Angekommen/Arrived

Das hat ja ein wenig gedauert. Doch wie versprochen hier Neuigkeiten von mir. Es sind etwa 5 Monate (fast 6) seit der Ankündigung der Pause vergangen. 5500 Kilometer Luftlinie wurden überwunden (was auch weiter die Distanz zu meiner Freundin für eine Weile bleiben wird, was aber durch moderne Technik erleichtert wird). 7 Jahre Lebensmittelpunkt China wurden auf Lebensmittelpunkt Erzgebirge umgestellt. Fahrbare Untersätze wurden versorgt (Fahrrad und Auto), eine Wohnung sowie der Großteil des Inhaltes einer solchen wurden angeschafft. Arbeit wurde begonnen und der Garten lebt und arbeitet ebenso.

Noch habe ich zum Schreiben keinen neuen Rhythmus gefunden, das ist aber bestimmt ähnlich wie mit meinem Verdauungssystem, denn da hat es auch ein wenig gedauert, bis alles wieder super läuft.

Eigentlich sollte dieser Artikel auch schon seit 4 Wochen hier online stehen, jedoch ist eines der Plugins beim updaten ausgerastet und hat mir und allen Lesern den Zugang verwehrt, das musste erstmal wieder gebaut werden und der damit einhergehende Spam gemanaged werden.

Als allererstes möchte ich mich bedanken. Es ist beeindruckend wie ich wieder von Freunden, Bekannten und Familie aufgenommen wurde. Ich bin zutiefst dankbar für jedes Lächeln, jede helfende Hand (meist handwerklich ;-)) und jedes wirklich interessierte Gespräch. Ich kann jedem nur wünschen eine solche Menschenschaar wie ich sie habe um sich herum zu haben. Es ist auch wirklich toll eine, ich muss es einfach mal neudeutsch sagen, Community hier zu haben. Zum Beispiel setzen wir uns in Rittersgrün für den Erhalt des dortigen Freibades ein (mit Arbeitseinsätzen etc.), auch weitergehend unterstütze ich die Region und Menschen hier gerne. Es erinnert mich auch immer ein wenig an die Diskussion die Joe Rogan und Sebastian Junger hatten über Gemeinschaft, Zusammenhalt und ‘Tribes’ (hier auch einmal als Buch von Sebastian Junger, da der Podcast schon erweiterte Englischkenntnisse braucht, habe aber keine Ahnung ob das Buch so interessant ist wie die Diskussion, habe es selbst nicht gelesen). Auf jeden Fall scheint es ein Grundbedürfnis zu sein als Mensch sich in einer Gemeinschaft und Gruppe einzubringen und gegenseitig zu helfen und die Anonymität zum Beispiel einer Großstadt eher unseren Instinkten widerspricht.

Es sind kleine Dinge die mich noch immer jeden Tag beeindrucken, so zum Beispiel dass aus meinem Wasserhahn innerhalb von Sekunden fast kochend heißes Wasser mit Druck kommt, ebenso dass ich dieses Wasser trinken kann. Ein super schnelles und freies Internet. Freundliche kurze Unterhaltungen über den Gartenzaun oder auch sonst überall, ohne das mich jemand fremdes als spätestens zweite Frage fragt wie viel ich doch verdiene. Auch Auto fahren ist mir wieder enorm an’s Herz gewachsen, vermisst habe ich es nicht, aber nun, da ich wieder fahre, genieße ich es in vollen Zügen. Dann natürlich noch das Grün und die Natur. Nicht nur mit den eigenen Sinnen wird mir täglich klar warum ich hier wieder und gerne bin, nein, auch online sind Aktionen und Internetseiten eine Bestätigung hier richtig zu sein. Checkt doch mal das Wirtschaft im Erzgebirge Portal oder Glücklich im Erzgebirge. Alles toll!

Außerdem habe ich wahrscheinlich eines der schönsten Wochenenden meines Lebens hinter mir. Gerne beschreibe ich das mal im Detail:

Das Wochenende wurde kurz nach der Arbeit eingeläutet. Dann kurz in meinen Garten:

wo sich viele Bohnen, Kohlrabi, Kartoffeln, Lavendel, Erdbeeren und auch einige nicht essbare Pflanzen zu Hause fühlen, wie auch ich. Dann ging es mit meinem Kumpel in seine Singstunde in der erzgebirgische Mundartlieder bei Bier gesungen werden, finde ich klasse, träller ich dann auch kurz mit. Dann eine kleine Wanderung an den Waldrand und ein Bierchen und Gespräche die bis zum Sonnenuntergang, der im Moment übrigens ziemlich spät kommt, dann nach Hause und ein Gläschen Wein während ich bei ein paar Folgen ‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us!‘ den Tag ausklingen lassen. Fool Us ist genial, es ist quasi ein ‘Deutschland sucht den Superstar’ Equivalent für Zauberer und Zuschauer mit mehr Niveau. Vielleicht ist es auch was für Kinder, ich jedenfalls fühle mich immer wie ein Kind bei der Sendung, weil einige Sachen mich wirklich aus den Socken hauen, es ist einfach eine Art Urinstinkt wenn die Sinne veralbert werden. 

Samstag morgen startete dann mit Frühstück (fällt unter der Woche aus wegen intermittierendem Fasten) mit Kaffee, getoastetem Brot und Käse in allerhand Varianten, da mein Käsehunger/-appetit/-mangel noch immer auf Stufe 11 ist seit dem Verzicht (zum größten Teil) in China. Beim Frühstück lief dann Luke Cage Staffel 2 (finde ich besser als die erste Staffel) und dann ging es in den Garten. Dort zuerst ein Bier und ein von meinem Kumpel geliehenes Marvel Comic (Punisher Blutspur, nachdem ich Planet Hulk und Hawkeye Mein Leben als Waffe – übrigens sehr zu empfehlen – eines der besten Marvel Comics überhaupt, bin sonst eher der DC Leser und Fan) gelesen. Dann entschied ich mich die Hecke zu kürzen – ein etwa 2 Meter hohe Lebensbaumhecke die ich etwa um die Hälfte kürzen wollte. Gesagt getan und kein elektrisches Hilfswerk am Start also mit einer Gartenschere los. 3 Stunden später war die Hecke um die Hälfte gekürzt und hässlicher als zuvor weil das Holzwerk im Inneren hervorschaute. Ich fühlte mich erfüllt und sah die Früchte meiner Arbeit. Danach hieß es kurz unter das Wasser und dann auf das Fahrrad in Richtung Rittersgrün und das Freibad um dessen Erhalt ich und viele andere Badebegeisterte kämpfen. Nach einer Stunde und 500 Höhenmeter sowie 16 Kilometer fand ich mich dort um den Bademeister das Bad verlassen zu sehen. Also ab zu meinem Kumpel und dort in seinem Vorgarten ein Feuer in der Tonne gezündet und mit einigen Bier wird der Abend eingeleitet. Mehr und mehr Freunde finden sich um die Tonne (quasi New York Style) ein, dann wird eine Pizza bestellt und Obstler macht zusätzlich zu dem Bier die Runde. Lokalpolitik und Umstände im Ort werden bis spät in die Nacht diskutiert. Dann geht es ab in’s Bett (bei meinem Kumpel), ein anderer Freund gesellt sich später zu mir im Schlafgemach und wir ringen 3 Uhr 30 für eine Stunde bevor wir erschöpft einschlafen. Dann am nächsten Tag wachen wir zu Anbruch des Mittags auf und fangen an zu kochen. 3 Jungs mit anderthalb Kilo Fleisch und Pommes aus Süßkartoffeln und Kartoffeln und Zwiebeln mit frischem grünem Apfel und ein Bier dazu. Nach diesem grandiosem Essen ging es dann in das Freibad und mit mehr Bier und weiteren Ringeinlagen sowie viel Spaß und Volksmusik und anderem Gelächter nahm der Tag seinen Lauf. Danach machte ich mich auf den Nachhauseweg, nun muss man wissen dass im Freibad der Internet und Handyempfang eher dürftig sind, aus diesem Grund zeigt mein Handy in der Mitte des Dorfes an, dass meine Schwester und ihr Ehemann mich versucht haben anzurufen, so rufe ich zurück. In Raschau stellt sicher heraus, dass mein Schwester und Familie mich besuche wollten in meinem Garten, sich dann zu dem Zeitpunkt in dem gleichem Ort befanden und in einem spanischem Restaurant den Tag ausklingen ließen, ich schloss mich spontan an. Mit tollen Gesprächen ging es weiter und dann machte ich mich von dort weiter auf den Weg nach Hause, doch kurz vor meinem Ziel hielt ich noch bei einem Kumpel im Ort an, dort wurde gerade zu Abend gegessen und ich wurde eingeladen und mit Bier, Essen und Gesprächen ging der Abend weiter. Nach diesem Abstecher die 400m nach Hause und geduscht, rasiert und  mehr Netflix bis auf dem Sofa eingeschlafen wurde, ist dann das Wochenende und eines der schönsten Wochenenden meines Lebens vorbeigegangen.


Now let’s do this article in English, which may or may not show that language influences your experiences in life but definitely shows how limited/different ones expression in written form is.

So this has taken quiet a while. As promised here are the news from me. It’s been about 5 months (almost six) since I wrote that I am going to take a break. 5500km in distance have been covered and are being covered daily to keep in contact with my girlfriend (which is made possible by technology). 7 years of home base China have been changed back to home base Erzgebirge (it’s the most awesome low mountain range in Germany). Vehicles had to be bought or maintained (a bicycle doesn’t look too great standing around for 7 years) , a flat hat to be rented and furniture and whatever makes it liveable had to be organised. A place to work had to be organised and started and my garden is living and breathing like I am.

I don’t seem to have a rhythm for writing on here yet. This might be similar to my digestive system that had to adapt as well and got used to the more nutrient dense diet here.

This article should have been up like 4 weeks ago, but the plugins ran amok and I was unable to log in and write or read as well as all my readers. Of course this had to be fixed and the income of spam had to be managed, which wasn’t too much fun, but an exercise in site maintenance.

First of all I’d like to express my thanks. It’s simply overwhelming how friends, acquaintances and family invited me back into their lives. I’m so grateful for every smile, every helping hand (most of the time handymen work ;-)) and every truly interesting discussion. I can only wish for everyone to have such an amazing bunch of humans around or say to have a close-knit community like this. For example we have this pet project at the moment where a couple (maybe 100 people or so) voluntarily work to keep our local swimming pool up and running and save it from being closed. It’s in Rittersgrün (here the wiki in German with pictures, maybe I should translate that one too) also known as the greatest village on earth. This community reminds me strongly of the stories mentioned in the Joe Rogan podcast with Sebastian Junger here. So it seems to be a basic need for us humans to have a community or group (or ‘tribe’ to use the name of the Sebastian Junger book) and help each other out instead of disappearing and growing cold in the anonymity of a big city which contradicts our instincts.

It’s the little things that impress me on a daily basis, for instance that the water from the faucet is drinkable and comes out with decent pressure and is scolding hot in seconds. A super fast and free internet (even though with pop-ups informing me about the usage of cookies on every page). Friendly short conversations in passing or across the garden fence and it hasn’t happened yet that a stranger asked what I make as the second question in the first conversation with a person ever. Driving in a car is something I haven’t missed at all but I have grown to love it again. And it goes without saying that I enjoy the outdoors, the greenery and nature here. Not only do I perceive this with my own senses, there is also a portal and websites that promote this very region which in turn confirms that I made the right choice to be back here. Here is the economic portal of the region and a site called happy in Erzgebirge. All great!

Furthermore I might have had one of the most beautiful weekends of my life. Let’s describe that in a bit more detail:

The weekend started shortly after work in my garden (for the picture you can scroll up, if the lush greenery there has been ignored for some reason). In my garden grow beans, kohlrabi, potatoes, lavender, strawberries and also some non edible plants and found a home and place to rest like I did. After that relaxing visit I joined ma friend in his local singing club and because I find that awesome I joined in for song or two. They mostly sing traditional folk songs and songs in the local dialect. Shortly after we walked to the edge of the woods and had some beer, some interesting discussions and watched the sun go down, which happened pretty late and was impressive. Heading home I decided to open a bottle of wine and indulge in some episodes of ‘Penn & Teller: Fool Us!‘. Fool Us is genius and basically ‘The Voice’ for magicians and made for viewers a tad more sophisticated. Maybe it’s for children, but it definitely makes me feel like a child, because there are things that just baffle and surprise me which might be some sort of basic instinct when senses are fooled in this way.

Saturday morning started with breakfast (that’s not happening during the week because of intermittent fasting) with coffee, toasted bread and cheese of different variants, since my cheese cravings are still turned up to eleven after the lack or fast of it (most of the time) in China. During the breakfast throughly entertained by Luke Cage season 2 (I find it much better than season 1) and after that a trip to my garden. There a beer was opened and a comic that a friend gave me (Punisher Circle of Blood after I had already finished Planet Hulk and Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon – which I can highly recommend, maybe one of the best Marvel comics I read, as I am more of a DC reader and fan). Then I decided to shorten the hedge a bit, it was a 2 meter high thuja-hedge, I decided to half it. So with no power tools I started to go to town with a set of garden shears. 3 hours later the hedge was half as short and ugly with a lot of space and wood poking out in the middle. I felt accomplished and had a good look at what I have done. So I jumped under the shower and headed via bicycle to Rittersgrün and the swimming pool there that we are trying to save. 1 hour and 500 meters altitude and 26 kilometres more I found myself there with the lifeguard leaving the place. Bummer! So I rode up to my friends house and New York style we stood around a burn barrel, talked, had beers, some schnaps and ordered a pizza. Local politics and things going on in the hood were discussed until late at night. As it was time for bed (at my friends place) another friend joins me there and for some reason we wrestle at 3.30am until we fall asleep exhausted. The next day the three of us at the break of noon start to cook. 3 dudes with 1.5 kilos of meat, sweet potatoes and potatoes cut to fries, onions with a bit of green apple and a beer for everyone. It was magical! After that we headed to the swimming pool where more beers and some more wrestling took place with a lot of fun, folk music and laughs the time flew by. So I made my way back home and because of the lack of mobile phone coverage in the swimming pool mid-village I see that my sister and her husband have tried calling me, so I call them back. My sister answers and explains they wanted to visit me and see my garden, but haven’t reached me so they are in a Spanish restaurant 2 villages away and I was just riding through said village. So I joined them there and we had a great time. Now back to my flat I stop by my friend that lives 400 meters away and I catch them eating dinner and we drink beer, talk, laugh and eat a couple of hours away. Back in the flat I shower, shave and fall asleep watching Netflix having had one of the most beautiful weekends of my life.

 

 

 

 

I’m taking a break a.k.a. The Countdown

It’s going to be less than 1 week before I head back to Germany. For good. For a long while at least and I am going to make this my base of operations.

I have mentioned this before, that yes, when you are living abroad, you learn more about your country, people and culture. I also got older in China and possibly had the biggest changes or growth here in terms of who I am.

I am a different person now. I am in a stable relationship, I know what I like and dislike with a fair amount of certainty and I don’t have to pretend or grow into something that I think I like or try to be someone else. This sounds really evolutional and unique and I know it is not, it’s just growing up.

Speaking of this I want to lead this with this fantastic song by Hundreth:

The song is ‘Youth’ and has a The Smiths, The Cure vibe to it and is a pretty big step from their former music. I know it’s a dark song and it can be quiet depressing but it’s really not. Allow that feeling and dive in and enjoy then move on. Sometimes Katatonia or rage filled Deathcore songs can recover you quickly from whatever you don’t want to feel, if you allow it.

Actually the older Hundredth song (Weathered Town) I have linked says in a few words that some up how I feel right now, scream it with me and them:

I’ve gotta get out of here, but the memories I’ll take with me. everywhere I go, to everyone I know. These memories will stay with me. To escape this weathered town and what this place is all about.

For days I have started to write this article, then deleted it, then left bits and pieces of it and rewrote and started anew and repeated this so many times. I just want to share my excitement and contempt with the situation and decision.

When I was in the military (mandatory military service, that wasn’t super mandatory anymore) in Germany at age 19/20, I thought it was cool to crawl through mud, shoot guns, do obstacle courses and maybe learn something about being orderly/clean/put together (nothing of this was how I imagined), I learned instead how much I despise arbitrary rules and power imbalances that clearly shouldn’t tilt a certain way the way they did. I also learned that negative motivation does not work on me, nor does group punishment and the group pressure/guilt resulting from that. I did crawl through mud, I did shoot guns and jumped over obstacles like someone stealing golden rims and I have been clean and orderly enough before this ordeal. Don’t know why I did that to myself? Laser tag or paintball is more fun, but with that being said, it has been an experience that I wouldn’t have missed and I met friends for life and learned how that institution works. It was super interesting.

So I came back to China in 2011 and thought it was cool to proof myself wrong, because when coming back after 1 year in China during my studies I sold myself the idea of having seen everything I wanted to see and had a great experience but would enjoy Germany after this and possibly not return for a while. I did that, I did proof myself wrong and stayed for 6 years and a bit and now I have seen a lot of things and learned more than I could have imagined.

Most importantly I learned to be totally okay with being German, totally okay with being from Saxony, being able to speak an accent from there. Having a an opinion on almost everything and knowing a lot but also nothing in comparison to some super stars in other categories.

There is a lot to learn about oneself and sometimes you have to dig through your onion layers and sometimes they just show with age, if one makes an effort.

I finished Jordan Peterson’s book and it is nothing short of amazing, possibly the most powerful book since a long, long time and it’s smart, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes it is monstrous and dark, but always interesting, educational and I really find it to be life changing in the best possible way. And right after I devoured another fiction book. I am on a roll!

Serious stuff aside, I discovered the funniest person EVER I have seen playing VR video games, Maxmoefoe that Australian legend is definitely the first Youtuber that had me in stitches and watching hours of someone playing video games (I have never gotten the appeal before). His accent, mannerisms, personality and high energy is a blast! Come on watch this and try not to laugh. I have played that game for 2 minutes with friends in the room and had fun but I have had more watching him do this.

Serious stuff back on: I’m planning to bring new habits back home, I will try to keep doing intermittent fasting (doing 16 hours at the moment during the 4-5 days), I will try to keep drinking alcohol to the same amount I am currently drinking (not drinking alcohol for 4-5 days and then not really limiting myself on the weekend or special occasions but just keeping an eye on it and how I feel after), I will try to keep on reading currently at least 30 minutes (more like an hour) before sleeping and some in the morning. Working out of course, once I am able to bike, run and jump and fight again and many more habits. The scale is also a better friend to me now with kilos being shredded off and more exercise the more the recovery allows.

Everything finishes up beautifully. I found a fantastic tattoo artist about 5 years ago and good friend that gave me great memories and just yesterday finished up a sleeve that combines different ideas I hold dear and a picture of a place where I am from into something I will always have with me. His tattoo studio is called Yiling Long Tattoo and you can find it if you happen to be in Shanghai and Zhabei here, drop by, he is great and currently working on his English: 1691 Gonghexin Rd, Zhabei (now JingAn, but only in papers not my heart), Shanghai, China.

Shanghai has felt a lot like getting a tattoo. It’s great in the beginning and super exciting and you might be a bit disorientated coming here which compares to the phase before the adrenaline kicks in, then it becomes just fantastic. Once the adrenaline output becomes naturally lower, the pain increases and then you have to take a break. In China that comes in handy with Visa runs or trips outside the country to relax and take a break from the rush. You take that break and smoke a cigarette or have a lollipop or whatever is your tattoo break thing. After that you sit back down or you are back in Shanghai and your pain tolerance just has slightly decreased, it’s not that long until your next break. After 4 hours of being tatted everything just hurts and you can decide to stick that out and push through the pain and get everything done, but you really shouldn’t (I did that a lot 6 hours, last time 8). You need breaks, maybe stop, you will eventually come back like a lot of people that get a second or third tattoo or so, similar with Shanghai where you might or might not come back and eventually you will stop before you are covered from head to toe. The length of the time I was 100% content living in China became shorter and shorter and the amount of breaks to keep me sane without high blood pressure needed became more and more and in October last year the decision cooked up to stop and leave and move on and now is the time. I hope this analogy makes sense. Personally I am proud of having cooked that up!

Anyway, I will have to take a break, because packing still has to be done, the bike still needs to be sold, some things have to be wrapped up, errands have to be run, beers to be had with friends that come over from different countries (thank you guys it means A LOT!) for a last beer walk, food has to be eaten, Black Panther to be watched and a whole lot more when I am back in Germany next week and please understand that I will start blogging again once I have place, a job, running internet and settled in a little bit.

I love you all for reading this and stuff from or about me and hope it gives you as much joy as it does to me or even a bit, as I am not sure about your tolerance.

Conquer

…says the poster of Arnold Schwarzenegger right above our bed here in Shanghai.

CONQUER: successfully overcome (a problem or weakness).

It’s just one word and unlike many German words doesn’t explain in length of the word or through diving down into the heritage of the word or composition of different parts to what that entails. I love that poster. It’s Arnold in it’s prime, arms stretched out, a smile on his face, slightly blurry masses of people in the back and big bold letters spelling conquer.

Successfully overcoming a weakness or a problem is vital to our lives, to survival, to grow as a person. There is a power in that word and that can transcend and did unfortunately so in a militant way throughout human history, but that shall not be what this article is about.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is incredibly smart, reached a physiology that few could ever achieve (yes, there was steroids involved, I am aware) and even before and after his Mr. Olympia titles this man has achieved and conquered like few others.

I am not one for idols but apart from Jackie Chan (the man that brought me to China), Arnold might still be or is one of my role models in more than one way.

To grow as a person and to develop further one needs a fire burning inside and that means more often than not to overcome your own weaknesses and solve problems. To be uncomfortable from time to time and stretch that comfort zone little by little. It means to stand on your own two feet, to stand up for yourself and others, as tall as you are and with all the pride and power within you to move forward.

Reading Jordan Peterson’s. book and listening to the podcast I will end this article with, the Jordan Peterson ‘Clean Your Room’ movement came to my mind again and Arnold also says he concentrates on one thing at a time and move forward.

Sometimes it is the small things you can tackle, you can overcome and conquer (it doesn’t have to be big, the definition doesn’t say conquer is overcoming a big problem or weakness after all). I really love my freedom and doing things my way or even just having the option to do so (because it doesn’t mean I want to have things my way but having the option is great). At the moment I am proud to have conquered my alcohol intake with having a whole month off of all sorts of alcohol and to have conquered and reset my food intake as well. At the moment I am eating in a roughly 7 hour window 6 days of the week and eat once or maybe twice (I do have caloric drinks in that time too, like Golden Milk, Walnut Powder Drink and Tea or Coffee with Coconut Oil). It’s fascinating to learn on how little food one can function and feel just as great.

What I want to say is, you have to conquer, yourself, your fears and take charge of your life or others will do that for you,

Here is Arnold in a fantastic interview with Tim Ferris on a lot of interesting topics. You might be surprised how great of a person he is:

Walking

Yesterday has been the first day since the surgery I walked a substantial amount (with a leg brace on and another 2 weeks of this thing).

And while walking, I realised that I have to write about how much I love to walk. It’s my favourite physical activity. It heals the soul and is good for you (maybe not at all times in Chine and/or Shanghai with air quality being horrid but even then preferable to being sedentary).

As a kid I hated walking. I vividly remember one birthday (I must have been around 12 or turned 13 or so) when my family decided to tae us kids to a lake and stay in a camper/bungalow for a week or two. It was great, there was nature, us kids quickly made friends, I had my He-Man figurines and there was a cinema right at the entrance of the park for cheap. So on my birthday my parents have the audacity to ‘walk’. Around the lake was the plan. On my birthday they decide we all should walk. This didn’t bode well with me and I threw a fit. What’s walking? Boring! Would have much rather watched another movie in the cinema or anything really BUT walking.

How the tides have changed.

I love, love, love walking. Going from a place to a place or to run an errand or to discover new parts of the city, the woods or whatever tickles my fancy. My love for walking goes so far that some of my friends are (most of the time playfully but sometimes really) annoyed with it.

I prefer walking to riding my bicycle, but the bicycle comes in handy too if bigger distances have to be covered.

Walking unhindered and in my usual above average speed (5 kilometres per hour seems to be average) is the thing I look most forward to and that I will enjoy whenever I feel like it. Just that 9 kilometres yesterday lifted my spirits tremendously and gave me sore calves today. I feel great and have to put to digital paper how much I like walking.

My brain is working so much better and my mind is clear. It is absolutely beneficial to have walks through nature, there is this fantastic New York Times article that goes a bit deeper than my positive ramble.

Now let me ramble a bit about the state of the world (completely anecdotal of course) when it comes to walking. I find it baffling how people here take the elevator to go one floor up or down. People call taxis and wait longer for the taxi and the trip included might be a bit faster than walking the whole way. To me, the process of calling a taxi and waiting for said taxi is definitely more annoying than walking 5 to 10 minutes longer. It’s also fantastic t walk a couple of kilometres home after a few alcoholic drinks too many.

Walking is great to explore a city or place. Walking is great for your body and mind. Humans have made evolutional trade-offs to be able to walk on two feet (we are more efficient than chimps that way) and we are therefore made to wal, for long distances or stretches of time with not too much energy expended. Again we are efficient walkers, so there is no real excuse to not use our legs more for walking.

Tim Ferris has a good morning routine, but I would argue, even though it is just a side-note in that article, that everyone has that hour a day one can use for walking. Add it up! Sometimes I get out a station or two earlier out the metro because I would have to interchange and find that less preferable than to walk and enjoy my feet on the ground and my thought to myself.

Anyway! I love walking and can’t wait to get back to the good amount of it I did before. Just hope you like walking too, because with me as a friend you will inevitably do more of it.

The best movie from my childhood

When I was 12 and a pre-puberty kid with a Beatles haircut I had sleep-overs at friend’s houses.

One friend lived far out the village (possibly 10 kilometres out there) right in the mountains and woods. So we used to recreate and shoot our own 80s movie renditions: there was a scene where an avalanche hit us and we generously came up with no budget effects. We also used to camp outside his house one time and got scared and woke up early at night as boars where around the tent which made us move back into the house.

Most excitedly this friend’s parents had the most massive collection of VHS tapes I have seen in my life (these are not around anymore as far as I know). I’m saying they had two massive drawers full of movie tapes that they recorded from TV. So this amounted to around 200 or so movies at least. Naturally, every weekend sleep-over or meet up with that friend became movie filled. Movies were only interrupted by us eating (here they had one of those sandwich makers that lead to my early childhood obesity), shooting our own movies, playing with Ninja Turtles or Mega Drive. I still have nightmares of the bike level in Battletoads.

We watched everything and ratings were largely ignored, though horror movies sometimes were questioned or not allowed to be watched by us until we hit 14 or so. One time we watched 3 almost three hour long war movies in a row, I believe it was Platoon, Full Metal Jacket and Apocalypse Now. I don’t remember the order but I remember I asked to watch a cartoon or two right after. I believe we watched almost every Jackie Chan movie at his place that existed up until then. Definitely every Stallone, Schwarzenegger and Michael Dudikoff (of America Ninja fame if you have trouble remembering him) vehicle.

But there is one movie that stands out. One movie that still holds up today, that I still enjoy just as much as the first time I saw it and is just all around 80s move gold. And it’s still a hidden gem as the movie is not that well known.

Are you ready? I am!

The Crow is one of my favourite movies of all time and this movie shares a lot of similarities with it. The soundtrack is absolutely memorable and all around great. The story is simple and works, the setting is the 80s and there is revenge, cars, sex and a young Charlie Sheen.

The film is ‘The Wraith’ (in Germany known as ‘Interceptor’)and before you look it up on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes remember that they are clearly wrong. I couldn’t find a review that does that movie justice apart from the amazing video I will end this article with so here is my review of THE WRAITH/INTERCEPTOR:

The Wraith is a supernatural horror car action movie from 1986. A short synopsis would be that in the 80s a mysterious car shows up to avenge a murder and a gang gets taken out one by one.

Let’s get the few negative points out right away. It’s a pretty low budget movie with a simple story with a lot of plot holes and wooden acting here and there. That being said, still there is not a minute of the movie I would fast forward or skip. It’s totally silly that no one figured out that Packard killed Jamie back in the day, it’s also baffling how no one seems to connect the dots to the new kid on the block Jake

I am not a big car enthusiast but looking at the main character of the movie (it’s the car) makes me all excited. The soundtrack features 80s metal galore with Ozzy Osbourne, Bonnie Tyler and more of that calibre. Seriously when did movies (even bad ones) stop having all around great soundtracks, I mean Mortal Kombat, The Crow and even the more and more awful sequels had fantastic soundtracks. I can’t think of a modern movie that has a soundtrack that (apart from all instrumental soundtracks by Clint Mansell, Hans Zimmer or the Chemical Brothers) from start to finish has me hooked like these.

The characters in the movie are almost caricatures but they just work. The movie seems to be not pretentious, has suspense, does not overstate its welcome and the world it’s set in is just one that I want to return to, over and over. Also, with me barely noticing the CGI moustache of Her Cavil and movie mistakes in general, I did notice the camera in the shadows of the cars during some of the racing scenes and you can see some of the cars are replicas (just with chassis mounted) but that doesn’t bother me.

Here the movie by Good Bad Flicks:

Cooking Shows

I’m really into cooking shows. I mean who isn’t? It’s food, it’s fuel and you can learn something most of the time.

Gordon Ramsay’s shows are the crown jewel to me, because I find him so likeable and authentic though the American versions/shows fall a bit short due to the dumb dumb production (I’m referring to the overly dramatic music, the recaps, oh my god, don’t get me started on the recaps in American shows: this is what happened so far, less than 1 minute ago this person didn’t finish the sentence or the winner/loser was not announced yet, so let’s repeat until the last person with a one digit IQ gets it, it’s revolting). For Hotel Hell I saw a youtube upload that cut the horrid intro, all the recaps and repetition and it made the show 10 minutes shorter and about 10 times more watchable. Master Chef is great especially with the sneaker and suit Italian and the kid’s version as it shows how great Gordon is with kids and you learn more due to the positive critique of the children.

I really enjoy Chef’s Table especially the episode with Francis Mallmann. The way this series is shot and the stories are told is extraordinary and Francis to me stands out as the most interesting Chef so far (in episode 3 if you want to know) in the way he cooks and his philosophy. So great!

There is also Hot Ones that I enjoy as it is a unique concept of a podcast mixed with interesting people and spicy wings. Good stuff.

The Food Ranger also is something me and my girlfriend enjoy for the laughs. He comes of almost as a caricature but the production value and the places he goes too, as well as the food seem to be top notch. I’ms sure he has the heart in the right place but his vocabulary and persona make me crack up.

This mental world class bodybuilder also has great cooking advise and knows a thing or two #sarcasm.

But my new favourite is Something’s Burning:

Watch it! It’s hilarious. Bert ‘The Machine‘ Kreischer is super funny, of course with the story in his name and even more so with the bit he does here.

There is two episodes so far and hopefully this show goes on for as long as Gordon Ramsey has produced shows. Brilliant!

I’m off. Cooking.

 

New Year’s Resolutions

I had none. Zero! Nothing. Nichts.

And yet, this is so far the biggest change I have had in my life since coming back to China in October 2011 with 1 pair of jeans, 3 shirts, 2 pairs of shoes, some socks, some underwear and a job that paid really sub-par and not much in the bank. In fact, the money in the bank served as my indicator of returning back to Germany, if ever that would fall under less then a flight back (on average) to Germany I would buy the ticket and go. I never had to do that.

Having lived in Shanghai since then I grew. Career-wise, in a monetary sense, as an individual, in relationships and also in bodyweight. In late July last year I have had a really minor bicycle accident. I rode into a bike that was parked in the bicycle lane. I was super slow, just feel over to the side but there was a massive pain in my left knee and I still biked home fuelled by adrenaline. The next morning I couldn’t bear weight on that knee. Long story short – ACL torn and surgery was advised but having been at home and unable to work for 3 weeks I wouldn’t want to do it at that time, I thought I possibly could have been fine, maybe it grows back together? It didn’t.

I decided to get the surgery done before I leave China and had it done in early January and took the recovery time since then and ongoing to make a lot more changes. Planned is the move back and the flight ticket bought and I got rid of a lot of ‘useless’ things I accumulated over the years. There is only a few things I am taking back with me and two great ones will follow on there own – my girlfriend and my cat (together as the cat probably has a hard time buying flight tickets because she can’t read well).

The doctor insisted that I please, with sugar on top. do not drink alcohol for at least 2 weeks following the surgery and reading up on the effects inflammation it is not really something you want to have in a part of your body that heals relatively slow due to constant movement and not much blood flow to and around the ligaments. So I haven’t touched alcohol since the surgery and it was super tough, because I don’t think I did a week without alcohol since I was about 16. Obviously just that and the muscle atrophy from the surgery leads to weight loss but I also incorporated intermittent fasting since I am off the antibiotics (I figured it makes sense to have three regular timed meals when taking medication to not screw anything up).

I do 16 hours without food, have lunch at around 12 or 1pm and dinner between 6 and 7pm where I allow myself a lot of fats (coconut oil, ghee, olive oil), protein and some carbs (mainly oats) and Chlorella, Spirulina in the morning and tons of tea and unsweetened hot drinks, sometimes coffee in-between.

From my fight weight after Christmas of a shocking 95 kilogram I am now down to 87. It has been incredibly easy, I do have a lot of energy and feel mentally clear and I have updated this blog, my computers, phone, things in my house and things in my head. I am basically 87 kilogram of a new me.

Once some changes where made, others just easily fit into the current modus operandi. So before bed I read for 30 minutes every day on my Kindle. I do my 30 minutes of rehabilitation workout every day. I stopped smoking again from January 1st and am back on vaping. I blog daily currently and will keep this up for a week in total and then dial it down to a rhythm and schedule I can keep up and feel good with.

So again, tons of changes that just came about with not having made any plans or resolutions. I never found resolutions on New Year’s a great idea but this all worked out.

One of the biggest changes however took a long time to figure out and I am still working on it. I found out that I punish myself a lot. I feel guilty for things I do or think and take my mental whip and whip myself into place. I used to sell those punishments to myself as being tough, as preparing for fights, being ‘a man’, being strong and definitely ‘not weak’. I often saw ‘being weak’ in others and felt mentally or physically superior as I would not moan when the shower water is cold or I am wet from the rain or lament about a ‘long’ walk (everything more than 1 kilometre). Obviously I do not want to feel or think in a way like that as it is not healthy nor is it fair to put myself above others in such a way.

It’s not easy to make these changes, but now I grow tougher by being more open, by not beating myself up mentally, just working out by myself. Looking at my natural reaction, understanding it and improving myself and just keep walking. I never needed that negative motivation I created in my head. Negative motivation never worked on myself in real life, why would it do that in my head?

Having done the test from understandmyself.com (by Jordan Peterson, with the help of ‘h3h3’ as a code and thanks to them with a discount, if you want to take it too) didn’t teach me a lot of things (still some though) I didn’t know about myself but it helped me understand myself better. I am very high in Extraversion (Enthusiasm and Assertiveness (super high!)) and relatively low in Agreeableness (low in Compassion and average in Politeness). High in Conscientiousness (Industriousness and Orderliness). Moderately low in Neuroticism (low in Withdrawal, moderately high in Volatility). High in Openness to Experience (Openness and Intellect). So what does that mean? Do the test and find out for yourself.

What it means for me is, that I am super open to experiences, my mood can swing relatively fast but I bounce back just as fast, I easily convince myself and others of new ideas, plans and love to have people around and hear myself talk. I am a bit stubborn (maybe scratch the ‘bit’) and will most of the time talk straight as an arrow, be one of the first persons to speak up and blunt, even when this might work to my own disadvantage. Those are all great things to know about oneself and they just help me understand myself better, was well worth the price of an expensive coffee.

Just wanted to share some positivity and write down what I learned from the test, as somewhere I read before that you only understand a subject fully if you are able to rephrase it, break it up and ultimately teach it, not at the teaching phase yet, but that was good enough for me to share.

Maybe we don’t need a New Year’s resolution, maybe we just need to understand oneself and that makes it easier to understand others too and maybe a bit of the world.

Some movie reviews of movies I have recently watched

I deserve an award for this creative title.

Let me start this of by saying there have not been a lot of movies I have watched 2017 that really left an impression on me. There is no spoiler in any of these short reviews, so knock yourself out.

‘Justice League’ in December was surprisingly good, but underwhelming when it comes to what I expected. It just cemented more to me that Henry Cavill is THE Superman for me and is just scene-chewing and before you critique the CGI-stache I can’t say it was that obvious or disastrous as people make it out to be. Batman got a bit of the short stick fighting-wise but his words of encouragement to the Flash where everything Batman is in the Justice League and that was fantastic. Solid Wonder Woman, surprisingly good Cyborg (I am not familiar with that character from comics or the cartoon) and Aquaman kind of useless and obviously the character with the most scenes on the cutting floor, but that hunk of a man was still great and fun. Super weak CGI on the main villain and him being under-developed but I believe the ‘Snyder’ scenes where the ones that feel and look the greatest to me and the ‘Whedon’ parts are nice but miss more often than not. I would love to see director’s cut, but there is a slim chance this will ever happen, so yeah… What works is the Danny Elfman score and this is possibly his best work since Batman Returns and ten times better to the uninspired Terminator soundtrack, that sounded great on paper but turned out underwhelming, still I would love to hear what Junkie XL did have planned, maybe if that director’s cut ever happens. To end this on a positive note, the cover of ‘Everybody Knows’ at the beginning of the movie is just glorious!

‘Thor: Ragnarok’ meanwhile was hands down the funniest Marvel movie so far and definitely the best movie in the Thor trilogy and Taika’s style bleeds through every scene, which is refreshing and it just works. Shortly after I enjoyed ‘What We Do In The Shadows’ and laughed my ass off. Super good and hard to place somewhere between Guardians 1 and 2 or tied with them if you want to rate the move. Very metal, very 80’s and very Taika, so there is not much to criticise here.

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ continues the greatness that was The Force Awakens and I do not understand what the hardcore fans have to moan about, but again I am not the biggest Star Wars fan, so I enjoyed it and more than anything the movie made me want to see where all this leads. Somehow, somewhere I read that fans want more explained, like the ‘additional’ Jedi powers and other stuff, gosh, really? Do audiences need everything spoon fed? I find it’s fun and filling some gaps with your own imagination is more fun to me, but maybe I am in the minority here.

‘The Disaster Artist’ possibly my favourite movie of 2017 and possibly one of the best movies I have seen after 2000. I expected a riff on the glorious movie and a comedy that pokes fun at said movie and good laughs, but surprisingly it is soooo much more than that. It’s touching, it’s deeper than I would have expected and it has something my favourite documentary of all time (‘American Movie’) has – a super interesting main character with a big heart that fails in a lot of ways but ultimately succeeds with not 100% they had in mind, but they grow and are the blue collar heroes (not really the case with Tommy, as he has a mysterious amount of a lot of money – haha) that take you on this journey. I can’t stress enough how great this movie is and how it works. If you haven’t seen ‘The Room’, then please do so, before that or at least watch this best of, before diving in.

‘Blade Runner 2049’ is the runner up to my favourite movie of 2017 and possibly the best looking aka most cinematic movie I have seen since 2000. The world-building is grand and Batista shows his acting chops in scene chewing 10 minutes or so. Music is great and I have no idea why this movie failed in cinemas, possibly due to the want-to-be-spoon-fed-crowd mentioned earlier, but it’s so great in so many ways and lives up to everything the original was and will be, which is an accomplishment in and on itself.

‘Bright’ the Netflix produced movie starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton by David Ayer, who shows that he can do better than ‘Suicide Squad’. It’s also the first good movie Will Smith is acting in since ‘Bad Boys 2’ in 2003 (he is okay in ‘Suicide Squad’ and great in the ‘Pursuit Of Happiness’ but let’s not count these for reasons). This movie got horrible reviews but seems to be liked by the audience that actually saw it (read: not critics) and let me tell you, I enjoyed it thoroughly. The world it builds is believable and this is done by showing, not telling mostly and if anything there is a bit much cramped in there and the climax seems rushed and a bit much, but I do want to see more of this universe. It’s unique, fun and great. Haters gonna hate!

‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is fun and starts with a brilliant action sequence, has some great throwback to the first part and is solid all around. A fun romp with a great villain and superb action scenes that are kinetic, fast, well shot and the choreography is on point, so that one can easily follow. Fantastic work by Matthew Vaughn again how turns into a director that rarely stinks, in fact he is just great at what he does for the last 6 movies or so.

‘Atomic Blonde’ was okay, watched it on a plane and it makes Charlize Theron outshine everyone else in the cast, but ends up being somewhat forgettable.

‘Dunkirk’ (I watched that on the plane with horrible sound and picture quality) was a good movie, sad, great soundtrack, great Tom Hardy and the horrible voice mixing that Christopher Nolan is known for since Bane had to be dubbed over and Matthew went on interstellar trips trough dimensions and now in France all the soldiers are hard to understand. It was okay, so cinephiles throw your stones.

‘The Big Sick’ the third movie I have watched on the plane (it’s a long flight from China to Germany and back) was touching, funny and just all around a solid movie. Well worth a watch.

‘Baby Driver’ is a better concept than a movie, overall more style than substance, a great lead actor, an interesting premise but in the end just an okay movie to me.

‘The Dark Tower’ was an okay movie too, if anything it just crammed a bit too much in a relatively short movie. Some of the scenes are fantastic and both Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey perform at their best, but there is just too big of a story compressed in there and this only had a vague resemblance to one of the books of the series I have read.

‘Braven’ I watched last weekend and it was a super solid action movie that could have came right out of the 90s with Jason Momoa this sexy hunk of a man and some solid performances all around and again it’s nothing more or less than a good action movie.

‘Don’t Breathe’ was on my watch list since it came out and due to Stephen Lang in ‘Braven’ I remembered to watch it and did so right after. My girlfriend says this is loosely based on a real story and it’s a solid horror movie, really some great ideas in there and a good atmosphere. I enjoyed it.

‘The Lobster’ was genius. Definitely the dark horse movie in this article. It’s utterly strange, slow, violent, awkwardly funny and all in all just an experience of a movie. Loved it but this is certainly not for everybody.

Let me close this article with 3 German movies that I would like to recommend, 2 of which I have watched on the plane and one that is, to me, one of the best German movies since Werner Herzog moved to Germany (excluding ‘The Lives Of Others’ and ‘Look Who’s Back’ here as these are superb exceptions).

‘Fack Ju Göhte (1+2)’ are two movies about a small time criminal that somehow finds it’s way to a job in a school and succeeding in ways that one wouldn’t expect. These movies where unexpectedly fun and I came to understand why they are/were so popular. The characters are interesting and well written and the story is funny and has heart. I believe my girlfriend enjoyed these too.

‘Head Full Of Honey’ came as a surprise to me. Germany’s Hollywood export Til Schweiger stars and directs in this movie. I am not a big fan of his movies in general nor of his acting in most movies, but here he does a solid job acting and a great job directing. The film looks great, the casting was well done with getting German comedian Dieter Hallervorden as the grandpa in the story that has Alzheimers and strings the story together. Now I know ‘Diddy’ Hallervorden just as a comedian from when I was little with an odd sense of humour and he carries his role with a chutzpah and depth that I haven’t seen for a while in a German movie. This movie made me laugh, has a back beating heart and it made me cry. It’s great, it definitely has it’s flaws and pretty much no Til Schweiger cliche is left out the movie but it comes together and is s great movie. Watch it!

I think I got them all and that shall be it for today. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

Ohrwurm of the week 05/2018

Being As An Ocean – Dissolve

My Sundays are ‘holy’ again, meaning I use this as a day to really calm down, relax and do things I really enjoy doing. It’s also the day where I allow myself to cheat food-wise and the thing is, this time, I just had one proper meal (let’s call it one and a half) a big ass Avocado Chicken Sandwich and a sauce covered Potato Salad. Now I am not hungry to have dinner and just have a Golden Milk (Epicurious is also a a must have app I find and just so you know I made mine with Almond Milk because I had the powder at hand) instead. Visiting a mine in Germany in my hood I got reminded that back in the day people had a Sunday Roast, it was usually the only day people had meat on their table and physically working part of the family had the biggest chunk of that. With my sedentary lifestyle at the moment, I feel not entitled to a whole day of expensive, calorie-rich food, so hence all that, but I don’t know if that is interesting for you all.

Now to the song and band: Being As An Ocean (I don’t have Spotify or know how it works but you can follow them there) is a Californian Post-Hardcore outfit with a Christian background. They have three fantastic albums out and are clearly influenced by some of my favourite bands, namely: Comeback Kid, Listener, Sigur Ros, Underoath just to name a few.

Dissolve is a touching song, like most songs they put out. There is also a acoustic version of the song, that shows the prowess of the band, especially the voice of Joel, however, I believe the original version has a harder hitting chorus and you need the contrast of the screaming to the buttery smooth chorus. I am not even joking this song alone makes me want to get a tattoo of a heart on my sleeve…

Self-improvement is masturbation…

… is a great quote to think about from both the book ‘Fight Club‘ (by my favourite author Chuck Palahniuk, it’s not my favourite book by him, but possibly my favourite movie) and the movie of the same name.

When I was younger this movie was everything, it was the bible to my nihilistic puberty self, I would have had to read Nietzsche all day every day and lose a couple of kilos to be that kid (Dwayne) from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (fantastic movie too by the way).

In the book and movie this statement comes up to represent the identification with the masses, the status quo, the Ikea self-expression and the temporary fix and means to an end that a self-improvement like this (hint: one that can be finished, not unlike masturbation) represents. So looking at it from that point of view this seems to ring true.

I love self-improvement. Been going at that since after puberty, read ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, countless other self-help books and personality tests and working on habits and trying to become a better version of myself. Unlike masturbation this is a task that is possibly only finished when I die. So self-improvement is clearly not like masturbation and rather a noble path I find.

The reason I am writing this is because our worldview changes all the time. Recently I am super entertained and learn a lot from podcasts, mainly that is ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ (the one I listened to today with the absolutely awesome Joey Diaz) and H3H3 (the guys that always punch up).

Coincidentally both podcasts had the same guest this week: Jordan Peterson. A clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Toronto. Jordan Peterson is a role model, he is super smart and speaks the truth, he is a fantastic example of keeping your cool in the face of adversary and with a book out that I am planning to read as soon as possible – ’12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos’.

Currently I am in a great state of mind and body. I have the big move to Germany in front of me and the re-integration there after 6+ years in China, I restarted the blog and got all the old articles back, I sleep very well and I am recovering from the ACL surgery and dropping weight due to intermittent fasting and no alcohol (as inflammation would not be beneficial for the healing of my knee). In this state of mind I thought I might want to learn a bit more about myself and masturbate, nah, jokes aside I did a personality assessment test developed by Jordan Peterson on www.understandmyself.com, where in case you want to do one for yourself (and you should because it’s brilliant) you can use the code ‘h3h3’ that gives you 2 dollars off of the 9.95 price. Well worth it!

What I really want to say is that self-improvement is great and for me a necessity and hopefully plays a role in most people’s live. I would like to leave you with the following video that was suggested to me with all the Jordan Peterson mania going on and I learned it was pleasantly surprising not what I thought it was: