Hiding behind the curtain

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A topic that I find myself thinking about when considering what to write about here has to do with the ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain‘ line that I’ve had on this blog since I started it. See, I’ve talked with plenty of people about online privacy and blogging and how much of yourself you choose to show in general.

Since this isn’t an academic exercise and I needn’t support my ideas with credited sources, it means that most of what I write here is anecdotal. I tell stories without bothering to look up where I originally read or heard the kernel of knowledge that began me thinking about whatever topic I fancy.

Facebook seems to be a constant privacy concern for some Germans, partially because it seems like every other month there’s an article in the media here about how someone’s personal business has been displayed for everyone to see because of the big bad social media giant. I dealt with this a bit when I wrote Why do people take the wrong things about Facebook so seriously?

My position on all of this privacy stuff, though, is that you can determine how much of yourself you show online. If there’s something embarrassing out there about me, I tend to want to be the one to talk about it.

That’s probably why I share so little of my personal life here or on other forms of social media. I reshare ridiculous things and see most of social media as a place to curate the best things I find on the web. If I’m creating content with my name on it, I tend to be cautious. Probably too much so.

So, that’s where my thoughts are this Easter season. I see this blog as a kind of calling card for my personal writing and my hope is that my personality comes out in the writing even if I’m a bit reserved. The criticism I often hear is that I could show more of myself here and on social media in general.

If I were to do so, it seems like I’d have to come out from behind the curtain. Might even have to take that line down off the front of the blog. Hiding behind the curtain has had its advantages, so don’t expect too much right off. Many things still belong in one’s private sphere.

As with so many things, it’s simply a matter of balance.

My beautiful heathen


drinking tea with My Beautiful Heathen


Nearly as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve been trying to avoid talking too much about twitter. For one thing, it’s incredibly boring if you’re not already there. So many people with whom I interact in my daily life ridicule the medium, and I gave up long ago any hope of changing their minds.

I did have a blog before twitter and like many blogs, it simply died on the vine. I had some decent content there about living abroad and whatnot. Curiosities and my personal take on anything that struck my fancy – the blog was read by very few people and I suppose that’s the nature of many people’s first forays into blogging.

Then there were a few years where I primarily blogged about tea. When people hear that, they often give me an incredulous look and ask if that’s even a thing. Indeed, it is. There’s quite an active community of tea bloggers the world over, and because of the above-mentioned writing, I know a good number of them, albeit virtually.

Tea people didn’t read my tea blog for information on tea. As a matter of fact, my writing very rarely provided any useful information on the subject. I was specifically writing to the non tea drinkers to attempt to lure them over to the leaf. And my unorthodox approach to tea blogging didn’t hurt me in that community either. There were plenty of informative blogs about how long to steep your tea; I was offering something entirely different.

Because of the stereotype of little old ladies drinking their afternoon tea, there was a rather whimsical moment in which a fellow tea blogger struck upon the idea to aggregate the musings primarily of us more masculine tea lovers. Without consulting us, he created a page called the Beasts of Brewdom. It still exists if you insist on going and looking for it. You might even find some of my long lost posts over there.

Oh, look. I found a link: Beasts of Brewdom

Recently, I was asked to contribute something and here I’ve finally gotten round to it. It was a writing challenge, which I didn’t entirely understand, but my challenge came in the form of a tweet. Here it is if you’d like to see the original:

The offending tweet

If you couldn’t bother to click through, it said, ‘…ohh Beasts! I challenge @lahikmajoe to write with ‘My Beautiful Heathen‘.

Well, if you know anything about heathens, you know they shouldn’t consume too much caffeine. My tea cabinet is almost devoid of any herb tea, but this is one of the only exceptions.

Hamburger Schietwetter Tee…for an ugly rainy day. A perfect opportunity to stay indoors with just such a cuppa.

There. Challenge accepted and fulfilled. For those of you who might be confused by this blogpost, I’ll be returning to the regularly scheduled Miscellaneous Blog in the next several days.

Fine words butter no parsnips

Well, I was just kidding when I assured Robert Godden that I’d used ‘Fine words butter no parsnips’ in a long ago blogpost. Purportedly, he’s just spent an hour looking through the archives of my various blogs for the nonexistent time I used that phrase…now I almost feel bad, but not really. 

Maybe he-of-gullible-tendencies Mr. Godden actually happened upon some decent writing for a change. Chuckle chuckle…actually, he knows he’s one of my favourite tea bloggers. Hell, I’ll go out on a limb & say he’s just an all around superior blogger with or without the tea. 

Back to the point:

What on earth does that butter & parsnips nonsense up above even mean? Well, my impatience got the best of me & I simply stumbled over to Wikipedia, where I was told the meaning of ‘Fine words butter no parsnips‘.

Here it is:

Nothing is achieved by empty words or flattery.

Nothing? Really? 

What about that nice thing I said about Old Man Godden several lines back? You don’t think I achieved anything there? If nothing else I might get some tea sent to me. If you knew how good his tea blends are, you wouldn’t scoff. 

So, the jury is still out. Did my flattery of that demented madman of a teablogger and general wackadoo of a human being do me a lick of good in replenishing my barren tea cabinet? 

Watch this space: the suspense is killing me. 

Blogging like a boss and ridiculing other’s ideas up close and personally


Elaine and the girl dog


It’s been quite a week at Lahikmajoe Headquarters, as Elaine of @elaine4queen has been visiting on her way back from Athens, and we’ve been plotting some blog adventures that you shall see come to fruition in the next few months.

We continue to foment a sort of revolution that includes a bit less cake eating and a bit more writing and pontificating.

The nature of the web and our digital tribes is that we can stay in contact and collaborate on projects regardless of geography; however, there is still something to be said for sitting in the same room and being able to ridicule other’s ideas up close and personally.

Creative Storytelling: Five Ideas


Wow, I really like these ideas. While already employing some of them, I plan to incorporate even more. Thanks The Daily Post. Good stuff.

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

Itching to do something different on your blog? Want to tell a story in a new way? Here are five quick ideas:

Use pages and links in fresh ways.

The bear blogging at Hello, I am a bear shows how you can use the standard features on your blog — posts, pages, links — to experiment with digital stories. Consider “You are a bear,” which uses links and pages in a choose-your-own-adventure tale. In the story, you make decisions from the point of view of a bear. The blogger — er, bear — cleverly creates various paths and different endings depending on your actions.

Combine forces with someone else.

We love the writer-artist collaboration between Virginia-based blogger Shelley Sackier and Sweden-based cartoonist Robin Gott on Shelley’s blog, Peak Perspective.

Illustration by Robin Gott, "Give Me the Straight Dope," Peak Perspective Illustration by Robin Gott, “Give Me the Straight Dope,”Peak Perspective

Shelley’s humor and strong voice and Robin’s…

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Having cake and discussing which direction we’re all going


Box of pastries…carbohydrates a plenty

Although I’ve got writing assignments and plenty of other obligations, I realised recently that I hadn’t been keeping the horde of my readers up to date on what’s going on hereabouts. For one thing, Elaine came to visit and we continued our Cake Across Europe tour that we began last year in Palermo.

Oh, here’s a collection of what I wrote about all of that:

Palermo Posts

And here’s some of what Elaine made from that trip

Nobody’s Perfect. Even me

Alone and existential in Palermo – What to do?

It seems that while everyone else is cutting carbohydrates out of their diets, Elaine and I go the other direction when we’re together. Plenty of my friends and acquaintances are toying with variations of high protein/low carb eating. Listening to those who’re obsessed with the Paleo Diet, many of our modern health problems are directly related to the effect sugar has on us. The argument goes that because carbs turn to sugar, we’re better off decreasing them as much as we can.

While I’m not going to wade into that debate here, and it’s a tangent I’m not prepared to go onto at this point anyway, I will concede that Elaine and my cake consumption is not the ideal health choice we could make. If I thought anyone was mad enough to actually look to either of us for nutrition advice, I’d include some sort of ‘Don’t try this at home, kids’ warning. Luckily, that’s not a concern.

Instead, the thrust of our week together was brainstorming and planning for how we’re going forward with our online presence. Because at our age, we’re sandwiched between the generations of people who didn’t have any of this technology and the digital natives who have grown up with it all around them, we’re in a position to have watched the good and bad that can be created in an online community.

People get bent out of shape because of something that was said in response to a post on Feckbook, and things can so easily escalate into name calling and blocking and genuine bad blood. We see the power of curating content and believe that our wall or stream on various platforms is like our virtual neighbourhood. So an ongoing topic between us is what to do when people get unruly on your page.

When it’s a genuine exchange of ideas, both and Elaine and I can overlook a bit of invective. A bit. However, when it turns to personal attacks, there’s an advantage in editing out the more cruel voices. Is that suppression of ideas? Censorship?

Yep, it is. It’s my wall. Go pollute your own space with your poison.

I’ve watched carefully over the years how major media sources deal with readers comments. When users still have some ability to stay anonymous, it seems there’s more inappropriate behaviour, but even people using their real names can be schmucks.

So, I’m curious what experiences you’ve had with this. Have you altered the settings on your blog or social media platforms where comments have to be approved first? Do you even bother with such thoughts? What’s your position on this? Don’t be shy.

Guinness is apparently good for you…apparently


Who wouldn’t trust a gnome carrying beer?


Not sure exactly what’s going on in this window, but apparently Guinness is Good for You. I suppose that’s useful information to know. I thought the gnome holding up those several Krugs of Bavarian beer would be a nice way to mention that the Oktoberfest has begun here.

For the uninitiated, that means upward of two weeks of more and more tourists descending on Munich for the renowned beer festival. Pretty sure there’s no actual Guinness on offer there, though. There are plenty of Irish pubs in town if that’s really what you need.

I’ve got other things to talk about here, but life keeps getting in the way of regular blogging. I’m aware that blogging is still something people do. It’s a done thing. Not often enough by me, but a done thing nevertheless.

Hope you’ve got other things to read. There’s plenty out there – to read, I mean. Hoo-whee…that’s why I’m throwing this half-arsed blogpost up and rushing off. I’ve actually been enjoying a book that I can’t wait to get back to. As you were.