Your taste will inevitably change, so you might as well embrace the new

Again we are coming to the meaty article of the week. This topic is going to be something, I find to be meaningful and for the lack of a better word deep.

Change. Nothing is as inevitable in life as change. There is also this fear we all have with some of these changes. No one wants or embraces change all the time, especially if you are someone, like me, loves and embraces routines, but changes will happen. We could go to a dark place and talk about changes that no one really wants: a break up, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job and many more, but let’s take something smaller and more fun and go along for a small ride.

This article inspired me to this: ‘The secret of taste: why we like what we like’

The best part to me, is the one about beer and how that might be an ‘acquired taste’, the same can be said about coffee and then it brings the anecdote of legend producer Rick Rubin and how he did not like ‘Pretty Hate Machine‘ by ‘Nine Inch Nails‘ on the first listen.

Beer and good music! Man, what is not to like here. Turns out young Burnilein did not like beer when he first tried it. A shock to the system, your body and mind have to find out what that is, have to evaluate this feeling and the taste and form an opinion. It just made me feel funny the firs few times but it was also bitter and weird. So there was a beer that was closer to root beer than it was to this new taste – black beer. A similar thing happened when I bought my first Slipknot album. Before that I was really into Blind Guardian and Manowar and even though I have heard some Immortal tracks and even In Flames, that wasn’t to my taste – it was too extreme. Too harsh and hard sounding. So having this Slipknot album in hand bought from my weekly allowance (that was more than a week of my allowance and coming home and putting the CD into my Hi-Fi system, I was shocked: I did not like it, I liked one song and only together with the video back in the day that my buddy pointed me to and that I waited a couple of afternoons for to show on Viva (the German MTV equivalent back then). I got sad, that I spend this money on a CD I don’t like. I had to rest a day and was thinking about returning the CD which would have been another trip that would have cost time and money to the next big city. I listened to it again the next day playing Heroes of Might and Magic II. Something happened – there was a another song in there that I noticed and started liking playing the game. Later another one and another one and soon I liked the whole album.

I still do like that album and I liked it way more than on my initial listen. I know like almost all kinds of beers and I do like them way more that with my initial taste. Black beer is just alright.

My taste has changed, but just because I kept trying and put these experiences in different set-ups. Everybody should like beer. Beer is awesome and it is the most fun on beerwalks through cities. Hear me out on the music though. Let’s talk about music and maybe food too, I have always been an adventurous eater and I like all kinds of food, so let me try to advocate for that little change that you could embrace and maybe like some new food or music.

And while it is super hard, I am not going to deny that, to embrace change and get through the loss of a loved one or a break up or the before mentioned dark inevitable changes, these two are easy and fun!

Music – climb out of that pop music or top 100 cave and start to see the real world outside of the cave. You are missing out. I can listen to all kinds of music (but reggae, that makes me aggressive, but that is only because I have slept 3 days next to a tequila truck on a festival that was blasting it and it’s not entirely true, as I like Matisyahu for instance and possibly other bands/artists from that genre too). Pick a genre today and find one song in that genre you like, that you maybe get to love.

Food – go and have something new and incorporate it again and again. I come from a not so well off part of Germany and while I have never experienced hunger, but I know how it feels to ne be able to get some stuff that you would really like to try. My dad was always cool with having spaghetti with cheese and ketchup 7 days a week, but I liked it sometimes with Maggi sauce and cheese instead or other food altogether. I got into Jackie Chan movies at that time and saw food that I really wanted to try, it was strange, looked different and exotic to me. 20 years later I am in China and have tried these foods ad learned to love some and being okay of liking most. I cook hummus (my version of it) and I am not even sure my dad knows what that is. Go out and try something new, the worst that could happen is that it shocks you a bit and you might dislike it even, but it might be your next best thing or similar to beer or coffee or it might be just like my first listen to that Slipknot album and you learn to like it.

Any way I look at it, you will broaden your horizon, you might learn something new and it is the easiest change to embrace that I can think of right now. Do it and maybe you will learn to like every Ohrwurm I put out so far and will put out in the future. Everybody wins! And if you haven’t yet, read the article because that one is great to.

Grow, burn, embrace the change and the new!

Ohrwurm of the week 29/2017

Low – Especially Me

LOW is a indie rock band hailing from Minnesota, some call them a Mormon band – 2 members are practicing mormons. They are currently touring with the fantastic Mono, that I love to listen to on long flights. They have a great range of music that is somehow soothing and slightly unsettling at the same time and I love the post rock influence they have going on. Other Low songs give me a bit of a less disturbing Portishead vibe, which will forever have place in my heart with this album.

I am not going to pretend that I knew this band for a long time – I certainly did not. The above song is featured as the closing song (season 05 episode 08) of my favourite guilty pleasure and binge watch show: Orange Is The New Black, which according to Screenrant is a weaker season, which I disagree with and this is the song that made me look the band up right away, that doesn’t happen much since House M.D. ended with basically every second song featured becoming a favourite of mine. I really miss that show and the choice of music. Not a lot of shows pick the songs so fitting and so touching, most of the time it was the music that let my tears flow. However the debated opening song of OITNB can go away, I can only not skip it for the first episode of each season.

Have fun enjoying a song where the untrained ear can understand all the lyrics on the first listen. Bonus song for an insanely good live performance and for never getting old after many, many years:


Recipes and Punk Cooking

With 6 years in China and more specifically Shanghai food plays a big role. I came here weighing around 75 to 78kg and currently am at 88 to 90kg with a bit more muscle but also a bit of a belly.

For the first 3 years I was basically not working out at all (apart from beerwalks if you would count them, they are a physical activity but certainly do not promote weight-loss in any way but certainly counteract the calories you would get from just sitting in a bar and getting hammered). I was also not cooking at all, unless you count boiling water for instant noodles (keep in mind I was studying in 2009/10 and therefore was on a very tight budget) or boiling frozen pre-made wonton. The first 1 to 3 years led to a net weight gain of around 10kg. Not good!

Back in China in 2011 and at around 82 kilos I had a better starting point with having worked out again, doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu twice a week and biking long distances every weekend. I was however still not cooking at all for another 2 to 3 years. Then I started to work in sales again and with no training or physical activity apart from biking to and from work the weight bounced back to a shocking 93 kg.

Obviously not happy with that I started to bike a lot more and signed up for MMA training twice a week. Good times! Fat got replaced by muscle and the weight went down to the current 88 to 90 kg. After a bicycle injury 18 months ago and trying to go back to MMA that was not really happening anymore without completely changing my game – so I had to put that on hold. I am recovered now, hopefully fully but still a bit scared that the pain comes back giving leg locks and heel hooks and general knee strain I believe I have to put that behind.

NOW to the cooking and eating habits. Student times eating out for the most part student cantina, cheap street food, instant noodles and wonton/dumplings and beers, beers are always there to this day.

After settling back in in 2011 and working 7 days a week it was more hole-in-the wall restaurants, street food and cheap food in ‘western’ restaurants. Then later given that I had no kitchen, still no cooking unless you count the smoothies I made in the mornings and here we go with the recipe number one:

The Weird Green Power Smoothie

Ingredients: 1 apple, 1 banana, a handful of spinach (any leafy green will do, it”s only funny with a spicy one I got one day), peanut butter (big spoon), chocolate protein powder (1 scoop)

Have a go at it: Put it in the blender and fill it up with water. Blend and drink. It’s fast and should be consumed right away, as a bit later it turns brownish and smells a bit earthy if that turns you off.

So yeah, for the longest time this was the first ‘cooking’ I did. Fast forward to the time when I weight the most and decided to train MMA and bike more, incidentally also roughly the time I met my girlfriend. We moved in together and even it was a relatively small flat too, it came with a ‘kitchen’ – meaning a kitchen counter with a washing machine where an oven would be and one electrical cooking stove. Enter cooking time!

The thing with my ‘cooking’ is that I don’t believe in recipes, so baking is definitely something that is not for me with being precise and all. I was trying to find this comic I saw years back, by a foreign artist here in China. So when I first came here there was this horrible, horrible, not so great ‘restaurant’ (they are not here anymore) this review goes very light on them, they were like a bastardised version of Saizeriya – which is fine dining in comparison (and I love their absolute honest price model) – it’s exactly worth that.

So this comic had, what most have been Babela’s, kitchen staff that looked at a picture of pizza to copy that. They asked questions like: What is the yellowish white stuff on top? and then someone said ‘Sweet Mayo!’ this was then scribbled down. At Babela’s the pizza tasted exactly like that – abominations of the product they might have seen and set out to copy.

I take a similar approach with my cooking. I eat a lot of stuff, if not everything and by trial and error (and I eat the errors too) I find a way to bastardise a dish or create on from scratch that suits my needs. A favourite of my girlfriend is my attempt at Laksa.

Bastardised Laksa

Ingredients: 3 small chilli peppers, 3 garlic cloves, the same amount of fresh ginger, a splash of Thai fish sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice, a can of coconut milk (unsweetened of course), water, curry (either a paste or tons of powder) maybe 3 spoons, salt, your oil of choice, Sriracha. pepper, 1-2 paprikas, 1 small chinese cabbage, cheap and boneless fish like cod (frozen) and glass noodles

Have a go at it: Chop the chilli peppers, garlic and ginger in small pieces. Heat up the wok and splash some oil in it – go wild – fat is good for you and throw these three spices in. Smell it! Then quickly cut up the frozen fish in cubes (maybe the size of a dice), then on the pile sprinkle lemon juice and Sriracha and let that sit until the wok smells deliciously spicy and not burned, add some soy sauce and throw in the fish. Watch and stir a bit. Then wants the frozen fish is a cooked fish add some curry powder or paste and chug the can of coconut milk in. Pour a glass of water in the empty can and swish it a bit so you get all the milky goodness out and make everything swim until the wok is 70% full. Turn the heat down and let it cook while in the meantime you chop the paprika(s) and chinese cabbage in pieces of a size you like. Taste it and add pepper, salt, more lemon or lime juice, Sriracha and/o fish sauce to your taste then chug in the chopped up veggies. Let it cook! Then when all this cooks throw in the glass noodles and let them simmer until soft. Serve in bowls.

I don’t like washing up much and to use a ton of utensils to cook and if I can optimise a dish to just choose one wok, pan or pot then I will do just that.

Next up my current favourite:

Fake Spinach Soup

Ingredients: Butter or ghee, 1 head of broccoli, 3 spoons of mayo/creme fresh/miracle whip, 3 spoons of yellow mustard, water, salt, pepper, chicken soup powder/MSG/vegetable broth powder

Have a go at it: Put a pot on the stove and butter or ghee in and heat it up. While this heats up, put the broccoli head (washed of course) in a blender (with everything but unsightly/inedible parts) and blend with water until it is a bright green mush. Then pour this in the pot and lower the heat. Add the mayo/creme fresh/miracle whip and yellow mustard and seasons with salt, pepper and enhancer of choice. Let it cook and serve in a deep dish.

Breakfast during winter time is the following:

Oats with Power

Ingredients: Oats or any sort of non-sweet muesli (no raisins! raisins go home!), chocolate protein powder, a bit of honey, cinnamon, turmeric, a spoon full of coconut oil, water

Have a go at it: Take a big cup/mug and pour two (protein powder) scoops of oats in the mug, then add coconut oil and fill with water until 75% full – put that in the microwave and nuke it for 2 minutes, then add the spice, optional honey and cinnamon and turmeric, stir and dig in.

Something for dinner if you are just in the mood for some meat and you got some lying around:

Bonus Meat

Ingredients: Meat (good pieces of pork or chicken breast, cheap beef – no bones!), balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and a hot sauce of your choice, salt and pepper

Have a go at it: Put butter or ghee in a pan and heat that up. Cut up your meat into cubes and separate fat parts and lean parts (if applicable). Chug the meat in the pan, fat parts first and let them sizzle until they become crispy, bleed most of the fat out or become more palatable (think pork rind parts here) and then the rest of the meat. Let it brown a little then pour some balsamic vinegar on it and soy sauce and push it around the pan, also some hot sauce for a kick. When almost ready (you will know) sprinkle some good salt and pepper onto it and add to whatever you eat or indulge in your meat cubes just by themselves.

With the heat and trying to stay up for gaming a bit longer I found salad is an optimal energy spender for dinner where I can eat until full. Here is the current variation that gets a lot of love:

Ugly Crunchy Salad

Ingredients: White radish (maybe one third), 1 cucumber, 1 or 2 paprika, chinese cabbage, olive oil, 1-2 spoons yellow mustard, 1-2 spoons pesto, balsamic vinegar, some dashes of hot sauce, soy sauce, something acidic (I am going for this vinegar mix or any kind of funky vinegar will do)

Have a go at it: Chop everything into cubes, smallish pieces and when you are lucky like me you have this pot with a lid in the rice cooker that is a perfect salad shaker, then put all the stuff in there, add the sauces, pesto and mustard, maybe add some other spices that you feel like (I do pepper and cumin at the moment) and then put the lid on and shake until everything has a bit of sauce on it and around it. Then eat out of that bowl/pot!

As you can tell I don’t spend too much time or utensils while ‘cooking’ and like it easy and fast. Almost everything can be substituted for something that has the same consistency or the idea could apply too to. So have a go and become a rebel cook. Have I mentioned that all these recipes are insanely packed with nutrients and cheap?

Let’s end this with a little bit of a rundown of what I eat at the moment, apart from the mornings and nights. Shockingly when I was working in sales I have spend A LOT of money at lunch, being in the trendy area of Shanghai, hole in the wall restaurants were no options. So the cheapest lunch sets did set me back around 60 RMB. This was most of the time western food, like burgers, pizza, curries, sandwiches with soup and similar stuff.

Now having the office in a less developed and for my taste cooler area, I have Mala Tang maybe 2 or 3 times a week for around 25 RMB and Wontons in the summer I like them dry with the vinegar-peanut-soy-sauce on top (like in the third  picture of this blog post, but think more street and no garnish and no spicy sauce) in the winter in soup and on Friday’s I pig out on McDonalds or Burger King.

That’s it for my Punk Cooking!

Ohrwurm of the week 28/2017

Oceans Ate Alaska – Escapist

This week we are going a tad softer than last week. Polyrhythms and blast-beats do make a return but we have something fresh sprinkled in and some clean singing. Oceans Ate Alaska are a metal core outfit from Birmingham in the UK. Lots of fresh and awesome hard music coming from the UK these days.

For some reason these guys remind me of Arsonists Get All The Girls mixed with Born Of Osiris during The New Reign and the similarities will be most obvious if you listen to Abstract Art.

So I can’t say too much about this band as I haven|t heard a lot of songs nor a full album yet, but if this song is any indication of their talent and style then I can tell you that I am going to eat that up like Nachos with Cheese Dip and I love that, as it is my favourite junk food.

Again this is way more palatable than last weeks Deathcore, so even with sensitive ears give this one a shot and enjoy one of the best outros of a song I have heard in a while. The video is interesting and artistic enough too.


A lifehack and how gaming influences (my) life

The internet giant Tencent in China just recently started to restrict gaming for people under 18 for their flagship game and possibly the biggest mobile sensation ever. Sounds crazy – might actually help a bit.

Semi related, I came across this super interesting article. This piece of writing touches a lot subjects: basic income, unemployment, the technogolical revolution whose advantages make  ‘work’ for some people possibly (or very likely) obsolete, as well as the fact that video games increase happiness. Yes!

And while I do not game to have a sense of purpose or ‘to work’, this struck a bit of a chord, even though for me it is more escapism and relaxation. Personally I never, not even once regret playing.

Before we jump into more of this almost philosophical matter – here is a practical tip, and I will circle back to why I give this tip later on.

I have the same 24 hours that everyone else on earth has in their day. Every now and then someone is amazed by the amount of gaming/work/writing/reading/things I do during my day. And while I can’t say it would work for everyone, it certainly seems to do the trick for me. I am a fan of routines and most importantly I always try to optimize the flow of information that comes at me and rigorously minimize whatever doesn’t interest me, doesn’t affect me or most importantly doesn’t make me happy.

Obviously there are things on a daily basis that are not super enjoyable or have to be done, so do them and do them to the best of your ability, these things are going to save you some time and brain- or willpower (which apparantly is limited).

So I don’t watch TV for example – it’s a waste of time. If you put me in front of a working TV however and I have time I will watch stuff possibly until the end of time. I watch TV shows I enjoy and movies however and pick music videos I like. I also have no interest whatsoever in Football (of the Soccer variety) in watching/following/playing it (and for a lot of other sports too, unless it is a friend playing and needs me cheering or to be there). So I just blend that out – completely. When someone talks about that, I do let them talk and declutter my head. I don’t go to clubs – it’s not for me, I don’t need to pretend to have fun there, I can just not go.

Now for the helpful tip. As I am also not consuming or reading any ‘news’ (honestly, the real ‘important’ stuff someone will tell me eventually and I do watch some satirical news though: John Oliver and for the German speakers a shout out to Extra 3 and Quer) I decluttered where I am getting stuff to read that interests me to a great degree and here is how:

Mainly this stupidly nifty program/app/genius called Pocket. On the back of this program ideas for blog posts develope and I do a lot of learning, entertainment and research with this. Pocket works on pretty much every device and in pretty much every browser. I read something I like – boom! saved to Pocket. I get a idea from an article – boom! saved to Pocket. I want to reference something later or read an article again? – boom! Saved to Pocket. I need something funny, interesting to read on the porcelain throne? – boom! Open Pocket! It’s clean, it saves me time and willpower is almost always available and almost anywhere. I can’t imagine the internet without it. The cherry on top is, that there is exclusively stuff that I am interested in, because I pick that.

Something similar I do employ for books with BookBub (I read on the Kindle mainly) coupled with goodreads, Amazon and friend’s recommendations.

Pick and choose and drop the rest. Get it out of your head. Declutter and say goodbye once you are done but enjoy the moment and keep track and improve. Anyway, you probably get what I mean.

As a kid playing games on a console on the PC happened pretty late. Maybe from age 12 onwards or so. After getting a SNES for Christmas (and boy, oh boy does the SNES Classic tempt me and it also comes in the clearly superior European design, but it’s not necessary as I do have a raspberry pi) my dad would always try to get me out of the house after like 1 to 2 hours of playtime. So I tried to optimize my time in front of the screen with getting up early, making breakfast fo the parental generation and turning the coffee machine on, to wrap myself in a blanket after getting dressed and play until they wake up and after breakfast (and after I cleaned the breakfast table) until lunch to then head out to play in the woods or meet up with friends for activities like playing hide and seek, building forts in the woods, Magic the Gathering or playing with He-Man or Smurf figurines (this depended on the male to female ratio).

So early on, I got imprinted that video games are a reward and that I need to get shit done. This stuck with me to this day and will hopefully stay this way. I do all my shit (cleaning, eating, cooking, sort through emails/communication and blogging you name it) then sit down and with my mind at ease to enjoy the gaming time to the fullest extent. TV shows or podcasts depending on their importance/requirements of attention can be used as background or side activity while getting shit done.

I love my Xbox One S! I am amazed by the graphics, the huge catalog of games available and the ease of use and even enjoy multiplayer/online games now. It’s something I have never experienced before, apart from LAN-parties featuring Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament. It’s amazing and a fairly cheap hobby, taken the enjoynment and time spent with the system into account.

Maybe it is the music, that I gave a bit more space in my life and more of a blast on the bicycle or maybe other factors too, but playing games pretty intensively again – has changed me. For the better. I am more creative, I relax better, I dream better and there is always something to look forward to or a world to immerse myself in, if the day was rough. For that reason I shun ‘realistic’ shooters set in World War One or Two. I like some twist or double-jump on the real world.

With that being said, I will never be a hardcore gamer nor am I aspiring to be one. I don’t care if I don’t finish a game 100% or with all achievements – it’s not work. Nor would I try to compete properly in Titanfall 2 or Destiny (I started to play this weekend and it is the right time for me, the game is cheaper, fully balanced with add-ons and I can just have fun without pressure).

During the time I had no console here in Shanghai, I sometimes played with a friend on his cracked Xbox 360 to finish all sorts of co-op games, then my girlfriend’s brother gave us his Playstation 3 for a couple of weeks I just bashed through games for the story and to finish them and see what I might have missed.

Getting the Xbox One S I was so amazed and wanted to take everything in and slowly and I didn’t progress in a lot of games at first. I wanted to experience all the little corners and secrets in games and just everything and it was overwhelming. Now I am more used to everything and not that overwhelmed anymore and gaming is super natural again. It’s a fantastic hobby.

Now after typing this out, after work, after having bought groceries, made a salad and eating it while listening to H3H3 and a cat documentary I am off to pet the cat and game a little. I love being productive 😉

Ohrwurm of the week 27/2017

Thy Art Is Murder – They Will Know Another

So here we go with something heavy. This is what I would call the Extreme Metal Version of We Are The World. Hear me out on this. To me this spreads a similar message. We gotta do something together and stop this and while certainly all these stars back in 1985 including Bruce Springsteen (with my favourite part in the song) pleasure your ears with a message of peace, some people could need the state of the world screamed at them paired with not so easy digestible pictures to move a bit.

The band I discovered in 2012 with their masterpiece ‘Hate‘ that the Australian’s threw out into the world and gave Deathcore a fresh heaviness and more Deathmetal while not forgetting the message Hardcore bands used to carry for the most part. That goes more for the albums and the EP this song is from and that followed ‘Hate’.

See if you like it, it is certainly extreme in every way possible, but it is also a beautiful song with great technicality and musicianship and again a message worth lending an ear to. Maybe it will blast a way through said ears and open your eyes a bit more to the horrors of the world. Sometimes there is need for that.


At almost 33 I am realising I might be an introvert…

… I might be crazy or just getting older, but hear me out.

So I head a little  of a  find myself time in Thailand recently. Nah, jokes! It was a stag do and good fun with a couple of friends and there is a new energy inside me since then. I think my sleep schedule changed for the better, so I have had 3 days of getting to bed at 1am and getting up at 7:15am, so it’s a little less sleep but I feel fantastic and have one hour more of gaming or reading a book. Again maybe I am just getting old and can make do with less sleep.

Speaking of reading, I am currently reading ‘The Suitcase Entrepreneur‘ and it is a very interesting and fast read. Almost done now. I have learned a lot and will put some of it in practise. However one of the core draws of the lifestyle promoted in that book is the endless moving around and adventuring or flexibility thereof. I don’t like that. I like being in places and exploring them and stuff around it that I like and learn about things that interest me and those can be plentiful and are definitely different to Lonely Planet locations or their readers mindsets. Maybe it is the German in me or maybe I am too old for this. Haha!

Again, nothing against all this. I also don’t like ‘normal’, but I really want to be in a place and make it my place. I can’t be in multiple places at once. I don’t like standing desks either or living out of a suitcase, but having meaningful stuff and less stuff than others appeals to me to a great degree. Speaking of entrepreneurs, at some point, I have been one but way to young for that at age 20 for 2 years in sales. I have learned a plethora of things and I would do the same thing again, but it also drained me to no end and made me change my life almost completely on a path of endless learning and eventually moving to China.

At that time and way later and again about 4 years ago after again being in sales but then slowly transferring in more of training roles and administrative customer relationship management tools I was more comfortable but still in those sales time I did these personality test, you know them, if not, check it out, this one (16 personalities) is fast and fairly accurate and interesting. Guess what I was: The Entrepreneur aka ESTP and that is still close enough for me.

But, and this is kind of a big but, I feel drained after meeting with people. Especially drained if they are in close proximity to me (physically and geographically) or it is for example a kind of ‘forced’ networking event or something similar. In my time off, I like to read or think or watch stuff or game but in my comfort zone and most of the time on my terms and I can be super stubborn in that way. I need like a full day every week where I avoid meeting people at all. Then I feel re-energized and I did so after the Thailand trip. There is, of course a handful of people that understand me and I could have around 24/7 but that is the exception to the rule.

What made me write all this was something completely unrelated to psychology and this came up in the comment section of some article, that I can’t even remember but someone said something to the degree of: Introverts are ultimately drained by people, while extroverts get energy from being around others. Ultimately the are happy for long stretches by themselves.

Boom! I was thinking. This is happening, I need more time by myself and I feel better for it. Or maybe I am just old and have more responsibilities or more stuff to do on my own and time feels less efficiently spent with a group (or big group) of people. It’s not getting old though, as again, a handful of people seem to get me all the time and I want them around all the time or the time I feel like I need that. All babble, but I did that test again, with a slightly different result.

Knowing more about myself year by year, day by day, being in job that gives me the opportunity to grow and in a more relaxed state of mind and without much bending of my inner introvert at events or in sales (where I am actually great, but feel way more drained) – surprise – I am still a bit more of an extrovert it seems but it’s 50 something percent but now the result is: The Commander aka ENTJ

It’s one letter off and I am more judging than prospective. I judge people and I am a bit more of a planner/strategist and make quick assertive decisions as opposed to keeping a lot of options open. I rather life in a more confined environment and adapt quickly than endlessly waddling around and deciding on either and getting everyone’s option.

I was planning to go into a field like event planning or some sort of marketing role or PR with events and being there and approaching strangers and whatnot, but now, I think I will develop in a more interesting way (to me) without forced cold interactions that I at this time believed I enjoy but ultimately would stress me more than I would need.

To be fair, I feel the ENTJ result is a bit harsher to myself and I don’t like it as much as the ENTP, but I believe it reflects me more, my stubbornness and sometimes frustration with people. But I discovered I need these times alone and that sometimes I get drained around people.

Enough with my armchair psychologist self diagnosis. Try the test! It is fun and you might learn something about yourself or you might find a random article online and read the comments and you realise something new or old about you and you grow in your way.



Glass Hearts

Part of the plan that I made is to keep the Ohrwurms going and then write something from the heart mid-week’ish. What better way to start than to talk about something from the heart about hearts. A special kind of heart, a heart that is weak, a heart that rubs me the wrong way, because it’s cold – the glass heart.

I have written before that recently there is not really much that makes me angry or riles me up in a way to write a blog post about or constantly bothers me. There is something. Something that seems to have developed and grown over the last few years or so, it seems to me.

It’s the thin skin that a lot of people are walking around in. It’s the constant state of victimization that some people find themselves in. It’s the brittle glass heart that unfortunately doesn’t really pound, as this would show strength and life, no, it just makes a screeching sound whenever some resistance in life shows.

What I am trying to say is, that people seem too easily hurt, outraged and for the lack of a better phrase: are just weak.

I am not going to make this about China or me, just the state of the world that I am watching from my little window of existence. As I am typing this, on this H3H3 podcast they mention that SJWs (that is something that came into existence) find it ‘unethical’ to promote breastfeeding as it discriminates against woman that do not breastfeed. This is exactly what I am talking about!

This whole feeling that the world seems to be out to get you and the hubris that these people think the world revolves around them is absolutely baffling to me. The world doesn’t revolve around me or you. We are insignificant to the matters of the world for the most part. Try to be an example of how you would want to be treated and live by example. Somehow the outrage seems to be exemplified and somehow multiplies and changes the world recently. For the worse!

Currently I really dig the latest Body Count record, Body Count, a band that became ‘famous’ (in the mainstream) for the outrage over their song Cop Killer. In hindsight, even without having heard the song this sounds like a terrible message and without context it 100% is, but it is first and foremost just a song. You know who understood that? The kids at hardcore/metal/crossover concerts back then. In context it is about the completely unjust and horrible killing of a black kid where the prosecutors (they happen to have been cops) got away with it. But don’t listen to me giving my opinion on it, listen to the man that came up with the song.

Context matters. But it’s lost to glass hearted people. It’s sad to me and I am not even surprised anymore. Living in an international city sometimes this might seem a bit amplified, even though one would think, given the many nationalities and cultures represented would allow for a bit more acceptance and tolerance, that this is not the case. Context flies out their window. Sometimes it feels to me that the glass hearts forget they live in a different country.

I am forever grateful and proud that I grew up with very liberal friends, with a scene (talking about Punk, Metal and Hardcore here) that is insanely tolerant, open and friendly (for the most part) and that I made it mantra of mine and got it tattooed under my (thickish) skin that reminds me to be the change I wish to see in the world. And maybe just maybe, listening to music where a style of singing is pretty much shouting, made me more accepting for someone getting loud, let’s say in an argument or in a sports game, but again, the context matters, maybe they and I get loud because it is about the game or for the arguments sake and this is fine. Not personal, I don’t think of you less and neither should you. I wear my heart on my sleeve and it doesn’t take a genius to understand when people do that. It never did, it takes some common sense, context and the knowledge that you and me are not the center of the world.

Sometimes it takes a beating heart, some strength and doing the right thing in leading by example. Less whining. Get rid of the glass hearts – you are human. People went through way tougher times than you or me or us (if you are not living in a war torn country, of course – but somehow I feel the need to mention that. Let’s stay and get strong/er instead of devolving into overly sensitive glass hearts.


Ohrwurm of the week 23/2017

With the recent plans I made, I am bringing something back. The weekly Ohrwurm (literally ear worm meaning a song that is stuck in your head). So I am trying to do this every Monday and this might give you an idea of what kind of music I am into and maybe there is an interesting video there or you discover your new favourite song and/or band.

I am going to write a couple of thins and something like a short review of the band and what I think about them coupled with some facts. So here we go:

Fire From The Gods – The Voiceless

I have discovered this band roughly a year ago. The band is a rap metal/crossover formation from Texas. They evoke the spirit of Twelve Tribes (that I saw live) and a bit the Mike Terry Bury Your Dead times.

Not going to joke, when I discovered the above video, I replayed the song 10 times and I got super emotional. The warmth in AJ Channer’s voice is really something different and in times where singing parts can get annoying and/or are over produced there comes this dude with power, soul in the singing parts and no doubt he can pull that off live too. The lyrics are system critical and to the point. If you do like The Voiceless, check out the slightly different End Transmission with an equally amazing refrain, but the video has a bit of an odd, slow start and reminds me of some late Born of Osiris videos (with a far greater video opening though).

So If you, like me miss some of the fantastic singing that Howard Jones (don’t get me wrong, I love Jesse Leach just as much) showed with Killswitch Engage, here is his equal and a band that I am sure will come out with a lot of great stuff.

How I almost got beaten up by gangsters

Boy oh boy this was a day!

When a day starts at 7:10 (AM that is, if you are not using the superior 24 hour system, because it confuses people) with a pick hammer and knocks on what feels like the wall that you sleep next to, then it is not easy to make that a great day, not to say that it is impossible.

So I jumped out of bed got dressed, put some cold water in my face, smiled in the mirror (I do that daily, I am weird), then swishing some oil, all over the span of maybe 1 minutes with hammering going on (and pick hammering). Then I found the source (not that I have not done that before). 3 floors down, 2 dudes renovating an apartment for like 1 month so far, doing the majority of their work at around 7 on random weekdays and most favourably weekends, where they start a bit later, at like 8.

I knocked the door. Not really. Like maybe 2 times before I smash the door with my hammer fist as hard as I can. It`s one of those (new) doors that look like solid metal, but they are actually tin can thin aluminium (I assume) and a thick layer of styrofoam inside, so I am sure this has a dent know. The two times before the door was not properly hinged in, so I was able to just scream away.

This time the door got opened by 2 workers that looked like they have been up all night, they looked less awake then I got from them starting their work day at 7 not having had their morning routine, but who am I to know, they might have swished baijiu and then swallowed it. Possible.

So out came my wrath with the force of 2 death metal singers and years of training on stage. It is by the way a misconception that Chinese cannot be loud or super angry, like some comedians seem to assume, at least that is what I remember from a Comedy Open Mic Night the week before on Monday.

Selected outtakes:


You can tell I am HSK 88!

To my surprise another neighbour from below comes up the stairs and backs me up. Pleasantly I nodded his way, did that arm motion, one does before flipping someone off, but without the middle finger and just the hand swinging up (try it, it looks pretty cool) and strolling up to the apartment.

Cue to the rest of my morning routine, which is having a glass of water, two Chlorella tablets, a vitamin C tablet and a fish oil capsule. While doing this the two construction workers loudly discussed what could possibly make the neighbour and the foreigner so upset. (if you want to know more about people always renovating around you in China read the top comment in this reddit thread and have your mind blown)

Now you wonder where the gangsters are. Those were not the ones, this is just how the day started.

My morning routine then goes on to watching a youtube episode (this morning this one, that is a bit too harsh with the movie, especially as the swearing is fitting, the this dude somehow has issues with) while the water boils for some coconut powder, honey and turmeric. This should last until either a podcast or the youtube episode is done. Off from the sofa it then is and on to some weird yoga, push up, squat and stretching routine I have designed and then get the cat to not scratch the mat too much and brushing the teeth, cold water in the face again and kiss the two girls goodbye (cat and girlfriend that is) and on to work it is.

Then it is time to get my bicycle out of the pile of trash (from the renovation remember, that conveniently stays of days where people park bikes and scooters) and scooters and other rusty bikes it got trapped in. Headphones on and along the river while shouting at some suicidal drivers (on average maybe 2). The route is scenic and if the sun is out and the sky is blue it is amazing, it most of the time is, the shouting is really just me helping these people to maybe get one shock (or mild surprise) so they learn to hopefully not kill themselves in traffic.

Work is in an odd building. It`s on the river and has 22 floors. Most of it seems empty or under construction, but there is a LensCrafters there and some sort of tax bureau. Also: gangsters. Not the tax bureau, but the gangsters still have to wait.

The building`s elevators and floors are labelled 1 to 15 and then 16, 16 and a random letter, 17 and a random letter and of course 18 then 18 O. We work in the top floor. This odd naming somehow originates in a law that existed before that allowed buildings in that are to not have  more than 18 floors. Clearly they outsmarted the system!

So, a couple of months back, these gangsters moved into one or two of the offices on our floor. They are tatted up, they have beer bellies, usually black shirts, massive gold chains, short hair and they smoke a lot. Office time for them is usually watching something on their phone for maybe 1 hour a day sitting at a massive oak table, alone, while the fourth of formerly five fish in their aquarium stays afloat belly up. I ran into them a couple of times in a day usually they are smoking at the urinal or on the toilet passing the no smoking sign on the way to the toilet.

Sometimes you catch an elevator with them, while maybe one of them smokes in there with you. Today I was about to head home waiting with my bicycle in front of the elevator door.

The elevator reaches the top floor and before I can push in, the best looking gangster (no belly, a black button down shirt, showing the yakuza style breast piece he has and the gold chain), typing/playing on his phone pushes my front wheel out of the way and gets into the elevator first. I acknowledge this with a look of disapproval and a shaking head movement. His gangster friends join us in the elevator and the door closes.

In Shanghainese they discuss what a hubris ridden asshole foreigner that is, too poor for a black Audi, I might be and how they could take me out. Maybe next time. I chat to my colleague. Then a stare down happens, I look the handsome gangster deep in the eyes not saying a thing. Hours pass, I feel like fighting that battle in Hero with Donnie Yen) actually it’s just seconds, I lose the battle, I look up and above the elevator buttons, there is not much to see there, so the back of my head hits the wall of the elevator.

The doors open and everyone leaves the elevator. The gangsters walk slowly. I overtake 3 of them. Outside the good looking gangster smokes, opening the door to his black Bentley that he conveniently parked in front of the stairs instead of the parking garage. I carry my bike through the small spot between said car and a black Audi to head home.

This is the story of me almost getting beaten up by gangsters…

I haven`t blogged in a good long time and I got a marvellous keyboard that I yesterday learned to type on properly and typed this article out. There is a plan for this blog and no plan is real before put into action and this is the firs step, so there is more to come, more structure and more articles. I thoroughly hope you enjoyed this piece. At least I feel a relieved and relaxed after typing this out and maybe next time I try to break the intense state and maybe make a joke or present some oddball humour to the situation instead of the mental fight I had. So here is a great video from the amazing Charisma on Command guy on the mesmerising Tony Robbins (who fascinated me with two great books and an interesting Netflix documentary). I leave you with that and hopefully not with depression: