Tag Archives: studying

Spring-Cleaning

To be honest: I am not much of a cleaning-person.
But with spring around the corner (the 20th is the official beginning of spring) the topic of spring-cleaning comes to mind.
Or it would, if you are a person that participates in such things.
The practise of spring-cleaning seems to come from several different places as I just found out.
For one it derives from actual thorough cleaning of the house after a long winter using the first warm days of the year.
For another the cleansing is done in anticipation of the Jewish Passover (or Pesach) feast.
And some other possibilities (including apparently something similarly done close before New Years Eve – „New Years Cleaning“ – in Scotland and other countries).
Regardless of where it came from it symbolises this:
Getting rid of old stuff for the new year.
With spring starting around March the year is already three months in, but I guess doing something like this during the winter months isn’t the best idea. (Regarding all the mud and darkness usually around that time).
But why am I writing about this instead of other way more important/interesting topics?
That’s simple: I’m currently cleaning my flat as I will be having someone staying over for the weekend and I needed a break from that…
I kind of think my flat wasn’t this clean in quite some time as I myself don’t really care about dust and chaos. But if you have a guest, you kind of want them to feel comfortable and to enjoy their stay.
So cleaning it is…
And contemplating about the process and what good it might bring to apply it to other places.
As I said before: The essence of this activity is to get rid of old stuff for a new year (or new start if you wish)
With my studying having ended (I’ll pick up my certificate on Friday) another chapter of my life is closed.
A chapter that took me four and a half year to get through.
A chapter that was full of struggles and failures, but also some good things too.
A chapter I have finally finished.
Though I still cannot believe it or be happy about it.
Everyone keeps telling me „You’ve done it, be happy!„, but somehow I can’t be.
I’m not sure if this is because I haven’t really gotten it into my head that I’m really done or I am still too disappointed of having had so many failures and bad marks.
Probably both.
Though I would like this to changes with me (finally) holding the certificate in my hands.
Unfortunately I doubt that will actually happen as my mind is already occupied with the new chapter, without having checked off the previous one…
And a lot of variables for the new one are still open and it seems like I have to make some quite difficult decisions during the next few weeks/months…not really looking forward to that…
So getting rid of that old stuff is not going to be easy.
Maybe I should focus on the other old stuff that is the actual stuff I own.
Where I am chaotic in regards to my flat, I consider most of my files and documents on my various hardware-thingies to be quite organised (with exceptions of course), but I still think I could organise them even better.
I don’t really understand this contradiction, but I can’t really stand it if documents aren’t filed properly into folders and those folders are categorized as well – and so forth.
Though I do have fits like that when it comes to cleaning too.
I don’t mind my chaos most of the time, but every now and then I just grab things and move them where they actually belong, just because it annoys me to see them not being there.
Or I rearrange things so that they are placed exactly as I think it would be the right way to place them.
Or I rearrange other peoples hoods if they are dishevelled.
Or…but I digress.
Spring-Cleaning.
Getting rid of old stuff for a new year. A new chapter.
Guess I’ll have to do some more cleaning in my mind before I can properly start into my new chapter of life.
So while I’m tidying my place and driving around and spending time with my guest, I wont be able to write a proper post this week – either.
But there will be another Weekend Guess, probably on Sunday this time.
As far as spring-cleaning for the Blog goes: I guess you can kind of see the Re-Wri-Day and the new theme as such.
Hope your spring-cleaning goes better than mine. 😉
PoiSonPaiNter

Done

It is finally done.
The thesis arrived at my lecturers place and now it is time to wait…
Wait to receive my final mark (and subsequently my degree).
The last mark I will receive for this studies that I spent the last 4 1/2 years on completing. (Which was supposed to take a year less.)
It’s a strange feeling and I can’t quite grasp it yet.
I took my last vacation days from last year to get some bit of relaxation before starting to work again and everyone keeps saying I deserve the break.
Somehow I am not so sure about that.
It feels like I could have done so much more with the thesis.
Added more information, made something practical, written stuff differently, covered different aspects, simply changed stuff.
But on the other hand I think that I managed to fit everything important quite well into the required pages.
Beside that, I am relieved that I finished it in the first place.
I am certain that if I had written it last year – as I was supposed to – it wouldn’t have turned out like this.
Back then I was anxious, nervous and petrified whenever I thought about the thesis.
I probably would have worked myself up that much that I wouldn’t have been able to finish the it. Let alone start it.
So I made a choice to take a break from everything studies-related and just work for a semester. A so-called vacation-semester.
It turned out to be a real good decision.
During the semester, I guess, I just lived. I worked, I wrote, I went to festivals and concerts, I travelled a little. It was a nice change to all the stress I had gone through beforehand.
After the semester I was way calmer and more prepared for what was ahead of me. I could look at a timetable and not freak out about it. I could make an outline and read sources to get a basis for my thesis. And that was more than what I managed to do back then.
I managed to get through a situation that could have been enormously stressful.
Not just the start, but also throughout the months I had to work on it.
I simply made sure I would take breaks between working on the thesis and get it done in a pace and a way that would not make me nervous again.
Guess I can be proud of that.
If only just a little bit.
Now the time has come to get to all the stuff I couldn’t do throughout the work on the thesis.
To continue or start with posts and stories that are waiting to be typed.
To plan my vacations for the upcoming festivals and concerts.
To read all those books that still stand unread in my shelves.
To simply enjoy that I don’t have anything else to do for studies any more. That is if my thesis passes and I manage to finally end it.
It’d be bad if that would happen…
It’d mean the whole writing-thing would start anew and well, my company wouldn’t be to pleased about it either. And of course I’d be devastated. All the work – and money, as the printing was relatively expensive and absolutely nerve wrecking – for nothing and another failure added to the list.
I try not to think about that though.
Just distracting myself with working on my several projects and working at my company.
Though not thinking is not really one of the things I do best…
Still, one can try…
On a completely different note is this is also my 50th post.
It only took me nearly two years to come this far.
Although I doubt I’ll manage to get to a hundred posts during this year, I’ll try to post more regularly, now that I have a little more time at hand.
I’ll just see what will happen now.
What I’ll think of and how things will turn out to be.
It’ll be interesting, I guess.
PoiSonPaiNter

Annoyances

To get my mind off of my Bachelor’s thesis for a moment I’d like to just write up some stuff that’s been bugging me recently.
So basically this is just a rant post and you can skip it, more serious posts will be added when I can properly concentrate on them.
And nothing I’ll write down here is in any way meant as offence! It’s just me being annoyed and ranting.
Anyway, the end of my thesis is drawing near and at this point I am pretty much annoyed by the whole editing circle, that I just want the work to be over.
That annoyed that I even made a friggin sketched graph for it…with crappy arrows…

The vicious editing cycle

The vicious editing circle


I know the notes I get are helpful and every re-work improves the thesis, but I really would like to finish the whole thing already…
I can’t help it though. The thesis gets into print on the 23rd and until then I’ll have to go through the circle a couple of more times.
It is supposed to be a proper thesis after all.
It annoys me that my old laptop died shortly before Christmas. Expensive machines shouldn’t be allowed to do that! The new one came just in time for my birthday, but Windows 8 is something I still have to get used to. And I still haven’t finished to properly set it up, as this and everything else is postponed until I’m finished with the thesis. And that still doesn’t change the fact that my notebook from work is one of the most annoying things I’ve ever worked with: slow, loud, old and evil. (It loves blue screens)
It annoys me that I am barely able to work on other writing related stuff right now.
Occasionally my mind drifts off to think about things I could write, but after hours of staring at letters on paper or on the screen I really don’t feel like adding more letters – let alone some in a different language.
This also includes writing this, as I am annoyed that I am writing this, but less annoyed as I can use it to rant and complain.
It annoys me that I can’t finish any of my drafts that I could have posted otherwise.
It annoys me that the last proper post I managed recently was posted nearly two weeks ago (It is however not unusual for me to take long breaks between posts, but still.) and was about a totally random Fandom problem, with a totally unnecessary analysis and fanfiction-like tale about characters being stuck in an elevator…
It annoys me even more that when I posted it on my newly created Tumblr-page, people were liking and re-blogging it, but many just saw the image and didn’t look for the actual content of the post. (Including re-posts with comments like „Someone should write that fanfic“ and „All hell would break lose„, which were both covered in the post.)
This however is partly my own fault as I cryptically described the fact that there was an analysis and a fanfiction-thing involved (Fixed that, but the wave of reblogs died down already, so no one really saw that…). Well, at least some of the Fandoms should have gotten it and a few found their way here from there…
Anyway, the post was still clicked at by a bunch of people (90 so far, to be precise) and the tale-version on fanfiction.net was also favourited, read and commented by some others. And followed, even though I said that it will not be continued. (Though some of them replied by saying they would like me to continue it….what strange ideas people have…)
So basically I am annoyed that people refuse to read properly.
But as I am doing this myself at times I can’t really blame anyone.
It also annoys me that I managed to write that ~4k post in less than a day and it took me several months to write my ~12k thesis…yes I know, research takes time away as well, but it’s still awful…
I’m also annoyed that there wasn’t any snow yet.
I don’t want it to be as horrible as in January 2010 and 2011, where the snow mountains on the motorway were twice the size of my car, but some snow to make it at least look like it’s winter would be nice.
On Christmas Day (24th) I sat in our living room and couldn’t see a thing on my screen, because the sun shown as brightly as if it was just a normal spring day. To emphasize that: Christmas Day felt like a day in spring!
It was snowing in Egypt, why can’t we have at least some of it here?
Though if the snow were to come I would probably complain about freezing and awful transport.
Whatever the weather does, it does it wrong…or we are just too picky.
It also annoys me that Christmas and New Years Eve didn’t really feel like either because of the high temperatures and my thesis was constantly at the back of my mind.
15 days in and I still don’t feel like we have a different year.
And apart from remembering that it is 2014 and not 2013 I now also have to remember a new number for my age…again….that is so annoying…Why can’t we just say our year of birth and people do the Math themselves? That’s what I have to do anyway when I’m asked how old I am…just can’t remember the flipping number…
Anyway, I kind of feel like I’m coming to an end with things that annoy me right now. At least I can’t think of more…
Well, this is kind of more than enough for a random rant…
I’m sorry to bother you with this, but I had to let off some steam.
If you like, you can share your annoyances as well.
I’ll gladly listen.
This way everybody can be annoyed. 😀
PoiSonPaiNter

Why Wikipedia should be a quotable source

and why it won’t be for a quite a while…
The most annoying thing when you are writing a scientific or research paper is that you are not allowed to quote Wikipedia. And while writing my Bachelor’s thesis I was (and still am) confronted with this problem quite often.
Looking at Wikipedia to get a general understanding of what whatever I am looking for is has become some kind of second nature for me. And in most situation it was enough to satisfy my curiosity or even end a discussion with the proof needed for a point. Wikipedia is a great source for free knowledge that I’d seriously miss if it was ever shut down. Clever people sit down and write (in most cases) wonderfully understandable articles that combine so many thoughts and view points that it would be a shame if you didn’t use it.
But in a paper you can’t.
I don’t know what it’s like in other countries but in Germany it is looked down upon if  you use Wikipedia as information source for a scientific paper. In school teachers would scold you if you simply copied and pasted stuff from Wikipedia, but they would at least accept it if you took information from there and formulated it in your own words. One of the first things you learn about quoting in university, however, is: Never quote Wikipedia.
But why is that? Why can’t we simply use these great roundups for certain topics that are provided to us for free?
From an objective point of view this becomes apparent quite soon.

#1 EVERYONE (with access) can edit articles on Wikipedia

This is probably the most problematic reason for disregarding Wikipedia as a proper source.
The one writing the article can be an expert in the field he is writing about, but he can also be someone who just wants to mess with people or thinks he has an idea of what he is doing, but in reality doesn’t know a thing.
With aliases and everything you never really know who actually wrote it and you also can’t properly pin an author to what was written.
Therefore you can never be certain if what is written there does really represent the truth.
And because

#2 Articles do not quote properly

you can’t even prove it. This is not always the case and many articles have an information that says that points in the article aren’t properly quoted, but still. Without proper references to the original sources you can’t draw your own conclusions, like the author did for writing the article.
With no proper background for conclusions and explanations they are considered to be wrong. (For finding a truth value in a statement this would be different, but that’s beside the point.)
For a paper it would be more helpful to be able to look – and quote – the original sources, but if the roundup doesn’t provide those that is not an option. To make my own decisions I look into other opinions – in this case other sources – so I can use both things as reference.
And what if an author researched something and no one ever heard about it, because there is no official paper on it, just a seemingly wrong paragraph in an Wikipedia article? We wouldn’t know it and another editor would simply delete it.

#3 Articles can always be changed

When an article is written it is not written in stone, it is rather written on a chalk board. You can wipe away what you deem wrong and add your correction. If it is an old board you might even be able to see what stood there earlier, like what you can do with the page history. This makes it hard to pinpoint a version of the article you could use in a proper quote. As far as I know it is a common practice to include printed versions (at least PDF versions) of websites for references, but with an ever changing source like Wikipedia this is always a bit tricky.
Those three things can be summed up into:

#4 Formulating a source is complicated

A proper quote for a paper includes: Author, Release Date, Name of the Source and an URL.
While the name and the URL are easy to find, the others are not so much.
It is not really clear who should be credited as author. The one who generated the page? The one who wrote the most part of it? The one who edited it last? I’d say the one who wrote the most, but I certainly don’t want to look through the whole history to find out who that was. To be save you might even include a „Last edited by“, but you still only have user names and no proper authors.
Same goes for the Release Date. For an ever changing article like this the date the page was created can’t be seen as Release Date. It makes more sense to use the date the current version was released as reference for that. But what if it changes tomorrow again and you don’t look because you have your source? Well, then you better make it safe and add another date that says when you last looked at the source or made the print version.
You certainly can find a way to quote it, but it’s not really a satisfying way.
There are most likely way more points to this than I can currently think of, but I am going to leave it at that.
To turn Wikipedia into something quotable a lot of things would have to change.
Author’s would have to be marked as main author and editors.
Articles need way more references to underline their points.
Versions would have to be declared as quotable (acknowledged by experts, etc.).
And so forth.
There have been many discussion regarding this topic and there will be a lot more until we find a proper solution for this.
But from my personal point of view it would be a really useful help to be able to use the roundup as your source and as reference to other media.
Until then I need to search for other sources that I can properly quote and use as reference for my thesis (and only use „Wiki“ to find them 😉 ).
PoiSonPaiNter

The "Cast" of this Blog

Apart from the fact that I still have many things to write about – including concert and festival reviews, some of them even from last year – I thought before I do that I should get some clarity on all the people I’ve been referring to in my previous posts. As this is most likely to get even more confusing.

So this is the time to get a closer look at the people that provide me with stuff to write about on this Blog. People I’ve mostly met throughout the last few years, with whom I had one or the other adventure – if you want to call it that way. Therefore I tried to collect everyone I’ve mentioned so far  into a list on this page: *click*

But why?

Simply because I think it already got pretty confusing as to who I mean when I say „a colleague“, „a fellow student“ and so forth.
Each of them now has a little description and I tried to put them into groups of where I know them from and so forth.

As for the reason why I put them into a list .. .well … as much as I like chaotic things, as much do I prefer order at some points. And I do have the tendency to make lists or congeries of notes for some things. This way it is just better to understand and to look through. You also can scroll down if you know that what you seek is in another part of the list … and so forth … it’s just clearer that way.

And why all these vague names?

Duh…this is the Internet…of course I am not using real names … especially not for people who are not me and where I am not the person to decided whether I should use them.
It’s annoying enough that you have to use your real name to get an account for some sides, there is no need to have it on your Blog anywhere else beside the Impressum.
Well, this also might seem a little cowardly if you look at it in a way that you are hiding behind a nickname. But even famous authors occasionally use pseudonyms to get other work published. 😉 (See Richard Bachman for prove. ).

I just don’t want people to associate what I write with who I am right away. I want them to read and enjoy and than maybe have a closer look at who is behind all this rubbish. I want people to like „me“/my work for what I do/how I write and not for who I am. If that makes any sense.

Besides: Everything you say/write or do can and will be used against you.
Luckily so far I’m not victim to any shitstorms or CyberMobs, but who knows.
I might some day write something that pisses of a great deal of people and then having your real name portrayed on a side is not always the best way to keep them away from you.
Unfortunately in German law you have to include this stuff on the side, so everyone can find out my real name without much ado, yet I still wont use it for signing these posts.

I created the nickname PoiSonPaiNter in 2007 when I started using the (old) forum I frequently mentioned. Back then I listened to Edguy a lot and was thus inspired by their songs: „Wash away the Poison“ and „Painting on the Wall“ to create exactly that name. Two amazing ballads that somehow just fit rather well when it comes to my overall mentality and somehow the name ended up becoming something entirely different to this.
Since then I saw this name as a possibility for me to get things out of my head in forums, on this Blog and so on, to gain a little more confidence and courage to stand up for my opinion. Sure I am occasionally hiding behind it, but it is still I who says all this, it just feels better to not stutter and squirm or feel all flustered when trying to bring across what I actually want to say. I suck at describing what I think or plan on doing verbally. Writing about it is way easier for me. Though either way people tend to not understand me and get me wrong … well, guess I’m just complicated like that …

Anyway, the point is: On this side I’ll be using nicknames or vague descriptions of people I’ve met or had adventures with – and to be absolutely clear here: I mean adventures in the sense of exploring places or attending concerts and such …

I myself take pride in my chosen nickname.
It gives me confidence that slowly but surely seeps through into my real life.
It occasionally provides giggles as it already was misread as „PoisonPanther“ or miss-spelled as „PoisenPainter“.
And it is simply: Just me.
As often as I can, I stick with this name – and if you see a PoiSonPaiNter out there in a community it might possibly be me. (One of main other names is Mod Soul from my Fanfiction.net-Profile)

You can even check me out on Facebook using that name as I recently created an extra-side for this Blog and the stuff I do beside it – or at least try to do.

So, I hope the Cast-list – that will be updated irregularly – helps you get a better overview of the who-is-who and you understood a little as to why I did that and why my name is important to me.

PoiSonPaiNter

On the Road: Taking the Bus

As I am currently not driving that often with my car – except this week I in fact was, but only for familial visits – I thought I might as well write about my other means of transportation: The Bus; or more precisely: The City Bus.
One of several possibilities of public transport that probably shows a similar attitude towards its passengers in all kind of cities in all regions of the world. It is somewhat like trams and underground railways, just with a different atmosphere due to its seat layout. Well, and the attitude people have towards it is probably pretty similar everywhere as well.
Anyway, I’d like to talk a bit about my experiences with these things.

Helpful but untimely

I have to say if you do not have a car – or a proper place to park your car or the money to pay the gasoline bill that comes from too often using said car – public transportation can be pretty helpful.
That is, if their timing is right…
Using public transportation means, you are bound to take them at a certain time and not whenever you feel like it. They have a fixed schedule and nothing will change said schedule.
Not even standing right before closed doors of the vehicle and asking for entrance and the driver SEES that you do so and refuses to let you in, but never mind.
They’re a good thing for reducing costs for gasoline and the traffic in general, but there are quite a bunch of problems accompanying them. The City Buses in the German cities where I have actually used them look pretty similar: They’re either Articulated Buses or a normal version of those. The inside depends on how young/old the bus is. If it is a young one you have a huge area for baby buggies and wheel chairs. (Basically meaning: The younger a bus, the more spacious is this area and the less seats you have.)
Still, depending on when you use the bus, this area and the whole bus is pretty much cramped.

Annoying changes

But this is a thing that the bus company in my city kind of just re-invented…
When I returned from studying in the end of last year they had made some pretty annoying and ridiculous changes.
First of all: All people – except those that would use the area(s) mentioned above – had to enter through the first door. This caused people to either just stand around in the front of the bus, so you had to squeeze your way through them or actually walk to the back of the bus as the company had „planned“.
The second thing was: You have to show the driver your ticket, every freaking time you enter the bus.
This however was not as publicly noted as the entrance change had been.
While the first had posters on the bus itself, the second had a hand out for about a week or so – of course a week where I was NOT taking the bus.
So I just entered like always without taking out my ticket and the driver just grabbed my arm and rudely told be to take out the ticket.
As I complained that it was at the bottom of my bag pack, he stayed stubborn. Furthermore, a woman that stood just behind his booth chimed in and told me that everyone had to do this. When I told them that this never stood anywhere she told me that there had been a hand out before. I just grumbled that I hadn’t been there to get that information.
This of course all took place while I rummaged through my bag pack for the annual ticket that by now costs more then one month of my rent.
It is not surprising that my mood that morning was even worse than before as I am not that much of a morning person. A fellow student of mine had to suffer through my tirade back then, but sometimes you just have to let out the bad emotions to come to peace.
Well, or at least stay calm for the next things to follow.
Oh, and they did all these changes for our safety no less! And of course every now and then there are still the patrols to check if all the tickets, that have been shown to the driver – or not if he was not busy cashing other people while you walked in – are correct/existing…
Everything for our safety…suuure…stumbling through the cramped bus, long time-consuming lines at the entrance where everyone squeezes in at the same time and hurried bus drivers that don’t care if the (older) people already found their seats or that there is a speed limit…but I digress…

The Crowd

Taking the bus in the morning however leaves me with three choices, where my sleepiness more or less decides which evil I pick:
– Mainly noisy, annoying school-kids, some sleepy adults, annoying teenagers
– less school-kids, more awake and talkative adults and teenagers or
– quite a bunch of loud, crying, screaming, annoying babies and children and still the adults and some teenagers
If you do not have your music player with you, the ride can be pretty nerve-wrecking. Especially if there are other people that also listen to music but way louder than you or the driver tries to find a fitting radio station and so forth.
Well, I was once the person with the far too loud music, but I wasn’t used to listening via my mobile phone and another passenger had to inform me about the drivers complains. Though I am sure he didn’t really notice WHAT I was listening, as that would have been even more awkward (*cough* it was Edguy’s Sex, Fire, Religion *cough*). Though thinking about this, I never really saw a bus driver ask for quieter music again, even if there were some pretty loud ones, might have been the late hour…
Anyway, a bus ride can be fun too (except all those things above). You can meet interesting people or coincidentally meet pals and/or colleagues.
There are also people that simply greet me because we saw each other time and time again in the bus. There even was a woman for a short time, whose toes I nearly stepped on every time I stood up… >_<
Beside that there are two stories that are somewhat funny regarding this.
The first is about a member of the „group“ I am more or less a part of: I saw her every now and then at the bus, before I met her through the group. I thought the whole time that she looked familiar, that I have seen her somewhere before, but I just couldn’t remember where. When I saw her again at the bus after one of the groups celebrations I actually recognized her and realized that it was the bus where I had seen her before. 😀 By now I saw three people of the group in the bus and depending on the mood and how talkative we felt, we even conversed.
The second story is about a girl that I saw reading in the bus. I always thought about talking to her as she mostly read Fantasy stories, but I never really had the guts to do so. Well, one day I just seated myself beside her and she started a conversation, telling me that she had seen me reading as well…
By now we had one or the other weird bus ride, with me being grumpy and only half-awake and her being far too lively and loud  for my sleepy mind, but it is still fun and a better way to wake up then screaming kids…

But not everything is bad about buses

As I said it can be fun with people you know, but it also gives you time to wake up some more before work. You can close your eyes again and doze off for a short time. Or as I occasionally do: You can scribble down a story/idea that has been on your mind throughout the morning/night/day. I’ve gotten quite used to writing while the bus is bumping through the streets. Though this does not mean I always am able to decipher what I wrote…
Additionally it gives you time to think. You also have that time in the car, but you do have to pay a little more attention while driving, just a tiny bit more. 😉
Think about said ideas, think about what you would need to do that day and so forth….or just listening to the music that is currently playing and let your mind wander…
See there is good to taking the bus. 😉
I don’t really know much about City Buses in other cities – only those I went with – but I guess the perception of other people is not that much different from my own. Everyone is happy to get out of the bus again, unless you have something to write or talk about and would like to continue that.
But what I know a little about are the Intercity Buses in my region: They only drive very rarely (once a day being often) and take long. Would I take such a bus for driving home it’d take twice the time as if I’d take my car, not to get started on the prices….
In bigger cities you also have trams and underground railways. I always get confused about which ticket would be the best for me to buy or which way to take, having people around to show you the way is a pretty helpful thing here 😉
And speaking of underground railway: I’ve read (and saw) in Clive Barkers story from the Books of Blood about some pretty interesting inhabitants of the New Yorker underground railway in the Midnight Meat Train that I do like to mention whenever I take such a means of transport. 😀 (This story even has an interesting watch-tale that I might write about it at a later point.) Am I right to believe that  no one has actual prove of that? 😉
And on a completely different note: This Blog now has a FaceBook Page as well: RandomPoison on FaceBook and if you don’t want to follow this Blog via WordPress, you can keep up to date through that side as well.
PoiSonPaiNter

Improvement

When I looked through some old stuff today I discovered something incredible: My English used to be sooo bad only a few years ago…well there would still be worse people, but I was quite shocked when I read some of my old essays for my English classes during Vocational High School…
And I even still have an old story of mine already typed from that time to prove this. And I have to admit that I used to be „proud“ of what I’ve written, but now I just am laughing at it the all the way through…it’s sooo bad… XD
So. if you dare to find out, where I started with my story-writing skills in about 2008, just read on. (Well, we had four pictures and then to write a story according to what they portrayed, so we did not have much space for imagination.)
On a side note: I think it still has all the spelling errors in it as well…or I added typing errors…probably both…
If you are not brave enough, just scroll down to my continued rant below it 😉

Monopoly
It’s a friendly, peaceful day. The sky is blue, only some clouds are hanging around in the sky. Ignorant people do their egoistic things in a world full of hate.
A woman is walking out of the door of a bank. She’s sad. She lost her job and won’t get any more credits. She isn’t noticing any cars on the street. A moment earlier an other woman came out of this bank. She’s self-confident and proud and she’s in a snit! A banker wasn’t friendly to her. The third woman is gazing at the bank and surveying the situation. May she’s planing something. In front of her there is a man. He seems to be very sad and he’s walking very slowly. His eyes are looking at the bank with every step he’s making. Looking, looking away, looking, looking away, etc. The second man is walking in the opposite direction as the other guy is doing. This man is looking at the starring girl. She’s nodding. The man is answering with a nod. Something strange is going on here.
All of these people had been disappearing in a few seconds, so that the streets are empty now. A second car is arriving. Three guys are getting out of it. They are wearing masks, even you can describe it as only some black ties in front of their mouths. For the last time they’re looking over the street. There’s a little discussion between them, if it’s the right moment, but this isn’t of much interest. Now they are going into the bank.
The people in the bank aren’t noticing those strange guys. Suddenly they are realizing, that this is a bank robbery, because one of the guys was making a shot in the air. After this everyone is shocked for a while. The bank robbers are going straight through the masses to the lady behind the window. The boss of the robbers is just saying: “Give the money!” As self-confident as it’s possible for her in such a situation she’s answering: “We only have some banknotes here! The rest is in the safe deposit!” “Then open it!”, the robber is becoming nervous. “I don’t know the combination and I’m unable to find out what it is!”, she is answering relaxed. “Why aren’t you able?!”, the man is screaming now. In this moment another woman is sinking on the floor. Someone of the witnesses is screaming: “Help her!” One of the guys is a friendly one, but also a very naive. He is going to help her. Suddenly she’s starring straight into his eyes, taking his gun and kicking his ass, so that he is falling on the floor. In the same moment the lady behind the window is hitting the distracted guys in front of her.
So these to tough girls adjusted the bank robbers and got an award by the police for their courage. The bank robbers went straight to prison, without getting any money. And if they didn’t get acquitted, so they even sit imprisoned!
© As horrible as the story might be: It still is my intellectual property and therefore is only allowed to be used with my permission.

Now as you might have read this horrid peace of written work, you might understand why I wanted to improve my skills. And seeing as I myself can tell that the stuff above is bad, makes me believe that I actually have improved over the last few years.
I would even dare to say greatly improved.
But as improvement has it, it only comes with time and practice and I can say that I practiced quite a bit. Classes during A-Level did little, though I had to write even more than before, but my classes during studying indeed did their part. While I only had German natives teaching me foreign languages before, I now had English-natives as teachers. Beside that I also had started reading Manga in English and watching Animes with English subtitles and so on. I didn’t really sat down and studied that much, I just learned it while using it. It’s far easier that way.
By now I watch series and movies in English, read stuff and write all this stuff here on this page (posts and stories) and on fanfiction.net, translate the stuff for our posts on dfppentertainment.wordpress.com and even try to improve my speaking skills by recording my Fanfics – though that’s a work in a really slow progress. And if you still not believe that I have improved, just look through this blog and read some more. For example my dwarve-story The Quest for Ore, to have a comparison to how I write stories these days. 😉
But don’t think my writing skills in German were much better in the beginning…no, they clearly weren’t…but they were even funnier…there is a story of mine from second or third grade about a horse that befriends itself with a kangorooh (kangaroo) from the far away continent Australia, where everyone speaks backwards…because Australia is on the other side/half of the Earth, you know? 😀 Oh, the logic of an eight year old kid… 😀
Anyway, I’d like to improve my skills even further, especially my speaking skills, and not forget this incredible language – as I mostly did with Russian, which I would like to re-learn. But I can’t say, if I actually be able to do either of that.
I’m still going to try.
Who knows, maybe in a couple of years I’m looking back at this and think the exact same thing I did, when looking through my old school stuff. 😀
PoiSonPaiNter
Oh, by the way: The last lines, the so-called „punchline“ of the story was supposed to be the translation of the Monopoly go-to-jail-card, thus explaining the title. 😉

Milestones

Every large enough project needs to be split into several phases: Each phase ending with a milestone. A kind of sign post that tells you: This is done, let’s move on.
And as life itself is one of the largest projects there are it does have some as well. As it ranges from childhood, over the teenage years, up until adulthood and beyond.
When you are young you don’t really care about your milestones. You just care about things children do, like playing, your favourite food/toys, etc.. But your parents care. They celebrate every little thing you do. Your first steps, your first words, the first birthdays and so on.
The first big milestones you have as child is entering/leaving nursery school, kindergarten (In some places in Germany you have two parts of the nursery school: “Kinderkrippe” and “Kindergarten” that’s why I split it) and entering elementary school.
From then on out the steps become bigger.
When it only took weeks, months or a few years to accomplish them before, it now takes three to six years and more.
Explaining the German school system is tricky. Especially as a lot has changed since I left it. But when I went through it I passed three milestones: Finishing Elementary School (“Grundschule”), Secondary School (“Realschule”) and Grammar School/ (Vocational) High School (“(Fach)Gymnasium”).
Those years weren’t really what a kid/teenager would have liked to experience, but that kind of made me who I am: A pessimistic, weird loner. 😉
An always interesting thought process is that when you are still in the system you want to get out of it. But when you have actually left it, you understand that those years were way easier than anything life throws at you when you’re done with school. And you realize all these adults that told you “One day you will miss school!” were right. Well, I don’t really “miss school” I just miss the spare time I had thanks to the short schedules and stuff. You could do so much more in one day…
Since I started studying in a dual-mode course of study in 2009 spare time was (occasionally) there, but so was stress. Studying in this system means you don’t have semester breaks. Because if you do, you have to work. Work for the company that gives you your paycheck and also pays for your education. That leaves you with 24 to 30 vacation days a year to recuperate. Direct studies aren’t that much different to this by now, but I still think it is different though. As you have a company that wishes to see good – if not the best – results of you. Both in studies and at work.
And with a certain amount of stress neither is really achievable – at least not without paying a high price for it. And I don’t mean bribing the lecturers. 😀
Throughout those years I had to re-experience things that I hoped would have gotten better as the people would be more mature. But I was soon proven wrong. People prefer uniformity and despise everything that is different. It had looked well in the first semester, but it then went downhill.
I had a pretty low phase in my fourth semester, where I didn’t want to continue and in the end failed 4 of the 6 exams that term. Being used to school standards with somewhat easy and divided possibilities to gain your final mark this feels like a stab in the chest every time you see the red mark in the overview.
Failure was my steady companion throughout this time.
I needed a second try in quite a bunch of exams unfortunately.
But I think most of it was because of my mental state and the little time we had for learning and during the exams. Five exams in one week is not really the nicest thing to push onto a student.
I’m not proud of my failings nor the marks I got in the end, but I managed to pass every last one of them.
It is what you gain from failing that forms your character. You can rise from your ashes and manage to do it the next time or just stop trying and let the whole thing drag you down even further.
Even though I have the tendency to drag myself down for a while after a failure at some point I start doing what has to be done regardless of that. As I am too stubborn and proud to just give up.
And I wanted to at several points.
But failure wasn’t my only company.
There also were people that stayed with me every now and again.
I am horrible with making friends and staying friends with people I meet and like. It takes time for me to actually trust people and see/refer to them as “friends”.
They’re mostly pals, fellow students, colleagues and whichever other word you can use for describing a non-friend.
But that’s just how complicated a person I am. 😉
And regardless of how I refer to them, those that are dear and important to me know that they are, at least I hope they do.
But what do people have to do with milestones?
People help us accomplish our milestones. They show us a different path or put obstacles in our way, make us re-think our strategies or assist us in overcoming our troubles and most importantly give us new strength to carry on.
As much as I despise the treatment I had to ensure throughout the years.
There were always a few people that stuck with me.
That I could talk to for hours and not get the slightest bit bored or annoyed.
People that I really enjoy/ed spending time with.
As I said, I am not that good at keeping friends, given my pessimistic nature, but I try.
So I am grateful for all the people that crossed my path and walked with me for a while.
I don’t know how often I will be able to meet some of them again and not lose track of them. As I kind of did with so many other people.
But those few I am currently thinking of helped me through the last semesters (and exams).
They talked some sense into me when I was down or unrealistic or just provided entertainment, great conversations and company. They helped me to strive for better marks again, so that I managed to even get some really good ones in some of the last exams.
And given a little more time I even might be able to achieve what they already managed to do recently – my next milestone:
Obtaining my Bachelor’s degree.
One day I will have it as well!
Without the fancy robe and the official ceremony, but I will have it! 😀
And all this above is the reason I should not write blog posts when I’m feeling down….Sounds far too cheesy… 😀
PoiSonPaiNter