Monthly Archives: Oktober 2013

Happy Halloween

or Samhain or whatever other holiday you are celebrating today.

Halloween or All Hallows‘ Eve is a Christianized feast to remember the dead, based on the traditional Celtic Samhain, that was also thanking for the harvest.
Many tales and traditions entwine around this holiday, such as:

  • (mostly) children dressing up as monsters and the-like to go asking for sweets (Trick-or-Treating) in the neighborhood
  • Jack O Lanterns being put in yards and windows to keep out wandering spirits (One version of the tale around the Lantern can be found at Ed Mooney Photography: The Tale of the Jack O Lantern another here in Nashoba Hostina’s Gallery: Jacks Lantern)
  • even bonfires as you can read in Ed’s other article: Tlachtga and the Sacred Flame

But I don’t really want to cover that part, far too many other people have already done that.

One of my very first pumpkins...

One of my very first pumpkins…

Halloween for me is special because we do not really celebrate it in Germany. Roughly 10-20 years ago, no one even knew about it. Depending on which Federal State you are in you even celebrate other things on the 31. October (and the 1. November).
In the Lutheran regions the 31.10. is called the Reformation Day, a day to remember Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses at the church door in Wittenberg. In my region/state this is considered a civic holiday. Whereas the Catholic regions have the 1.11. (All Saint’s Day) and other’s – like the state I studied in – have neither.
So I grew up with the knowledge of the 31. being the Reformation Day.

When I was about 8 or 9 I first heard about Halloween.
Back then we had evening projects in Primary School and one of them was lead by a woman that had moved to our small town from America. She told us about several things like the language, muffins, traditions and of course: Halloween.
And it then made sense to me why they played spooky cartoons on Reformation Day. 😉
We even had a costume party back then and I remember going as vampire, with a sliced black plastic bag as cape and tediously sought black clothes (back then my wardrobe was a bit more colourful than it is today…) and ridiculous face paint. 😀
That year we also went Trick-or-Treating (as ghost-thingies), but the majority of people around us didn’t really know what that was about, so we had to explain it over and over again. As a result we skipped the Trick-part when they weren’t prepared. By now people know that kids walk around on this day asking for sweets, but they are rarely in costume and, especially the boys, prefer Tricks to Treating….It’s a pity, but I can’t change that.
For a few years my father also grew pumpkins in our garden, so I’d be able to carve them around Halloween. He doesn’t do it anymore as I was barely around the last few years, but it was always fun to create the scary faces – even though they looked never as great as some others do.

One of my wolve-themed pumpkins...

One of my wolve-themed pumpkins…

What also is different in Germany is that there are rarely any Haunted Houses.
There is also not that much decoration in the houses. In Kölln-Reisiek a village or small town close to where I studied is a family that turns their house into a Haunted Mansion every year, it’s only small but somewhat cute. But really large ones? Not that I know of. You have The Dungeon in Hamburg, but that’s not really the same as you can go there throughout the whole year.

Apart from the fact that you are able to buy costumes and sweets and everything, there is not that much celebration going on here and it is one of my goals to one day spent a Halloween in the U.S. and/or other places with Halloween/Samhain traditions to see how it is celebrated there at first hand.

What I like about Halloween is the spookiness that accompanies it. The lores, the legends and just the belief that the souls of the dead and other spirits have the chances to walk freely on earth (again) hold a great fascination for me. Though not just those that are specific for this holiday.
At the beginning of the month I discovered The Fairytale Traveler, a blog about journeys into regions of these things. For the whole October they introduced the people to A Monster a Day, which was pretty cool as I also learned new stories.

Apart from that there are also the Horror stories that accompany Halloween. I don’t mind a good scare, though by now I am more scared by psychological things than, supposedly scary looking creatures. Even though I do cringe at sudden revelations in movies. Occasionally I myself try to write scary stories, but they are more often than not just unfinished drafts. What I did finish is a story about the Owlman of Cornwall. A creature that is said to live in the woods of Mawna and occasionally appears before people. Some even connect him to the Mothman that appears shortly before a disaster. Anyway, if your German is good enough you might want to have a look into the story: Augen (Eyes).
Another story that is fitting for the occasion and rather young compared to the one above is about spirits that inhabit pumpkins and trick people. But I haven’t gotten around to typing it yet.

One of the Pumpkins I carved for the party.

One of the Pumpkins I carved for the party.

But enough about stories, let’s get to the fun part of Halloween: The Halloween Party.
In my semi-adult years I never attended a fully fletched Halloween Party. I organized one for my college, but that wasn’t the same. Even though we decorated the cafeteria barely anyone dressed up or did actually do something remotely Halloween-ish. It was more like a normal party with decorations …

Another Halloween was spent at the Hammerfall concert in Hamburg I mentioned in my concert review from last year, which was pretty cool, yet strange to be there at that time of the year.
As the 31st is not a civic holiday in Schleswig-Holstein (where I studied) I was only able to go to the small Haunted Mansion I talked about earlier last year.
But this year will be a bit different.
I will be in Hamburg again and though we do not know what we’ll do at Halloween itself we (Black Kat, Iron Eve and me) will go to the Hellnights on the 1. November. A Horror punk concert-festival with The Other and other bands.
Or to put it into one of my much liked alliterations:
Halloween in Hamburg and Horrorpunk Hellnights in the Hafenklang.
(Just like Hammerfall in Hamburg on Halloween 😉 ).

I’m curious what will happen and wish you all a save journey through the spirit-filled night. 🙂


In Concert 2013: Letzte Instanz – Rostock

As I will not attend another stand-alone concert this year I’d like to give you a little review about the ones that I’ve been at. Like last year I wanted to write about them in one post, but it was soon clear, that that would end up being a horribly long post, so I split them apart.
At the end of last year I had made a list of concerts that sounded good/interesting:

  • Avantasia [were] returning to the stage for up to three hours of performance. I always wanted to see them alone and not “just” at Wacken.
  • Letzte Instanz play[ed] a concert in a small club in Rostock – far too close to resist.
  • Stratovarius (and Amaranthe) play[ed] in Hamburg, they’ve been great in Wacken (and Hamburg) that seeing them alone would be great.
  • Die Ärzte also play[ed] in Rostock and one cannot resist ones roots, especially if the concert is that close…
    (Edited list from: Concerts 2012)

It soon was clear that I couldn’t attend every concert I would have liked to. Especially as it looked like I would be writing my Bachelor’s thesis in the beginning of the year. That however soon changed, when I decided to take a breather from all studying related stuff and postpone the thesis until fall (which is now fast approaching).
Nevertheless I started asking people what they thought about the concerts.

Three’s a crowd…

During one of the Dark Noirs (Gothic-Parties I might have mentioned before) Black Kat made me talk to another member of the group Mücke (short for Brüllmücke/Roaring Midge), who had just asked her what concerts there would be in 2013.
He said that he wouldn’t mind seeing Letzte Instanz and Die Ärzte live and that I should write him the dates and the prices for both concerts.
Shortly after I did that another member, Kathy, asked if she could join us for LI and Mücke decided to only go to them as well.
So only a week after the Paganfest my first actual concert took place.
At our local bus station I picked up Kathy and Mücke and we drove to the M.A.U. Club in Rostock. As it was still pretty cold I had decided to take the motorway for the route, instead of  the – though shorter – country road, which was still affected by snow and ice.
The way there was a bit weird as I didn’t really knew either of them that well.
I had seen Mücke several times on parties and stuff, but I actually met Kathy the DN after I had agreed on taking her with us. So finding something to talk about was a bit awkward at first.
When we arrived in Rostock we decided to look for a place to eat at before the concert. Walking around the city harbor – were the club is – we found several high priced restaurants and the bar on the backside of the building. But eating at the bar that evening was only permitted to the band itself and commoners like us had to continue their search. We wound up in gas station on the other side of the road and I still get goose bumps when I think about, how we crossed it…

The invisible drummer

After we had a quite unsatisfying meal we returned to the entrance, only to see that it was not open yet and that only a few people were waiting outside. But as I learned that day: The club hasn’t been filled entirely throughout the last few years.
When we got in Kathy and I stopped at the merchandise stand for the obligatory tour-shirt, while Mücke made his way to the bar.
With the new purchases in the car and a drink in their hands (not in mine, as I was after all the designated driver) we made ourselves comfortable on one of the many couches at the side of the large room, just behind the sound technicians‘ weird and unsafe looking construction of a platform.
The concert started with the support band Lost Area which weren’t that good to be honest; not entirely bad, but I’ve heard better bands. Besides, their set list wasn’t that thought-out either as they constantly switched the style of the (cover) songs.
The funniest thing about their performance however, was that we couldn’t see the drummer. All the time we heard him, but we couldn’t see anyone. We even went as far and said that there was none and the sound played from a tape. Even when Mücke, who is quite tall, stood up and had a look, he didn’t find him. When I then stood up and looked, because I just couldn’t believe it, I saw movement on the far side of the stage. Quite up front there were arms being lifted up and down rhythmically. I declared that I had indeed found the drummer and revealed him to the others. 😀

Of barefooted cellists and jumpy violinists…

When it was time for LI to hit the stage we made our way nearly to the front row. It was weird standing that close and being seen by them as well. I haven’t heard many of their newer songs until then, so I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. But their manifold music made sure that I still had fun and the people around me played their part to that as well. LI also played enough of their old songs for me to enjoy. What is special about them is that they don’t only use typical instruments like guitars, bass and drums, but also a cello and a violin. Oh, and the majority of the musicians hopped around bare foot throughout the concert. 😀 (The cellist and the violinist even doing so on the wire mesh podium of the former.)
As his (full) nickname suggests, Mücke can be a quite loud fellow, so a few of his remarks even made it to the ears of the musicians. But as they are quite likable people, they did not scold him for it, but found it funny instead. They really knew how to entertain even as little as roughly a hundred of people.
Their most prominent members are by far the violinist and the cellist who joked around on stage all the time. And when they started to play a variation of their song Rapunzel (including Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes) the cellist stage dived into the audience and Mücke went further behind to grab him and carry him to the people a bit further away as well. The security guard was really anxious, while those two were making smalltalk in the crowd. 😀
Kathy had asked me, if we could stay a bit after the concert so that she would be able to get autographs for photos she had taken on previous occasions. And so we waited for the band to return from backstage.
When Kathy went to get the autographs she had asked me to watch out for her stuff and while she stood with them new photos were made by that days’ local photographer, one also of Mücke, Kathy and the cellist together. And being the shy person I am, I stood behind watching her stuff, as I had promised to do.
Soon after we made our way back and this time we definitely had much to talk.
Mücke and I talked about everything that we could think of, from old series and movies, over my book project with DarkFairy, about writing in general and so forth. The usual tiredness that settles in after a long day/concert didn’t stood a chance to surface. And Kathy slept through it all. 😀
To be continued…

Answering Questions from being Tagged

As I am a great fan of procrastination I thought I might as well use DarkFairy’s tagging to write something completely different…again….
But what’s this tagging about?
The tagging is used for small Blogs to enlarge their readership and Fairy tried to do this with her own and mine. It is quite like a chain letter, but this has better and more useful side effects. 😉
The rules for the tagging are:

  • You are asked 10 Questions by the tagger. Answer them in your post.
  • Think of 10 Questions you want to ask the Bloggers you are going to tag.
  • You tag 10 Blogs with below 200 followers.
  • You of course have to tell the people that you tagged them.
  • Tagging the person that tagged you isn’t allowed.

Now to Fairy’s questions (translated from her side, see link above):

  1. Do you like mustard or do you prefer ketchup?
    Ketchup, definitely ketchup.
    But if the mustard is needed as ingredient for dishes like Rinderrouladen or in Hot Dogs I can live with it, otherwise I can’t stand the smell and taste of it.
    Funny side story: When I first watched the Doctor Who Episode „The Eleventh Hour“ I honestly mistook „custard“ for „mustard“ when Eleven ate his famous fishfingers and custard…
  2. The Zombie apocalypse is happening. What is now the most important thing and with what are you arming yourself?
    Well….the most important thing is of course my family and I’d do anything to protect them. What I’d arm myself with would however be quite difficult. We don’t really have anything here that would count as a useful weapon in a zombie apocalypse…though wait…Hyundai recently made it possible to build a Zombie Killing Machine maybe I’d just tune up my trusted car to become a weapon. 😀
  3. Are you pro Elves or pro Dwarf?
    I don’t really care about either of them, but from what I’ve learned so far dwarves hold my sympathy as I already mentioned in this post: Dwarves.
    Elves are just too arrogant and „perfect“ for my taste…except Fairy’s Odokè who sounds quite interesting. 😉
  4. What is your favourite dish?
    I’d say most dishes with potatoes or noodles. But if I had to pick one, I guess it would be potato in the skin (Pellkartoffeln). Grilled meat – or meat in any kind of variation – also belongs among my favourites.
  5. What is your favourite animal?
    It is always a tie between wolves, bats and owls. All of them are fascinating animals and I don’t want to decide for a winner here.
  6. In which sports would you like to be really good at?
    As I am horrible at sports in general, I really don’t know. The only one I irregularly play is volleyball and I’m not too dissatisfied with my abilities there.
  7. What can you not live without?
    Currently I think the answer would be my parents. But as I know that I will lose them one day, I’d say: Without someone I can confine in or simply be myself around.
    As someone who spends a high amount of time in front of a laptop I could also say that I couldn’t live without it, but I clearly can live without checking in on stuff and I have enough unread books to keep me entertained for a while. 😉
  8. Which fictional character (e.g. from a book or movie) would you like to meet?
    I honestly have no idea…There are so many great characters and meeting them would in my opinion only be possible in the regulations of the story, so talking to me would change the actions if I so much as let any information of future events slip and so on. But the fact that I am an author of one or the other fanfiction shows that I do think about changing or adding story lines and possibly being involved somehow at times. I also wrote about this in one of my (German) short stories about the unknown worlds that lie within books. (The story was first referred to in this post about libraries, btw.)
  9. Open the cabinet door or drawer nearest to you. What do you see at first?
    As I am too lazy to get up and actually do that, I will tell you what I see in the shelf next to me: A pile of books (some novels from the Anita Blake-series by Laurell K. Hamilton, Terry Pratchett’s The Colours of Magic and Cujo by Stephen King) that I most likely have not read yet…No, I actually did read most of them (The exception being Cujo)…Nice to know…
  10. If you would live in a fantasy world, would you be a mage or a warrior?
    In MMO’s and the like I mostly play warriors, because they simply have the better stats. But as magic always fascinated me and my physical form is far from it’s best (see question 6.) I think I’d actually be a mage/sorceress/witch. Also I prefer to keep my distance towards threats and enemies, so magic would come in quite handy with this. Besides I am currently finally watching the episodes of Merlin that I could not see before and I clearly do not wish to follow all those disposable knights…I’m certain they have a nest of those somewhere below Camelot…

Now for my questions:

  1. What is the first thing that springs to your mind when you hear the word „Eclipse“?
    (Unrelated Note in my defence: My first thought is related to what I wrote in this post: „Hello World„)
  2. When you write a story, what kind of Feedback would you like to get? (E.g. constructive, flattering, honest, etc.)
  3. What is your favourite TV show?
  4. The age old question: Werwolves or Vampires?
    (Fairy started it with the Elves and the Dwarves and I already mentioned Eclipse, it’s a totally reasonable question, right? >_<)
  5. Would you like to be immortal?
  6. Do you prefer the city side or the countryside?
  7. What song holds the most emotions for you and which emotion is it?
  8. What was the scariest thing that you ever experienced?
  9. If you met a Jinn or a Fairy that grants you 3 wishes, what would they be?
  10. What attribute would cause you to judge a person by its appearance?

Well…and now I have to think of who I am going to tag…
So far amoung the Blogs I follow and the ones in my Blogroll (and those that are not already tagged), only two fulfil the criteria:

  • Joaninja [Edit 07.01.16: The Blog no longer exists]
  • Icewolf

This post will be updated as soon as I find missing Blogs for the needed amount.
But if you want to tag yourself, feel free to send me a note and let me make it official. 🙂