First Susanne became obsessed and then I decided to offer a new blogging course

Ken at Axioma

You have your people. I’m sure you look around your circle of friends and say to yourself, ‘I love what they’re doing…wish I could help them out more.‘ Well, as much as you love your people, and I’m sure you do, my people just keep creating new things and I want to do what I can to let everybody know about them.

One of my people – one of the better ones, I might add – is Susanne, and she’s recently become obsessed with blogging and social media. I looked on with both amusement and pride last year, as her first blogposts started showing up on my newsfeed.

Here’s her most recent post, and I’m sure you’ll see why I find her writing so endearing: Desperado (by Susanne Plassman) Leave it to her to take a topic like suicide and make it inspiring.

I reached out to her and said, ‘Hey, I know something about the whole blogging lark, so drop me a line if you need any guidance.

Almost immediately, she responded with, ‘Yes, let’s talk! Am besten Gestern*!‘ That’s how she is, by the way. A theatre chick with all the positive associations in tow.

Susanne and I are conspiring to do some projects together and I’m sure I’ll be talking about them here and on social media, but in the meantime…her predicaments while getting started in blogging made me think, ‘There must be so many other locals who need some tips and pointers on this whole social media thing.

Right?

So, I talked to the language school Axioma, which is centrally located in the Maxvorstadt district of Munich, and we’ve decided to offer a course in social media. Here’s a link to the Social Media / Blogging von Anfang an course. Click on it, and see how much of your high school or college German you can remember.

*rough translation of ‘am besten Gestern‘: I need this yesterday!

 

 

 

 

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.

lack of resolutions

reminds me of Hamburg, not Munich

There were plenty of things I could’ve blogged about over the holidays, but I took a bit of a hiatus. The last few months have been stressful to say the least, and although there have been times I’ve blogged through similar turmoil, I decided at some point just to lay low. To say less rather than more.

The sad truth is that there have been plenty of things to talk about, and the nature of blogging is that something I might’ve written could’ve actually been useful…to someone. Please don’t laugh..it’s possible.

Instead some insight I had or some experience that I slowed down enough to notice was stored in my memory or even recorded privately, and that nugget of potential wisdom won’t ever see the light of day. Well, not from me anyway.

Yet that’s gotten me thinking about the nature of what I’m doing here and all these ridiculous social media sites I circumnavigate. Are the experiences I had over Christmas and New Year’s somehow lessened because I neglected to mention them here? If I just ignored my computer/mobile phone for a few days, did my circle of friends on the internet worry about my absence?

Not so far they haven’t. There’s enough noise over at twitter that if you don’t see my avatar for a few days as you scroll through your tweets, your life isn’t negatively affected. That’s why I’m always amused when people threaten to leave a social media site. As if we really think our presence there is so important.

Sure I’ve got something unique to offer. Perhaps I’m looking at a story or a situation in a different light – some perspective that hadn’t been considered earlier.

What’s more likely though is that my perspective is simply the most juvenile. The way I look at things is quite candidly often the way a 13 year-old boy might. The most selfish, thoughtless, arrogant approach. That’s at least the first response I have to what life throws at me.

I’m not going to make any ridiculous resolutions that I’ll only blog the serious things. My suspicion is that you’d rather get the whimsical here anyway. That’s my thing – my Raison d’être. 

There. You didn’t think you’d get through a whole post without me throwing in a foreign term that could’ve just as easily have been written in clear English, did you? You know me too well.

now that’s old

Image

Rembrandt's Philosopher Reading

Was reading Andreas Heinakroon‘s blog earlier today about immortality (what I got out of it? the idea of living forever isn’t all it’s cracked up to be), and I got to thinking about something I find curious (before I forget, here it is: Immortality is overrated)

The thing I’ve been thinking about? It’s not a big thing. Blogging sometimes lends itself to pondering the minutiae. But as soon as I say that, I recognise it’s not such a small thing either. Primarily because it has to do with perspective. Enough build up. Let’s jump right in, why don’t we.

When you’re fifteen, you think twenty-five is really old, and thirty-five is inconceivable. I’d even risk saying that when you’re fifteen, anyone above forty is ancient. There might be exceptions to this, but you know what I mean.

So, ten years later? You’re twenty-five now. That’s not so old. Twenty-five is ok. Definitely not old. But thirty-five. Damn…that’s old. And it goes on, doesn’t it? Thirty-five seems old until you’re actually zeroing in on it. Once you’re there? Not so bad.

Throw all of this out the window if you’re unwell. If you’ve got some horrible illness or a loved-one is sick, that clearly impacts your perspective. But assuming you’re relatively healthy, isn’t it curious how subjective we are about age?

When I was a child, my grandmother was fifty-five. Not only was that the number I carried around as my yardstick for ancient, but for many, many years she was still fifty-five in my mind. It’s not as if I was delusional. Or not overly so. But if you asked me how old my Nana was, my immediate thought was fifty-five. Strange, eh?

Have often thought to myself that I’m a very old man stuck in a relatively young man’s body. I love  sitting in a café, reading the paper, drinking good tea (sometimes coffee), complaining about the state of the world swirling round me.

I don’t look forward to my body’s degeneration. Who would? That’d be madness. But to feel a bit less of the pressure that I have to accomplish things. The whole ‘youth is wasted on the young’ deal.

Over the years, I’ve spent significant time with older people. One thing I like about these ancient, from my perspective, folk is that they care less and less about what anyone else thinks. This is over-simplified. Clearly. But it’s logical that if you’ve seen enough of life’s experiences, you’ll become more and more accepting of your personality and your character.

The old man lurking inside of me likes the sound of all that. Immensely.