom, I think.) Well, you simply can't be a super-mom and do a full-time job at the same time. The day only holds 24 hours, after all. And that 'super-mom' ideal somehow has become anchored in the minds of the women today, together with all the things the conservatives have to say about the 'right' behaviour for a woman.

And all this is the reason why Germany has a declining birthing rate... But don't tell the politicians, they don't want to believe it anyway. It's true, though, most women would be more happy to have children, if they knew their kids were cared for well during the day (starting with some sort of pre-kindergarten for infants from six months or a year onwards, including enough places in kindergartens that are open long enough for parents to pick their kids up after a day of work, and finally ending with schools that last until well into the afternoon, both keeping the children somewhere safe and making sure there's a teacher helping them with the homework [instead of the mother, as it is now]). The whole discussion about shortening the years children go to school (especially if they attend the highest form of secondary school we have in Germany) would be easier to solve if the children simply went to school longer every day, just as in other countries in Europe.

And then: Maybe if we really changed the whole issue of caring for the children for a couple of years (as in the picture above), everything would work out just fine - because a man surely wouldn't want to be forced to stay at home instead of having a career, just because he has kids.

So, let's do that, girls, saddle your horses and ride to work, let your husband deal with the kids!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My fandom is random

... and I really, really, really wish I could claim the copyright for this motto - but I can't.

Nevertheless, I think it characterizes me well. I'm not one of those hardcore fans. I've never been. There are actors, writers, musicians and so on I like a lot, but that doesn't mean I automatically buy or collect everything related to them.

I like Johnny Depp (as I've already pointed out in my post about "Pirates of the Caribbean 3"), but that doesn't mean I watch every movie just because he's in it. Admittedly I like a lot of the movies he's in (like "Sleepy Hollow" or "From Hell"), but that doesn't necessary mean I like them all (I've never been a fan of "Edward Scissorhands", for instance).

The same goes for music. I like P!nk, for example, but I wait until a few songs from a new album are aired on TV or radio before deciding whether to buy the new album or not.

I could play the same game with books as well ... and with TV-programs and everything else you can be a fan of.

I've never understood the almost religious kind of fandom some people practice. And sometimes I think that, at least for them, it really is some kind of religion. All those ecstatic feelings people usually associate with religion are transferred from a belief that's not really inspiring them to the actor, musician or whatever of their choice. In other words, the churches would need real important pop stars to become 'cool' and interesting again. No wonder a slight atheist like me isn't really affected by this.

Instead of praying to god, people plaster their rooms with posters of their favourite actor or spent most of their spare time wearing Starfleet uniforms or learning Klingon (I've had a look at it when I was about 20 or so, but the only thing that interests me in a new language is how to curse, thus I haven't learned the Elvin language from LotR either). And teenage girls are the worst fans, most of the time. Remember "Take That"? When they split up, some girls actually committed suicide (or at least tried or threatened to).

And just yesterday I read in a forum that another member had been to "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" and unfortunately sat right in front of Orlando-Bloom-fangirls who were ooh-ing and aah-ing during the whole movie and always explaining the latest scenes to the others (and just to annoy them, I would really like to spoil a little secret of the movie: he doesn't ... no, I'm not doing it, not right now, in a couple of weeks, maybe). I was lucky, there were just a few Russians behind me who, very silently, explained the most important dialogues to one of them.

And yes, I, too, enjoyed watching a movie with two very good-looking male actors in the lead. But so what? Men storm into movies just because a good-looking actress is playing a leading role. Am I supposed not to admit I do the same (albeit because of some good-looking men), just because I'm a woman? I don't think so, gentlemen!

But back to fandom. Wanting to spent some time (maybe even in a Femdomish way) with a certain former elf isn't exactly fandom (and doesn't he look good coming up from that tub in the beginning of "Pirates 3" - bound already and all wet) ... that's dreaming. (And I could give you a list from here to the moon with good-looking guys, both famous and not, I'd like to spent some quality time with and have in my dreams - and it would be written in small script. But I leave that to E - although I have to agree with her on a shocking number of those good-looking guys.) That's not fandom, it's (erotic) fantasy.

My fandom, as I already stated, is random. As in "not really specified and certainly not fanatic" (which, accidentally, is where the word 'fan' comes from). I may be a fan of one song, one movie, one book, but for me that's no real fandom ... that's just my taste. And it changes, the list of my favourite songs, movies, books and so on grows fast (which is why I haven't given it at Blogger). And some of them fall out of that list later on - see the post about my sins of the youth.

I guess, I'll keep it that way. And I still really, really, really would want to own this motto:

My fandom is random!

Learn to live with it!

The Black Adder

From what I have gathered from various sources, the British comedy series "Blackadder" isn't very widely known outside Britain (I know it mainly because a German-French culture station called "arte" aired it a long time ago - and I now own the DVDs). That's too bad, because it shows Rowan Atkinson can do much more than just play stupid (as he does in "Mr. Bean").

The series can be split into four parts, each of them showing six episodes out of the life of one member of the Blackadder family (all of them called Edmund). The first Edmund Blackadder is the younger son of a British king and always (in vain) trying to get on the throne. The second Edmund Blackadder is an advisor to Queen Elisabeth I. of England (played by Miranda Richardson, these days better known as Rita Skeeter in "Harry Potter 4" or the evil stepmother in "Sleepy Hollow"). The third Blackadder is the butler of prince regent George of England (played by Hugh Laurie, these days better known as Dr. Gregory House) and the fourth Edmund Blackadder is a soldier during World War I (or II, I'm not sure).

I personally prefer "Blackadder the Third" - because the way butler Edmund deals with his admittedly rather stupid master is so funny (and because Rowan Atkinson looked rather good in those eighteen-century-clothes - or at least better than in his other costumes in the series). Among the six episodes I like "Sense and Senility" (in which the prince regent wants to learn how to deliver a public speech from two actors) and "Amy and Amiability" (where a marriage seems to be the only way of solving the prince regent's money troubles) best (the last is featuring Miranda Richardson as well, this time playing a supposedly soft-hearted girl who turns out to be a dashing highwayman at night).

In addition to the series (with about 30 minutes per episode) there's a Christmas Special called "Blackadder's Christmas Carol", which is, when you get down to it, an upside-down version of Dicken's "Christmas Carol" we all know, featuring the good-hearted Ebenezer Blackadder who, after seeing the past and possible future of his family, becomes an ill-tempered, crooked man (just like his ancestors, too).

There are two actors in the whole series that never change ... and not change much as far as their roles are concerned: Rowan Atkinson playing the various incarnations of Edmund Blackadder and Tony Robinson playing the various incarnations of his servant Baldrick. Apart from that there are quite some by now well-known actors in guest roles (such as the aforementioned Miranda Richardson or Robbie Coltrane).

My tip for you would be: if you have the chance, watch them! There surely is worse ways to spent 30 minutes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My favourite "Tomb Raider" returns

I'm probably one of the few women who can remember the first "Tomb Raider" game. I bought it sometime around 1997 and loved it - even though I never got very far and the characters looked a little cubic then.

Now Eidos is releasing "Tomb Raider Anniversary", a remake of the first "Tomb Raider"-game. I'm just downloading the demo while I write this (so I'll have ample time for it) and I might write another post about how good or bad the game really is.

When it was first released, "Tomb Raider" was a novelty ... the first action game with a female main character. Lara Croft surely looked female (even then she was extremely 'well build', though she didn't look really curvaceous then, because of the limited ability of graphics cards to produce really rounded things), but she also was quite tough.

Her enemies were mostly animals or mythical creatures (and who can really complain about a woman killing a minotaur?) with a few mercenaries or other baddies thrown in for the harder fights.

Apart from killing her adversaries, Ms. Croft also had to climb and jump through the levels (and her movements have increased with every new game since) and solve some minor problems (mostly by pulling levers and moving about blocks). This made the game more interesting to me - when it came down to just shooting, I could have played another ego-shooter instead.

There's a lot of "Tomb Raider"-games out by now, it's been ten years since the first, after all. But even though some of them seem a lot more interesting at first (like the fifth game, not named "Tomb Raider 5", because instead of going on with the story, it reflected the past of Lara Croft who, presumably, had died at the end of the forth game), in the end it's the first one I remember when someone says "Tomb Raider".

Lara had a long way to go then before she would finally reach the heights of popularity, even featuring in an advertisement on TV (for a women's magazine) and a music video ("Ein Schwein namens Männer" by Die Ärzte). I personally like the music video (which is still shown on TV sometimes today) a lot, showing the three members of a German punk band fighting against Lara - and loosing.

But all the time - in the two movies as well as in the other games - Lara always stayed the self-assured woman she was from the very beginning. And in the modern media which take up interesting characters and twist them around until nobody can still recognize them, that's a good thing.

I'm still waiting for the game to download - and I've planned more posts for tomorrow -, but for now I'll stay with this:

"Tomb Raider" is still one of my all-time favourites and I still like Lara Croft a lot.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Whew, what a movie

I'm just (two minutes after midnight on Friday the 25th of May) back from "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" and the title of this post somehow sums up what I think about it.

As I know that the movie starts this Friday in the United States (whereas I watched it on Thursday where it started in Germany, as I said, I'm just back from the movie), I won't tell you much about the story, so I don't spoil the fun for you. But even without discussing the story as a such, there's quite some things I can tell you.

The movie has everything I could have hoped for after part 2: action, fun, twists you don't expect and of course Johnny Depp. But this isn't a post about Johnny Depp. That post would be much shorter, because I somehow doubt I would write much before getting ... distracted.

What I can tell you about the story isn't too much, except that almost nothing turns out the way one would expect. That's good, because there's not much I wouldn't expect. Usually the fact that I get a lot of things right (even though I was right about one thing concerning Davy Jones) before they are mentioned in the story makes me feel a little cheated. I mean, I pay my money for the movie ticket or the DVD and then I know what's going to happen before even half of the movie is through - but not with "Pirates", oh no. Surprises right up to the end, that's the movie.

As far as action is concerned, there's nothing missing really. From fistfights over swordfights right up to full-scale ships locked (in every meaning of the word...) in battle. The action of the movie is fast-paced - exactly what I like - and pinpointed with touchy or funny moments (like the strangest wedding ceremony I've ever seen).

Fun makes up a lot of the movie as well - just as in the other two. Jack Sparrow is always good for a joke or a funny situation (and, without really spoiling, there's more than enough of him in the movie ... yummy). Some might say they overdo it, but after the rather depressing start of the movie (and no, I'm not going to tell, see it for yourselves, if you're interested), the fun works out even better, at least for me. Right up to the end when Barbossa thinks ... and Jack has ... but, no, I'm not really going to tell. Or the "my telescope is longer than your telescope"-scenes. Men, what else can you say about them...

My tip, if you want it, is this one: Go and watch the movie! Yes, take the three hours and enjoy the large screen with the large pictures - and the great sounds.

Normally I don't comment on sounds, mainly because I don't take them in very consciously, but this time I will. The music works out great, always in harmony with the pictures. And I like the sound effects, too. And the strange 'stone-crabs' (but that's got nothing to do with the sound). Enjoy the movie, it's worth the ticket price.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Guys I like

This post, too, will contain a lot of pictures. I have actually taken care of not picturing any real actor in this post, because to me it is far more important what those characters represent than what the real person would look like. They are just fictitious characters in games or animated movies. So let's begin, shall we?

Alucard (Hellsing):

In the case of this picture, it's the Hellsing OVA about which I've actually written something in the past. Alucard is a midian ... that's 'Hellsing-speak' for vampire, but usually is used for stronger vampires, vampires that were not (Warning: Spoiler ahead!) created artificially. There are some other midians around in the story, mostly shown is Alucard's 'child' Seras Victoria - a young policewoman who gets mortally injured and changed by him in the first OVA.

Alucard actually is - as volume 8 of the manga informs the readers (Warning: Spoiler ahead!) - nobody else but Dracula himself. (Well, I didn't see that coming, it wasn't as if his name would tip anybody off ... just kidding here.) And he has a variety of different looks, but this is what he looks like during most of the story. Quite cute, huh (he really is, but the picture I chose more reflects his dark sides)? Except for the eyes, of course, but that can't be helped (although, admittedly, Seras has blue eyes in the OVA, unless she's using her vampire powers).

What do I like about Alucard? Well, first of all I have a thing for the dark guys around ... I'm not a fan of Prince Charming (no, not even when Shrek is the alternative, give me an ogre every time ... at least I know where I stand then). Apart from that he's sarcastic (and without the vow "no physically real people" Dr. House would have made it into this post) and has a very low view of humans - although he serves one. And if this weren't a post about guys I like, his mistress Integra would be in it, too. He is very old, cunning, dangerous and likes to fight ... a lot.

Pater Alexander Anderson (Hellsing):

Okay, nominally a Roman-Catholic priest would be a good guy. So am I acting against what I just stated? No, not in this case.

Actually, Anderson is a mystery wrapped up in an enigma to me. Up 'til volume 8 of the manga I thought he was younger than the leader of the 13th division of the Vatican, Enrico Maxwell. Now, there's another guy with pale hair (see below), but Enrico isn't really my favourite as far as the 13th division is concerned, Anderson is. But during the manga it turned out (Warning: spoiler ahead!) that he actually knew Enrico as a child, so he must be a lot older than the rest of the division. As he's a regenerator (he can even regenerate head-shots, a good thing if you want to go against Alucard, by the way), that can actually be explained ... shocking.

Anderson is a Paladin of the Roman-Catholic church and absolutely believes in cleaning the earth of all monsters - and a few protestants and other heathens, if the chance presents itself... He's very hard to kill and only gives up a fight when he really, really, really has no chance to win it (unlike some dumb heroes he knows it's better to "live to fight another day"). Together with Alucard, he's pure dynamite, naturally. They obviously were born to fight each other, as none of them can really defeat the other one. Alucard can't be killed by any means working on a 'normal vampire' (not even by beheading) and to stop Anderson, you probably would have to ground him into very fine powder (and even then, keep it in a thick safe somewhere far, far away).

What I like most about Anderson is his total devotion to his cause - and the fact that he looks after orphans whenever his fighting abilities are not needed. Not married (Roman-Catholic priest, remember), likes children, won't die in a car crash on his way to work one day and loves to fight? Perfect combination ... except for the priest-thing, of course.

The Witcher:

As the game isn't even out yet, I've got no real idea about this guy, but he looks good (provided the rest fits, I like guys with pale hair, again, Lucius Malfoy only didn't make it into this post because he's played by a real actor).

I have learned from the articles about this game that he's a loner, more or less fighting for himself. That's what I really like about heroes (and it's too bad I can't get "Discworld Noir" to run properly on my new computer, I'd have another anti-hero to show then), especially about the slightly dark ones. And judging from the cinematic trailer I've taken this picture from, this guy really knows how to fight, too. Hasn't just got a sword, but magic and a chain as well. (To all Femdoms out there who might be reading this [as I'm listed on a Femdom blog, thank you very much, E, you made me so proud to be writing all this stuff]: Yep, he comes with his own chain, but it might prove difficult to tie it around him.)

Prince Arthas (WarCraft 3):

The only guy without a picture, currently. Think of his looks as a Witcher with greenish-blue eyes and a very pale face - he's undead, after all, currently even housing the spirit of the Lich Lord.

During the four campaigns of "WarCraft 3" (the main program, not the add-on), I've grown accustomed to Arthas as he's the hero in the first two (having been a Paladin before he becomes an undead knight). I've also seen how he turned bad while at the same time thinking he was doing the right thing, although probably not while killing his own father in his throne room... But by that time, he had lost his soul already.

What I like about Arthas is that he's a tragically bad guy. He was setting out with good intentions and ended up destroying the very kingdom he fought for - very ironic. And of course, as with all of those guys up to this one, he's a good fighter.

Well, this really turns out to be a post about fighters, doesn't it?

I happen to like men who know how to fight. For one thing, fighters tend to have muscular bodies, but not 'pumped up' too much (that would make them too slow and the perfect fighter in my eyes is agile as well as strong). They also don't shy away from pain, otherwise they wouldn't be in the business.

I also like bad guys ... who else could keep up with my bitchy side? No, really, I've never been interested in the nice guys, the princes, the heroes. They are just too easy to see through. Bad guys have a lot more hidden underneath, these days. (And, coming back to Shrek, I could also say "Bad guys are like onions, they have layers".)

Motivation is a very important thing

Well, I take my work seriously - most of the time. And if you take a look to the nice, little picture on the left side, you know why. That is my motivation ... at least one of my motivations. This poster is situated above my computer, so the panther can snarl at me whenever I dare to look up from my work - "Queen of Teria", currently (well, most of the time).

Admittedly, after looking at this poster for more than two years, it doesn't work that well any longer. I know this cat isn't going to jump out of the poster and attack me, because I don't work as concentrated as I should.

Another reason for this post - apart from that stuff about motivation - is the fact that I happen to own a digital camera by now. That means I can add photographs to my blog from now on, provided they fit with the posts.

Oh, yes, and this is my main problem:

Believe it or not, there's my laser printer somewhere behind this twin heap of DVDs and books...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Digital Beauty

First of all: I've first seen this clip in a now defunct blog - actually the blog which inspired me to get one myself. It's not only defunct, it even has been deleted and the link now leads (or at least once led, I haven't checked it out in a while) to a website with sexual content. But I remembered this clip because it made me think "every young woman should see this clip, preferably before she hits puberty" then and it still does now.

The link to this clip actually was presented to me in a new thread of the "MangaSzene"-Forum, together with another one I will show as well, but at the bottom of this post.

The clip is titled "Dove Evolution" and, as you have probably seen, shows how much work, both in the 'real world' and the computer, is necessary to create the perfect image of today's models. The problem is: most women don't realize this.

They think that there's only some make-up and maybe the perfect lighting and that's that. The whole, rather new process of recreating the whole picture in the computer is something they don't know much about.

'Recreating in the computer' to them maybe means smoothing over a few pimples and correcting a few areas where the light wasn't optimal. But they would never think you could actually change the whole face, lengthen (or shorten, but to that, see the second clip) the neckline and, basically, rebuild the whole picture. Even I could do some of those things at home - and I'm neither a professional, as far as that is concerned, nor do I have some top-of-the-line professional software (my image processing software did cost me shocking 15 euros at the closest electronic market and, from my point of view, has been worth every cent).

That's, basically, what the new thread I mentioned is mostly about: the question whether or not our idea of 'beauty' is still realistic in a time when everything can be created in the digital world.

Well, 'beauty' was always a little bit unrealistic ... that's what images are all about, usually. Someone, a person, a painter, these days a programmer maybe sets a trend and everyone tries to follow it. Ever since Twiggy, the ultra-thin model of the Sixties, models have become thinner and thinner.

That is, I think, basically also because in the modern world, at least in those countries usually called the "First World", we have more than enough food, so very thin people are an exception. When, in the dawn of mankind, people rarely had enough to eat, they idolized fat women. In the western countries women with a slight Asian look are considered 'exotic' - in Japan women invest a lot of money to get their eyes 'opened' a bit more through surgery (so they look like someone from the west) and dye their black hair to look less Asian. In other words: Fashionable isn't as much 'fat' or 'thin', 'Caucasian' or 'Asian', but always 'exceptional'.

So, in a few years, there ought to be a backlash from all those super-thin models, provided enough women use everything at their disposal to get as thin as possible ... then the 'fat' women will be an exotic minority. (Well, a woman can dream, you know.)

But now to the second clip. It's called "slob evolution" and was linked in the same forum. As is often the case, there's at least one possible parody to every interesting movie you might find online. And as the "Dove Evolution" has had quite a lot of viewers, somebody created the complete opposite: how to turn a good-looking young man into the guy you get after having been married to that cutie for twenty years. It's shocking...

Monday, May 21, 2007


As I happen to live in an area of Germany where strawberries actually are harvested, I consider myself quite lucky, because during the season (roughly from May to July) I can get them for a moderate price - and fresh from the fields, too.

Currently I'm looking at the first little cardboard box filed with large, red, ripe strawberries that smell like heaven and taste even better - the perfect mixture between sweet and sour that makes fresh strawberries so great and me wonder why people want to spoil that taste with sweet cream (not that I'm set against cream myself...). They are great ... and I'll have quite some of those little boxes by the time the season is through this year.

Actually, strawberries are quite healthy, compared to some of my other vices...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I've finally cracked Ravenhurst!

Last month I wrote about the two last games I bought over ICQ (because I like games I can play while writing stuff or doing other things at my computer, games who look good running in windowed mode and don't need a CD to run). One of them was "Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst" which I didn't manage to finish due to not being able to open the final door. Now I have.

Finally I've cracked the last lock and freed the spirit of an unhappy young woman imprisoned there by an insane lover. You can see the final screen of the game below this paragraph (and the corresponding first screen above it). I was actually a) underestimating the lock mechanism (and I shouldn't have, considering the locks I'd seen before in that game) and b) concentrating far too much on the word instead of the keys. I'm not going to post the solution here, because it's too much fun to find it out by yourself.

Now that I know how to finish it, the game itself has become a lot more interesting than it was before ... because not being able to finish the game after having arrived at the last puzzle was quite frustrating. I'm quite good at finding all the objects right now (even though there's some things [and some English names] I have a hard time identifying) and so I've managed to make it on the top of the 'Best Agents' list the second time I finished the game (which was necessary, because I missed taking a screenshot for this post the first time I did): Agent Reet 02:23:45 (compared to the first time with 02:59:45). Little update: the third time I made it in 02:04:07.

That means I've finished all the games I bought online ("BeTrapped!", "Inspector Parker" and "Mystery Case Files: Ravenhearst") at least once right now. Maybe I'll go looking for some new games sometime in the future, but not right now.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Barbie Game

When I opened a parcel from amazon, containing a game, a novel and three DVDs for my father, my first thought regarding the game was "Oh my God, I bought a Barbie game!". Even though I have revised that first thought by now - the game is good enough for a business simulation -, the first impression still remains to a certain degree.

Admittedly, the game in question is "Beauty Factory", so a certain amount of 'feminine' looks is to be expected. Keeping the whole package in pink is a little overdoing it, though, I think. In fact, pink is one of the dominant features of the whole game, the leading colour, if you want to put it that way. And that got me thinking.

Make-up and perfume surely are things women usually know more about - even though today a lot of men seem to use some make-up and a masculine perfume as well. But does 'things women usually know more about' equal 'pink'? I'm quite sure it doesn't. Or is this just a way to ensure a lot of women buy the game, being remembered of the pink packages of the Barbie-dolls they played with as young girls? There are some Barbie computer games ... but they usually are for kids while a business simulation usually is played by people well in their teens or even older.

On the other hand I own "The Sims 2" and all current add-ons ... and none of them has a pink cover or package. That might not seem important, but it is, considering that "The Sims 2" is one of the few computer games played almost equally by men and women. If you can sell millions of copies of a game to women without using a pink package, that can't be an important marketing factor.

Adventures are another type of game which women play a lot and they usually aren't coming in a pink package either. So what's the point in aiming for women to buy a game that might be of interest to men as well? The contents of the game - managing a company in the beauty business, arranging the various goods that are produced to follow the trends, keeping an eye on production and advertising - aren't especially feminine. You don't need to be a woman to grasp the way trends are followed in the game, it's just a question of arranging the percentage of certain components in the goods (two are given within a certain span, the third has to be guessed and everything can be fine-tuned with some testing). But I doubt any man will be bold enough to pick up this game in a shop and take it to the cash register - except, perhaps, while saying "it's for my girlfriend, you know" like a mantra over and over again.

I know pink is just one of a whole host of colours, nothing special and even nice in the right surroundings (and as the owner of a website with links turning pink while touched by the mouse, I shouldn't say too much against pink, I guess - but the whole website is basically black and besides red [which I use as regular colour for text] pink is one of the colours that work best with black). But sometimes I just wish pink wasn't associate that much with female things. It starts with baby clothes: light blue for boys and pink for girls. What's the point in that? Babies are not really interested in the colour of their clothes. Then there's the whole package from clothes to shoes to satchels right down to details like pens or pencils, everything in pink for the little girls while boys have quite a range of colours to choose from. Luckily my parents didn't fall for that...

And why pink? If you want to distinguish between boys and girls, you could use warm colours for girls and cold colours for boys (or the other way around, of course). Then you might use blue (even light blue) for a boy, but you couldn't use pink for a girl, pink is just a paler version of purple - and purple is usually counted as a cold colour, too. For a girl you could use everything from pale yellow to dark red, including orange which is a nice colour. So, why is pink so 'cute'? Because girls blush more often than boys? That's not really the case any longer ... girls are brought up differently and not as innocent or naïve these days.

I don't want to ban pink completely, but it would be nice if people could stop using it to bait women - it's both counter-productive (because men don't even want to get caught dead with something pink) and useless.

A very good tip

While I was going through my blogs, I read a post about Lee Child's novels on "E is for" which got me curious. This resulted in me buying a novel myself, "The Hard Way", which I have read in a day (or rather half of it). That's not absolutely unusual, I can read more than 600 pages in six hours, provided the book is interesting. This one was.

I've shied away from the novels before, because both the covers and the titles of the German translations suggest they have a lot to do with military - and I'm not much interested in anything that has to do with the military (of our world, I can live with military in other worlds). But Elisabeth's post about Jack Reacher has gotten me interested and the description she gave of him sounded like the kind of guy I'd like to read about. I have to agree with her about him being a very interesting and, from the descriptions given in the book (and right at the beginning of it as well), very attractive, too. And what she wrote about the women in the books fit perfectly as well. I like a strong and self-confident man meeting his equal from the other gender. It makes the stories much more interesting than your usual "Hero saves the helpless little Damsel in Distress" - even though, in the end, Jack does quite some "saving the helpless" (and the description of his one-man-war against the bad guys in the book was interesting to read, as violent and brutal as it was - they deserved it, anyway, especially their boss).

I would be hard pressed to name another author I've read who's that capable of writing both the silent stuff (touching scenes and suchlike) and action. I've got no idea about the whole military complex (and I rather cherish my lack of knowledge in that area), but the story was convincingly written and fit together very nicely.

I guess during the next couple of months I'm going to pick up the other novels, one after another, although I doubt I'll imagine holding Jack when I'm done with them ... but then, blond men have never really been my favourite anyway. (And amazon is really your friend when it comes to finding books in foreign language, so I'll get them in English.)

The Mother-Trap

Being a woman in Germany is a "no-win" situation: If you have no children, then you're an egoist who is refusing to do her duty as a woman; if you have children and stay at home, one half of the people will say you're lazy, and if you have children and work, you're a bad mother for the other half of the people. So whatever you do, you will loose.

But even if you manage to get around this problem - and there's hardly a way to do so -, you're not out of trouble. The number of children is very important, too. One child isn't enough - after all the German populace is shrinking and two children from every woman are necessary to keep the numbers stable. But a woman with four or more children is considered "asozial" (a word which doesn't exist in the English language, at least not with the same meaning). It means she is considered to behave anti socially - in Germany most people understand it like this: she only has that many children because of the money she get for them and because she doesn't want to, she will not bring them up the right way and so on. Just imagine everything bad that can be said about a child's upbringing and you get the meaning of this word. So you may only have two or three children.

Our numbers are dwindling and instead of changing the politics, so that women can be more certain about their future while having children at the same time, the politicians cement in the old-fashioned picture of the full-time housewife with her two or three children. There's loads of single moms in Germany, but there aren't enough places in kindergarten around (and forget about a place to put you child in when it's younger than three). There's loads of mothers who simply have to work, because otherwise the family can't survive, but they don't have place to put their children in and they get a bad conscience because they're 'bad mothers', leaving the care of their children to strangers (as if a woman would not know the workers at the kindergarten she takes her child to). And there's highly qualified women staying at home, simply because society frowns on them keeping their job, until it's too late for them to return to it - just because they've been out of it for too long.

Politic doesn't necessarily change society, but politics create a base on which society can be changed. If politics give women the chance to prove that being a mother and having a job work together, then maybe women in Germany will have more children - which would benefit society and politics.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Femdom? Not sure...

As I've been reading a lot of Femdom-blogs lately, I have started thinking about my own approach on the whole relationship between men and women. Could I be a Femdom and not know it?

I'd probably be the first to admit that I'm not terribly experienced when it comes to relationships (I'm a loner and I don't long much for relationships). But even when I was a teenager and - like every teenager - dreaming of having a lover, I hardly managed to get the whole "being rescued by Prince Charming" thing right.

I don't like to become passive, to submit and let other people take care of my life ... especially of my love-life. I don't like to stand somewhere blushing nicely when a good-looking guy talks to me (and I've hardly felt that tongue-tied feeling when forced to talk to boys during my teens). I don't like waiting for someone to make a move on me. I always thought that, as a modern woman, I was entitled to introduce myself to another person (male or female) on my own.

So the whole fairy tale world of the handsome prince appearing to rescue the fair maiden doesn't appeal much to me. What's in it for the maiden, anyway? Being the nice, little wife while a stranger from another country will rule the country she's grown up in? Good-looking or not, that's not what I want from life ... or from a relationship. I can support myself (and, as I've written in the last post, don't want children anyway) and I don't feel bad when being alone, so why should I put up with a man who will treat me like a trophy or like a possession?

Sometimes I think I don't feel like prey, but like a predator. I don't want to be conquered, I want to conquer myself. But does that make me a dom? I'm not much of a sadist (though that greatly depends on the person I'm facing ... some people make it very easy for me to want to hurt them), at least not in real life. But I like being the one who calls the shots, the one who controls the situation (call me a control-freak, I don't care).

I like to be 'on top', though not necessarily physically. And I can understand doms like Bitchy Jones pointing out that the dom should get something out of dominating the sub. Yes, if I'm calling the shots, there's nothing to be said against being the one on her back while I'm getting what I want ... satisfaction. A slave is supposed to serve and the master (or mistress, it's just a label anyway) is supposed to be served. And I like to be comfortable while being served (I'm a lazy bitch anyway).

So, am I a dom? If I were, I'd be a Femdom, naturally, I'm a woman, after all. I can't say and currently I can't experiment around to find out (no relationship). But I think I will keep in mind one thing from those blogs:

Being a dom doesn't mean being a dominatrix (which is good, because I surely would look ridiculous in a tight latex dress). Any woman can be a dom, if she wants to.

Female Emotions

Sometimes I really think something is absolutely wrong in Germany. I learned a few days ago that there's something called the 'German Question'. The question meant by this is "children or career?". Strange as it might seem, this actually is an important question for people in Germany ... especially for women in Germany.

In most other countries, this isn't a question at all. Women have children and work in their jobs, carving out a career for themselves (or at least earning their own money and thus being more secure socially and financially). In other European countries the children even are better cared for than they are here. German kindergarten just means putting your children in a place where they have someone to play with and are sort of 'stored' until it's time for them to go home (in short terms) or go to school (in long terms). Even school still is a problem for the mothers. In Germany, children usually attend school from around 8 a.m. to around 1 p.m. - and afterwards they have to go to either their parents or someone who takes care of them (such as a grandmother, aunt or suchlike). Other countries teach children even in kindergarten (though playfully) and keep the children in school until the early afternoon (at least until 3 or 4 p.m.). Under those circumstances the mother can work full-time and does not have to worry about her children the least.

For me, this question will not be important anyway, because I do not intent to have any children ... and if you say something like that in conversation, people stare at you as if you just mentioned you like your human meat raw.

As a woman in Germany I'm supposed to want children, want them badly at my age. But why? I'm not good with children, I don't harbour many motherly feelings, I don't have a stable relationship (even though in the times of sperm banks, that would not be absolutely necessary) and I don't really want to bring a child into this world. I know my parents would like to have grandchildren, but they've come to terms with my point of view a long time ago.

Nevertheless, people treat you as if you were a monster, once you mention this notion. It is not said, of course, but thought quite often that every woman really, really only longs for the moment she has a child of her own.

It's quite different for men. A man who says "I don't want children" is not treated like an abomination. People probably think "once he's found a wife, he will have children, because everybody knows that all women want children and make men want them, too" or something along those lines.

But why do people think like that? Because generations of scientists, philosophers and other 'experts' for the female mind (most of them men, of course...) have told us that's what women want. Any woman not getting weak-kneed and longing for children whenever she sees a baby somewhere in the streets, therefore must be a monster, something inhuman, somebody insane. Well, I don't get these feelings whenever I see a child. I think babies are cute, but I don't want one myself. I would be more than happy to support a woman with children, but that doesn't mean I'm longing for having them myself.

It's biological, they say, it's what women were made for, to carry out the next generation (and the whole 'biological' excuse also works for men being unable to stay faithful). It's God's plan, they say, women are supposed to have children while men are supposed to care for them. But is it, really?

For a long time we women have been the 'weaker sex', the gender that needed to be led on by men, that needed to be controlled and restricted. We've broken free of a lot of these bonds, but not of all. Those hardest to overcome are those anchored most firmly into the human mind ... like the whole "all women dream of having children" prejudice.

I remember quite well when I first told my aunt I didn't want any children of my own (I was about 7 then). She just said "once you're grown up, you'll change your mind" and patted my head. Well, I think at 32 I can say I have grown up ... but I haven't changed my mind. I still don't want children. And, honestly, I'm fed up with the way people look at me whenever I mention I don't want children. It's my goddamn decision!

And if I have to hear that whole "that's so egocentric of you"-spiel again, I think I'll get violently sick and throw up over the person stating this 'fact'.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Human ethics and their problems

As I've been watching a discussion about a completely different topic (weight), there also was a vegan who argued that all animals were almost as intelligent as humans and thus we should not eat them.

The problem I have with vegans and vegetarians as such, is one of morale and ethics. The way I see it we, the humans that is, are just animals as well. We are intelligent, that is true, but intelligence is our means of survival, nothing more. Other animals are not as intelligent as we are - at least the way we define it. I seriously doubt that - and not because of what the scientists say, but because the way I see it, only intelligent beings survive on the globe we call earth (and yes, I know our planet is rather an egg than a globe, but usually people call it a globe).

Vegetarians declare it wrong to eat meat - and usually not because of health, but because of morals. Vegans even go one step further, they declare it wrong to use any kind of animal product, including milk, eggs, honey or even leather - because of morals, too. If I could ask any predator on earth (and biologically speaking we are predators, too, we eat meat, we have 'fangs' - though not very strong ones - and we originally had a lifestyle based on hunting animals … and eat fruits, vegetables, roots and so on in addition), they would only say "so what" when faced with the fact of their prey being intelligent and able to feel pain or joy as well. They don't lack intelligence, they only lack morale. And I don't think they're unhappy because of it.

A vegan - like the one on the show - may claim he/she doesn't "want to force people to adopt the same lifestyle, but just to make them aware of the facts" (about animals), but the truth is: if they could 'force' (or maybe rather 'enlighten') people immediately that their lifestyle is the right one, they would do it. They do illegal things to "make people aware" and even though I'm not a fan of those "chicken farms" were the poor animals are kept under circumstances that aren't just a bit off from treating them well, but rather completely breaking all moralistic and ethic rules of treating any living being, I don't think break into these farms and take the animals out is the right way. The farmer usually has an insurance and will just buy new chickens. If the vegans just had adopted that lifestyle out of their own ethics, they wouldn't talk about it - except perhaps when they invite people for dinner for the first time and say "you know, I don't use any animal products, so we'll have a wonderful meal made out of vegetables and other plants and it will taste just great because I've been cooking that way for quite a while now".

And I sometimes thing: "Why don't go the way completely?" If I don't want any living thing to die so I can live, than I can't eat any living being, that includes plants. Of course, that surely would be a problem, because humans are not able to use photosynthesis or can filter their food from the soil.

Again: I'm not a fan of industrialized farming, but I see the point in it ... there's too many people on this planet to feed them the traditional way. So either we decimate ourselves until 'traditional' farming with free-roaming animals can sustain us (and given the fact the industrialized countries seem to be loosing populace, that could happen) or we have to accept the fact that we need to 'produce' food in industrial ways. In that case we should work out ways to keep the animals at least in a humane way (meaning giving them the chance to live quite well).

I've finished it!

Woohoo! I've done it! I've managed to finish the Night-Shade website! (At least for the time being, whenever I finish a new story, I'll have to include it.) And not only that: I've expanded the categories from "Stories", "FanFiction" and "Slash" to "Stories", "FanFiction", "Slash" and "Teria" (where I'll publish the Teria-stories, starting with "Queen of Teria" which is currently growing slowly, but steadily).

Now that I've put all currently finished stories (and the finished chapters of longer stories except for "Queen of Teria") online, I can lean back and continue writing. Putting up one additional story will take about 5 minutes (not including the upload, but that's not taking more than a minute or two either).

There are some projects still running (and not including the short stories I've started writing and not finished yet), including two crime-stories, some fantasy, an almost finished slash-story (which would probably only need another two or so pages) and that new "Queen of Teria" project (yes, this continued advertisement for "Queen of Teria" is brought to you by the "A not so average woman" blog - be happy I'm not trying it for real).

Back to the website, though. I've already gotten an idea for changing the index-page (that's the first page you seen of a website). I've sketched up an interesting symbol for the site and would just have to work it out and scan it and work it out some more and put it online and change the current index-page into a main-page.

But I've always already had a good idea for changing that site which is why I don't get around to work on my second domain "Geschichtenschmiede".

One day I'll do it, though ... it can only take a few more years ... or decades ... or centuries (and I don't think I'll make it into a new millennium).

Monday, May 07, 2007

Talk like Jägerkin

Actually Hy schtumbled over dis site by exident vile lookink for anodder vun linked to de "Gurl Genius" site. But Hy found it so amusink, Hy hed to vrite a post about dis.


Actually I stumbled over this site by accident while looking for another one linked to the "Girl Genius" site. But I found it so amusing, I had to write a post about this.

This short paragraph has been Jagerized. What that means is that it has been translated into the kind of very heavy, German-looking accent the Jägermonsters in the "Girl Genius" comic speak. Now, if you're from an English-speaking country ... or consider English a foreign language and are not from Germany, Austria or Switzerland, you will find the first paragraph hard to read, I think.

I rather find myself thinking about older people in Germany speaking English, because this looks a lot like they sound (because their teachers knew written English, but couldn't pronounce the "th" correctly to save their lives). And as I have a soft spot for the Jägers, I currently feel almost forced to translate the rest as well...

Oops, already happened:

Dis schort paragraph hes been Jagerized. Vat dat means iz dat it hes been trans-lated into de kind uf very heavy, German-lookink accent de Jägermonsters in de "Gurl Genius" komic schpeak. Now, if hyu're from an Engleesh-schpeakink kountry ... or konsider Engleesh a foreign language und hain't from Germhenny, Austria or Svitzerlund, hyu vill find de first paragraph herd to read, Hy tink.

Hy radder find myself tinkink about older pipple in Germhenny schpeakink Engleesh, be-kause dis looks a lot like dey sound (because der teachers knev vritten Engleesh, but kouldn' pronounce de "t" korrectly to saff der lives). Und as Hy hef a suft schpot for de Jägers, Hy kurrently feel almost forced to translate de rest as vell...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

That's me

Yup, that's me up there, Mara Croft, Tome-Raider. I could very well live with that image of me. (But again it's a t-shirt-motif.)

Of course, raiding libraries is much more dangerous than raiding tombs, you know.

Admittedly, such a tomb may have a lot of traps: rolling boulders, falling floors, wild animals or other un-nice things (ups, spent too much time reading "Nodwick", I start to sound like Piffany).

But a library has librarians, that's a much more dangerous species than any creature out in the wild. They can make you cower in fear with a hissed "silence", the average lion needs a loud roar for that. And for reasons I can't quite understand, it is frowned upon taking your trusted guns with you into the library - I've never heard or seen anyone complaining about taking those guns with you into an ancient tomb.

A certain time of the month

Yes, I admit, it's that certain time of the month for me as well ... although I don't grow fangs (which probably would be less of a problem and may even mean less bloodshed).

When I stumbled over this picture (also available on a t-shirt), I thought that every woman should have one and wear it a week a month (women will now know what I'm talking about - if they haven't realized it before). It would spare both us and the men a lot of trouble.

And I personally would be grateful for a slight change in the human physique. I'd rather grow fangs and fur and a tail once a month than have that other 'woman's trouble'.

A picture fitting for my blog

While I was surfing the net, I stumbled over this picture which is actually available on a t-shirt. I found the motto quite fitting ... after all, that's how it is - I blog and therefore I exist (because if I didn't exist, I couldn't blog, see?).

"Cognito, ergo sum" is a motto my family is fond of, anyway - even though in my father's case the right translation would rather be "I think, therefore I'm mad" (I'd rather take "I think, therefore I'm dangerous"). But I mean that in a nice way - after all, we're all a little bit mad, especially those of us who blog. It takes a slight madness to share more or less personal thoughts with the whole world.

And it takes a slight madness to change the world - that's a lesson we all should have learned from history.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

WarCraft and I

Today most people associate the name "WarCraft" with the online role-playing game "World of WarCraft". That is not where the world comes from, though. I'm not playing "World of WarCraft", but I'm a fan of the original real-time strategy games. Read on to learn more about the 'true' "WarCraft".

In the 1990s the first "WarCraft" game came out, "WarCraft - Humans and Orcs". As far as real-time strategy goes, the game was nothing special. You could play both sides, humans and orcs, but the gameplay was very much alike for both. The graphics were nothing to write home about (but then, that went for most games at that time) and the campaigns were quite repetitive - always "build up a base and then destroy the enemies' bases".

A few years later the sequel "WarCraft II - The Tides of Darkness" was released. This time the creators of the game had done better, both with the graphics and with the gameplay. The two fractions had gotten more interesting, the missions were better designed and there were quite some cut-scenes. Still, both the humans and the orcs were pretty equal in playing. The game actually sold well enough to produce an add-on: "Beyond the Dark Portal" where the players could see the original world of the orcs and battle a few demons.

There was a long silence after "WarCraft II". Blizzard produced "StarCraft", for the first time creating a story that only worked out when you played the three campaigns in the right order (something which "WarCraft III" forces the player to do), and the game is still played regularly, even in e-sports tournaments.

Finally, in 2002, "WarCraft III" was released. "WarCraft III" sparked a little revolution in real-time strategy. There were no less than four different fractions to play: Humans, Orcs, Undead and Nightelves. The campaigns had to be played in a strict order: Humans, first, followed by the Undead, the Orcs and then finally the Nightelves. That way a story was created, telling a tale of the Undead attacking the human kingdoms at the same time when the Orcs are leaving it (and later on meet the Nightelves in their new home), following the advice of a strange prophet.

Another new invention was the principle of heroes. There weren't just special units that had to stay alive, they had an inventory and earned experience points, just like characters in a role-playing game. There were a lot of them, about three for each fraction (though one of the, Arthas, has to be counted twice then, as he features in both the Human and the Undead campaign). Their types (Paladin, Arch-Mage etc.) could also be played in free games or multi-player duells.

The graphics in this game are quite good (even after 5 years) and the cut-scenes are among the best I've ever seen in a game (especially the one at the end of the Human campaign when Arthas comes back and kills his own father).

Unsurprisingly the game, too, was successful enough to get an add-on: "Frozen Throne". The currently last chapter of the real-time strategy game ended with Arthas becoming the new body for the Lich-King (the master of all Undead).

So there's a lot of story behind "World of WarCraft", actually. The story of a long war between Orcs and Humans sparked off by demons that has by now ended, because in the 'old lands' the Humans have been eradicated by the Undead and in the 'new lands' both had to cooperate to survive. But the Lich-King has awoken and there's a new thread coming from the north ... so we just will have to wait and see.

All my Heroes

After I've learned that I'm actually Batman (I'll move to Gotham City after my cash has been transferred to my account - little joke here), I started to think about my own history with the superheroes from the comics.

When I was five or so I got a large pack of comics from a cousin - Spider-Man, if I'm not completely mistaken. I didn't understand a lot about them - I was five and couldn't even read properly. That was my last brush with superheroes until my late teens. Oh, I read comics, but not those about superheroes.

I've never seen the point in most of them, to be honest. Batman was interesting, because the characters were not as 'good' and 'bright' as those of most other stories. I mean, Superman is the absolutely good guy. He's nice, he's friendly and he's the absolute geek in real life (every 'normal' man would realize at some point how to impress Lois Lane). That's why I prefer Lex Luthor (even before the extremely good-looking Michael Rosenbaum in "Smallville"): he's not nice, he's not friendly and if I were caught in a room with him, only one of us would walk out alive (thought it could be a close call, I can be a bitch if I'm in a bad mood). The same goes for most of the other superheroes, male or female, which is why I usually prefer the bad guys (I've cheered Darth Vader on in a "Star Wars" night ... and I wasn't alone, he got a lot of applause in the movie theatre). I like heroes with issues ... heroes who aren't as good and nice. The Dark Knight, as Batman is called (again) today, can be scaring, but he has his mission, he has his means and he's determined to go through with it. I like that in a man - in any human being.

So, as I actually am Batman, I guess I can live with his character...

I'm Batman, apparently

Today I did a little quiz online after stumbling over it on the "A Dom's life for me" blog. It lists a lot of questions about your character to deduce which hero you could be. I did all the questions honestly and, apparently, I'm Batman.

The actual answer (in percent) was I share characteristics with some heroes like that:

Batman - 71% (well, I always liked him, but I'm a girl)

Lara Croft - 67% (the right gender and we both like history and archaeology)

Neo (from "Matrix") - 63% (well, black sunglasses and a long coat are cool)

William Wallace (Scottish hero) - 58% (fights for right and is not afraid to die)

Captain Jack Sparrow - 54% (I guess I'm missing his fine sense for fashion, though)

The Terminator - 42% (and I wasn't even asked about a possible accent, lucky me)

The Amazing Spider-Man - 38% (but I would like to crawl up walls like he does)

Maximus - 38% (a tie, and I've got no idea who he is)

Indiana Jones - 33% (cool, but I'm German, that doesn't fit)

James Bond - 25% (a true gentleman - which obviously I'm not)

El Zorro - 21% (well, I can't speak Spanish and I can't ride, so what do you expect)

But I think that 71% are quite high, given the fact that I'm neither a man, nor rich, nor living in Gotham. And I don't have trained all my life to avenge my parents either (would be difficult as they're still alive, luckily). As I'm one of the few fans "Batman Begins" actually seems to have, I can't say I'm devastated. And I always liked Batman a lot better than most of his colleagues from the Justice League (actually, during my youth in Germany only Captain America [may he rest in peace] and Superman were widely known, apart from Batman, of course, and some guys from the Marvel Universe).

And if I take the first five heroes listed, the ones I have most in common with, I can't say I'm disappointed (even though I'm not a "Matrix"-fan). Batman, Lara Croft, Neo, William Wallace and Jack Sparrow are not the worst people to be compared to (and William Wallace is even a real person). I would have been quite devastated had I been a lot like the terminator, but only 42% are acceptable (he wears sunglasses and leather a lot, is a loner and doesn't obey the laws, after all).