Get your towels ready – it’s getting hot!

Summer is officially here. Shanghai has basically two seasons. There is winter: roughly from end of November to early April and then there is summer: basically the rest of the time.

Currently it’s spring I would say, that lasts like 2 weeks, it’s pretty summerish already. Again I won’t really complain about that, because the summer is actually pretty good I find. But holy bat mobile is the winter here horrible.

I am from Germany, or to be more specific The Erzgebrige, that is where Elves, Wolves, Vikings and Gnomes and though it’s not Novosibirsk it can be easy -20 Degrees Celsius – yeah, that is cold, but we still manage to run around in the security and warmth of our homes in T-shirts. Flats are insulated properly and almost every place that is not outside is actually enjoyable. According to this cute website it is also Santa’s Workshop in Germany.

Shanghai is not that cold, technically that is. The coldest it gets here is around 0 Degrees Celsius, sometimes a tiny bit colder, it might even snow a day or two, but man, the humidity and the non-insulation of buildings, the gaps between windows and the wall they are installed in, the slits under doors and no central heating make this a tough time to be around for. It’s pretty bleak and all the grey comes to shine (or be dusty) and there is hardly a place to go back and replenish your body in a T-shirt or less.

Let me wipe those crocodile tears of fake complaint away. It is nice and hot now and I prefer that over the bone chilling cold any day. Yesterday in training I think I lost a good 2 Kilos of water (got it back in refreshing beer afterwards). So this is where I wanted to go with this post. Don’t be afraid to sweat, to put in some work, to do more, to step out of your comfort zone. Starting to blog again was damn hard, it took me about a year of planning, but it doesn’t get any traction until you actually start to write and stop listening to those whiny violins and devils that tell you to plan even more, it will never be good enough and that there are more important things at that very moment. You gotta break a sweat and take the heat or cold for a while (whichever one you dislike) and put yourself out there.

For a good mix of hot and cold and the heat/intensity of human energy and channeling rage and the depressive state of New York in the 80s that gave life to the Hardcore Culture, please do check out this awesome documentary about New York Hardcore (via Nerdcore). Even if you have nothing to do with this kind of music, check it out, it’s well worth seeing (side note: my girlfriend sat trough it and learned a thing or two).

Tomorrow Killswitch Engage will be here and I will be there to see those guy rocking (again!), for the fourth time I think. They are amazing, always balancing on that blade between hardcore and catchy pop melodies.

Have a taste:

“All that we suffer through leads to determination.
The trials we all go through gives us the strength to carry on.
Something within us burns, desire feeds the will to live.
A reason to believe I will see redemption.”

In the end it all comes around again. Something within us burns, it’s that burn you need to feel alive.

Noisecore and other distractions

China is loud! Like woken up at 7am in the morning to the sound of a jackhammer on Sunday loud.

Good thing is, you don’t have to care as much either. So if you feel like blasting Death Metal after 10pm then that is mostly an okay as well. That is fun, because in good ol’ Germany people might complain if you take a shower after that time – insane and totally uncool.

So yeah, thing can get weird. Obviously the subject of ‘noise pollution‘ is something that doesn’t really come up. Why? No why!

This leads me elegantly to noisy music or what can be seen as such. Recently Black Metal spiked in popularity again, especially with one band: Deafhaven. Not only did they deliver one of the highest ranking albums in 2013, they topped the Rock Charts with Sunbather and all of that with a pink album cover. Get it? Black Metal and a pink album cover – we are going places.

In May last year I went to the concert here in Shanghai and it was impressive.

Have a taste of the music:

It is Sludge influenced black metal with beautiful melodies and a beautiful cover. What is not to like?

And here is my brillant lead to other distractions. Because what I like to distract myself from work with and to stay healthy and relax is martial arts.

Currently I am training here – Shanghai JX Fight Club with the man Ramsey Dewey.

Not only is it the best martial arts gym price wise, it is also the one with one of the nicest characters all around. I can be a handful and joke all the time (until I am exhausted or got punched in the gut) and Ramsey is just always positive, comes with free life advise and a crazy amount of wisdom when it comes to fighting. So come around if you are in Shanghai!

Before that I had a great time with the awesome people in Munich MMA complete with pink shirts and an owl as a mascot. See – there is a pink thread through this post. Those guys are great as well and rest assured neither there nor in Ramsey gym you will find aggressive assholes – only fun, exhaustion and a good vibe.

We are coming full circle here, because yesterday my MMA trainer Ramsey also dances. He is basically like Jean Claude Van Damme, but cooler. There was a contemporary dance show in the little art district M50 not that far from my house.

The show was first a slideshow of seemingly random Chinese movie scenes, like Kung Fu movies, the Monkey King, a girl picking flowers and all this underlined with a distorted guitar and effects distorting and repeating the images seemingly at random. It was intense and reminded me of that Deafhaven concert – since one of the supporting bands was displaying a similar video weave in the background and the music they played reminded me strongly of that.

This is how that looked:

Random Clips

 

Later on Ramsey and female dancers came on, again to some weird music and they were dancing and performing a ritual, maybe they got baptized, maybe they became initiated to worship aliens or maybe they were abducted or hypnotized…

I can just give you a tiny glimpse here:

Ramsey      Wicked

 

So what I take away from this is: move more and think more. It’s good for you!

 

 

 

Ohrwurm of the week 17/2015

Here is one that just hits all the right notes with me. The band is German and they seem so not German, that I wouldn’t have thought so with the first three guesses. And also, the great Jonny from Liferuiner just adds another layer to that band that has more than enough influences and different voices. Love them, love the energy and the fade out is probably one of the catchiest things you might hear.

Stay positive!

Catching up with shows like the Daredevil I am

It’s probably the best time ever to be a comic book fan, for the movies and shows that is.

Here is the first glimpse of Batman versus Superman:

I am not as blown away by it as I should be, but damn that Batman voice is awesome and so is the costume. (I mean: look at the preview picture in the youtube video above – look at it!)

Let’s take a little detour. I finished House of Cards Season 3. Netflix by far makes the sexiest looking TV shows, but Francis Underwood‘s rise to power or and the shaking house of cards he built loses a bit of drive here. Mainly the lack of fourth wall breaking bothers me in this one. I do understand that this is due to him being not as comfortable anymore, but go do I miss that. Solid, but after the superb Season 2 this did not make me anticipate the next season as much.

Now back to the topic. It’s the heyday of comic book movies and shows. My latest binge watch was Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. While I barely remember the Daredevil movie with the future Batman, it was definitely not as bad as the non-existent Catwoman movie. I have yet to see the directors cut of the Affleck installment.

Daredevil is dark, violent, well-acted, well-choreographed, visually impressive and full of heart.That is the short version. I was only semi-excited before this came out, as the promo material looked, for the lack of a better word, cheesy. The show definitely is not. It’s everything that Arrow was meant to be. There is no awkward romance, there is the Batman like qualities that you know from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Returns and the best fight choreography with steady cams and impressive, as well as believable fights since The Raid. I can see how people dislike Arrow, Oliver is always brooding and inexplicably unable to rely on friends (no, I don’t buy that), he also bangs every woman in the show left and right and is a discount Batman with all his villains. Love triangles galore and  cringe worthy dialogue here and there. All that being said, I still enjoy the show, though I like the more light hearted and better written and acted Flash show a ton more.

Now let’s get into the details. Daredevil has this hallway fight scene that completely seals the deal in terms of fight choreography, it is a nice homage to one of my favorite movies Oldboy, but read more about it here. My girlfriend said something that makes sense (she does make sense a lot): Charlie Cox is not a scene stealer, sometimes not even super likable, but that is why he is so great, everyone has a chance to shine in that show. Even Foggy, who I wasn’t convinced off in the first place makes absolute sense once you watch the emotional and heartfelt Nelson v. Murdock episode. Great stuff!

Another thing everyone will love the shit out of: Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin. It is questionably the best depiction of a Marvel villain on screen. You feel for him, you feel with him and he has motivations that are not too distant from the ones the hero has, only different means. My girlfriend likes him for his dedication to his girlfriend…

Again the show is awesome and better than all the other superhero shows currently on air. Gotham and the Flash still have a place but for the moment Marvel took the cake. So do yourself a favor and watch it.

I can watch all those shows for free here in China (legally) but sometimes there are major cuts. China is not a fan of boobies, beheadings (or other hypocritical censorship options) and dying horses (The Walking Dead) but they are somehow completely fine with showing footage of people suffocating between elevator doors shown in the metro.

 

And…we are back after a spam attack

A lot has happened. Frustratingly my tactic to approve spam comments and then comment on them massively backfired and left me with 400+ spam comments.

Good thing is, you learn from that. I learned there is good protection (listen kids!) – haha. Some trial and error made me find a brilliant plugin called ‘WordPress Zero Spam’ and guess what! It does exactly that. Highly recommended.

Another thing that I highly recommend is to update your MacBook Pro with an SSD and more ram. Man, my computer runs better than the first day and probably will give me another 5 years of usage. A mid-2010 13inch MacBook Pro with now 500 GB SSD and 8GB of ram is a monster! I was looking for parts being to lazy and incompetent and do it myself I got this competent, likable and trustworthy guy to do it – macbookmechanic – hit him up if you are in Shanghai.

Also a shout out to my poster: dreamhost – their support is incomparable and I got a got deal for the hosting and bombastic support. So if you want to host your own site, then hit them up. Use the lifehacker discount that is widely available and you start blogging or your site for something like USD 20. It is literally a dream to host with them.

This post sounds like a big advertisement. Haha! But honestly: credit where credit is due!

Wait! Another shout out – to Astrill my VPN provider of choice. China’s intranet can be a pain and speeds even with a VPN are not comparable to free countries, but they make that bearable and they love me too 🙂

So enough with the shout outs. I am back and have less excuses for not blogging and solved a lot of background issues – so yeah! Please enjoy and keep on reading and commenting.