Thursday, December 25, 2014

What The Hell Is He Doing?

I don't consider myself Christian any more but I still take offense when Christians themselves make the religion look unnecessarily stupid.

Like the pope does. Don't get me wrong… I have respect for catholics as humans, although it's difficult for me to respect catholicism as a religion. I mean, catholicism to me is the most visible form of christianity gone wrong. All of this praying to Mary, praying to Saint Somebody and using all kinds of religious "devices" like rosaries and statues and what they may be called… it's the closest it can get to polytheism and paganism the way people in the bible have warned us of.

I mean… catholic practices are so deviant from what's actually written in the bible, it's just amazing. Where in the bible does it actually say that Mary is the MOTHER OF GOD? Literally…Mother of an immortal being that never began to exist but always existed? Blows my mind.

The whole trinity thing is already a very far-fetched idea. Turning Mary and some so-called Saints into pray-worthy individuals makes the whole idea go too crazy and kills off all credibility. After that, christianity as a whole looks completely stupid in the eyes of muslims and other religious people. In a similar fashion that muslims look stupid because of the 9/11 pilots (making a whole religion look bad because of individual beliefs that may not reflect the entirety of the respective religion).

Back to our beloved pope (may peace be upon him…I guess? Oh no, wait. This is not an islamic text so I can cut all the bullshit). For all non-christians, remember that the pope only represents about half of christianity. Protestants don't "believe" in him. And even he is almost pray-worthy. They (catholics) call him a representative of god. Wow. A very bold job description.

Whatever you may think about him… what the hell is he doing in this picture? He is kissing a statue (which equals a pagan idol to me, a clear violation of one of the 10 commandments), but even worse is how he kisses it… This gives the old sterotype of the pedophile catholic cleric a whole new dimension.

Okay, I get it… it's not meant the way it looks. But if other religions made as much fun of christianity as people make fun of them, then christianity would be the laughing stock of the universe.

Again, no offense, but clearly none of that shit is written in the bible. Merry Christmas! Let's celebrate the birth of Santa Clause and the Sun God.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another End Of Year Post

Here we are again. Another year is over. This time it's 2014.

I'm starting to realize how time passes more quickly the older you get. I heard this from my dad many years ago, and I believe it's true. When I read about people born in the year 2000, I think they're babies, but they're not. They are teenagers right now.

Many years ago, the year 2000 seemed futuristic. Now we're in the year 2014 and 2000 seems like some laughable period of time when cell phones still looked relatively gigantic and the internet was still in its baby shoes.

Back to 2014. What was it like for me? Well, it started of quite bad in terms of work, I was not working because of stress and had to make a recovery in order to get back to work. Then that's what I did and my contract is going to run out in February and I'm going to leave my employer of more than 6 years. Big change.

What I can say about 2014 is that it was not a year full of extreme changes. But the years 2013 and 2015 are going to be such years. In 2013, I got into a new position / job that made me break down. In 2014, I returned to a job I can handle, but 2015 will have lots of uncertainty to deal with.

At the same time, there is still some sense of hope left. If there is one powerful thing in life that I always get to notice, it's the amazing experience of realizing what an entire year includes. Think back to one year ago and consider all the changes... 365 days of change.

I'll give you one example. Not even one year ago, in January, I thought to myself that it would be a good start to earn 10 Euros a month with a blog. That I could go on to earn 100 Euros at an unspecified moment in time, whenever it works. Now, I can look back and say that 300 euros a month with a blog is not a totally uncommon thing (taxes not yet taken into account), and there is more to be done and more to achieve.

What amazes me is the scale of events... how quickly things can change.

At the beginning of 2005 for example, I didn't yet know I was going to meet Marit Larsen in a private situation as if we're just friends hanging out.

I also never believed I would just make several hundred Euros on a lucky day at the stock market as if I'm a professional. Just like that (just to note: I also lost money on other days).

[enter any other year with a special event]

And this is how things sometimes just fall into place. This is why it's important for me to look back on a year that's over and appreciate how things have just changed very rapidly. Not all things, just some.

Of course, I know that sometimes things can go in the wrong direction. But at the same time all I can do is try to be positive and look for chances instead of things to go desperate about. Because if we don't try to look for good things in life, why are we here anyway?

I'm probably more of a Darwinian than ever before, and I believe that the meaning of life can be found in life itself and not somewhere outside, in another life, another world and so on. If we want to be happy, we can try to be happy now. If we're just drawn into depression, then living itself becomes useless because why even bother to stay alive?

See this as a positive message. As long as 51% of a day is good enough to make the other 49% tolerable, then life is worth it. And our eagerness should be to get as much of the 100% of life to feel good.

So, 2014 was a year full of learning, there was definitely a lot of personal development involved, and in other areas of life, not so much changed. Somehow though, I'm actually glad that all the things that went bad didn't turn me into a pessimistic person. The opposite is the case, which is almost a little scary because I don't want to trust it. But then again, I'm good at careful calculations and my idea is that, if only some of the things I hope for work out, then it should be okay. My considerations largely revolve around finances, but that's because I'm very pragmatic. If finances work, life is less complicated and I'm sure I'll find enough things to enjoy. I'm actually one of the people who believe that money -does- make you happy... or in other words, if money isn't the problem, there certainly are enough other things to focus on.

So, next year I need to look for a new job, but it doesn't have to be the biggest, best job ever, and not even well-paid. Just good enough so that I'm okay. And I wouldn't even mind if it is part time because then I can work from home. And if it's not part time, that means that I earn more. So either way there should be something positive, right?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Deserved Death

A couple of days ago, I read an online article about a tragic accident. A woman had taken a wrong turn with her car, drove into the incoming traffic on a highway, and caused the deaths of a man and his daughters.

She, who survived, was sentenced to two years of probation. But that's only half of the story.

The other half of the story is that none of the dead wore any seatbelts, and that experts stated that seatbelts would have saved everyone's lives.

Also, the wife of the dead man and mother to his children was left behind, possibly with other children, we don't know that.

What shocks me about this: The carelessness of a man, and probably bad parenthood, lead to this disaster. I can understand if one person in the car forgets the seatbelt. I mean, it can happen to any parent that they don't check on their children wearing the belts. But all of them at the same time, including the father? That's carelessness.

And thus, he made his wife a widow. And took her children away from her. How fitting.

To be honest, this event calls for a Darwin Award. Think about it:

  • Reproduction: He erased himself (and his offspring) from the genetic pool. Check.
  • Excellence: Astounding misapplication of judgement. He didn't put the seatbelt on and didn't care about his daughters' lives either. Fantastic misjudgement indeed.
  • Self-Selection: Cause of one's own demise... well, this one is debatable. But driving on a highway without a seatbelt qualifies in my opinion.
  • Maturity: Definitely the case. He was old enough to know that seatbelts are important.
  • Veracity: The event must be true. I guess it is.

So, although he did not cause the accident, it was his actions (or lack thereof), that resulted in the deaths. To me, this is a Darwin Award winner.

I believe it is a fitting punishment for all involved. The woman who drove the wrong way, instead of just stopping her car, got what she deserved. It may sound harsh, but you can't tell me that anyone can be so stupid. To clarify things, she was driving for quite some time, other cars were already honking and making visual signs that she was on the wrong side of the track. Now she has to live with the consequences.

And the man and his daughters? Well, death was the only option. I can't get over the fact that they didn't wear seatbelts. On a German highway, it is normal to drive at a speed of between 90 and 180 kilometers per hour. What exactly is the problem with seatbelts then? Too cool to apply one? Too relaxed to be one of the nerds who use one?

This simply can't be an act of "forgetting" something. This is a systematic wrongful behaviour that resulted in death.

People out there, listen to me: Don't make these stupid mistakes.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

A Society Of Sociopaths

Since I like watching documentaries about crime, I sometimes get to learn a couple of things about psychology and behaviour.

Then, when I notice the same patterns in the society I live in, it strikes me that maybe a lot of people are pathological in how they act.

For example: Sociopaths. These people are defined as individuals who lack the sense of empathy and understanding other people's emotions, fail to conform to social norms, lie and deceive, act recklessly, irresponsibly and in an impulsive manner, and show no remorse for their actions (among other symptoms).

Although it's stupid of me to assume I can tell a sociopath from a normal person without being a proper psychologist, there are instances when I just notice how egoistic and careless people are.

  • A woman stops her car because of a red traffic light, but the car is standing right in the way of all the pedestrians who want to cross the street. All of these conformists need to walk around the car. What does that woman do? Having a nice conversation and laughing her ass off. No remorse, no empathy, no shame or embarrassment.
  • A woman is sitting down on the bench at the bus stop where my lady and me are already sitting, waiting for the bus. She takes a seat right next to us and starts smoking a cigarette. No compassion, no remorse, no attempt to imagine how we might feel about it.
  • People on the bus hearing loud music or screaming into their phones, or having irritating ringtones that keep ringing every 2 minutes.

These are only examples. There are many more cases like these.

What I notice again and again are these things:

  • I can't recall our society having been that way when I was a child
  • From my own upbringing, I would rather be swallowed by a big hole in the ground than to cause other people this kind of discomfort
  • I am too adepted to being a good citizen than to speak up for myself, so I keep quiet and rather escape these situations than to confront the people who should adept better to us
  • The more I see how this world is changing, the more I feel totally turned off by the idea of putting little babies into this world to suffer the cruelties that exist nowadays.

This world is harsh. The anti-social behaviour is getting worse and worse. Maybe I was brought up in a save environment and that's why I didn't notice these things before. But something DID change. For example, unemployment benefits. When I was young, receiving these benefits was an exception and you had to feel grateful to be saved from being a homeless person.

Nowadays, not only do people take long-term benefits for granted, they heavily insist on their rights and how people in the job agencies should not make demands. The turned around completely, from being grateful receivers to being demanding...bosses? As unemployed people?

This society, the German society, is going into the wrong direction. I never thought I would become one of the people who said we need stricter rules for foreigners, stricter rules for unemployed people and so on... because I was once naive and believed that being too strict will harm those who try to be good people but are just unlucky... unlucky to be war refugees from other countries, unlucky to be poor, unlucky to be unemployed.

But nowadays, these people are the minority. Those who cheat the system, exploit legal loop holes and insist on their rights (which are too many), are the majority. And we, the common people who were raised to be good citizens, have to pay the price... taxes and other social contributions. We carry the load so they can live a luxorious life.

It sickens me. And back to topic: They are sociopaths. No regrets, no remorse, no guilt, no shame, instead lots of lying, not caring about others and feeling good about it.

This has even corrupted me. I no longer care about how I could help our society. As long as -I- am okay, as long as -I- can increase my income, that's all I'm asking for. I have no desire to be a teacher, a helper, a social worker or anything like that. And maybe that's because playing fair holds no rewards. If you want to be on the winning team, you've got to be a cheater.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Smokers Are Weird People...

Perhaps smoking is the most perfect example to show how inconsistent and contradictory human beings are.

Before I elaborate, let me share this experience with you from some days ago...

I was just exiting the main door of my house one morning when a man ran past me at full speed. He wanted to catch the same bus I was going to catch. So he ran towards the bus stop like crazy, knowing it would be a close call. As soon as he arrived, he lit a cigar, smoked for 10 seconds, then the bus came and he threw his almost unused cigar to the ground.

This is the event that inspired me to write about smokers. To this day, smoking has always been a mystery to me. I understand the basic principle: You want to try it because it's something interesting, something only "cool" people do, right? Then, you get addicted, and then you can't stop. Or, as smokers would put it, they "don't want to stop, but I could if I wanted to".

Now... if only smoking was a bad habit, we could end the post right there. But there is more to it than this. It's more than an annoying habit, and even more than an annoying habit connected to a fatal disease.

Here is what makes smokers so inconsistent: Even religious people do it. I have seen muslim women with scarves who smoked. And somehow, this is what I don't get.

You see, it's extremely clear that smoking is wrong. It's unhealthy, causes disease, and I believe that even the quran somewhere states something similar to the bible's "your body is a temple for God" or something like that.

The logic behind wearing a scarf, praying five times a day and STILL smoking cigarettes is: There were no Marlboro, no West and no John Player Special cigarettes back when Jesus, Mohammed and the rest of the gang were around.
So: No Marlboro, no "don't smoke Marlboro". What a nice logic.

I really don't like it when people just switch off their brains like that. I find it especially annoying when you can't have a sensible conversation with a religious person because of something that's "just the way it is" from a religious point of view, yet when I make a point in religious ways (your prophet would forbid it because it's clearly unhealthy), the defense is simply that there is no religious law against this and that.

This is how religious people always have a foolproof (fool proof!) way of going around things. They can just rely on what is clearly stated, never have to question why they do certain things, but never have to ask themselves whether what they are doing might be more sinful than just wearing too many or too few clothes, for instance.

What's even worse is when I see religious people who smoke AND have children with them. Isn't that extremely irresponsible? No... because there can't be a damage to kids when Marlboro doesn't exist in the bible or quran. And there also was no cancer research back then... but who am I to bring up research in connection with religion?

You know... if I was in charge of things, I would ban smoking without exceptions. Not because of intolerance, but for other reasons: I don't like to walk behind smokers who have no courtesy of me. So why would they have a right to complain that I don't show courtesy towards them by banning cigarettes? And secondly, I also pay taxes and health insurance for people who get cancer because of smoking.

One thing many people agree with is this: If nobody ever started smoking in the first place, they wouldn't feel any lack of cigarettes subsequently. It's only WHEN you've started smoking that you become a defender of cigarettes. And that's a fact... time to admit it, smokers.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Why People Who Don't Want Children Are Not Stupid

I recently read a book by Laura S. Scott about being childless by choice (Two is enough). It's a book for people who don't want to become parents or are at least thinking about that option.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

This book offered an interesting view on the topic and also cleared up some misconceptions along the way. I could strongly relate to them and this is why I would like to adress them.

#1: Childless couples are selfish

I think this is just a stupid lie that comes from a very twisted logic. People who do have children have to sacrifice a lot of time, money and nerves to raise a child. So when other people choose not to do that, it's called being selfish?

That's like if a person who volunteers in an old people's home for 10 years calls a person who donates 50 bucks to charity selfish.

On the other hand... I actually believe that HAVING children is selfish. Why? Because although you make a lot of sacrifices as a parent, what reasons do you really come up with to become a parent?

I spent a lot of time thinking about this. Not just recently, even as a teenager. I came to the conclusion that there really doesn't seem to be a lot of reasons for having children that are NOT selfish. Let's look at them:

  • I need someone to take care of me when I'm older - selfish
  • God says we should have children so I'm covering my ass by having children - selfish
  • My parents are pressuring me because they want to be grandparents and I'm tired of hearing it - selfish
  • All of my friends are having their baby chats and I'm missing out on that - selfish
  • I will regret not having children - selfish
  • As a woman, what else am I supposed to do? - selfish
  • I'm not a real man / woman without a child - selfish
  • People would think I'm selfish if I don't have children - selfish
  • I want a little copy of me and my partner - selfish
  • It's so fulfilling for me! - selfish
  • We need children to ensure the survival of our species / culture / national economy - selfish

If your child asked you why it existed, would you answer truthfully? How would your child feel?

There is just one argument I could come up with that would not be selfish, but it implies that you have a lot to offer to the child and also you can't mess up or else your good intentions will be useless:

  • I want to offer a child a good life full of happiness and prosperity and possibly pass on my wealth (not just financially, also in terms of taught skills) to another generation to make the best out of it.

Strangely enough, I've never heard that argument from anyone...

Now let's look at childless people. They are portrayed as being selfish because they choose to have a good life without all the responsibility of raising a child. But is childlessness selfish just because of that? Let's take a closer look:

  • Childless people take into consideration that they might not be good parents
  • Childless people consider that, perhaps, today's world is too dangerous and morally corrupt to raise a child according to one's personal standards
  • Childless people know that disabilities and suffering can happen to any child
  • Childless people know that, by skipping the parenthood experience, they are missing out on something, yet they accept that.
  • Childless people may consider that it's better for the environment to not contribute to overpopulation of the planet

These are just some of the arguments. In my opinion, it's better to be considerate of a child that doesn't exist than to be inconsiderate towards a child that's entering the world and never asked to be born in the first place.

And right there, we already have a dilemma. When you think hard about possible negative consequences of having a child, and then decide to remain childless.... society thinks you didn't save anyone because you are only talking about a fictional human being... but when people become parents, they are creating facts. And if things go wrong, you get a child that commits suicide or gets an overdose on drugs in the worst scenario.

#2 Childless people will regret their decision

This is another almost romanticised belief. People assume that childless people will always regret their childlessness eventually. Just like in a fairy tale, where the evil witch gets killed at the end, the bad people who never wanted children cry on their death beds about having been too bitter to have children.

Here are just two things I would like to say: First - a person who thinks very hard about childlessness knows from the very start that there will be things they can't experience. They know they will miss out on something, even if it's just the whole playground experience, going to Disneyland together or having laughs at the dinner table as a family.

Second thing: Regrets go both ways. Having or not having children are each one way roads. You can't have half a child. You either have children or you don't. And trust me, not having children offers benefits you will dearly miss if you decide to have children. So make up your mind and see which choice you like to live with. But don't assume that people who either don't like children, don't have a maternal instinct or who are simply not comfortable around children will regret not having children... because some people are just not MADE for having children.

#3 Childless by choice people are immature, lazy and hate responsibility

This may be true, but it doesn't have to be. There are, for example, nurses, nuns and teachers who are childless, but they carry a lot of responsibility, even for other people's children.

About being immature... isn't that also a good thing? To live life like a child, without worries, without planning ahead all the time? I wish I was more like a child and less like an adult. But I can only be that way if I'm not a parent.

Lazy? Well, yeah... I like sitting on the sofa and not getting up for a crying brat that just shit into its diapers. No thanks.

#4 Childless people hate children

Even a cynical person like me does not always hate children, although I sometimes do. There are times when I see a smiling baby and it touches my heart. But as soon as the thought comes "maybe being a parent isn't that bad if you are lucky", it only takes 5 minutes and the baby will cry for some reason.

And the main point is also: Childless people usually don't hate children in general, they just hate the idea that it's them who have to take care of their OWN offspring. They don't like that thought. But many people are fine with other people's kids... mostly because they will eventually go back home and leave them in peace.

#5 Childless people don't think much about having children and make it an easy decision

This is totally not true. It's the other way around. Having children is the easier decision because it's set as the default by our society. Having a child is the norm - not having children is abnormal.

I have spent so many years of my life pondering about the question whether to have children or not, and other people around me became mothers like one, two, three... it seems to me that they just took it for granted. They also don't understand my reservation on the topic.

And why is it a difficult decision for me? Well, because I once was a child and a teenager and I know some of these thoughts:

  • I was never asked to be born and I would have said no if I had been asked
  • I hate my life
  • I wish I was dead
  • Why was I born into this society / religion / social class?
  • Why did my parents want to have a child?
  • Why did my parents want a child if they messed up so badly and got divorced?
  • Why are all parents stupid enough to assume that divorce and broken families only happen to other people?
  • If my parents hadn't had me, they would have been happy and not so stressed until they broke up


And now let me actually fire back. Here are my personal "misconceptions" about people who love to be parents... or are they perhaps no misconceptions at all?

#1 Some parents treat having children as a religion

I'm not talking about parents who have children BECAUSE of their religion. That's a no-brainer anyway. I'm talking about people who are in love with the idea of having children and develop a religious sense of fanatism over it. To the point where they believe that everyone else should share their enthusiasm.

And then the statement "I love children, I must have children" becomes "I love children... everybody must have children". This sickens me and when you take a good look around yourself, where ever you live, you know that this is a reality.

#2 Parents accuse childless people of being selfish because they don't share the same sacrifices and hardships

When you are about to become a parent, you idealize that prospect. You think that it will be a rewarding experience... very, very rewarding. But what you inevitably receive is a mixed bag. You get a good deal of proud moments, but also stressful days and sleepless nights.

Then comes the moment when you see a childless couple, not even in their 20s, maybe even in their 30s or 40s and you think to yourself: How dare they not make the same sacrifices that I made? How can they just go around travelling the world, spending all the extra money they earn on themselves and not make any contribution to your society? That's selfish.

And this is the fatal flaw in the mindset. Don't we live in free countries by now? It's their choice, and believe it or not, you once had that choice, too.

So just because parenthood made you miserable, not everyone around you has to bear the same cross (or whatever it is that non-christans carry around all the time).

Accept that other people became perhaps even happier without children than you became WITH children. If it worked for them, then okay. The question you have to ask yourself is: Are you happy enough or do you have regrets? Because that's your problem after all.

#3 Parents don't think much about consequences

We are living in a world that has divorce rates of sometimes 30 to 50 per cent. Yet, having children is totally normal and the media portray our cultures as people who always want to have children of their own.

It's a sick view of our world.... supposedly, everyone loves to have children one day, but at the same time, it's also supposed to be normal that less and less of these children have a normal childhood without a parental divorce.

And don't ever tell me that a divorce is just an insignificant phase of a child's life that only concerns the partners who get divorced. I hope you know that many children ask themselves the question whether they are to blame for the divorce... and it's only children, so that means a lot.

So I believe that most parents just go with things and hope for the best. I understand that because firstly, they are totally in love, and secondly, it's not like they could ever foresee their possible divorce. On the other hand, would it hurt to just plan ahead a little more? For example, how about both partners have a good education and some work experience before they put "the bun into the oven"?

It's still a choice

Just thinking out loud here.

This is all I had to say... now go ahead, have your children, or don't. You make the choice. But I'll come over to your house and kick your ass if you ever claim you never had a choice to begin with.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

White People Can Never Say "Nigga"

When a white person calls a black person "nigga", this is insulting and there is no question about it.

But what happens if the white person isn't trying to offend the black person and simply cites either a black person or references a song with the word "nigga" in it?

The answer came this year at the vienna opera ball in February. Kim Kardashian was a special guest there, invited by a millionaire for a large amount of money.

She met the German comedian Oliver Pocher there. In an interview, Pocher was asked whether he would dance at the ball.

His answer was: Yes, we are just waiting for the song "Niggas in Vienna".

For your information: He was referencing a song by Kanye West, Kardashian's boyfriend (!), who had made a song called "Niggas in Paris".

So clearly, Pocher only made a joke that was basically just the title of a song, just slightly changed to the location they were at: Vienna.

What was Kardashian's response? She and her mum were all grumpy and totally offended. Their first words to each other were: "He said nigga".

Let's recap:

  1. Black person makes a song about "niggas in Paris", defining himself as one of these "niggas".
  2. Girlfriend of black person (who obviously had no problem with prior statement) goes to Opera ball.
  3. White guy references song, only calling it "Niggas in Vienna" instead.
  4. Girlfriend is offended beyond belief. No more coolness, no more "me and my niggas" attitude.

Here is my complaint: When you're the girlfriend of a guy who likes to throw around the word "nigga", don't be insulted if other people use that word in satirical (not racist) ways.

I find it the biggest hippocrisy how all these gangstas and their girlfriends define themselves as "niggas" and then feel totally shocked and astonished when they hear the same word from a white person's mouth.

Now, let's fast forward to this year's football world cup. The black singer Rihanna, appearantly a big fan of the German national team, recently wrote about the (white) striker Miroslav Klose:

My nigga Klose.

She's a big fan of Klose. But now let me ask you: Am I even allowed to mention how she called him? Or will that cause black people to say: Damn.... he said "nigga"!!!

And until now, I always thought that only white people are so inhibited.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You Like These Football Players, Right? Then Buy Our Car!

I always find it weird how companies advertise their products either by throwing a familiar face into the TV screen with the person's name under it, or even more pathetic, with the name and description of who the person is (just to make sure everyone understands: this is a famous person, so buy the product!).

Then you read stuff like: Sebastian Vettel (Formula 1 World Champion)

First of all: Those who don't know the person probably won't care what your product is about. It's not like: "Damn! This famous person... so now I have to pay attention, right?"

In the case of the new Hyundai ad, it's kind of weird.

There is an advertisement spot, a TV ad that actually tells a little story about how three famous players ask statues (just go with it), bikers and other people to "get in" their car. So I get the message: It's a call to action and at the same time you see there is a lot of space in the car, presumably for about 20 people.

Okay, but the thing is: I have only seen this ad once and then forgotten about it. The only thing I see every day when I watch TV is the "the world cup is presented by Hyundai" and then the faces of the three players (picture above). That's right: They aren't even showing the ad at all! So much money down the drain.

Then it makes me think: Yeah, so what? There are 3 players. One was not even nominated for the world cup (Kaka), one is already out of the world cup (Casillas) and the other one is yet another brazilian besides Kaka (Oscar). Why did they choose three players who all appeal to the Spanish and South American Community? Why isn't there at least a French, German or English player and perhaps one from Asia or Africa?

It looks kind of lazy to show three famous football players smiling in a car. Of course they are smiling. They are getting paid for sitting in a car for 5 minutes. Hell, maybe they even GET the car for just sitting there with a camera pointing at them. It doesn't give any indication on the car's qualities that famous people are sitting at the steering wheel.

This is something I never understood about cars. I mean: I get it that fashion, perfumes or media products are sold on other people's popularity. It's quick, lazy and profitable for companies. It's lifestyle that's affordable for ordinary people. But a car? I mean, do people actually spend thousands of euros / dollars on something based on a gut feeling? Based on which footballer they like best?

So if you find a bunch of football players (most of whom will suck at the event you're presenting like several years ago), you can just promote your car, even if it's a family car that will probably take some discussion between the family members about financing, price, usefulness etc... well, to hell with a thorough marketing strategy!!!

So... let's pretend I'm the marketing director of a famous german car company. Who's going to promote the new Mercedes Benz?

  • This Suarez guy seems promising. He won't bite the hand that feeds him and I heard he is very fair. This totally fits into the image of our company.
  • We should also get this Cristiano Ronaldo. He shouldn't cost us too much money. He also stands for true sportsmanship and modesty. You know, just the average guy everyone can identify with. A common man.
  • Okay, let's see... world cup 2014... think, goddammit, think.... oh yes, of course.... Maradona! Is he still in the world cup? No? He's fat and old? Argh... I don't care, still hire him. If the guys from Nike and Hyundai use players that aren't actually in the world cup, we can do so too!

As for the TV ad... just show the new Benz in black in front of a white background and these three guys smiling into the camera. The one in the middle should have a football under his foot. Classic! That's it. There's your marketing campaign. What? I'm fired?

The only difference between this little story and reality is that the marketing genius doesn't get fired. He probably gets an Oscar for it. And with that, I don't mean the football player "Oscar".

Monday, May 26, 2014

Making Money Blogging

I've spent the last couple of months blogging and I can now come up with my first personal results regarding the success of this little adventure. I have made 3 blogs, one of which is now more or less defunct but still online to generate a couple of cents a month, another one making 90 per cent of the money and a third one on the way to becoming my first real niche blog (Ginkgo Tabletten - just putting it here so that google will be more likely to crawl it regularly).

The first blog, called how to lose and win, was a blog written in english about weight loss. It was my very first consideration for a blog because nutrition and dieting is a field I am very familiar with. I wrote about 100 articles on that blog.

Only after a while did I realise what my first mistakes were. Not only did I target keywords that were hopelessly out of my range. Even the ones that I had a chance to rank for were still highly competitive compared to the same keywords in my native language, German.

So I realised that I was wasting my time. I could have kept on fighting, trying to rank for a term that has 10000 searches a month and 10 million results, instead of switching to German and competing for the same keyword (just different language) with 1000 searches and maybe 50000 websites going for it.

I dropped this first blog, the english one, pretty much immediately.

I moved on to a new blog, this time a German version of the original english blog I had made, with the exact same design and overall layout, just a different title. It was difficult to start over. Only a fraction of the english posts could more or less be transformed into german posts (I had to rewrite everything). Most of the time, I found myself writing totally new articles.

While it was hard work, I realised pretty soon that I was about to have a lot more success having a german blog. There are many reasons for this. Germans are not "behind the moon", we do have cars, technology, computers. But we are also a little traditional in some ways and not up to date with certain things. For example, most people prefer a savings account with 2% interest rate over the slightest risk of going into the stock market.

And that mentality is carried over into many situations in life. It even goes deep into the German law. For example, we have mandatory health insurance. Usually, this is a good thing, as every employee will automatically be health insured, which is paid for by both the employer's and employee's contributions. But the downside is that if you are not employed (in other words: if nobody is your boss), you have to pay a lot of money to be insured.

This cements the attitude of Germans to always cling to their professions in an employee-employer relationship. It also has to do with the fact that the german education system is different from most of the world. In Germany, you need to learn a profession before you can start anything substantial. Want to work in the office? Must finish a 3 year job training first. Want to become a gardener? 3 years job training. Salesman? 3 years job training. Unless you are a mere factory worker or other "unskilled" jobs, you are going to spend 3 years of your life learning that profession, exams included.

All of this leads to a lifestyle of dependence on big companies. There are, of course, always exceptions, but these are usually people starting real, physical businesses, not online ventures.

Now back to blogging. I noticed that Germany was "behind the schedule" in some way. While the english-speaking market was full of American, English and even Indian people writing tons of articles that were useful and totally optimized to be on the number 1 spot on Google, I had not so much competition in Germany. And always bear in mind that this is how money is being made!

Eventually, I ended up writing another 100 blog posts, all in German. I got increasingly better at this, finding the right keywords to rank for, optimizing in terms of which topics could also generate income, and making the articles look more attractive.

At first, I was sceptical, but now I know that some money can be made. The only problem is that I would have to keep doing this for a long time before I can live like this only blogging and not working as an employee. I'd have to earn 20 times as much as I do now. Although this sounds like a lot, it should be worth mentioning that, right now, my blog is basically earning 5% of what I earn in a 40 hours a week job.

There are, of course, always downsides: I have to pay income tax as if this was a regular job. I have to register my blogging as a business, which will lead to additional costs in the end. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved. And if I decide to make it my only way of living, I have to pay for my own health insurance.

But for some reason this does not discourage me too much. And that is for several reasons:

  • I am earning more than I expected I would earn after only 8 months.
  • People on the internet were a lot more pessimistic towards "making money blogging" and claimed it's impossible.
  • I am earning more money than over 50% of the bloggers do, according to statistics I found on the internet.
  • Due to exponential growth and increasing improvements on my blogs, there is a rapid growth in earnings that is difficult to foresee but usually beats my estimations.
  • I have only applied what I learned so far. There is still a steep learning curve ahead of me.
  • I benefit from english-language experts because I can understand e-books and articles in english, and I can use that knowledge in a market where I am in a superior position compared to english blogs.
  • I have only started and I can keep going like this forever if I have to. Right now, it's only 100 useful articles. I might as well write until I have 1000, including new blogs that open the doors for visitors of different niches.
  • As a spouse of someone who is employed, I would be health-insured nevertheless. This is not the case right now but it might be, and that would save costs and I'd be on the safe side improving my websites over the course of years.

All of this combined leads me to believe that I might succeed. Right now, it's mostly about time and not even so much about money. Of course, I need to stay employed, which sucks because I would rather spend every day writing extensive articles on the internet. I would rather build empires of blogs now and benefit from them later. Because I realised: As an employee, you only work for the present moment. You give your work power to your employer, you're hired and "rent out" your working power. The results are always given to the employer. You don't benefit in the long run. You have to start over every month, repeat your workload every month, work each month for the current month, and keep repeating these steps. With blogging, it's different. Every blog post, every article adds up, goes on top of a pile of pieces of WORK that keep generating income. Some more, some less, but they STAY to work for you. Every hour of work, if invested well, brings returns in the form of money.

Sounds enthusiastic, doesn't it?

The only things that I found to be very important:

  • Always save your work. If your blog host decides to delete your blog, you must move on to elsewhere but KEEP your intellectual property, which is your articles. 
  • Don't mess with the terms of service of those advertising or affiliate companies you work with. Don't try to cheat or to beat the system.

To be very honest, I can imagine that this might work out for me. I definitely have the passion. I'm also, with all due modesty, quite a clever guy. I like analyzing things, and I'm ahead of my competition because there isn't that much of it. I can find my niches. And when I look at what American bloggers write, it amazes me because they are happy to have 500000 other websites competing for the same keyword, and that's not even a problem I have!

So now I've started a new niche blog about ginkgo, as I mentioned before. From what I've read, niche sites are interesting because they don't take much work, can go to the top spot of google easily, and if they succeed, you can transform them into authority blogs to give them more credibility. If they fail miserably, you just discard them. Simple.

So I'll see how that goes. If I duplicate my results another 19 times (or if all my blogs double in size, only 9 more to go), I'll be able to quit my job (unless my contract ends anyway, which is possible) and live like that. I also know that I'm quite familiar with the stock market, so I could expect some sort of income there, too, although I admit I don't like stressing myself out. It's a more intense way of earning money, but it includes stuff I like: analyzing.

All of the things that are happening right now sound a little too good to be true. And I suppose paying taxes will eventually bring me back to reality. On the other hand, if it turns out to become my only sources of income (earning money online), I'd have to pay less taxes anyway because I wouldn't have a normal job then. We will see. It's always been a dream for me and it's not just for the convenience of being a lazy stay at home guy. No... there is something else. The prospect of making more money out of what I do. This is what drives me. Not the idea that I'd stop in the very moment that I earn 1000 euros (or any other arbitrary number) a month. I'd like to see how far this can go.

I do admit that what I am earning right now is not THAT much. But I was able to grasp the potential that blogging offers. At least for the lucky people who are smart enough, love to read and read about it all the time and who don't need to blog in english. Because blogging in english is extremely hard to make money with. And of course, time and patience is needed.

If any of you who is reading this (probably nobody) is from a country where english is not the preferred source of getting information online, you might wanna check out if there are possibilities for you. I mean, my vision is that sooner or later all these countries are going to have their niches covered. Some smart companies will emerge that will fill all the blanks, stuff all the holes and answer every long tail question a google user can come up with. Whether it's about ginkgo, dieting, bodybuilding or other stuff. Right now, there is still a chance to succeed.

That spirit that is in the air right now... it's like the early 80s when many people started to realize you can only make a fortune if you invest in stocks like microsoft, IBM and the like. You know, I always wished to find that kind of opportunity where I can sense it's going to be profitable if I only know the secret trends. I feel I've found it with blogging. I mean, the internet is still relatively young, think ahead 50 years how different it's going to be.

End of the story.

PS: I got 10 times more pageviews with my successful blog in those 8 months than in 8 years of blogging in this private blog.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What To Do When Your Blogspot Blog Got Deleted By Google

"Help! My blogger blog was deleted by google"

This is what happened to me some days ago. I was just signing in to my google account to see how my blogs were doing. I have all my blogs on blogspot, also known as blogger, which all belongs to google.

The first thing that seemed strange was that they asked me when logging in what my phone number was, and they said that some "unusual activity" had occured. It was weird but I verified with my phone that I was not a robot.

Then, suddenly, without any warning, I noticed that one of my blogs was totally missing from the dashboard. At first, I thought that the "unusual activity" must have been that my account had been hijacked by some hacker in another country and that someone must have had his fun removing my blog.

Only a couple of heart attack seconds later, I realised that my blog was under the "deleted blogs". I was still convinced it was a hacker's fault. But then I checked my gmail account (the second thing I do after checking my blogger account) and found an email.

The email informed me that my blog had been deleted by the blogger team (or google) because of a spam suspicion. The automated system had found my blog to be spammy and therefore totally deleted it over night.

I was shocked. I knew that you could be banned from the google search engine if your blog was spammy, or that you could be thrown out of adsense. But I never even imagined they would delete my blog.

At this point in time, my situation was as follows:

  • I had written almost 100 posts that I now no longer could access
  • My blog seemed to have been lost forever
  • I had worked hours and hours over more than half a year to write all these unique posts
  • I felt totally innocent (trying hard to make a good website for my visitors) although I knew that humans make mistakes, and maybe a sloppy little mistake with affiliate links could have cost me months of work.

I spent the next hours trying to do two things: Finding out how to reverse the process of my blog being deleted, and trying to recover my blog posts.

Recovering the blog posts proved to be difficult. I had never exported my blog onto my computer (big mistake) so none of my posts were available offline. I didn't even remember all my 94 posts that I  had written. Also, my blog was deleted, therefore offline, and I could not even access my blog in the dashboard.

The first thing I did was to check my blogger profile again for posts that I had subscribed for (I had subscribed to my own feed, meaning I could see posts that had been put online by myself). Then, I had to open each link to each article, notice that each of my posts is offline, copy the url into the google search engine, right-click the corresponding result (luckily the result still displayed each time), open in cache, save the content of those pages offline (the safest way is to copy everything into a word file), and do this over and over again with every article that matters to you (if you can remember what they were called or you know the exact urls).

Regarding the deletion of my blog: I sent an appeal to google. It's the only thing you can do. You are then supposed to wait for up to 48 hours for something to happen. Only THEN are you allowed to / supposed to consult the google help forums.

So I sent an appeal. It's basically only an electronic message where you confirm with a captcha phrase that you are a real person. No need to justify yourself or write any text.

Luckily, on an early Monday morning, less than 24 hours after it had been deleted, my blog was put back to life and I received an apology by email. My blog had wrongfully been detected as spam, but a human being checked out my website to come to the conclusion that my blog is, in fact, okay and not meant to be spammy.

As far as I can tell, the only negative side effects on my blog's performance were that it cost me a whole day of people visiting (I got over 100 page views instead of possibly a thousand) and my income on adsense and amazon was brought to a halt (consider that it was a Sunday and people like to go shopping on amazon on Sundays).

When my blog was undeleted, it performed well again.

Here is what I advise people to do:

First of all, your situation should be like this:

  • You have a blogspot / blogger account where your blog was
  • Your blog was deleted by the blogger team / google, not by you accidentally
  • The reason for your blog being deleted has been explained to you in an email
  • You feel innocent because you had no bad intentions and didn't violate any terms of service (TOS) on purpose

In this case, my advice to you is: Send the appeal so that someone can look over the problem. Don't go too crazy over the fact that your blog has disappeared. Also don't send the appeal twice, and don't start a topic on google forums yet. You can try to recover your articles so that at least your material as a writer can be saved. Because, if the blog stays deleted, it helps to at least have your written articles somewhere in an MS word file. Then you could publish them again on a different blog (wordpress with paid hosting for example). I know, this would suck because you would have to start over in search engine rankings, but believe me, at least your work would be online again.

Apart from that, remember that you might be lucky and your blog will be restored. Don't think too far ahead if you haven't even received news from google / blogger team.

Why your blog may have gotten deleted

Here is the supposed reason why my blog was deleted, and this could have happened to you:

In my case, I never had bad intentions, but I did use the amazon affiliate program. This meant that I had links on my articles that led to amazon. Google recognizes these links, and if you put a whole bunch of them into one article, google will think you are a spammer.

In most websites that are not blogspot, this will only lead to a search engine penalty (your website will go from first in the search results to 200th position). But in blogspot, this can lead to the deletion of your blog!

HOWEVER: I didn't put a crazy amount of links into one article. But you know what my mistake was? While I only used between one and three amazon links in each article, I did not use a "jump break" in every article. The jump break is the little tool you can use (looks like a torn piece of paper) in your blog post instruments. When you are writing a post, you can see it: It's 9 items away to the right when you look at the "bold" button (the one that looks like this: B)

The purpose of the jump break is to shorten your articles as they appear on the home page of your blog. Then it says "read more" instead of showing the whole article.

As I hadn't used this enough, there were several articles on the "home" section of my blog, some of them were full-length articles including one or two or even three amazon links. And now consider several articles containing amazon links!

In total, I had 5 amazon links on my "home" page displayed, together with 3 standard google adsense ads. Now you can imagine: 8 ad scripts on a single page... that looks a lot like spam!

Be sure that your articles are cut short and no affiliate links are displayed in the shortened version of an article. And don't use 5 affiliate links on a single article that also has adsense ads on it. This might backfire heavily!

So this is what happened when google deleted my blogger blog. When your blogspot blog got deleted by the blogger team, now you know what you have to do. If it still seems like your blog will be deleted for all times, use the cache trick (right clicking on search results for your article urls in google) to try and save your content in a word file. Good luck.

By the way: I think it's really unfair the google deletes those blogs. Even if they were spammy, at least give a warning first. Apart from that: What about the intellectual property of the innocent ones who write articles worth hours of work? At least you should "give back" the contents to the bloggers if they request their content back.

Also, being informed by email that "your blog has been deleted" is a big shocker. My insides were turning when I read it. I strongly believe that customer service in google and facebook have a lot of improvements ahead of them if they want to be customer-friendly.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Incredible Downfall Of A Video Game Series

I am talking about the FIFA Manager series. This is a video game by EA Sports. Back in the old days, in 1996 and 1997, I used to play Fifa Soccer Manager, one of the best manager games ever (read about it in my Video Games: Most Played article).

From there on, things went wrong. I still bought these games on a regular basis. A version I had around the year 2001 crashed very often and I barely played it. I thought back then that it was my computer's fault: That my computer couldn't handle it.

Later, I got the 2004 version. The game, the way I remember it, was pretty good and brought me a lot of fun for several years. There were youth players you could get from youth camps all over the world, you could even give your players direct orders (shoot, pass, etc.), which is unusual for a manager game.

But even in THAT game, I had terrible things to go through. After unsuccessfully playing the 2007 version, I decided to go back to 2004. I played the game and what happened? It crashed at a specific date in the game. Even after reloading an older safe data of the game, it again crashed on a specific date. This meant that several seasons of playing had gone down the drain... you know what I did? I broke the CD into pieces so that I would never feel tempted to play the game again.

I still feel "hurt" for breaking my own copy of the game, because I liked it. But on the other hand, breaking it prevented me from the feeling of disappointment after putting so many hours of my life into a game that just crashed anytime it wanted to.

But there is one thing that still bugged me for years:

Even years after I bought my last version of the game, the heavily bugged 2007 version, I still read reviews on Amazon where only few people complained. But they complained about bugs that had never been fixed, bugs that had even been carried over to newer versions, because each year's version of the game uses the same game code, and essentially, the same game with only a couple of updates (worth the price of a full new game!).

You know what I hated? The fact that the reviews, in total, were favourable of the game. Enough people got fooled. Year after year... but you know what? Something has changed about it. I checked the German Amazon page and compiled a list on how the games did in the past years, from 2007 up to 2014. And now just look for the average rating each game got. You will be surprised:

As you can see, in 2007 and 2008, the game had nearly 4 stars average, which reads to frequent Amazon customers as "there are a few grumblers, but the game is awesome". This is what I hated because I felt that people were deceived each year. But then, things have changed finally.

Now, in 2014, of the 235 reviews, a wopping 188 are 1 star reviews! That's an exact 80,00 % reviews of the very lowest rating! Bottom of the barrell.

Finally, people have caught up with the fraud that is Fifa Manager. For years, many of them have bought the game year after year like idiots, and well, that's how they financed the fraud. I mean, each year, I read people's reviews and they were like "I have been buying this game since the early 2000s and I'm not gonna buy it again". But then, what's the meaning of that when the next year, a hundred people are saying the exact same thing, and the year after? They're all a bunch of stupid idiots!

Keep buying that shit and you end up unhappy every freaking year.

You know when I'm gonna buy that kind of game again? When it has exactly ZERO negative reviews. I don't want to hear about bugs, about bug fixes, about how everything is going to be improved "in the next patch". No. Hell, I'd even go back to playing Fifa Soccer Manager from 1996 and play it with an updated database by fans, if there is any.

EA Sports made millions recycling a game and slapping the current year as a label on the package. Idiots buy shit because it says "2014". They say:"Huhuh... this is so 2014, I'm gonna buy it... huhuhh".

Goodbye, EA Sports. Burn in hell.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

For Women

Diets for women, protein shakes for women, medicine for women... everything has to be "for women".

I found this out when I was looking for keywords for my other blog. When I searched for these keywords (which are based on real google searches that people performed), I found out that a lot of women search for stuff that is especially designed for women.

Well, to be honest, I never bothered to search for "protein shakes FOR MEN" or "diets FOR MEN". I just assumed that what I searched for would be suitable as soon as results show up, regardless of whether I'm male, German, in my 30s, or a Nazi (just kidding). It never crossed my mind that the results in google would only be for women. Although that's often the case when searching for hair styles.

So... what's going on here? Are we in a video game world where every character is male by default unless it has a purple or pink bow?

And why do women search "for women" when what they search for is basically genderless? Why would a protein shake not do the same for women that it does for men? Why would a diet be only for men when it's mostly women that are so extremely concerned with their weight?

And most of all: Why do women always act as if they were inferior to men? Oh, look at me, I'm just a woman so I have to add "for women" in my search request so that all the "for men" results are filtered out.

Or is it that women believe they can only safely search for kitchen supplies, celebrity gossip and makeup because that's their world? Everything else is the man's world? Science, knowledge, philosophy? All stuff that only guys are interested in? So you have to add "for women" to find out there was nothing especially for women to begin with?

That's bullshit.

Now let me end this post and keep searching for health-related articles on the internet... for men, I guess.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

How To Fix Youtube Monetization When YOUR Content Is Affected!

I have been raging about Youtube disallowing me to monetize my OWN content (see my previous posts: 1st and 2nd) and now I've finally found what seems to be the solution.

First of all, the solution works for you if this is your problem:

  • You uploaded a video that is 100% your OWN content (your own video, your own music (if any), no cover versions, no stolen images etc.)
  • Youtube acts as if you had stolen something
  • You can't monetize because either Youtube is totally rejecting monetization of your video or keeping your video "under review" for eternity, or asking you for "proof" that you have the rights to use audio and video
  • Monetization as such is active (you have either monetized a video before or you have monetization enabled in your settings)

Here is the problem, according to the person who delivered the solution: It's supposedly a bug in the software that the Youtube employees simply don't care about. The glitch is so dominant that nobody is capable or willing to do anything, and all you get is standardized text from the Youtube robot telling you that your video is infringing copyright.

So basically, you are talking to a wall if you're trying to sort things out with Youtube. Don't try to write letters to Youtube where you "allow yourself" to use your own music. Save that energy, because no human being on the other end of the line is ever reading these letters. Instead, check this manual here:

10 easy steps to avoid the "monetization under review" problem

However, there is one thing in the guide that is not working. I tried to inform the author of this article of what's wrong, but my comment didn't get through (a typical problem with many blogs).

In one of the steps described, he tells you to go to "actions - monetize". I found this to not be working. When you try this, nothing happens at all. Instead, you have to go to "actions - advanced" and then click on the respective monetization option. What you should not do is to "edit" the video and to enable monetization there.

Here are two images to see what's supposed to happen. Apart from that, follow the instructions in the link I have given you. Yes, in order to make this work, you have to upload your video again - from scratch. Just delete your old video, you are not going to monetize it, so just start over.

I really hope this is going to help the people who search google for problems like "I can't monetize my video although it's my own content". Or "Can't monetize my own video / song Youtube stuff". Whatever it is. I hope people are going to find this blog entry and solve their problems. If I was able to help you, please write a comment. It would be good to know that people are finally succeeding when Youtube does not give a shit.

By the way: I checked and ads are actually showing. So it's not just monetization being displayed as working, the ads are there in full force!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Youtube Monetization With AudioSwap / Library

Yesterday I posted on this blog about my problem monetizing a video that included my very own music.

This morning, I thought to myself: I just want to make cooking videos, not impress people with my own music. So I should use royalty free music available in the Youtube library and forget about my own music.

So I used the "AudioSwap" or Audio Swap option. It's the easiest way to change music that Youtube thinks is copyright infringement into music that they say is "available for monetization".

When I was done and the video had processed for half an hour, no monetization button was there. I was utterly unable to monetize my video. Only then did I find out that you need to:

  1. Download the music from the Youtube library instead of using Audio Swap
  2. Cut audio and video together using external software (windows movie maker)
  3. Upload the whole video on Youtube (again)
  4. Hope that the robots at Youtube realize that the song is FREE
  5. Explain to the Youtube robots that your music is FREE in case they ask!
  6. Hope and pray that they will get it
In case that the Youtube robots consider your video copyright infringement, you lose. You can not get in touch with human beings when sorting out copyright claims. It's all software doing automatic steps.

So what did I learn from this? Well, after uploading my own video with audio that I totally own, but being forbidden to monetize it (the robots think I stole music, which I didn't) and using music that is supposed to be free but doesn't allow monetization the quick way (instead: downloading and uploading again), I thought I am going to spare myself yet another disappointment.

And that disappointment would be:

  • I download free music from the library
  • I cut the whole video and free music together
  • I upload the whole video again
  • Youtube tells me that there is copyright infringement and asks me for proof that I hold rights
  • I tell Youtube that it's a free song from the library (artist name, song)
  • Youtube tells me it's "not enough verification" and asks for written permission from the artist
  • I explode with raging anger

No, I won't do this. I found my own solution. I am indeed going to record music again, but it's not going to be extremely well-produced music this time, just a bunch of chords and a song played in an ambient / calm way... hoping I won't accidentally play two notes in a row that were already used in that order before in the history of commercial music.

My advice to you: If you need to have music, choose a song from the Youtube library beforehand, download it, put it into your video, and if youtube asks, have the artist name and the song ready. But if it doesn't work, forget about the whole music thing... you aren't going to monetize anything unless it's your own music that doesn't even remotely sound professional! Sometimes your music may sound professional but then you have to be lucky that Youtube doesn't mistake it for an actual chartbreaker.

Edit: I finally found a solution.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Youtube Does Not Monetize My Own Music And Video!

After posting about my troubles with Facebook (here and there), I am now facing more annoyances with another major internet company, Google.

Youtube doesn't allow me to monetize my video with my own music!

At first, I thought the problem had to do with free samples that were used in the song. Basically, when you make electronic music, everything that is not recorded directly with a microphone is a sample. Every note you play (piano, synth, organ etc.) is a sample because you don't actually play a real piano or organ or flute, you play sounds (samples) that were recorded once and can be played at different frequencies.

However, I used free samples that were longer (like loops, but as synth instruments) and are recognizable in other songs, where the same samples are used. But this does not mean that I steal from other songs. It's the same as saying playing a single piano note is ripping off John Lennon's "Imagine" because he also used a piano there.

Then, I found out that samples and all that technical stuff aren't even the problem. The problem is Youtube itself. They simply scan for anything that has music in the video, and if the music sounds remotely professional (=good), then they instinctively or automatically believe that the music must be a rip-off of someone else's music. At least that's what I believe.

Then they are scared shitless and demand full documentation of the copyright. This can lead to Youtube telling you to send a letter of the original artist... so you are asked to write a letter to youtube in which you allow yourself to use your own music. Ridiculous.

The worst thing about the whole "Youtube does not monetize my own content" is that you are permanently talking to a robot. Yes... You write to youtube that you want your video to be monetized because it is your own work, but you never get to talk to a person, it's always standardized text messages you get.

It's sad but that's the way it is.

Now I'm trying to learn some tricks that might allow me to get these things out of the way.

Edit: I think I found the solution!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When The Postman Rings Twice And Then Says "Fuck It"

A postman is supposed to deliver mail to you. That's his job. Sometimes, though, the postman thinks it's enough to just ring at your door when you are not home (out to work, perhaps?), then he takes your mail and sends it straight back to the sender with a comment such as "recipient unknown" or "recipient moved away".

I've noticed this behavior twice now, in two different places I lived. The pattern is always the same: You receive normal letters without problems. Your mail box has your name written on it. The senders always write your address correctly. But as soon as it's a parcel that doesn't fit into your mail box, you risk not receiving it at all.

In Germany, there are different possible procedures that are legally possible.

Number 1: Everything goes as planned. The recipient is home and can accept the mail.

Number 2: The mailman asks a neighbor to receive the mail. That neighbor has to confirm this with his signature and will take over responsibility / liability of the mail.

Number 3: The undelivered mail is sent to an automated storage station (needs a code to access the mail) or to a store of the delivery service, where the mail can be picked up. The recipient gets a written piece of information so he knows what to do.

Some postmen go straight for option number 4: Either send it back and claim that the recipient didn't exist, send it to a store to be picked up without letting the recipient know (don't have the time for that shit) or simply throw the damn mail away... who is going to find out?

Mail services have an incredible amount of power over you. They CAN read your mail, they CAN throw stuff away without you being able to prove it and they CAN'T be punished because large companies such as Amazon rely on them and you are only the person on the other end, not the company that made a deal with the mail service.

All I can do is complain and hope that the mail company will transfer my complaint as fiercely and resolutely to the mailman in charge as I sent it to them.

I really want my fish oil...

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Bus People

Exactly 4 years ago, on Feb 1st 2010, I released my article called Grocery People on this blog. This time, I want to go on with another annoying group of people: Bus people.

When you're on the bus, you just want to get to your destination without problems. However, it can be a pain in the ass, especially when everyone needs to get to work at the same time. Here are the worst of the worst, in no particular order:

1. The blood clot

When a bus is starting to get crowded, people don't just keep moving into the empty spaces. At one point, there is a person who is just standing in the middle of the aisle, even before reaching the first exit door. This behavior is caused mostly by these causes:

  • Talking to a friend who is seated
  • Not wanting to reach a distant pole
  • Feeling inhibited because several people are standing nearby, although clearly not blocking the path
  • Lack of attention and awareness of the people behind

The most common reason for the blood clot to occur is because the person is selfish and not aware of anything. It's enough to just stand somewhere, it doesn't matter if everything in front of you is empty and everything behind you is so crowded that people have a hard time entering the bus.

It also usually takes the bus driver to scream into his microphone to back the hell off. And what's even more annoying is the fact that the people who turn into blood clots are most often students who get on the bus EVERY FREAKING DAY!

2. The sneezer

I don't know why, but people here in Germany seem to live all of their lives at home or in hospitals. That's the only explanation I can come up with for the constant vulnerability to sneezing. I'm not just talking about people who are having a cold. It seems that busses and trains cause people to sneeze just because they are out of their usual environment.

Then what puts the icing on the shit cake is when these people just sneeze wildly and orgasmically into the air... which we all need to share. Oh how beautiful that is...

Combine this with the fact that most people don't carry handkerchiefs with them. They should know they are sneezers but they just don't prepare themselves. Then they just draw all that ugly stuff deeper into their noses... one of the most beautiful sounds of nature alongside waterfalls and birds singing.

3. The ghetto kids / "checkerz"

The checkers are the ones who like to sit at the very end of the bus, where there is usually a U-shaped formation of seats. They like to be noisy and mark their new territory with verbal urine.

Somehow it's also kind of sad that many of them are foreigners. It's like they are begging for people to hate them for who they are. I try to avoid that area of the bus because it's reserved for those not blessed much with intelligence.

4. The fidgety child

You have come across this one if you've ever seen a child enter a bus, sit on the very first seat it notices, and then changing seats again or wanting to explore the bus afterwards.

For some unknown reason, the "must have a seat quickly at all costs" behavior is always present. Most children will always go for this first and only THEN will want to explore the bus or complain that they want to have a different seat. It's especially annoying when the child was first so eager to get in the seat and then change its mind.

The worst fidgety child is the one that can explore endlessly, pull some freaking acrobatic maneuvers with parents not even watching. It's only a matter of time before a fatal accident occurs. Which leads me to my next subject on the list.

5. The flying passenger

This person is very common, but also a hidden talent. It can be any passenger, also one with different traits as mentioned before and after. Sometimes, it's someone who feels too dignified to hold on to the bacteria-infected poles (thanks again to passenger number 2), so flying across the aisle at the next crazy braking maneuver of the bus driver is mandatory.

Then there are these "half-assed" passengers who do hold on to poles, but they don't really adapt to the way the bus goes. They don't lean their bodies when the bus goes into a sharp corner, they don't stay alert for sudden braking, they just "stand there" and wait and act like nothing bad is ever going to happen.

Not long ago I saw people flying, and it was not with wings. Well, they were actually falling, and it was funny how I was the only person who, oh God, beware, HELD ON TO THE DAMN POLE when it was clear something like that could happen.

6. The flying grandma / grandpa

This one deserves a mention of its own. Sometimes, when old people enter the bus, the bus driver patiently waits for these people to sit down. Other times, he doesn't. But sometimes, it doesn't even matter because of the lack of awareness the old person has. It's like the world is standing still for these people as they greet their old chaps, talk about the good old times and THEN realize while flying through the air that finding a seat should have been the priority.

I often cringe when I see old people enter the bus because I can tell within seconds whether something is going to end well or not. Often, the old people are taken by surprise and have to cling onto a pole in the last possible minute.

7. Mother Goddess

A mother with a pram can be annoying because she has the holy right to get her space on the bus and everyone has to move out of the way. It's especially annoying when she has to enter the bus at the exact time when adults have to go to work and children have to go to school. I mean, unless the baby is going to Kindergarten, there is no reason a mother has to be up at this time and go for a walk in the park somewhere in the city.

Some mother goddesses are really bad, they leave the pram in a very unsecured position (sometimes sideways) so the pram will fall over. Sometimes, several mother goddesses gather and enter the bus together or one station after the other, which leads to funny cat fights for space.

8. Grandma / Grandpa leaving

When old people step out of the bus, funny things can happen. I once was behind an old lady, and after she had taken exactly ONE step (the one out of the bus), she stood there and looked into her bag. Did she not give a damn that there are people behind her? Well, I had to wait for her to step forward so I could squeeze out of the bus and leave.

Of course, old people take their time when leaving. Often, they are so slow that they only get up when the bus is already preparing to drive off. That can cause big problems.

9. People who are late

It's annoying when people try to catch the bus when they are late. Some of them would risk their lives and dignity to catch a bus rather than to wait 15 minutes for the next one. They will wave their arms frantically even from a mile distance, violently knock against the windows of an already moving bus or making weird gestures or even point at people INSIDE the bus to "do something".

I personally can't even imagine doing these things. I mean, it's just embarrassing, isn't it?

10. People who try to help people who are late

What's even worse than people who miss their bus are people who try to assist them. They shout in a loud voice "HELLO! BUS DRIVER! SOMEONE WANTS TO ENTER!" and wave with their hands. They take a keen interest in helping the hoping-to-be passengers, but sometimes fail miserably when the bus driver simply ignores the request.

11. The overly helpful Grandma

Old people who chitchat on the bus are nothing uncommon. But sometimes old ladies become extremely eager to be helpful to others. There was once a woman who was sitting with her back facing the direction of travel. She turned her head to see where the bus was going. Immediately, an old lady sitting opposite her talked to her:

"Do you want to get out?"
"No, I was just checking where..."
"Just checking where we are now"
"You want me to press the stop button?"
"No, not now"
"Next one"
"No, next one"
"I can press the button for you, I can do that!"

12. The panic person

This person is overly nervous, to the point where he or she thinks the bus has reached a bus stop and won't let that person out, so they shout "excuse me" towards the bus driver. Only to realize it has actually been a red traffic light and not a bus stop. These people are constantly afraid that the bus driver either won't stop or won't let them out. Is it so difficult to just look outside the window to see where the bus stop actually is?

13. Impolite old people

Most busses have seats reserved for disabled or old people... well, actually only disabled people. I mean, what does a first aid cross sign mean? Old? No.

Okay, anyway, most people know that a seat is given up when a needy person approaches. And that is fine. It's okay to occupy the seat if nobody is around, but when someone says he or she needs the seat, then a nice way of asking will be enough to make most reasonable people get up from their seats.

There is only one thing I really hate, and I have seen it before several times. Instead of asking nicely, the old people say:

"Are you disabled?"

And it's not asked in a curious way, it's asked in an aggressive way.

Makes me want to beat the old people until they can call themselves disabled. No, just kidding. I just want to kill them.

14. The therapy person

Just someone who likes to share a conversation with someone but lets the whole bus crowd know the story. One particular incident I remember was when a girl talked about how much "it" hurt and how much she screamed when it was her first time... you can figure out what it was about.

15. The HELLLOOOOO person

I have mentioned this one a couple of years ago. It's usually a teenager with an utter lack of respect and awareness who screams into his mobile phone that he can't hear the person at the other end of the phone line. Makes everyone turn their heads, then shake them.

16. The dependent passenger

This one likes to depend on others to press the stop button. Having to get to work in time? Who cares! It's not just my responsibility to press the button, I know 5 other people also have to get off... what, was that my bus stop just now! BUS DRIVER!!! STOOOOOOOP!

Most of them are just too much into their daydreaming.

17. The WTF person

Every once in a while (with years of waiting in between), I come across someone I can't really describe. Someone who is just too much out of this world to fit into any other category. The behavior is either so disgusting or so eccentric that I don't know how to call them. Here are some examples:

A boy stands at a pole that also has a "open door" button. He is obviously drifting off in his mind, always looking far into the distance, and starts to lick the button with his tongue repeatedly. Oh, by the way, this boy is an elementary student, not a baby.

A drunk guy in his twenties is drooling on the floor and can barely stand in the aisle when he wants to go off the bus. When he was still sitting, a constant thread of drool was going from his mouth to the floor... just a constant flow.

18. The dog person

Dogs are like children, they are overly excited and need to rub their noses into anything that lives.

So, when dog owners enter a bus, the most obvious problem is that their own idea of what a dog is allowed to do clashes with everyone else's opinion on that topic. While the dog owner may be okay with the dog licking his face, eating from his plate at home or whatever else they do together, this may not be the case with everyone else.

Usually, the dirty nose with mud on it goes straight for everyone's genitals. Those who are lucky enough to sit still get the nose into their pants and on their shoes, and the fluffy hair is also rubbed into the fabric of the pants. Nice job. But yeah, he just wants to play, right?

19. Isolated phone persons

This modern age of cell phones leads to weird situations. First of all, people seem to be extremely dependent on their phones. They look like prisoners to me whose only window out of their cells are the screens of their phones.

In the mornings, I even get blinded by all the screens that are shining with their bright light towards me. I believe the bus could safely drive without any lights on if only the cell phones were all set up. There is enough light there to guide a ship into a harbor.

On top of that, these people are just so... lost. Mentally. They are just staring into their phones... Weird way of thinking of it... staring at a phone... isn't that kind of stupid? Imagine that 30 years ago.

20. The bus driver himself

Oh my god. The unholy grail of bus people. The driver himself. He is the assholy one.

Some drivers are just badass, cool people. I once had a bus driver when I was a kid. He would play our cassettes sometimes, make funny announcements every day like we had just ended a 2 hour trip (not half an hour). He was great and fun.

But that was just one out of a hundred drivers I've known. If your bus driver says hello, you are even lucky. Some are very considerate, others not.

I've seen some very idiotic drivers. They brake like idiots when even I could see from a mile away that there was a red light or some car in the way. Sometimes, they are far behind their schedule, other times they are minutes ahead of it and still driving off when people want to enter the bus.

Some drivers even take valid customer passports away from the passengers because an additional ticket is missing. They accuse people of cheating with their tickets and other weird stuff.

One of the worst childhood experiences of my life was when I was about to leave a bus as a young student (10 years old or so) and, as I was the very last person to leave the bus, the bus driver suddenly stood in front of me, giving me no way to leave, and told me to clean up the thrown away packagings of chocolate bars and other stuff because SOME students had carelessly thrown them away. So I was the scapegoat and had to clean up that stuff. When I was allowed to go, I threw the stuff at the stairs in front of him (at the exit) and ran away crying. My parents got into contact with the bus company but they claimed it was impossible to identify the driver. Which is kind of funny because the bus I was riding on was a totally new bus that was totally different from the other ones at the time. Yeah, sure.

Since then, that bus driver has been on my death list.

I hope you liked the list of bus people and if you are a bus person, make sure to not become one of the bad guys. But if you see any stupid people, just kill them for me, okay?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Facebook Is A Big Disappointment

When I started off with my blog about dieting, I read about all the things that are necessary to make things work: SEO, Social Media, Youtube Videos, Content, etc.

Of course, Facebook had to be part of the whole thing. I decided to join, not because I like it (I never used it and found it unnecessary for my personal life), but because it's a way how you can drive traffic to your website.

In fact, the first results seemed promising. Only one or two youtube videos, shared via Facebook, led to about 140 registered visits in a short time.

Then, suddenly, someone must have complained and reported me as spam. I don't know why, but the reaction was radical, immediate and not even the slightest bit fair. I had no chance to defend myself, and most of all, I didn't even know what was happening (see my previous post for more information).

I wrote to the "help desk" several times and now I'm done with trying. I leave facebook and I don't even feel bad about it. I mean, what's the point sharing stuff on a facebook page when:

1. No visits from facebook are registered
2. Facebook warns its users that they believe my site is "not safe"
3. I have to enter captcha phrases (hard to read) for EVERY post I try to make
4. I can only share content directly from my blog to facebook (can't enter the link on my facebook page)
5. A marketing campaign worth 30 euros (coupon from facebook to encourage people to advertise there) ended with NO money being spent (which means that either they didn't display the ad or the ad had no effect at all - which means facebook is a bad platform for marketing
6. It has been a waste of my time.

There is only ONE aspect of facebook that I am still using. And that is me sharing Youtube links. I found this to be a useful way to get around the anti-spam blockade. As I said, Youtube videos are a part of my campaign to make my website interesting. Facebook will never (I hope) declare youtube a spam website. Therefore, I am under protection from their URL, even if it's my own "spammy" content they despise with all their heart. So I am able to share youtube links in facebook groups that deal with weight loss. I get a couple of views that way (on youtube, plus some people hopping over to my blog from there), but it's not totally overwhelming and I am not going to make that many videos.

As for private use, I have never used FB before and I'm not going to use it again either. I found it  a little discomforting how people searched for me and then suddenly the whole network of ex colleagues was suddenly on my list of suggested friends. I knew FB didn't know privacy but I didn't think they'd push familiar faces into me like that. Just leave me alone.

It's annoying, it sucks, it's bad, it's old. People are going to leave Mark Zuckerberg's little project quite soon. The only thing that could stand in the way of this process would be Google's stupidity in being just as robotic and unfriendly to its users. We will see how it goes.

Anyway, now that even I used Facebook, I think it's time for it to die away. You see, I'm always the last one to hop on the train. When it was myspace, I was among the last people before it collapsed. When it was friendster, everyone was there until I came - then they all ran away. Now I've entered facebook, and I think it's going to crash soon. Any other social media I should bring to an end?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Cynical Ways People Are Dealing With Tragedy

There is a lot of voyeurism and sensationalism involved when people get killed or badly injured. But sometimes, it gets a little too much. It's not the fact alone that people, especially the media, exploit the misfortunes of others. It's how they do it. Here are some examples:

People making cell phone videos of people dying

It's very popular, especially in obscure third-world countries, to first take your cell phone out of your pocket when you see a badly injured person lying on the street after a traffic accident or someone who was just shot during riots. But these people don't take their phones out to call the ambulance, they want to take videos.

It's a little sickening, especially when the person who is dying is still conscious and aware of what's going on around him. And while valuable minutes pass until an ambulance arrives, there is no interaction between the majority of the bystanders except for many cameras being pointed at the victim.

Covering a dead formula 1 driver's body with blankets and continuing with the race

Nowadays, Formula One is a very heavily regulated sport where you get penalized or even banned for the slightest things. Even ordinary accidents usually lead to a drive-through penalty or something of the like. The newest atrocities include drivers being warned for their choice of words at the post-race interviews. I won't be surprised if points will be deducted for comments like "I don't give a shit if people think I don't smile enough" by people like Kimi Raik├Ânnen.

In the 1970s, Formula One was still a totally different sport. Drivers never had to hold back their opinions, enjoyed cigarettes and alcohol and knew they could be next on the grim reaper's list.

It was also totally normal (or so it seems) that a race was not stopped when a driver was burned to death in his car and the only thing organizers would do was to cover the car with sheets. They didn't even recover the dead body until after the race! The poor guy who was burned alive was Roger Williamson. His car turned over in a 1973 race and he was trapped under it. A fellow driver tried to rescue him but could not do it alone, and the track marshals back then barely knew how to use fire extinguishers and didn't have fire proof clothing.

Formula 1 in the 70s was as pathetic in terms of safety as the 1820 were in terms of cloud computing. It makes you feel like you lived in the middle ages.

Dozens of people uploading fake Schumacher skiing accident videos

When Michael Schumacher had his catastrophic skiing accident in late 2013, videos about his accident quickly appeared on Youtube. Some of them already said "RIP" when he was still in coma (and would remain in a coma for weeks). What was even weirder was what happened later. In the course of the next days and weeks, more and more videos were uploaded that not only contained pictures but actual footage. Footage of snow, of alleged skiing accidents, footage from point of view helmet cameras. But all of these were just random footage recorded by the people themselves and marketed as "Schumacher helmet camera" or other things.

I've checked Youtube, knowing that the original footage has not been released by the police, and there are at least half a dozen people reinacting accidents and making it look as if this was the real Michael Schumacher accident footage from his own helmet.

Isn't it weird how people are so sensational about getting views on Youtube from something that's just fake? Considering that it's a serious matter we are talking about?

Imagine if you had an accident like falling of the stairs while holding your amateur camera, and suddenly everywhere on Youtube there are fake videos with your name plus the phrase "original staircase accident camera footage" or something like that. All of them trying to make money and get famous because of your accident. Wow...