Monday, 6 November 2017

At long last... the pleasure of shopping online

Pre-text: There is a sort of eBay thing in Germany. It's not eBay, but a platform to post ads to offer or buy things. The site-owners don't get provision, unlike on eBay. And neither buyer or seller are protected, because the site-owner is only providing the space for the ads, nothing more. I've sold and bought stuff there since 2011, so really a couple of years now. But what happened the past couple of weeks is really new, even to me. Therefore I have decided to post the exchange of messages I had with one man. I wanted to get a DVD from him, which would have been way more expensive on eBay or amazon, because I wanted the R-rated version. His version was cheap and shipping, as it turned out, would be cheap, too. Only reason I stuck with him. SG is me, MB is the other guy. I did my best to match his German spelling mistakes.

SG 23.10.2017
Hello, would you also sent it and if yes, how much would shipping cost? Greetings

MB 24.10.2017
Yes

SG 24.10.2017
And what should shipping cost, please?

MB 24.10.2017
2 €

SG 24.10.2017
That's ok. I would very much like to take the DVD. Can pay with Paypal as a friend or pay online with bank transfer.

MB 24.10.2017
Bank transfer

SG24.10.2017
Ok, and what are is your account data? ;-)

MB 24.10.2017
Yes

SG 24.10.2017
What "yes"? I need your account data please, if I should transfer.

MB 24.10.2017
(His account data)

MB 24.10.2017
This is my account data

SG 24.10.2017
(screenshot of my payment)
Transferred the money just now. Please, shipping to:
(My address)
Thank you very much!

SG 03.11.2017
Hello, I'm still waiting for the DVD. Other articles, ordered later, arrived already. What it's up?

MB 03.11.2017
Can you call

SG 03.11.2017
Why. I paid for the DVD. Don't want to call. Have no number anyway.

MB 03.11.2017
(His mobile phone number)

SG 03.11.2017
Why should I call. DVD is on it's way, went to someone else, lost or what? I see no reason to call. I don't call strangers.

MB 03.11.2017
(Picture of envelope. "To:" is at the top left corner with my correct address. Bottom right corner has "From:" with his address)

MB 03.11.2017
Is that corect

MB 03.11.2017
Hello

SG 03.11.2017
Yes, I wrote that over a week ago. What is the envelope still with you and not out? Actually the sender is at the top and the recipient at the bottom.

MB 03.11.2017
But it camme bak

SG 03.11.2017
Probably because the post checks the bottom, which has your address.

SG 04.11.2017
What now? When can I expect the DVD? What would have happened, if I hadn't asked again?

Arrival of DVD with no further message November, 6th 2017

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The genius of masks

Halloween. The time for costumes and disguises. One of the few days in the year where the are accepted and worn deliberately and openly also in public more then otherwise. Time for me to write a post on masks, a kind of disguise of the face.

I'm mostly unaware of Asian cultures and also movies. It's not a particular interest of mine to watch Asian movies or dealing with Asian cultures, at least not in detail. A friend of mine that I only know via E-Mail contact so far, wrote to me a while ago that the expressionless masks of the Japanese No Theatre are fascinating to him.

Two days ago I watched the two part movie “It” (from 1990). No wonder that people are afraid of clowns after such a movie. Clowns made up or with mask scare a lot of people. Personally I don't quite understand that. There are scary masks and especially clown masks. Add to that the aggressive behaviour of mask wearing people from last year, I can understand the fear of people like them,but not the general fear of clowns as such. I don't mean this as a criticism. I would very much like to understand what scares people so much about clowns. Maybe there are readers that are afraid of clowns and could explain it. Feel free to leave me a comment!

Masks of criminals are meant to conceal the true identity for them to be unknown and therefore free from punishment. Superheroes on the other hand use masks to hide their own identity for criminals that may otherwise hurt or even kill them more easily without their costume and corresponding weapons. But the lives of the people the superheroes love is also protected by the mask of the hero. Because it could be a leverage for the criminal to kidnap important people and threaten their life to force the superhero to do certain things, as can be seen for example in “The Dark Knight” after the Joker learns that Batman/Bruce Wayne cares a lot about Rachel Dawes and the Joker gives the order to kidnap her.

A mask of a particular kind is worn by the anti-hero Rorschach from “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Over the course of the story Rorschach is caught and described by the psychiatrist who questions him as “fascinatingly ugly”. The name Rorschach originates from the psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach who invented a test named “Rorschach test”, which are ink blots images that the person has to interpret and say what they see in them. The blots are a symmetrical and mostly black. There are also some with more colours. Rorschach from Watchmen worked with clothes as a young man and during that time he gets a special cloth that is white with black, moving and continuously changing blots. Originally he makes a dress from that for a customer, but she eventually disregards it as ugly. Later he uses that cloth to make himself a mask from it with symmetrical black blots that keep changing. Rorschach calls this mask his “face”. After he is ambushed and caught by the police, the mask gets ripped off and he screams, “No! My face! Give it back!” Regardless of Rorschach's personal attitude towards his mask, the description of “my face” for is (actual) mask seems fitting though. A face is usually moving and changes in relation to emotions. The psychiatrist notes however that Rorschach's face is expressionless and finds it difficult to tell what really goes on in him emotionally. Regardless of Rorschach's own attitude towards his (actual) mask therefore seems fitting. His (actual) mask is moving and his (actual) face is expressionless like other masks usually are. It's not necessarily noticed by the reader or viewer of the movie, but the blots on Rorschach's “face” are not only moving,but are in fact closely linked to his emotions and show identical blot patterns at different times when the same or similar emotions can be assumed!

I also want to mention the post “The Hidden Genius of RORSCHACH's Mask! (Watchmen)“ by Scott Niswander from NerdSync. Among other things he points out in his post that the moment and timing of unmasking is often a bit strange choice. Often the masked person is unconscious or at least bound or otherwise hindered to resist and their identity unknown. The unmasking therefore is a sort of humiliation, because the identity is then revealed at least for the person taking off the mask of the one wearing it. The interesting thing about this is that with this there is a possibility to completely eliminate the masked person, meaning to kill them. But the unmasking and with this revelation of the secret of ho is behind the mask, seems a stronger urge for the person that is with the masked person at that moment. Scott Niswander mentions a scene from “Spider-Man 2” and “The Dark Knight” for this.

In regards to unmasking or taking off masks let's one more time refer to Watchmen. Rorschach's true identity (or in his case probably better: identity without “his face”) is revealed to the reader and other people in the story with the aforementioned arrest. He does have “his face” back on for the final fight though. Normally every masked person would resist even at the threat that his masked may be taken away. Understandably so, because the secret identity up until that moment is at risk and also the possible security of beloved persons, as mentioned above. Rorschach, too, resists and screams for his face during his arrest. At the end of Watchmen however he himself takes off his face, his mask and faces his final enemy this way.

In 2012 a series of books came out that showed individual Watchmen characters before the events of Watchmen. Accordingly the series is called “Before Watchmen”. Of course there is also a story about Rorschach by Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo. Then and now the story itself doesn't seem to appeal to many people. Like with all stories, I think, this is a matter of personal taste and different people have different tastes. Regarding unmasking there is however one interesting moment in “Before Watchmen: Rorschach”, too. Over the course of the story he gets beat up by a group of bad people and several of the henchmen eventually keep him in check. One of the henchmen wants to take off Rorschach's mask, to see what the fearful Rorschach looks like without the mask. But his boss calls him back and is noticeably disappointed by the fairly short man (described in Watchmen with a height of 168 cm/5' 6 '') to have him caught and defenceless that easily, “Rorschach. Huh. For some reason, I thought... Dude, you don't measure up to your myth. I mean, what the hell? I cocked up this elaborate scheme just to take you down? What was I thinking? Big bad Rorschach. Well, bad anyway Frankly, I'm disappointed in myself. That I stooped to your level. No, no, lucky Pierre. You know what's under that mask? Nothing that matters. In this case, the mask makes the corpse.” After they beat him up some more and seemingly leave him there to die, he adds, “And the front page.“ In another moment of that story one of the bad guys gets his hands on Rorschach's mask and for a moment he can take on Rorschach's identity, because if nobody knows who is behind the mask, a lot of people could be underneath it. Hurm...

Friday, 22 September 2017

3 ingredients cookies

“Mm. Smells good. What's wrong? You only make those when you need to calm down.” Joan Watson in “Elementary” (Season 2, episode 16) when she enters the kitchen in the morning and Sherlock Holmes is just about to get the Yorkshire pudding out of the oven.

Sherlock Holmes is someone you wouldn't call normal. Naturally he's got some weird traits and characteristics. Cooking and baking is not my passion, although I can do some things that others actually like. So it's very strange for me that Sherlock Holmes in Elementary seemingly is baking to calm down and I now started to do the same, preferably using one recipe when I am frustrated, namely the following:

Ingredients:
1 cup Nutella (or other chocolate cream)
1 cup flour (or maybe a bit more)
1 egg

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 330 ° F (160 ° C)

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, mix with a spoon or hand-held mixer. (Those of you who use a spoon, you can easily make the recipe in the middle of the night without disturbing your room-mates or neighbours at all.) Take a small piece of the mass, make a ball out of that. Squish it flat and put it on a baking sheet with baking sheet. Repeat until dough is all used. Should make about 16 bits.

The cookies will rise a bit, so really keep it rather small and flat with a bit of distance between each.

Baking in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, until the cookies aren't that much wet and shiny anymore as they will be the first minutes. A bit shiny is absolutely fine.

Afterwards let them cool a bit. When they're right out of the oven the cookies are not only hot, but also fall apart fairly easily. Cooled down a bit they're harder.

The original recipe is with Nutella cream, which is available everywhere here in Germany. I have made the recipe already with white cream (which needs considerably more dough). My favourite cookies are with a caramel sea salt cream I was lucky to find at Edeka. I also used dark brownie cream and peanut butter as well (with and without peanut bits). For that one however I probably have used too much flour, because the cookies were rather dry for my taste. I personally don't like the Nutella-cookies as much as I do the Nusspli-cookies, a different kind of chocolate cream, which is available here.

Try it out. Let the creams that are available in the shops in your area inspire you. You're welcome to write in the comments which creams you tried and how you liked the cookies.

Monday, 18 September 2017

I am beautiful

It's been over a month since I watched „Suicide Squad“. Didn't watch it when it came out in the cinemas. For one thing because there was talk about much violence. On the other hand I have only limited interest in comic adaptations and movies where people are put together when they are normally not appearing together interest me even less. My Batman details knowledge is very limited. I have seen the animated series as a kid. I barely know more than the „classic“ bad guys everybody knows.

Suicide Squad” is a story around a group of villains from the Batman/Gotham City universe. I didn't know most of them, but their individual stories are roughly outlined to introduce the individual characters. Then there's also a scene in an otherwise abandoned bar where the group is taking a short break and talking. Captain Boomerang says that another one from the group is amazing on the outside, but ugly inside. “We all are!”, agrees the almost constantly aggressive Harley Quinn. Except for him, she says and looks at the reptilian-like Killer Croc, he's ugly on the outside, too. He's calm when he takes the hoody off his head and tells her, “Not me, shorty. I am beautiful.”

Overall the movie is a matter of taste and there's no accounting for taste, as they say. I personally liked the bar scene best and I thought about it afterwards the most. Obviously at least two other people thought the same, because that scene is on YouTube in German, albeit in bad quality, under the title “Ich bin wunderschön | Suicide Squad | Beste Szenen“ here:


And also in English you can find it under the title “SuicideSquad(Killer Croc)-I'm beautiful_-*Best Scene*“ here:


Very fast I saw a connection to that one scene in “Sherlock” where John Watson asks Sherlock Holmes in the context of “Who am I?”, if he is pretty (see Am I prettye?). But Killer Croc didn't just say “pretty”, he said “beautiful”.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Marcus Aurelius to keep you going in the morning

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: "I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?"

- "But it’s nicer in here..."

So you were born to feel ‘nice’? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?

- "But we have to sleep sometime..."

Agreed. But nature set a limit on that — as it did on eating and drinking. And you’re over the limit. You’ve had more than enough of that. But not of working. There you’re still below your quota.
You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you. People who love what they do wear themselves down doing it, they even forget to wash or eat. Do you have less respect for your own nature than the engraver does for engraving, the dancer for the dance, the miser for money or the social climber for status? When they’re really possessed by what they do, they’d rather stop eating and sleeping than give up practicing their arts.
Is helping others less valuable to you? Not worth your effort?

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Sarah's journal August, 16 2017

Pigeon carcass on pavement this morning.

When Rorschach writes something similar, there is something poetic about it, although in a very dark way. At the very least reading it or hearing it spoken in the movie. But there is nothing at all poetic in reality.

Haven't eaten or drunk anything for the last 12 hours. Eating wasn't the problem. Even though after this time I did get a little bit hungry after all. What really annoyed me was not being allowed to drink because of the blood sampling. Because it was for an allergy test, I'm not even sure I really had to be sober at all this morning. The woman asked me, if it was for the allergy test. I told her yes and asked her, if there's a difference to other blood samplings. Of course, I thought immediately, stupid question. She confirmed to me then that other data would be checked.

Thought for a moment of going back home and writing to the city about the pigeon. Also thought of taking the pigeon and bringing it to the park like on New Year's Eve with the blackbird. Drove straight into the city in the end. Sometimes others don't matter, it seems. The pigeon was dead anyway and nothing that could have helped it. First got a bit of money, then to the bakery. Two Franzbroetchen (puffy pasty with cinnamon) and a hot chocolate. The bakery is in a shopping mall with lots of shops. At about 8:30 when I arrived the exit I wanted to take was still closed. A man who wanted to take that exit before me informed me that it was closed. So I took another way out and passed a contruction area. People already working there. With a noise volume that I turned off my mp3-player until I was half way down the escalators. I looked at the time scale of the mp3-player: 1 minute and 07 seconds. I hadn't heard a single note from “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed although I had the volume full up. So much for the sound of silence, I though on the escalators.

On the middle floor a young woman was in front of me with a jacket that had in all capital letters “DON'T TALK TO ME” on her back. I resisted the temptation to tell her “I'm sorry”. She didn't seem aggressive in any way and was friendly enough to stay on that middle floor to have a smoke, unlike so many other people who go down to the smoking free area to smoke there. Not my style to start a talk with strangers.

Rorschach's Journal: October 12, 1985:
Dog carcass in alley this morning. Tire tread on burst stomach. The city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout, “Save us!” and I'll whisper... “No.“

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Porn

This is an entry meant to write last year already, but didn't write. In January last year “The Revenant” came out with Leonardo DiCaprio. I haven't seen the movie. Although the movie is based on a true story, which usually interests me, it didn't interest me at that time. But I have noticed discussions about a scene or a moment in the movie. Namely a scene with a bear and that context there was talk about rape. In the end it just seems to come down to what could be called an inconvenient camera angle and nothing more. On English websites there were writings of “porn”. Carole Cadwalkadr wrote in her review for The Guardian even in the headline already “The Revenant is meaningless pain porn“ (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/17/revenant-leonardo-dicaprio-violent-meaningless-glorification-pain). German webistes as well mentioned the amount of violence in the movie. http://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/neu-im-kino-the-revenant-wuchtiger-kampf-ums-ueberleben.2150.de.html?dram:article_id=341768 used the word “Gewaltporno” (“violent porn”). Apart from the fact that I had little interest story-wise, the mass of violence, which reviews already focussed on a lot, was just another reason for me not to watch the movie. What puzzled me however was the word “porn” with all of this. A reference to the bear scene and with the connection of the amount of violence making it “pain porn” and “violent porn”?

I am one of those people who noticed Mark Gatiss rather late through “Sherlock”. Once I was searching the internet for pictures of him and found a website with a collection of pictures of his hands. “Hand porn”. I understand that someone is impressed, if not to say obsessed with another person. I too may like certain aspects of a person or I may not like them at all. But “hand porn”?

Dear me! I just typed in “food porn” on google to find a certain article again. There is an article on that on the English Wikipedia on that! Prefaced with the notion: “Not to be confused with Foodand sexuality.“ The following headline from The Guardian a while ago made me think of the porn thing again, namely: “Unicorn lollies and six million avocados: our insatiable appetite for Instafood“. (https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/aug/01/all-food-fit-to-instagram-have-we-reached-peak-food-porn-photography). I didn't find a picture of the unicorn lollies in the article, but it is about food and lately it seems that the word “porn” isn't far away. As it's the case in the article. I don't really get it. Maybe I'm just naïve or clueless. After all I'm one of the few people who don#t have an account on Facebook, also I'm not on Instagram or Twitter or any of those other sites where everything is shared. Can somebody please enlighten me.

Maybe I'm thinking too negative about this or something. I don't know. But regarding sex I've watched a couple of documentaries. One was about young people with sick abnormal sexualities. Not criminal, but not normal either. I remember a young man in that context who saw a young woman while driving in the car and he had to stop and left the film crew for a short while to go to the toilet and shortly after that he came back again and I think he even excused himself at the film crew. He was very aware that this wasn't normal behaviour and I think he felt sorry about that. I felt sorry for him. Another program was about teenagers, sexuality and porn. With the internet children and teenagers have easy and unnoticed access to porn and “sex movies”. Such movies, the teenagers told openly, are shared with others, too. Someone in the movie made the comment that shaving, for example of the legs of a woman and also young girls has its roots in porn. They shave for such movies for a good view. I didn't see it that way until then. Certainly that's not a thought most women have when they shave today.

Back in my school time a company would drive me to school and back home again. I remember when I was in my final years the drivers and boys on the drive were talking about women and girls they saw on the street. Words like “Schlampe” (“slut” or “bitch”) were used. Not always, not necessarily weekly even. But regardless the fact that I was a young woman and present with them, the word was used freely. In English the word “bitch” is equally freely used for a certain type of women or also girls. On the other hand there's also time and again discussions if a victim of rape may have provoked this act because of their behaviour or their clothings.
What does that mean for our society and it's progression? I'm getting the word “sexualisation” in my head. But I don't get any further than that with my thoughts. I don't understand it. Can't the encounter of a bear not simply be the encounter of a bear? Can't hands and food simply be hands and food? I don't think I like this progression. Maybe only because I don't understand it. Maybe because I really don't like it.

Comments more than welcome. I think I'm open and I would like to understand more.