And then everything changed

Samstag, 17. Dezember 2016

Sonntag, 4. Dezember 2016

There's always a reason to celebrate

My 25th year has been a tough one so far, both personally as well as on a global context. My boyfriend is still looking for a job, I'm not really happy with my part-time job either, and so on. Plus: Trump won the presidency and the country I once thought of as a possible future home (because my boyfriend is from the US) is now ruled by someone who wants to exclude Muslims from the country, forbid abortion, stop the fight agains climate warming, and much more. It really scares the shit out of me. Will I even still be welcome there as an immigrant?

There are a million reasons to worry and be afraid and frustrated and desperate. There are so many reasons to spend every evening under a thick blanket, hoping that all the bad in the world can't reach me there. And on many days I feel like doing just this. But yesterday my boyfriend and I held a festive Christmas dinner party for friends. Despite everyhing.

And it was wonderful. We cooked for our guests and the food was great. We drank wine and talked and laughed and played games and for one evening it seemed like all the problems can't touch us. Not today. Not when we're with each other. Not when we're celebrating. The darker life and the world becomes, the more I notice the little moments of light and pure joy which make it beautiful.

So even if there are a million reasons to despair. Look for the one reason to celebrate. Even if it's just celebrating that you're still alive and sane in these crazy times. There's always a reason to celebrate. You just have to look close enough.

Donnerstag, 24. November 2016

What I learned after re-watching Game of Thrones

I know, I know, I'm posting a lot about Game of Thrones, but it is the greatest still running show, in my opinion. This might be the last Game of Thrones themed post in a while though because unfortunately the next season is still a long wait away. Which is why I decided to re-watch the entire series over the last couple of months. The second time around there weren't any suprise moments left, of course, but on another level I enjoyed the show even more this time, because I understood and appreciated charaters and plotlines which previously couldn't catch my attention. Here's my experience:

I still love the characters I loved before

My taste didn't change so much, that I didn't swoon over The Young Wolf Robb Stark or over season 4 Jon Snow, or over Jaime Lannister in general. I am still rooting for Sansa Stark and enjoying Tyrion's wisdom and wit. I am still interested in Theon's story and still have a weird attraction for Ramsey.

I still hate the characters I hated before

The great thing about re-watching a show, is that this time I can skip over all the story lines I don't care about, namely pretty much the entire story of Danaerys Targaryen. I don't know what it is about her (it might just be the actress) but I just can't stand watching her without being annoyed. I also think that her story so far was quite repetetive. Unfortunately from season 5 on, she has scenes together with Tyrion as well as later with Theon and Yara Greyjoy, so I missed some of their scenes, too, and man, I missed Tyrion.

Other story lines I skipped (though I don't nessecarily dislike the characters) are Bran in season 4 and Arya's entire Bravos story line which is nerve recking.

Some characters I hate a little less now

Near the top of my hate list was also Melisandre. I'm still no big fan of her (I mean, come on, the things she does are really messed up) but I can appreciate her a bit more now. In the end, she is an extremely powerful witch. She definitely killed Renley, and she might have caused Robb's and Joffrey's deaths, too. Also, she is able to bring someone back from the dead which is incredible. I don't like Melissandre, but I do think that you shouldn't mess with her.

Some characters I appreciate a lot more now

The second time I watched Game of Thrones I found that I enjoyed so much the smart characters, who are not as remarkable as the main acts but are actually pulling the strings in the background. There is Tywin Lannister who, despite his evilness, actually knew what he was doing and made his family strong. There is Varys who knows everything about everyone. The fascinating thing about Varys is that (though he is manipulating) he actually just wants the best for the country. He saved Tyrion in season 4 because he believes that he is the only one who still genuinely wants to make everything better and who is able to do so (which is absolutely right - Go Tyrion!).

But the character I admired most for his wisdom and control over the situation while re-watching Game of Thrones is definitely Littlefinger. The more I pay attention to him, the more I realize that Littlefinger is absolutely brilliant. He predicted turns and events long before they happened. And he was always in control. Noone ever knew where his loyality lay because he was always playing on his own team instead of on one of the big houses'. Which is why he is the only character who was always in control of what he was doing, especially since the moment when he helped Sansa to escape Kingslanding. 

He married her aunt, then killed her, defending Sansa, and earning her trust, just to sell her off to Ramsay. And I am sure that he knew what kind of person Ramsey was. I am actually quite certain that Littlefinger gave Sansa to Ramsey simply for the reason that he will mistreat her so badly, that she will have enough anger to re-take Winterfell with Littlefinger on his side, which is excactly what happened. Yes, this was an evil plan and his interest in Sansa is really pedophile, but he knows how the world works and I wouldn't be suprised if he still had a long way up.

And some characters I understood better now

I feel like now I understand the relationship between Cercei and Jaime and especially Jaime as a person a lot better. I always admired their relationship, not for the incest of course, but for their unconditional love and their stability which is a rare thing on Game of Thrones. But only now, that I re-watched the show, I understood that their relationship is not balanced at all. Jaime loves Cercei with all he has. She is the only woman he every loved, both emotionally and physically. And he says again and again that she is the only one who matters to him. Like, the only one. Not even his kids matter. Only Cercei.

Cercei on the other hand doesn't love quite as unconditionally. She has affairs with other men. She also repeatedly pushes Jaime away and even sends him away from Kingslanding several times. For her what matters are her children, then power, and then Jaime. Which is a huge difference to the love Jaime is giving her, and I'm sure that this will create a conflict soon.

But Jaime sill loves her. Which also makes a bit more sense of the awful scene in season 4 we all ignore. I hate this scene because 1. it's not in the books and 2. it's totally out of character for Jaime. Or so I thought. Now, that I watched the rape scene again, I realized that it's not so senseless at all. Because right before it happens, Jaime says "Why do the Gods make me love a hateful woman?" which sums up his dilemma with Cercei. She wants power and she's evil (which Jaime in his core is not) but he loves her nevertheless. And this kind of love is dangerously close to obsession. The development of Jaime and Cercei's relationship is one of the plots I am most looking forward to in season 7 because yes, Jaime does love her a lot, but we have also seen that he betrayed her once before to free Tyrion in season 4, so he's not entirely loyal.

Montag, 14. November 2016

Stop being a grumpy asshole and have a good laugh #3

When life gives you lemons, ignore them and look at funny memes instead, preferably this Game of Thrones edition.

Contains Spoilers if you're not up to date with the show.

Freitag, 4. November 2016

100th post: Writing was my first love

I can't believe it, but this is my 100th post on this blog. It seeems so much because I honestly remember every single one of them really well. So, for this post anniversary, I want to write a bit about my first big love in life, which was writing. Writing has been an important part of my life for as long as I know how to write. Here's how it all began and how I got were I am today.

As soon as I learned how to write, I already wrote short stories. They were cute, but ridicolous, childish stories. I am pretty sure that my very first story was called "The monster in the alley" and that in end the moster of course collapsed into a million pieces.

When I was ten, we wrote short stories in school. I remember that one time we had to continue a story where the first sentence was given to us by the teacher. I wrote an awesome story about a dystopian society, a prison, a radical group of fighters and a man who once belonged to them and now challenged their leader to fight for death. My teacher love it. Little did he know that I stole it from the movie "Postman". Usually I didn't steal my stories, but they were greatly influenced by the books I read and the movies I watched.

When I was eleven, we learned how to write newspaper articles in school. It was so much fun and my teacher even told my Mum that I was talented and should become a journalist. Ever since then journalism was my one aim in life. I thought I new excactly what I wanted to do and I did everything to get closer to this, including numerous internships at newspapers and magazines and later freelance work.

From then on all I wrote where articles. As a teenager about celebrities and fashion and movies and books. Later about politics and society. To write fiction or other literary texts didn't even cross my mind. I even read very little.

Only around eight years later, when I was 19 and had taken a semester off my studies, did I once again start writing fiction. I decided to write a story for my friend, a hymn to our friendship, but also a love story with a tiny bit of fantasy. After that I now and then wrote several other stories, during my semester off, during my semester abroad in the US and when I was back at my studies.

I have a weird relationship to writing. On one hand I absolutely love it, it's my way of expressing my creativity and it's pretty much vital for me. I write every day, sometimes in my diary, sometimes blogposts, sometimes fiction. Writing is my outlet and in many ways I would go crazy without it.

On the other hand I don't really enjoy the process of writing. Actually, while I'm writing, especially when I'm writing fiction, I suffer, I feel like I just put down useless words on a page. But what I do enjoy (a lot!) is to read what I have written. Usually it turns out not as bad as I thought while writing it. I love having written something, seeing my words on the screen or on the paper. It's one of the most satisfying feelings I now. I also like revising and observing how my text becomes better.

One year ago, in fall 2015, when I was 24, I found an old exposé on my computer, a High School story, and I thought to myself, this is actually pretty interesting, I should work on this. Just then my university offered a class called Work in Progress where you work on a novel, so I took it. I started writing a youth novel which was loosly based on my old exposé, but I changed a lot, made the center of the story something different, changed the plot, and cut out tons of characters. In the writing class I presented my texts and got feedback from my peers and my teacher. I was so nervous but in the end my writing improved a lot through it and it helped me so much to share my writing with others. Even more now did I believe in my story and wanted to continue, hoping that one day it might turn into a book.

I am still working on this book now. I am five chapters in. I have again and again modified the plot but I still believe in the story. My university doesn't offer the writing class anymore, so I have started my own writing group with some other students, and every other week we meet and read out our texts to each other and give feedback. It's fun and most of all it's extremely motivating. My writing has changed a lot. I don't write whatever comes to my mind anymore, but I follow a plan and I try to uphold my writing voice which I have painfully discovered or rather created over the last year. I like working on one big project, writing a novel, and I love sharing my work. For me sharing my work is what really makes it worthwile.

As my blog was born out of this passion for writing too, and in honor of NaNoWriMo, I hope my story inspires you to pusue your passion, whatever it may be. When I was younger, all I wanted was a job where I write, but now I don't even care anymore. I just want to write in my freetime, at best every single day.

Mittwoch, 26. Oktober 2016

Where do I go from here? (A quick update from my life.)

My life is finally moving forward in some ways. My trainee program at a publishing house of one and a half years is officially over and I have taken up my graduate studies again. Which is extremely weird. I feel so many things at once, that in the end I seriously have no clue what I am feeling, except an overwhelming feeling of confusion. Well this is life, right?

On one hand I am delighted that I don't have to work any more because at many times my job really made me go crazy. There were extremely stressful times, to the point where I got physically sick from it, and I especially disliked working with unreliable and chaotic people. It's just a great relief that I don't have to worry about this anymore.

But on the other hand, my job was a really important step within my developement and I am so glad that I decided to give it a chance again and again. Besides all the skills and knowledge I gained in this job, the most incredible thing which happened because of it, is that I developped a sense of who I am or at leat of the person I could be. When I was younger I was often very insecure, but my experiences in the last two years proved quite the opposite. I was social and outgoing, I got along great with people, and I even enjoyed being amongst people. I learned that I am (at least partly) a person who is liked by others and this truly opens up so many doors for me. Above else, it gives me a sense of security and confidence, because I learned to belief that whatever social situations I will get thrown into, I will do alright. I can handle this. I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. And this is amazing.

But still: My excursion into working life didn't give me a sense of direction at all. In contrary, I know even less now what I want to do with my life. In fact, the whole concept of being an employee who has to show up every day to certain times might not be for me. Of course I have to work, and I am working two part time jobs now, to support myself. But I have started thinking that the classical way of working (the 9 to 5) might not be the best option for me. Even more, I have realized, that the ideal of a job which will enable me to fullfil my purpose and live my passion, might not exist - and that's fine. It's totally fine to have a simple, not challenging job to earn money, and find fullfilment in your hobbies and relationships. Maybe I will think differently about this in the future, but at this moment in my life, this is exactly what I am doing.

I am happy but also a bit overwhelmed by taking up my studies. It's a lot of work and I 'm already behind though it's only a couple of days into the semester. But I don't mind it because it interests me and I do belief that I can learn a lot from it, not only in my major but also personally.

While I have moved into the next chapter of the story of my life, my love is still stuck at the end of the last one. My boyfriend is still searching for a job. It all takes so long and it's so exhausting. I hope that he'll soon find a job, so that we can move forward together. I think this is the reason why I am so confused about my feelings. I can't leave him behind. We have to find a future together. And this is just what we'll do.

To sum it up, the Buffy cast (as always) says it best:

Samstag, 15. Oktober 2016

Things I've learned after opening my eyes to what's going on in the world - Part 5

I always try to have a balance on my blog between career and relationship posts, pop culture posts, and now and then a post on serious issues. Which is why I regularly share the most interesting, shocking, fascinating and important things I've read about in the newspaper on here. Here's my latest edition:

* an article stated the true idea, that violence creates violence, and amok creates amok, it's like a virus, it also said that 60% of persons running amok announce their plans beforehand

* an intersting interview with a security officer in Israel was about how Israel protects themselves in a state of constant terror (which we in Germany are fearing to soon have right here, too), measures they take are: cyberequipment of the police, surveillance of social media, if someone is thought to plan a terrorist attac they talk with him or her as well as their parents to send the message 'we are watching you', listening to phone calls, saving license plate numbers, and cameras everywhere

* there was a fatastic essay by Elisabeth Raether which stated that we, the liberals, are the new elite, which is why the ironic thing is that the poor are voting for Trump while the eductaed elite are voting for Hillary, we liberals have the power now and we speak out for black people, trans people etc. but we leave behind the ordinary people (the white straight men), the same tendency can be seen in Europe, many poor folks voted for Brexit because only the wealthy have the privilege to actually travel Europe and see how awesome it is

* 65 million people are currenty fleeing and/or refugees, more than at anytime past WWII

* there is now a new camera technique, which we call in Germany "Lichtfeldtechnik", it means that you use lots of cameras from all angles, so that you can edit and focus etc. after the actual shooting and the camera man therefore becomes redundant

* the space probe Osiris Rex is exploring the asteroid Benno right now, the ultimate goal would be to find rocket fuel on Benno, so that it could be a gas station for long flights, f.e. to Mars

* an intersting portait on Snowden stated that he was originally pretty conservative, first he was a follower of Bush, later of Obama, but he was always dissappointed, his theory is that the more you look, the less you see, f.e. there were signs leading to the Boston bomber, but noone saw it because there was just too much information, he also thinks that the drone war creates nothing but hate and terror

* i've read a fascinating article on Silicon Valley: in the past it was a middleclass area, but then the tech elite arrived and the housing costs increased so much that the former middleclass is now homeless and starving, president Reagen's trickle down theory according to which the wealth of the rich will trickle down to the poor did not come true, later president Bush gave the rich tax giveaways so that they became even richter, the price of a house increased from 700 000$ to 2.5 million $ and the rent for a 1 room apartment is now 4000$, many are homeless and now the city council forbade sleeping in a car so that people have to sleep on the street, the problem is that the tech companies have two classes of employees: those who are employed directly by the company earn 151 600$ per year but those who are employed by subcontracters (f.e. cooks,security personal etc. who are often black folks) earn only 19 900$ per year, the homeless live in tent cities like refugees where drugs are a huge problem, the ironic thing is that the organizations who help them depend on donations from the tech companies who are the cause of the problem

* in Germany every party except the CDU is for direct democracy, when people hear direct democracy they think of Brexit but there are several German states like Bavaria and European countries like Switzerland where it works

* there are now memory hackers who can erase memories, this is used to treat fears f.e. the hacker shows a person who is afraid of spiders a spider, then gives them a beta blocker which hinders the emotion fear, someday this might be used to erase the love someone had for a dead person to also erase the grief like in sci fi movies, there are 2 types of memories: non-declarative memory (skills like driving a bycicle) and declarative memories (learned knowledge, and autobiographical memories)

If you like to learn more, you can als check out part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series.

Dienstag, 11. Oktober 2016

Why everyone loves Stranger Things

It has taken me some time and countless nudges from my friends to check out this show, but I've finally watched the first season of Stranger Things. And I absolutely adore it! Stranger Things truly stands out amongst all the fantasy and sci fi shows of today and here is why.

It's simply very well written.

Stranger Things is about a small town in Indiana where young Will goes missing. From the beginning it's clear that something not quite normal is involved in his diappearance. The search for Will by his mother, his brother, a police officer and his best friends is the main plotline of the story. By focusing mostly on this storyline the show manages to tell a straight forward story in the middle of all the not straight forward stuff in the background.

Whatever happens, all side plots sooner or later play a part in the main story, the missing case of Will, f.e. the disappearance of Nancy's friend Barb makes her investigate and team up with Will's brother Jonathan. The appearance of the strange, homeless girl with a shaved head, who everyone just calls Eleven, based on a number tatooed on her arm, helps Will's three best friends to follow new leads in their search for Will.

Say what you want about the science fiction theme of the show, but it is (especially for this genre) extremely well written, intruiging and easy to follow.

It has great child actors.

Usually I hate protagonists who are children, especially in a show which is clearly written for adults. But in Stranger Things I loved Will's three best friends Mike, Dustin and Lucas who are all really cool. The way they investigate Will's disappearance, reminded me of how much me and my friends loved pretending we were private investigators as children. It brought me back into the mindset of those happy days. Also they are neither evil nor idiots like the children in many movies or tv shows. They are actually pretty smart.

Of course, for the likability of the child characters we have to thanks the child actors who give a fantastic performance. To find good child actors is really hard, which is why they often have to be replaced several times. But Stranger Things managed to find child actors who don't appear ridicolous in an adult tv show but do their job really well. And I don't only mean the three boys, but also the actor of Eleven.

It's mainstream sci fi.

Sci fi has always been popular with a certain type of people while the rest can't really get into it. Not so with Stranger Things. Stranger Things is sci fi for people who don't like sci fi. Which honestly is the best kind of sci fi. Which leads me to my next point ....

It's not too weird.

The biggest problem of many sci fi or fantasy shows, movies and books, is that it quickly becomes too weird and confusing to the point where the viewers and readers start wondering what the hell they are watching/reading. In the beginning Stanger Things of course is quite confusing but the show reveals and explains everything bit after bit and (in it's own supernatural logic) it all makes sense.

Sometimes shows try to invent something new which makes it difficult for the viewers to grasp. The trick is to take something old and give it a new twist, which is exactly what Stranger Things does. Parallel dimensions, telekinesis - we all know those concepts. Now we can watch them in a new setting and story.

It's original.

Let's be honest. Aren't you getting a bit tired of the thousands of book adaptations, remakes, etc. which flood tv nowadays! I definitely do. It's so refreshing to watch an original show for once.

It has many positive characters.

Except the obvious evil characters like the monsters, all characters of Stranger Things are positive and can be role models in some way. From the kids, over the teenagers to the adults, none of them are evil. This might sound normal, but I am so used to shows like Game of Thrones where every character has a deep dark secret or an evil agenda, that it's uplifting to follow the paths of everyday heroes in Stranger Things.

It has Winona Ryder in it.

Because everything gets better if it has Winona Ryder in it.

Bonus: It's set in the 80s.

Just to make it clear: It's not relevant that the show is set in the 80s. The story could have been set into today's world or any other time and it would work just as well. The 80s are just a little extra for all the nostalgics and retro lovers out there.

So, if you haven't yet, go and watch Stranger Things :)