Monthly Archives: September 2017

#Buchpassion: Literary Readings

Through the Nornennetz (Nornnetwork) (where I’m a norn, too 😉 ) I learned about the #Buchpassion, a promotion event for readers, authors and publishers celebrating books together, organized by Janine of kapri-zioes.
This years topic is „Favourite Authors“, but as I can’t decide which one I’d choose, I’ve instead decided to talk a bit about some of the more unusual Literary Reading Sessions (Lesungen) I participated in over the years. Because what’s better than having someone – maybe even the author – read a book to you? 😉

A completely idiotic reading

I do believe it was my eighteenth birthday when my Mum and I went to the Reading Session of Tommy Jaud’s „Vollidiot“ (Moron) as read by actor Christoph-Maria Herbst (e.g. Loki from Mara and the Firebringer). It was fun, even though I still haven’t read the book yet (or saw the movie), but the thing I remember most about it was afterwards at the autograph table:
He was signing a picture card when I asked him if I could get a second one in the book because it was my birthday. As reply he gave me a Kinderriegel (chocolate bar by Kinder) and offhandedly told me that no one had had told him about it, otherwise he would have brought something more. I doubt the sincerity of the words, as he was quite busy, but it’s a fun gesture in a hectic situation – and it’s my own fault for bringing it up anyway.
I never ate the Riegel, it might even still lie somewhere in a shelve…

Outdoor reading

Back when The Forum was still a thing the self-made publisher Torsten Low announced that his reading tour would make a stop in Zislow, a village more or less nearby. So I took a friend from school with me and off we were trying to find it somewhere in the wilderness of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern…
It was nice meeting Torsten in person and have him read from the anthology Lichtbringer (Lightbringer) and watch him binding a book and talking about it. They only had a small table with their products and it was only the two of us sitting on the wooden benches before it, listening to him, but with the medieval-ish market around us and the phantastical stories it was a great atmosphere.
During the encounter I interviewed Torsten and it later appeared on Literatopia, a German literature portal: Interview with Torsten Low.
Back then the Verlag Torsten Low, was still relatively small. His series Dunkel über Daingistan (Darkness over Daingistan) and Lichtbringer were more or less the whole program. By now they won several Deutsche Phantastik Preise (German Phantastic Prices), have several novels and anthologies, even regular authors and a lot of authors know about him and his publishing company. It’s pretty cool to have been a part of that, even a minuscule one as a listener and reader.

Exclusive Reading

Another quite exclusive Reading Session was by Boris Koch and Michael Tillmann at the Weekend of Horrors:

Their reading session was in the cafeteria of the building, only separated from it through a more or less thick, black curtain. So you heard the rustling and dulled noises from outside.
It still was fun as we were the only two attending their session and they read some quite interesting stories. I will never look at lady bugs the same way…

Six years later I still remember the story mentioned in the other post and the feeling of dreadfulness Boris created through reading it.

Spontaneous Reading

One of our Christmas traditions is to go the the Christmas market in Neubrandenburg at least once. After one of those times, I read messages between Anice and Black Kat about a Reading Session of Letzte Instanz‘ (Last Instance) Holly Loose. In our local English Pub he was to read stories from the fan-anthology (fans wrote stories for their songs) „Weiße Geschichten“ (White Stories). Of course I couldn’t resist the opportunity.
Although I still haven’t gotten around to read the volume I got at the session (again…), the stories he read were quite emotional and well chosen. It’s always fascinating what music can inspire you to write, even if you’re not entirely following the lyrics. It was also nice to hear short acoustic versions of some of them.
We got to chat a little with the woman who organized it and Holly himself and it was a really nice evening.

A Game of what now?

One of the largest Reading Sessions I ever attended was when bookstore-chain Thalia invited Tom Wlaschiha, known as Jaqen H’ghar from Game of Thrones to read part of book book two (Clash of Kings). He chose the part, where Arya tells Jaqen the names of the people he should kill and he read it amazingly. He also talked a bit about filming and teaching Maisie Williams German between takes (according to him her favourite word is „Bahnhof“ – train station 😀 ).
But the most hilarious thing about it was the audience and especially that one guy not capable of pronouncing Game of Thrones correctly. As is more or less commonly known do Germans have problems with the English „th“, but what some make of the word „thrones“ is weird even for German ears. I mean Game of Trons makes for an entirely different franchise…

Lesebühne

As I’ve mentioned before did I attend a couple of Lesebühnen, Reading Stages, these past few years. And as this is about authors, why not talk about those that stand in front of an audience and read their works to them?
Doing that is thrilling and terrifying and fun and brilliant and every person ever daring to do something like this deserves the utmost respect, be they professionals like the people mentioned above or more or less amateurs like the people from the Lesebühne I occasionally attend.
This particular Lesebühne in Neubrandenburg (in the pub mentioned above) is organized by local students and is without any kind of judgement, everyone gets applause for simply going on stage and reading. Therefore it’s not as strict as a Poetry Slam, even if lots of the readers participate in those as well and sometimes read their texts from those times. Other stages only allow members of certain groups or a registration long beforehand, but here you can appear on time and your name gets added to the list, or even use the open mic afterwards.
I’m one of a few that reads short stories, mostly from the Your Picture – A Story project and I’m always nervous when I do it and am barely able to look up from my sheet of paper. My heart is pounding like crazy and it makes breathing while reading quite difficult at times. But I’m getting better, I guess, I even manage to get a few more words out before and after the texts, even if they sometimes sound way better in my head… I still have a lot to learn…
Still, it’s incredible to read for someone else or to be able to listen to others read a story to you. The most annoying for the person sitting on the stage is an audience that won’t shut up. It’s rude and disrespectful, and makes them question themselves even more then they already do.

So, iff you ever attend a Reading Session, be it professional or amateurish: Be quiet and listen!

And maybe among those you will find your favourite author. 😉
PoiSonPaiNter

On the Road: September vacation

As I’ve just returned from my September vacation I felt like giving you a little overview of what has happened before I resume a more „normal“ schedule again.

Three one quarter capitals in nine days

I started my first longer vacation time in the beginning of September: Nine Days of exploring with Janzy.

We went from Berlin to Prague by train and stayed there in a Hostel for the night. From afternoon til the evening we went through all those alleys and streets filled with tourists, across the crammed Charles Bridge, all the way up to Prague Castle and back, where we also managed to see the last display of the Astronomical Clock. We wanted to do some more exploring on the next day, but the search for our bus station delayed us quite a bit and we pretty much only managed to have proper lunch before we departed by bus to Vienna where we stayed until our return flight back home.

For three days we used up the Vienna Pass for sightseeing where we visited amongst others Schönbrunn Castle, UNO City, the Prater and many more (I’m by the way thinking about extra posts for the efficient usage of the Vienna and London pass, anyone interested?). On our previous to last day we followed up on an invitation by EmmaN of the Nornennetz for self-made Zwetschgenknödel, which were really tasty and just one of several dishes we tried.

Our last day we used for a day trip to Budapest by bus. After some struggling with the transportation system we took a look at the two joined cities and soon discovered that we should give it a little more time and that we were pretty exhausted from all the walking around the days before…

The next day we already flew back to Berlin and with the next parts of a recording of „Moby Dick“ I returned to Neubrandenburg.

Because I’m clever and had to work three days between vacations. 😀

Con’st du noch oder schläfst du schon?*

The katzekagische Kürbisträger**

After the German Comic Con last year and the failed attempt to go there last year, Schmusejacke, AnnaTao and I finally managed to attend the Connichi in Cassel. And yes, one day I was in cosplay  as well – the day after I wore a fandom mix. 😀

With two days remaining we explored some places I had visited before when I stayed at Nazgul’s in 2009: Sababurg and Zoo and the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe.
One evening we ate at a front cooking Mongolian buffet restaurant were I tried kangaroo for the first time. It’s pretty chewy
You can read up on our exploits through our Twitter page: ASAP Chronicles.

* I’m sorry this wordplay is hard to translate as it uses the IKEA slogan „Wohnst du noch oder lebst du schon?“ (probably used as „Make a house a home“ in English, literally: „Do you still reside or already live?“) mashed up with con as short for convention in a form of can („kannst“). So probably something along the lines of: You’re still going or already asleep?
** Cosplay wordplay: Gaara, the Kazekage from Naruto, Katze is the German word for cat, Kürbisträger means pumpkin carrier: catzekagerian pumpkin carrier. 😉

A phenomenal finish

Celebrating their 25th anniversary I couldn’t resist to end the vacation with an Edguy concert in the Columbia Hall in Berlin. It was great to finally see them in a standalone concert after only seeing them at a Festival before. They are after all one of my first Metal Bands. It was stuffy and great. 😀

What’s next?

Well, tomorrow and Monday I’ve got to work. Tuesday is a public holiday in Germany, German Unity Day, something that leaves quite a bitter taste, seeing that so many Germans made quite a stupid choice during elections last weekend… If your German is good enough, I recommend you to check out the Hashtag #wirschreibenDemokratie (we’re writing Democracy) by the Nornennetz, where different people talk about their view on the election results.

In this time I still have to do a couple of things:

  • write a post for the #Buchpassion Blogparade – which I should have done already…
  • proof-read the translations of the newest Gamers episode – something I don’t NEED to do, but I still want to.
  • finish stuff for Nornennetz projects
  • finally get the postcards for the Märchensommer ready to send off.
  • continue working on this years Advent Calendar.
  • finally start with Inkblood for a Reading Circle that is currently facing difficulties…

and probably something else that I forgot…maybe I should go on vacation again…

See you around,

PoiSonPaiNter

My Blog and I

Back in June angetearz started a blogparade called „Du und dein Blog“ (You and your Blog) where Bloggers were asked to talk a bit about themselves and their blogs(, duh). I discovered this a while back on Twitter and it sounded interesting enough to answer the given questions for myself – and maybe draw some more attention to this place. 😉
Anyway, let’s begin…

The Questions*

 1. Who are you? Introduce yourself!

I’m PoiSonPaiNter, or Anne in real life, I’m a Reader, Writer, Nerd, Blogger, Metalhead and Traveller, but most of all Teller of Stories and an advocate for puns and alliterations. 😀
Oh, and I’m horrible at introducing myself, as you might have noticed, so I’ll just quietly nod towards my about page. 😉

2. Since when are you blogging? And how did it all start?

Officially I started this Blog back in February 2012, but I barely used it (one post per month was the average). The initial reason was that I wanted a place to collect my stories, improve my English and use it for some obscure other project I can’t remember any more. I had been thinking about a Homepage or Blog for a while back then, but when I came up with the name „Random Poison“ I just started it, without much of a plan – though, it’s not like I have one now, but well.
This changed around the end of 2013 and it really took a turn for the better starting 2014. (Curiously, August 2012 is the only month I didn’t post anything at all). Since then the average got up at least a little. 😉

3. Does your environment know you’re blogging? If so, what are they saying? If not, why not?

Yes and no. It’s not that I’m keeping it a secret, it just doesn’t come up that often – or the other party is just not interested in details more than „I wrote about that on my Blog“. 😉
The most sceptic about it though is my Dad, who thinks I blurt out all my secrets, but he’s wary of anything technological, so…

4. Are you using Social Media? And how can one follow you?

I am indeed. You could follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter where I’m most active. But I also have a few others you can find in the menu „Other Pages of Mine“ below.

5. Is there something that bothers you about the blogging world? And what would you wish for? (Dare to be honest)

Apart from the fact that I rarely get any reactions – a like now and again, but comments? They are scarce – is it hard as German Blogger to blog in English. So regardless of how many (German) Blog Parades I participate in, there is barely any feedback from other people than the creators. The only thing that makes sense to me is that the German readers don’t feel like reading something in English, sometimes because they lack the language knowledge, and push the site away without a second glance, without noticing that there indeed are bilingual posts here (like the Märchensommer/Fairy Tale Summer or my Advent Calendars) and even German Short Stories or that they can comment in German and always ask for help if they struggle with a translation…
Well, it’s not like my English reader are any better at this, they are probably scared when the title is German and the post starts in German, regardless of the „Read in English“ Link to the translation…
A part of me is thinking about changing my Blog language to German, the other part enjoys writing in English far too much and doesn’t want to change it – both parts know I’d be too lazy to constantly have bilingual posts…
Other than that: Even if I make a comment somewhere, which is rare as I prefer to actually say something with my comments, it’s not always that I get a reply, though I’m not sure if my comments are just not interesting enough or formulated in a way that no further, decent, comment is possible…but I don’t know, as no one tells me. 😉
What is most frustrating though is that Blogger and WordPress don’t share a comment-notification system…it’s so annoying to check back with Blogger-blogs to see if anyone replied – not to mention the double bot-check… can’t they just do something about that? XD So my wish would be something that properly connects those two, without you having to make two accounts for it…

6. And what do you like about the blogging world?

The uniqueness of each Blogger. It’s amazing how two (and many more) people can write about the same topic, but from a completely different point of view. Take the Guest posts for the Fairy Tale Summer for example: At their core they all talked about Fairy Tales, but they all found a different aspect to it. Or all these Blogs dealing with writing itself. They always find something else to write about and even if they write about the same thing there is no guarantee that they come to the same conclusion. Sure it can be annoying at times when one person tells you one thing and another the complete opposite, but isn’t that the beauty of free speech? That all these opinions can exist and be read and you yourself can put together your own world view?
I also like the interactions over the Social Media and to discover things that I probably wouldn’t even have thought about. 🙂

7. Are you reading outside of your „Blog area“ or are you, as e.g. book blogger, only reading book blogs?

As I don’t really have a „Blog area“ (hence its name „Random“ 😉 ), I’m always reading outside of it. Though I am kind of tired of reading book blogs, probably because everyone is doing it and because it reminds me of my far too long To Read List…

8. Networking is important. Do you have favourite Blogs? Show them!

There are indeed a few

German Blogs

I enjoy reading.
It seems like Joseph of What’s best in Life? and I are on a similar wavelength regarding different nerdy movies/series and it’s always interesting to read his reviews. Afterwards I don’t feel like writing my own, because he already said everything I’d want to say. 😉
Then there is the Weltenschmiede (World Smithy) which always has interesting articles about world building by fruehstuecksflocke and Evanesca – who’s Blogs in turn are also quite interesting, especially today as Evanesca is celebrating the release of „Zarin Saltan“ (Tzaritza Saltan) as part of the Märchenspinnerei, her adaptation of the Russian Fairy Tale „Tzar Saltan“.
As for writing stuff I like the posts by the Schreibmeer (literally Writing Ocean, though it’s probably a pun on Write More – as more and ocean are only a letter apart in German: mehr/Meer), they usually give you something to mull over. Same goes for Frau Schreibseele (Ms Writingsoul) and some of the other Blogs I discovered through the Nornennetz (Nornnetwork).
But as I’m writing in English, I also read some

English Blogs

though apparently most of the ones I enjoy(ed) reading went on indefinite hiatus…
I love(d) the tales Ed told his readers about his ruin huntings in Ireland on Ed Mooney Photography, all accompanied by his amazing photographs.
I enjoy(ed) the different essays about books, readers and reading the girls of BiblioSmile’s wrote – and yes I still haven’t finished their reading challenge from 2014
The one who is still, albeit randomly, updating is Eve Estelle with her collection of self written poetry and fiction.
And some others still in my Blog Roll „Where I enjoy reading“ the bottom…
But, I guess that’s enough for some exploring. 😉
Those were the questions!
Hope you had fun reading them. 🙂

Greetings from Vienna, where I don’t really have access to my Blog and probably can’t accept your comments until I return.
PoiSonPaiNter
* Questions were translated by me.

What'cha Watching Wednesday #14

I know I said, I didn’t want to blog for a while, but these thoughts won’t leave me, so I’ve decided to do another of these in the new version I mentioned last time.

WWWWhat is this about?

Every other Wednesday I will publish a post in which I talk about (the latest or any episode of) a series or a (series of) movie(s).
In most cases this will be a collection of thoughts that cross through the different media.
You’re warned: There might be Spoilers.

Let’s start

with a question this time:

What do the creation of an online shop for vintage clothing and a senior internship program for an online clothing shop have in common?

They’re both about clothes, duh.
No, that’s not what I was going for.
Both stories, the first one presented in the Netflix series Girlboss, the second in the movie The Intern, are surprisingly feminist. They don’t do everything right, but it’s a start. 😉

Why is that?

  • Both shows portray the life and work of a woman striving for her own dream – which in both cases is about selling clothes, but well.
  • In both shows there are several other named female characters (even more so in GB), that talk tons of other things that are not boys. So they both pass the Bechdel Test.
  • They show different sides of the female lead: Strength, cunning & stubbornness, but also vulnerability & love.
  • They didn’t change themselves for anyone (especially not Anne Hathaway’s character whose character in The Devil wears Prada disappointed me on this).
  • They are not perfect and aren’t portrayed that way. They are human.

And probably some other things someone better equipped to spot these could tell you. Since I’ve learned about the Bechdel Test I kind of started paying more attention to it – while watching, reading and writing. We are so used to all these female troupes that it’s refreshing to see things handled differently. Netflix does a better job at this than the studios that put together The Intern – maybe mostly because it’s based on a book by a real person and they’re doing a pretty good job at diversity anyway, even if they then cancel the promising shows like this one – and Sense8.
Anyway, there are some quite promising things in these two and it’s nice to see that there is at least some change once in a while.

What surprised me most

Girlboss is a horrible title. I didn’t want to watch it because it sounded girly and just like another „chick-flick“ with no story other than girl meets boy and is eternally happy. Oh dear, was I wrong. After I came across it again and again on Netflix I decided to watch the Trailer and I did not expect what I saw. It actually made me curious about the show and I binged it during the course of a weekend. Yes, it’s that good.
The cast was diverse, the majority of the few (~six) male characters where gay, otherwise oriented or (in the boyfriends‘ case) eye candy. The females were all over the place, as two headstrong-eccentric-„Love-You-In-Case-I-Die“-bff-„sisters“, as mothers, as barmaids, as musicians, as IT-girls, as annoying customers and so on… The usual „balance“ was tipped off and it was brilliant. Sure the main character is still a very annoying and exhausting person, but hey, at least she’s a person and not a cardboard cut out like so many before her. 😉
Even while told from the male perspective it sounded interesting enough to see Robert De Niro be Anne Hathaway’s intern. When the story began it felt like Hathaway’s character was in a relationship with one of her co-workers, turns out she was a married mother of a little girl and even my fears for her ending up cheating on her husband with said co-worker were diminished as the husband was revealed as the cheating party. Sure it’s annoying that there has to be a conflict through someone cheating on the other, but the solution – also in Girlboss – was interestingly handled.
There was also some nice scene where De Niro’s character reminded Hathaway’s that she’s the  feminist of the two of them and how incredible the stuff is she accomplished. Which she actually acknowledged and made her decision for herself and not to please others.

What could have been better?

You probably noticed the criticism already: Tropes.
The Intern has more of them then Girlboss, but they are there and often quite annoying. I didn’t need the elderly female intern with no clue even how to drive. I didn’t need the barely characterized seductive masseuse. I didn’t need the clueless nerd-boy being forced to leave home. I didn’t need the eccentric, potentially gay, artist living at home with his overly supportive mother.
And most of all: I didn’t need the cheating husband/boyfriend.
Why does every (fictional) success story of a woman involve the man feeling left behind and in need of a different companion? Is it really that bad for a them that the other one becomes absorbed with fulfilling their dream? Do they really crave attention that much? (I know this is also a problem with male success stories, but those wives are usually portrayed as not that faithful to begin with…)
I’m pretty sure the stories would have worked well without (most) those (artificial dramas)…

What were you watching?

What episodes (or movies) did you enjoy/dislike throughout the week(s)/month(s)?
Anything you’d recommend checking out?
Let me know in the comments below!

Final Words

I’m by far not a feminist blog, but I felt the need to introduce you to these two shows, simply because they surprised me that much. If you want another example where it’s even more obvious try the Spanish „No Filter“ (also on Netflix) or if you like it a bit more modern: Roller Girl with Ellen Page.
I’m going back to preparing for my vacation.
See you around.
PoiSonPaiNter