Tuesday, 31 July 2012

English Nerd Facts

I wanted to share some absolutely irrelevant facts about English with you:

  • The vanishing of old words in a language is called 'Obsolescence'.
  • BBC-English is not the same as RP-English (also known as Queen's English) anymore. The BBC actually does allow very mild forms of regional accents while Received Pronounciation is accent free.
  • In Early Modern English various verbs could be used for the perfective aspect, today we can only use 'have' as in 'I have arrived'. An example for the use in early Modern English would be 'Though art come' or 'I am arrived'.
  • V and u used to be pronounced the other way round. Example: loue=love, neuer=never, vnderstand=understand

    These are things that absolutely nobody needs to know but I still like those little facts alot!

    Have a great day,
    The Countess

Saturday, 21 July 2012

10 Reasons why we need feminism

- There are 188 directly elected political leaders in this world right now. 16 of them are women.

- Female circumcision

- The word 'feminist' is still used as an insult.

- Less money for the same work

- The idea that women HAVE TO shave.

-The looks a woman still gets when she says that she doesn't like and/or doesn't want kids.

- The threats and harassments Anita Sarkeesian gets because she announced that she wants to talk about how women are portraited in video games. She gets threats that include her being raped, beaten up and killed.

-Gay women still have to fight against the stereotype that they are less of a woman than a straight woman.

- The Pro Life movement

- The feminist movement often got and gets involved in other important movements such as the anti- slavery movements back in the past, the LGBT movement etc.

I leave you with this: It's a really good video about how female characters in comics etc. are often randomly killed in order to support the development of a male character.

Are you a feminist?
Why do you think feminism is important?

Have a great day,
The Countess

My mother, what is happiness? My mother, what is Hell?

Everyone knows The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe but only a
few people know that the lost Lenore in the poem is an allusion
to the poem Lenore by the German author Gottfried August 
Bürger from 1774. 
It deals with a young woman who commits blasphemy when 
her lover does not come back from the 7 years war and as a 
punishment said woman is being taken to the world of the
dead by her dead lover. So much the common interpretations.
I personally read it a little different:
I would like to see the ride through the night to her death bed 
as a metaphor for her suicide because Lenore does not want
to live without her lover. 
But read for yourself: 
Up rose Lenore as the red morn wore, 
From weary visions starting; 
"Art faithless, William, or William, art dead? 
'Tis long since thy departing." 
For he, with Frederick's men of might, 
In fair Prague waged the uncertain fight;
Nor once had he writ in the hurry of war. 
And sad was the true heart that sickened afar. 
The Empress and the King, 
With ceaseless quarrel tired, 
At length relaxed the stubborn hate 
Which rivalry inspired;
And the martial throng, with laugh and song, 
Spoke of their homes as they rode along. 
And clank, clank, clank ! came every rank. 
With the trumpet-sound that rose and sank. 

And here and there and everywhere. 
Along the swarming ways. 
Went old man and boy, with the music of joy. 
On the gallant bands to gaze; 
And the young child shouted to spy the vaward, 
And trembling and blushing the bride pressed forward; 
But ah! for the sweet lips of Lenore 
The kiss and the greeting are vanished and o'er. 
From man to man all wildly she ran 
With a swift and searching eye; 
But she felt alone in the mighty mass, 
As it crushed and crowded by; 
On hurried the troop, — a gladsome group, — 
And proudly the tall plumes wave and droop;
She tore her hair and she turned her round, 
And madly she dashed her against the ground. 

Her mother clasped her tenderly 
With soothing words and mild;
"My child, may God look down on thee, — 
God comfort thee, my child." 
"Oh! mother, mother! gone is gone! 
I reck no more how the world runs on;
What pity to me does God impart? 
Woe, woe, woe! for my heavy heart!" 
"Help, Heaven, help and favour her! 
Child, utter an Ave Marie! 
Wise and great are the doings of God; 
He loves and pities thee." 
"Out, mother, out, on the empty lie! 
Doth he heed my despair, — doth he list to my cry? 
What boots it now to hope or to pray? 
The night is come, — there is no more day." 

"Help, Heaven, help! who knows the Father 
Knows surely that he loves his child;
The bread and the wine from the hand divine 
Shall make thy tempered grief less wild." 
"Oh! mother, dear mother! the wine and the bread 
Will not soften the anguish that bows down my head; 
For bread and for wine it will yet be as late 
That his cold corpse creeps from the grim grave's gate." 
"What if the traitor's false faith failed, 
By sweet temptation tried, — 
What if in distant Hungary 
He clasp another bride? — 
Despise the fickle fool, my girl, 
Who hath ta'en the pebble and spurned the pearl;
While soul and body shall hold together 
In his perjured heart shall be stormy weather." 

"Oh! mother, mother! gone is gone, 
And lost will still be lost! 
Death, death is the goal of my weary soul, 
Crushed and broken and crost. 
Spark of my life! down, down to the tomb; 
Die away in the night, die away in the gloom! 
What pity to me does God impart? 
Woe, woe, woe! for my heavy heart!" 
"Help, Heaven, help, and heed her not, 
For her sorrows are strong within; 
She knows not the words that her tongue repeats, — 
Oh! count them not for sin! 
Cease, cease, my child, thy wretchedness, 
And think on the promised happiness; 
So shall thy mind's calm ecstasy 
Be a hope and a home and a bridegroom to thee." 
"My mother, what is happiness? 
My mother, what is Hell? 
With William is my happiness, — 
Without him is my Hell! 
Spark of my life! down, down to the tomb;
Die away in the night, die away in the gloom! 
Earth and Heaven, and Heaven and earth. 
Reft of William are nothing worth." 
Thus grief racked and tore the breast of Lenore, 
And was busy at her brain; 
Thus rose her cry to the Power on high, 
To question and arraign;
Wringing her hands and beating her breast, — 
Tossing and rocking without any rest; — 
Till from her light veil the moon shone thro', 
And the stars leapt out on the darkling blue. 

But hark to the clatter and the pat pat patter!
Of a horse's heavy hoof! 
How the steel clanks and rings as the rider springs! 

How the echo shouts aloof! 
While slightly and lightly the gentle bell 
Tingles and jingles softly and well; 
And low and clear through the door plank thin 
Comes the voice without to the ear within; 
"Holla! holla! unlock the gate; 
Art wakenig, my bride, or sleeping ? 
Is thy heart still free and still faithful to me? 
Art laughing, my bride, or weeping?" 
"Oh! wearily, William, I've waited for you,— 
Woefully watching the long day thro', — 
With a great sorrow sorrowing 
For the cruelty of your tarrying." 

"Till the dead midnight we saddled not,— 
I have journeyed far and fast — 
And hither I come to carry thee back 
Ere the darkness shall be past." 
"Ah! rest thee within till the night's more calm; 
Smooth shall thy couch be, and soft, and warm; 
Hark to the winds, how they whistle and rush 
Thro' the twisted twine of the hawthorn-bush." 
"Thro' the hawthorn-bush let whistle and rush, — 
Let whistle, child, let whistle! 
Mark the flash fierce and high of my steed's bright eye, 
And his proud crest's eager bristle. 
Up, up and away! I must not stay;
Mount swiftly behind me! up, up and away! 
An hundred miles must be ridden and sped 
Ere we may lie down in the bridal-bed." 

"What! ride an hundred miles to-night, 
By thy mad fancies driven! 
Dost hear the bell with its sullen swell. 
As it rumbles out eleven?" 
"Look forth! look forth! the moon shines bright; 
We and the dead gallop fast thro' the night. 
'Tis for a wager I bear thee away 
To the nuptial couch ere break of day." 
"Ah! where is the chamber, William dear, 
And William, where is the bed?" 
"Far, far from here; still, narrow, and cool; 
Plank and bottom and lid." 
"Hast room for me?" — "For me and thee; 
Up, up to the saddle right speedily! 
The wedding-guests are gathered and met, 
And the door of the chamber is open set." 

She busked her well, and into the selle 
She sprang with nimble haste, — 
And gently smiling, with a sweet beguiling,
Her white hands clasped his waist; — 
And hurry, hurry! ring, ring, ring! 
To and fro they sway and swing; 
Snorting and snuffing they skim the ground, 
And the sparks spurt up, and the stones run round. 
Here to the right and there to the left 
Flew fields of corn and clover, 
And the bridges flashed by to the dazzled eye, 
As rattling they thundered over. 
"What ails my love? the moon shines bright;
Bravely the dead men ride through the night. 
Is my love afraid of the quiet dead?" 
"Ah! no;— let them sleep in their dusty bed!" 
On the breeze cool and soft what tune floats aloft,
While the crows wheel overhead? -
Ding dong! ding dong! 'tis the sound, 'tis the song, -
"Room, room for the passing dead!"
Slowly the funeral-train drew near,
Bearing the coffin, bearing the bier;
And the chime of their chant was hissing and harsh,
Like the note of the bull-frog within the marsh.

"You bury your corpse at the dark midnight,
With hymns and bells and wailing; -
But I bring home my youthful wife
To a bride-feast's rich regaling.
Come, chorister, come with thy choral throng,
And solemnly sing me a marriage-song;
Come, friar, come, - let the blessing be spoken,
That the bride and the bridegroom's sweet rest be unbroken."

Died the dirge and vanished the bier: -
Obedient to his call,
Hard hard behind, with a rush like the wind,
Came the long steps' pattering fall;
And ever further! ring, ring, ring!
To and fro they sway and swing;
Snorting and snuffing they skim the ground,
And the sparks spurt up, and the stones run round.

How flew to the right, how flew to the left,
Trees, mountains in the race!
How to the left, and the right and the left,
Flew town and market-place!
"What ails my love? the moon shines bright;
Bravely the dead men ride thro' the night.
Is my love afraid of the quiet dead?"
"Ah! let them alone in their dusty bed!"

See, see, see! by the gallows-tree,
As they dance on the wheel's broad hoop,
Up and down, in the gleam of the moon
Half lost, an airy group: -
"Ho, ho! mad mob, come hither amain,
And join in the wake of my rushing train; -
Come, dance me a dance, ye dancers thin,
Ere the planks of the marriage bed close us in."

And hush, hush, hush! the dreamy rout
Came close with a ghastly bustle,
Like the whirlwind in the hazel-bush,
When it makes the dry leaves rustle;
And faster, faster! ring, ring, ring!
To and fro they sway and swing;
Snorting and snuffing they skim the ground,
And the sparks spurt up, and the stones run round.

How flew the moon high overhead,
In the wild race madly driven!
In and out, how the stars danced about,
And reeled o'er the flashing heaven!
"What ails my love? the moon shines bright;
Bravely the dead men ride thro' the night.
Is my love afraid of the quiet dead?"
"Alas! let them alone in their dusty bed!"

"Horse, horse! meseems 'tis the cock's shrill note,
And the sand is well nigh spent;
Horse, horse, away! 'tis the break of day, -
'Tis the morning air's sweet scent.
Finished, finished is our ride:
Room, room for the bridegroom and the bride!
At last, at last, we have reached the spot,
For the speed of the dead man has slackened not!"

And swiftly up to an iron gate
With reins relaxed they went;
At the rider's touch the bolts flew back,
And the bars were broken and bent;
The doors were burst with a deafening knell,
And over the white graves they dashed pell mell:
The tombs around looked grassy and grim,
As they glimmered and glanced in the moonlight dim.

But see! But see! in an eyelid's beat,
Towhoo! a ghastly wonder!
The horseman's jerkin, piece by piece,
Dropped off like brittle tinder!
Fleshless and hairless, a naked skull,
The sight of his weird head was horrible;
The lifelike mask was there no more,
And a scythe and a sandglass the skeleton bore.

Loud snorted the horse as he plunged and reared,
And the sparks were scattered round; -
What man shall say if he vanished away,
Or sank in the gaping ground?
Groans from the earth and shrieks in the air!
Howling and wailing everywhere!
Half dead, half living, the soul of Lenore
Fought as it never had fought before.

The churchyard troop, - a ghostly group, -
Close round the dying girl;
Out and in they hurry and spin
Through the dancer's weary whirl;
"Patience, patience, when the heart is breaking;
With thy God there is no question-making;
Of thy body thou art quit and free;
Heaven keep thy soul eternally!" 

What is your interpretation of Lenore and her death?
How did you like the poem? of course, this is merely a
translation, I like the German original better.

Have a great day,
The Countess

Thursday, 19 July 2012

History Nerd Facts: Caesarean section

Did you know the caesarean section is named after Gaius Iulius Caesar (yup, that one Roman guy who conquered Britain) because the legends say that he was born with the help of a caesarean section? I say legends because caesarean sections were deadly for the mother up until the Modern Era and Caesar's mother survived his birth. 

Another random fact about Caesar: He was killed on the Ides of March 44 BC which is the 15th of March. That's my birthday! 
Here is a picture of his death. As terrible as it sounds: I quite like it!


Have a great day,

The Countess

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A hat

I feel that I should do a proper post but I have made sooo many typos in the last one that I have decided to just ramble a bit.
Yesterday, I tried to do an outfit shot. I suck at them...

 I love the hat, I got it from H&M a few days ago and even though I try not to buy at stores like H&M so often anymore because I do not agree with them as a company I just HAD to get this hat. It was broken, they would have thrown it away! I basically rescued it, I saved its life! It had emergency surgery and my glue gun and I were able to save it! I think I want to name it... I name all kinds of stuff. I'm writing this post on my notebook Tinkerbell. 

Ok, enough talk of the crazy person, I guess...
Sleep well, 
The Countess

Liebster Award

Thank you to The Cemetery Deamer for tagging me!

The rules:
Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
Create 11 questions for the people you tag.
Choose 11 people and link back to them.
No tag backs.

11 things about me:

1. I used to own more than 25 Barbie dolls as a child. I made up my own fairy tales where the Barbies were poor girls who would become rich and successfull because they are smart and talented.

2. I would love to believe in something mythtical such as healing christals. I own christals but I don't believe they have any power over mind or body, they are just proof that nature is amazing in its wonders.

3. Even though I don't want children I think I would be a great godmother.

4. I have decided to stop buying make-up or nail polish for as long as possible because I simply own too much. Nobody needs 140 eyeshadows...

5. I have never been to a funeral, lucky me!

6. One of the nicest compliments I have ever been given is "You should work with Tim Burton!".

7. When I die I want my organs to be donated and the useless rest to be cremated and burried under a tree. Resting under a tree just seems like a natural and peaceful thing.

8. I met a nice old lady on the train some weeks ago and we talked a bit. She believed in horoscopes and when I told her that I cannot sleep well at full moon she answered "Well, then you are certainly a water sign, right?" I am Pisces...

9. I have only been to five European capitals so far (Berlin, London, Paris, Prague and Budapest) even though I have been to more than 10 European countries. Fortunately, I will go to Stockholm and Tallinn this summer.

10. One gothic stereotype that is very true about me is that I love patchouli.

11. My father has black hair, my mother is a redhead, my sister is blonde and I am brunette.

11 questions:

1. Favourite sad song? Nothing Compares to You by Sinead O'Connor and Mad World by Gary Jules

2. Favourite happy song? Bohemian Like You by The Dandy Warhols

3. Sunrise or Sunset? Sunrise because I don't see it that often and it brings you in a great calm mood.

4. Chocolate or sweets? Chocolate all the way!

5. Band you most want to see live? Nirvana but that's not possible... So I'll pickMy Chemical Romance again.

6. Most expensive impulse purchase? Uhm... A pair of platform shoes for about 50€ a few days after my Abitur (A-Levels). I saw them and decided that a 1.3 Abitur should be worth a treat!

7. Dogs or Cats? Cats! They have personality. Dogs have that submissive attitude... Urgh!

8. Beauty product you can't live without? Powder and black eyeliner. Oh, and nail polish!

9. Night out or night in? Night in, I don't really go out.

10. Shopping online or in person? Neither nor.

11. Dream job? A writer.

My 11 questions for the people I tag:

1. If you were given 100€ right now with the obligation that you have to buy something that makes you happy, what would you buy?

2. Your favourite movie?

3. If you could become any fictional character for a day who would you want to be?

4. Is there an ethnical/political theme or agenda that is important to you?

5. Fish or birds?

6. Could you live for two weeks without your mobile nd the internet without feeling that you lose contact to people that are important to you?

7. Favourite item of clothing?

8. Have you been kind to a stranger this week?

9. Do you like old buildings?

10. Umbrellas or parasols?

11. What was the last thing you have creativly made with your own hands?

Aaaand I tag in no particular order:

4. Ariel
8. Bianca
9. Zelde
11. Corin


Have a great day,

The Countess

Friday, 13 July 2012

History Nerd Facts: Elections in Medieval History

If one thinks of the medieval times one thinks of a whole bunch of thing: The plague, crusades, castles, knights... What one does not think of are elections. In fact there were elections in various parts of society and I thought I could tell you about some of them in more detail.

The election of the pope:

The pope of the catholic church has always been elected. In the early medieval times the pope always had to be a Roman and basically every person of importance in Rome was allowed to vote. This changed at the Third Lateran Council in 1179 where new rules were set. Since that point on every male catholic is theoretically able to become pope but only cardinals are allowed to vote. Also you need 2/3 of all votes to become pope now, before the council the "smaller but wiser part" could also choose who should become pope. Unfortunatel, nobody knows how the "wiser part" was defined. It was and is still important that en the end everyone agrees on the new pope because one needs the unanimitas (lat. unanimity) because it represents God's will. Social status and family backround has since then not been a real issue for the election of a new pope.

The election of the kings of the Holy Roman Empire:

Yes, the kings of the Holy Roman Empire were elected! At least theoretically. The only ones that were allowed to vote were the seven electors (germ. Kurfürst from the Old German word kur = Wahl (election)). The archbishop of Mainz first used to have what was called the prima vox (lat. first voice) which means that he could say who should become king and then the other six could only agree or...leave. Yup, seriously.Again the unanimitas was necessary. This rule was later changed with the Golden Bull of 1356, a decree which set rules for the election of the kings. Since then the archbishop of Mainz had the last vote because now 4 out of 7 votes were enough to elect a king so the last vote was the most important one.

There were many more elections in medieval times such as the election of abbots, bishops, mayors or in guilds but I am not going to describe them all because the two mentioned above are by far the most interesting ones. At least to me.

Let me know how you liked this post, do you want to read more things like that or does history bore you?

Good night,
The Countess

Thursday, 12 July 2012

This summer

Today I had two exams (Elections in Medieval History and Psychology) in a row which was really exhausting but now I only have to go to my Early Modern English class tomorrow and then I am free until Octobre. I do have another exam in September and there also is that paper about Clara Zetkin but all in all I have holidays! Hip hip hooray!

In order to celebrate that fact properly I have decided to share my list of things I want to do this summer in order to make the best out of it. The notes in italics show how far these projects have gone so far

- go to Sweden and Estonia with my friend Imke 
-> everything is booked and fixed

- read Edgar Allan Poe
-> started reading his short novels

- watch a play at a theatre in Cologne
-> I have a double ticket...Since 2010...

- visit a bunch of museums
-> I went to the Cologne History Museum today after my exams

- learn all elements of the periodic table
-> I know about 25 right now

- go to the Spa with friends
-> We bought coupons months ago

- stich more
-> There are some vague ideas...

- visit Aachen with the Count
-> I have to wait until he has written all of his exams

- create my family tree
-> I downloaded a programme and put my 20 closest relatives in it.

- go to the Botanic Garden of the Uni of Bonn
-> Again, I have to wait for the count...

- go to the opera for the very first time
-> A friend told me she wanted to go with me

- sew something
-> I know i want a black skirt...

- practice calligraphy
-> bought a new quill and new ink in gold

The Cologne City Museum was amazing! I never went to a museum on my own without friends or family but i must say it was absolutely briliant! The museum is in the old Zeughaus which is the armoury. 


They have an impressive collection of medieval and early modern art and parts of the museum are reserved for the themes jews in Cologne, women in Cologne, childhood in Cologne, the founding of the University or science. I loved some of the paintings and especially the two huge old globes that are part of the science exhibiton.

They also had to special exhibitons, one was about the Cologne painter and revolutionist of 1848/49 Wilhelm Kleinenbroich and the other one was about Cologne's Churches and their decorations. I liked the original exhibition better but those two were still really good.

One random fact I learned: In Early Modern times children up to six years were dressed in girl's clothes without any regard to their gender. There are some features and hints on painting though that declare a child as male or female. One feature for example could be a bird on the arm of the child which is a sign that the child is male.

What are your plans for the summer? And what should I add to my list?

Have a great day,
The Countess

Friday, 6 July 2012

It's a Lush life

Today I went shopping because I needed some sandals. I didn't find any nice ones so naturally I bought something else. That's just how it works. I went to one of my favourite stores ever: Lush. I love everything about that brand: Their products are amazing, they smell gorgeous, 80% of them are vegan, the rest is vegetarian, none of them are tested on animals, the packaging is all recycled plastic and paper and many of the products come on solid form in order to avoid unnecessary packaging. 

This time I bought the Stepping Stone foot peeling. I first was not really sure if I really wanted to get it because 5,50€ is not exactly cheap for me. In the end I still got it and I am really happy I did! It smells like lemon grass, perfect for summer and not only does it remove unnecessary skin cells but it also pampers the feet with oils. All in all, it is great!

I have realized that I own quite  few things from Lush which is mainly because I just looooove what Lush does to your skin and hair and I just feel good knowing that my money goes to a brand that shares my ethnical values and helps spreading them. So I have decided to show you my little 'collection'.

So far I have:

- Ultimate Shine Shampoo Bar
- Karma Komba Shampoo Bar
- Seanik Shampoo Bar
- Jungle Solid Conditioner
-Veganese Conditioner (2nd bottle)
- two samples of R&B Hair Cream

- Stepping Stone Foot Peeling
- Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter
- Fresh Farmacy Cleanser
- a sample of Karma Kream
- two bath wands that were limited edition. The are mot on the picture because I forgot to get them out of the bath room. I got both of them for my birthday.

It sounds like alot, at least to me but many of those products were given to me as a present and I also got a gift card for Christmas. I am not one of those people who just go and spend 30e in a Lush store, I can't and and do not want to spend that amount of money on cosmetics. I basically go to Lush when I want to get a special treat for myself, it is always special to get in the store and choose a product. 

What about you, do you Lush? What do you think about the products, the brand, the ethnics?

Have a great day,
The Countess

Monday, 2 July 2012

English Nerd Facts: Knicht

I am not only a history student, I also study English. It isn't my native language but I still learned quite a few cool things, especially in my Old English and Early Modern English classes. So today I have a little fun fact for you:

Did you know the Old English word "knicht" existed in Old German as well? It both meant "horse rider". That itself would not be very interesting, I admit. BUT:
As time went one the two languages developed and "knicht" became "knight" in English and "Knecht" in German. "Knecht" means "farm labourer" in English. So basically, the term has gone up in hirarchy in the English language while it has gone down in German. This difference in meaning can be found in nearly every single word that the two languages had in common and that changed meaning during the time. 

Have a great day,
The Countess