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:

Holy Guacamole and Hello World 2018

This was seriously stressful, but here I am, back again!

I haven’t posted in ages, as you might have noticed. For reasons. The main reason was that in October 2017 I have made a big decision. The decision to return to Germany and leave China for good.

It wasn’t easy, I have had a huge love for this place and enjoyed the majority of my time here, however it became more and more clear that the next step waits and I want to move my life forward. So this decision was made.

Also after roughly 6 months I have had my ACL replaced in early January and am currently recovering and trying to get mobility and stability and muscles in my leg back. So this leaves some time for blogging, thinking, getting healthier, implementing new routines and getting ready for the big move.

A good 10 years ago (almost exactly plus 2 months) I had started a blog, I wrote to pass the time, to learn things about the internet and to have a break from binge-watching House M.D.

I have had a save file from 2011 as a *.sql file that I tried over the years of restarting this blog to implement to no avail. So yesterday I gathered all the willpower and courage to give this a last and final try and maybe risk to lose the old articles forever, because I couldn’t seem to figure it out. So after a late night and chats with my web host (Dreamhost) and 6 to 7 deleted mySQL databases and even more installs and deletions of WordPress on this site, I have managed to bring all the old posts back!

I feel like a badass! Some images are missing, some links are definitely outdated but this now is a consolidation of my old blog and the new and a new start. A lot of material to pick from and to improve on and I will not let you or myself down with it after all this work.

The two paragraphs above probably don’t make much sense to a lot of people but it was stressful and now everything seems to fall into place again.

So let’s get back to some other stuff. I have not written a lot during my extended break, which I am a bit sad about, but I will try to blog more or less daily in February to give this blog a boost that is much needed for the blog and myself and maybe you enjoy it too.

Let’s leave you here with an song from a band that remained constantly awesome for all these years:

36 Crazyfists – Also Am I

If you were looking for someone to save you, also am I
If you were looking for something to believe, also am I
If you were looking for someone to save you, also am I
Don’t go quietly

I won’t go quietly not with a bigger blog and a great year to come.

Aus gegebenem Anlass einmal auf Deutsch…

… ich bin geschockt.

Eigentlich aber nicht. Auf der einen Seite könnte ich mich schämen aus Sachsen zu kommen, dort geboren worden zu sein, aber dass habe ich mir nicht herausgesucht. Das ist auch ein Grund warum ich Nationalstolz oder selbst Patriotismus nicht verstehe. Das geht für mich soweit dass ich bei einem Boxkampf (zum Beispiel) nur richtig mitfühle wenn ich im Ring stehe oder jemand zu dem ich ein persönliches Verhältnis habe. Schwieriger wird das wenn die Gruppe größer wird, bei Mannschaftssportarten ist das noch schwieriger, da kann ich auch als Spieler schon stolz auf die Mannschaft sein, wobei dass nicht heißt dass ich mit der Meinung aller als Mensch übereinstimme. Sobald ich keinerlei persönliche Beziehung zu einem Spieler in einer Mannschaftssportart habe schalte ich komplett ab. Kein Interesse.

Ich will hier keine Politik machen, aber als Blogger einfach mal meine persönliche Meinung und Erfahrung wiedergeben. In Shanghai lebend (seit nunmehr knapp 6 Jahren zusammen) habe ich nicht gewählt. China wird höchstwahrscheinlich nicht für sehr lange meine Heimat sein, irgendwann werde ich zurückkommen, sehr wahrscheinlich bevor ich die 10 Jahre hier voll mache. Wenn sich in China nicht ein drastischer Wandel zu Einwanderern und ausländischen Fachkräften entwickelt wird der Zeitpunkt eher früher als später kommen.

Hier bin ich ein Einwanderer. Hier bin ich ein Ausländer. Einer von ganz, ganz wenigen. Einer von knapp einer Million in einem Land von 1,3 Milliarden Menschen (vielleicht mehr, aber ich möchte mich nicht tiefer mit diesen Zahlen beschäftigen). Hätte ich in Mathe besser aufgepaßt könnte ich schnell eine Prozentzahl aus dem Ärmel schütteln, ich meine das ist weniger als ein Prozent.

Ganz ähnlich ist das im Erzgebirge, auch da ist der Ausländeranteil sehr gering. Der gute Alexander Krauß von der CDU meint es sind 0,7 Prozent der Gesamtbevölkerung im Erzgebirge. Gut, diese Zahlen sind von 2011 und mit ein paar Flüchtlingen die wir aufnehmen mussten/konnten sind es wahrscheinlich ein paar mehr. Vielleicht aber auch nicht, hier eine andere Statistik von vor ein paar wenigen Tagen. Ich vergesse aber auch nicht, dass bei dem zweiten Besuch meiner Freundin in Deutschland, in Dörfel ein Flüchtlingsheim brannte zu Weihnachten. Lügenpresse oder dumme christiliche Partei sagst du? Danke, dann kannst du gerne weiter lesen oder von hier verschwinden, wobei dir erstere Option vielleicht den Geist erweitert, letztere nur bestätigt dass du in allen Fächern in der Schule wenig aufgepaßt hast und auch von diesem Wortschwall nicht deine Meinung ändern wirst, ich wünsche mir das dennoch.

Auch wenn ich nicht oft auf Facebook bin, bin ich doch glücklich sagen zu können, dass es nur ein paar Deppen (und ja Deppen seid ihr) unter meinen Facebook Freunden gibt. Viel, viel mehr intelligente Menschen mit hochinteressanten Ansichten denen ich zum größten Teil zustimme und wenn nicht sehr erhellend finde. Wahrscheinlich haben leider auch viele intelligente und tolle Menschen nicht gewählt und die und auch ich müssen mit dem Ergebnis leben.

In Shanghai sind viele Fragen der Chinesen eher interessant (wenn auch nervig, umso mehr ich mich wiederhole): ‘Stimmt es dass in Deutschland Bier aus dem Wasserhahn kommt?’, ‘In Deutschland trinkt man nur Schwarzbier, oder?’, ‘Beim Fußball ist Deutschland ganz stark, oder?’, ‘Hitler war ein klasse Führer, oder?’. Eine Frage ist nicht wie die anderen und wenn ich mit Hitlergruß in einem Supermarkt willkommen geheißen werde dann wird mir schon ein wenig schwummrig. Neulich zum zweiten Mal geschehen in einem kleinen Tante Emma Laden mit zwei muslimischen jungen Herren aus der inneren Mongolei. Es scheint mir 20-35% der wählenden Bevölkerung aus meiner Ecke hätte das eventuell gefallen. Schlimm, und/oder traurig!

Nochmals, dass ist nur meine Erfahrung. Drehe ich die Geschichte herum, erinnere ich mich wie ein Kommilitone, ein Austauschstudent aus China in Zwickau beim gemeinsamen Maultaschenkochenzusammenbauen fragt ‘warum an dem einen Tag jemand aus dem Fenster einen Eimer Wasser auf ihn geleert habe?’.

In einer anderen Ecke Deutschland’s vor dem ‘Heimflug’ nach Shanghai schreit ein dicklicher Fahrradfahrer um 8 Uhr am Morgen dass ich ein Verlierer bin und wohl nix in Deutschland gefunden habe mit meiner Taiwanesischen Freundin. Das ist jetzt 3 bis 4 Jahre her, aber immer noch in meinem Hinterkopf. Ich glaube nicht dass er sich noch daran erinnert, nich wenig glaube ich dass die Rechtswähler aus meiner Geburtsheimat ähnliche Erfahrungen gemacht haben oder sich daran erinnern. Es ist eben vieles Hören-Sagen.

Die Arbeitsmarktsituation mag schlecht sein, ich weiß es nicht, doch ich bezweifle die Ausländer und/oder Einwanderer haben daran Schuld. Wäre ja schlimm dass jemand der nur wenig oder kein Deutsch spricht und der auch ‘kulturfern’ ist einem die Arbeit wegnimmt. Ne, das ist absurd.

Ich bin nicht so geschockt, weil diese braune Kacke immer schon da war. Unterschwellig. Überall. Bei Dorffesten wusste man, dass zu irgendeinem Zeitpunkt die hohlen Köpfe kommen und es Schlägereinen gibt, höhere Wahrscheinlichkeit je höher der Alkoholspiegel. Selbst als Fan der harten Musik (Hardcore, Metal und Punk) wo normalerweise eine liberale, wenn nicht sogar ‘linke’ Denkweise normalerweise (per Definition und Ursprung dieser Musikstile) vorhanden sein müsste wurde dieser Bereich unterwandert. Zu Anfang war es extrem leicht herauszufinden wer die Idioten sind. Es war einmal einfach (den von Skinheads abgeschauten) Glatzkopf zu erkennen und dann auszugrenzen oder nicht einzulassen. In einer Subkultur in der Stärke, Männlichkeit und Energie nur so von der Bühne strömen, war der Einzug der Idioten nicht überraschend. Nur wenig später war es kaum noch möglich die ‘normalen’ Fans von jenen Deppen zu unterscheiden. Subtil haben sich die neuen Nazis unter die normalen Konzertbesucher und in die Kultur gemischt. Selbst bei einem Auftritt mit unserer Band damals hat ein kreisbekannter Depp den Hitlergruß am Ende von der Bühne zusammen mit anderen Bands zum besten gegeben und somit ein paar Bilder und einen Abend ruiniert, wie viele zuvor. Der Kerl bewegt sich immer noch in der Subkultur und viele haben vergessen.

In einer Gegend, in der man(n) ‘zu de Tschechen’ fährt und damit meint, beim Vietnamesen gleich über der Grenze kopierte CDs und T-Shirts kauft und die Zigaretten und dann den Wagen volltankt und sonst recht wenig Kontakt mit Menschen anderer Länder und Hautfarbe hat, hört man doch öfter rassistische Sprüche. In jeder Altersgruppe. Ich meine ich kenne einige der Pappenheimer die ihren Frust bei dieser Wahl mit ihrer Stimme an der Stelle gemacht habe, mit der ich in keiner Weise übereinstimme. Ich kann das so sagen und meiner Unmut mit diesen Worten kundmachen, umgeben von Menschen die so denken im Erzgebirge, mit Menschen mit denen man täglich zu tun hat, die doch ‘Teil des Freundeskreises sind’, ‘doch eigentlich ein guter Kerl sind’ und doch irgendwie, irgendwo dir doch im Laufe der Woche über den Weg laufen ist das schwerer. Ich wünsche euch Stärke. Ich wünsche euch Kraft zu diskutieren, Kraft den braunen Mob anzusprechen und den kleinen Geist zu erhellen. Das klappt nicht mit Wasser auf den Kopf, noch weniger mit dem Hitlergruß (weder in China noch sonstwo) doch mit einer Stimme, der Stimme für eure Freunde, für Menschlichkeit, ein gutes Zusammenleben und vielleicht auch einen Blick über den Tellerrand.

Eine Demokratie muss das aushalten und das wird sie hoffentlich auch. Ich dachte nach Brexit und Trump (bei dem ich meine dass die Amerikaner diesen verdient haben und ebenso hoffe dass die Situation danach nur besser wird) nahm ich an, dass Deutschland sich doch vergleichbar in einer guten Position befindet. Ich war sogar stolz als ich einen Beitrag über das ‘TV Duell’ der Kanzlerkandidaten geschaut habe und dass dort menschlicher und ‘langweiliger’ abging als bei dem Pisshaar der gerne Golf spielt statt zu regieren und dem Hauptkasper mit Hang zum Alkoholismus aus England. Das Wahlergebnis hat mich eines besseren belehrt und es wird und kann hoffentlich nur besser werden und es liegt an uns es so zu machen. Hier werde ich hoffentlich nicht eines besseren belehrt.

 

 

Ohrwurm of the week 38/2017

Atreyu – Blow

Man, what a band! Hailing from Orange County in the U.S. they bring back memories of sensational times. Of times where I went to a small hardcore club not far from my village super close to the Czech border where Barcode, Born From Pain, Ignite and many more played including our cool band Intoxica (hoping to get some pictures and more on that, but we were basically covering Slipknot, Korn and other similar bands and later made our own songs).

Brings back memories and one can say there first album was very ’emo’, being a teenager then the song ‘Ain’t Love Grand‘ even prompted me to write a piece that I handed in for a school project. I was happy, I was sad, I was a rebel and also super conform and nice guy. I was a good student and my long tinted black dreadlocks, my trench coat, white camo pants could have invoked a possibility of becoming a school shooter (which thankfully doesn’t happen for mainly logical reasons in Germany) but my smiley face/nature, friendliness and good marks in school said something different. I was a strange person. It was a great time. It was 15 years ago.

Atreyu was there and took me through all these emotions. From a dark weirdly romantic first album ‘Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses‘ to what later became known as Metalcore, leg swinging Punk or straight up Rock. The above song is just perfectly energetic, bro-like and starts with a cow-bell and has enough of that in it. It’s positive, it pumps me up and makes me smile and think of carefree times.

From the name alone they also remind me of the VHS I got together with Batman and Batman Returns of the movie version of The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (I believe it was the second movie though, with the really good child actor with mesmerising eyes that sadly took his life). I believe I rewinded and replayed the end credits songs (from the first movie as I couldn’t find or remember the song I was addicted to) so many times that the VHS started to act weird…

With recent musician suicides we all know, it is good to sometimes look at the bright side and have a little fun. Not saying that dark and depressing music doesn’t have a place – it absolutely has. I rock out like this like it’s the 80’s and just get pumped up. Even after a day that was exhausting and were I felt tired. There is some super cool local music in China, but the mainstream likes super depressing, super boring love songs and these fill up the computers in every KTV. I wish there was some Atreyu…

Anyhoozle to divert from this. Since this song makes me think of my youth in all the best ways, there was a movie I saw yesterday that brought up similar joy: Spider-Man: Homecoming

I liked this movie as much as Wonder Woman if I can compare the two. The movie reminded me of the good times I had watching the truly marvellous Spider-Man: The Animated Series and even earlier the show I loved the most next to X-Men when sleeping over at my grandma’s Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. It’s basically an extended episode of the animated series coming to life mixed with the modern Marvel universe.

From the beginning that remixes the original Spider-Man theme unmistakably to the intro scene that captures exactly the feeling of opening a comic book, getting a quick introduction to the universe and what happened so far to straight up jumping into an adventure for the main character named and drawn out on the cover. What a fuzzy feeling and that was really well done.

It’s a young and fun movie and the lightest Spidey movie so far. If I would have to rate the movies I’d say this one is in the top 3 and it’s kind of hard to decide if I place it on number 2 or 3 while number 1 is Spider-Man 2 and the other two Homecoming and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (I know that this is super controversial, but I really, really enjoyed this one, it has legit problems but that movie is nowhere near as bad as people want you to believe, it is actually outstanding in parts).

The very best thing about the new movie is, what my better half pointed out, is that even though being a Disney owned production and a lot of superhero movies forcing a morale onto you like old He-Man cartoons, this one is surprisingly free from it, even when it comes to rising up against bullies. Super smart! Super good!

The bad is, that the CGI in places feels off, lanky, with no weight or too sped up o you can’t follow. Also was that MJ? Not that I dislike the actress or character portrayed, I actually really liked that, but want this to be a unique character. Also please let this guy not be Flash Thompson or ever become a version of Venom, not that I dislike the character or the actor, this was great, but this should never ever become a version of the comic book equivalent anti-hero and undoubtedly it was a great choice to have this actor portray a modern take of a bully.

Now completely engulfed in nostalgia I have to divert one more time before I call it a day and mention this amazing video about the music of the new Doom game. I loved Doom and Quake 3 (never played the 2 that came before that) and the music and everything and thinking about this games makes me think back (as the same dread locked weird Burnilein) to a LAN party organised by my Russian friend to spend 48 hours with no sleep, loads of caffeinated drinks, beer, lugged around heavy big computers and monitors and Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 (I sucked at the former, was pretty good at the latter). Good times too.

The video is exciting and super interesting in many ways. I think musicians will get the most out of it, but even me with an interest in music and the ability to scream and a heart for games this was amazing. My better half found it interesting too. Mick Gordon is a genius when it comes to music and he is well spoken. Give that video a shot, assume it is you favourite podcast on a topic you are mildly interested in and enjoy enormously.

Have a fantastic week and stay positive my friends!

 

Ohrwurm of the week 37/2017

Architects – Doomsday

This hit harder than Floyd Mayweather! Architects: possibly my favourite UK metalcore outfit. At first they almost where completely foreign to me with their Math Metal like sounds on their first album. More and more I grew attached to this sound and now I am loving it. With lyrics that are nihilistic, atheist, strongly political and massively pissed off they are one of the most accessible bands from the genre out there. I know, because my girlfriend likes them. Honestly: Sam Carter is one of the most outstanding screaming voices in hard music and basically paved the way for this sort of scream singing, that others might just know from, ahem, Linkin Park… Don’t be a Naysayer, this dude is up there with the previously mentioned Cattle Decapitation singer in terms of creativity and skill.

It’s also worth nothing that this brilliant video reminds me of the fantastic The Fountain (critics rating it at 5/10 on average – I counter with ‘blegh’ – they know nothing.

Anyway, this music is music that lets energy pulse through my body, clench my fist and holds an ugly old mirror of the world in front of my face and makes me want to change things. It’s incredible. It hits hard and inspires change and spits the truth out. I feel sad for everyone who doesn’t get this kind of raw emotion that transcends in this unique, aggressive and melodic way. Such a unique and complex sound.

The legendary ‘blegh‘ is missing in this song, but not necessary and the spirit of their guitarist Tom (may he rest in peace!) lives on in some lines in the lyrics. Fuck cancer! Pissed off, inspiring a change. This is my Nirvana – give them a shot!

The customer (or consumer sometimes, as a lot of stuff is free) is always right!

Nope!

I have been a customer and wrong at the same time. I consume a lot of media, a lot of free stuff too and you won’t hear me complain about the free stuff a lot apart from banter or if I really care. It happens to the best of us.

Just recently for some reason I thought I bought Dragon Age: Origins on a sale, it was downloaded and ready to play. Being at home for 3 weeks plus, it was time for me to fire it up, but no, error codes everywhere. So I did the thing, that I thought might fix it, deleted the game and as I was about to download it again, it prompted me to pay again, bummer!

So I chatted to the super friendly and helpful Microsoft support. Seriously, they are friendly and great and I can tell they do their best. Even some of the standard but make-you-feel-good replies are fun ‘Love your gamertag!’ – maybe they really do :-). Turns out, somehow this game downloaded, but no transaction went through and I haven’t payed for it. So I left it at that and apologized for my mistake (I could have checked that in due time) and moved on to other games.

I haven’t spend a dime and somehow lost out on a good deal, but whatever. Life goes on. I could have checked.

Now on to why I am writing this. This video:

Zei Wei presented by Mamahuhu and a lot of awesome people involved.

It made me cry. It made me think and hit a nerve. It also made me sad that somehow (most of the time for male-male friendships) we find it so hard to say ‘I love you’ and for a reason that is not depicted here either and I understand that might be misunderstood anyway (so that might be just me). It does however happen in one of my favorite comedies of all time: Superbad. There we have crude humour and penis jokes and all kinds of below the belt fun, but the movie hits all the marks when it comes to friendship too and the love we have for the same sex and how that should be articulated and how it does that one time in the movie.

I am going in the wrong direction though. So this movie has been produced by a brilliant team of friends, who I know a couple of and they are fantastic human beings. Obviously they put time, effort and thought into this little short.

The acting comes off as natural for the most part and so does the dialogue, but what is completely spot on, is that feeling, that feeling of having to let go, of being left alone here or wherever else.

So these amazing people put this video out for free. For everyone to enjoy. The consumers out of the sudden are free to voice whatever they think and we all know the ‘opinions are like assholes saying’, so out they come and shit on this. I mean it is the internet. It is Reddit and Youtube, but wow, this made me sad and mad = smad!

This short hit me, because it describes an all too familiar feeling and tugs on my heartstrings here and I am sure for a lot of other people too. It’s a short that possibly describes best (without having known that I want to describe that before) to friends and family how hard it can be to live here in Shanghai sometimes – the possibly worst part that affects us (or maybe just me) on a deeply personal level.

Maybe people don’t like to feel that way or maybe people on the internet like to belittle other people (I am sure they do), so someone for example said: ‘this is not China or Shanghai specific thing, this is part of growing up and happens for everyone’. No, it doesn’t and your voice on the internet doesn’t speak for everyone. I have lived in different cities and personally this descibes 98% of what it feels like to be left here or go away and leave friends, as I have done both.

I dread the day, I will inevitably leave Shanghai and hope it is far away but also hope it has only a few of these hard goodbyes in the meantime.

There are people you stay in contact with in life with just a good wish on your birthday or you are the one that leaves one for them and that is fine. Some of who we lose contact with or stay in contact or keep being close friends with – with or without contact inbetween and all of this is just fine and part of life.

What I don’t like is shitting on content. Especially shitting on free content. Shitting on service when it’s provided in a friendly manner and with a good heart.

Here some people put some sweat, blood and tears in video and get shit on by salty people. If you don’t have anything nice to say for free content, then by all means, feel free to keep your opinion where it comes from: your behind.

I don’t say: no one should be able to critique something that is provided for free nor help them to get better, that can all be said in a fine tone and can be led with ‘I find/In my opinion/I liked this, but would have liked/loved to’ and so on – you get it. if you are are decent human. But boy, was I smad.

So this was personal, as I know some people behind this and even more so because it is free.

Now let’s look at a game – Destiny – is a great example. I get it that people where made having paid 120 US-Dollars or maybe more and wanting to love this output and having doubts in part 2 (that seems to have improved on all the major problems), that releases on PS4 and Xbox One today, but you can chose to not pay for the second instalment or look or ask around and form an opinion before paying and wasting time and money on a product. Vote with your wallet and feel free to voice your opinion.

I have seen and spend money on things I ended up not enjoying too much, but it made me smarter. Still I am trying to find something positive to justify the time and money spent to myself. Sometimes it hurt, the wallet or my feelings, but I see it most of the time as my mistake first, then try to see if it is in my power (or should be or worth the hassle or justified) to speak up and try to make it better, most of the time it is not worth it nor will other people learn or have a better experience, so why bother?). If you can change a situation and something is clearly bullshit or someone is bullshitting or scamming you or other people then check if that is true and you are not wrong then speak up and depending on the severity one can still be decent in voicing the then important opinion. I think that is much healthier than being a salty asshat on the internet for ages.

Of course this is me ranting and I am fragile when it comes to rude critisim of my work in this blog for example hence me not posting, that I posted on reddit anymore, I gave that more (and of course too much) weight compared to positive reactions, as it is less common for people to go out of their way to show appreciation. There is not enough Burnilein’s out there that have nice things to say and too many salty asshats. And I change the world with that, my world, starting with me. It’s written in ink on my skin. I make it a habit to appreciate and thank nice people, friends and even companies. With reviews and a message or a simple ‘thank you’ to the face or even the ‘I love you’ which I am not afraid to say, because I am aware of my sexuality and don’t care much what others think of that part of me.

Don’t be an asshat! Be nice and know that you are not always right. Working in customer service, the real nice people get the best service – I make sure of that, because that is what I wanted for me. No one I treat like an asshat, but there are people behind every product. Stop shitting on free stuff. Try to enjoy it. Try to see the good that is being done for your enjoyment. I do and I try.

Be the voice of the voiceless and use the energy to thwart bullshit instead or for some nice words, but hey, they don’t cost as much energy, they are basically free.

What’s new and why aren’t you writing a lot?

So there has been some silence and here is why: I hurt my knee again. After a great dinner with friends I fell off my bike, not even fast or with style or so that one could laugh about it, just ran into an oddly parked shared bike (in the bicycle lane) and fell over. My knee twisted and it hurt. Fuelled by adrenaline I biked home and woke up to a left leg that couldn’t bare weight without massive pain.

About ten to twelve days I was ordered to rest and did just that and my leg lost muscle and tomorrow I will have an MRI. Now one would think this would give me ample time to blog, but it doesn’t. There is too much time at hand and a walk (better: hobble) to the bathroom is chore. I definitely write better and more while being busy. I won”t disappoint and this will be a big one.

So the next day my Shanghainese friend and his girlfriend as well as my girlfriend drove me to a hospital, a close one. Now the thing is working at a great start up I do have a great health insurance, in fact a better one than me working for a health insurance broker. As the Germans say: ‘Der Schuster hat die schlechtesten Schuhe’ which translates literally to ‘The cobbler has the worst shoes.’ or figuratively to ‘The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.’ Let me tell you that going to a truly Chinese hospital is a potentially traumatising experience and this is not over exaggerating. I got out the car unable to walk, way too far from the entrance and my friend’s girlfriend supported me so I can jump on one leg, but I was quickly exhausted and had to use the left leg a bit so that trip took forever and was painful. All while doctors, nurses, other patients, people and cars passed me by. No wheelchairs (that you would pay a deposit for) available nor crutches. While my girlfriend registered me, I stood in the hallway unable to sit in 40 degrees heat and in pain. I hobbled to a ladder that I sat on then noticed that it slowly slides away to the back. A security person notices me and tells me to get up, then noticing my state gets a woman to get her bags off a chair so I can sit. The rest of the visit was similar to this. No one seems to give a rat’s ass and you feel alone and vulnerable among hundreds if not thousands of people. Nothing happens without money up front, but on the bright side it is cheap if you don’t mind other patients looking over your shoulder at all times and trying to skip the line and see what is up with the foreigner and maybe chime in. Enough of that, it was horrendous and I got strict house arrest with an emphasise on rest.

And rest I did. There was not much more to do other than playing video games and watching Shark Tank. God! Shark Tank is brilliant, it’s probably my favourite reality show at this point (after ‘Penn & Teller: Bullshit!‘ which unfortunately is not that contemporary anymore). I binged 3 seasons – it’s educational and apart from the music and rare crying not ramped up to stupidity and maximum tension like so many other American reality shows. My favourite shark is Robert and Kevin is just a loveable monster with a clear head and the truth on his tongue (but he oversteps and is insulting at times). I learned a lot and it is inspiring! Give that show a shot.

My colleagues and friends visited me for a great round of Killer Instinct and support and my German friend brought me his crutches that he has in a makeshift holding apparatus which makes me look like a Witcher for handicapped people. It’s cool. So other than that and two brilliant Game of Thrones episodes with the last one ‘The Spoils of War‘ being possible the best and most action heavy episode in the show I had goosebumps and I am excited to see how everything will pan out. Slowly Dani grows on me (I still think she got lucky way too much and has the plot armour and perk of having the best advisors. But no spoilers or a deeper review from me here.

Let’s catch up on the Ohrwurms and start with last weeks, being thankful for having friends come over and offering help, this gigantic cover song just makes me happy and hopefully I can jump around to that again soon:

We Came As Romans – Glad You Came

Those guys hail from Michigan in the US and are the embodiment of positive and well made ‘haps’ metal core. They put a smile on my face and give a a positive and energetic outlook. Check out Hope, the insane bridge to the first refrain in A War Inside or the other brilliant cover the did of I Knew You Were Trouble just reek of the positive vibe those guys give off. It’s a blast!

On to the one for this week and dang, that is a heavy one. It might be one of the most brutal bands and songs I have posted, but the most interesting thing they do is the inclusion of really strange vocals half was through the song, normally singing parts lift a song up or contrast stark to the rest of the song, but here these odd ‘melodic’ parts just give you an  unsettling feeling and add to the atmosphere. It’s brilliant in the artistry!

Cattle Decapitation – Manufactured Extinct

This extreme metal formation comes from San Diego and while other bands evolve into a more generic direction or include clean singing parts, they come up with a style I have never heard before and include this flawlessly into their sound. Here is a video about the vocals on this album – fascinating and funny stuff.

In terms of movies I gave Wonder Woman another try and wow, is it a strong movie. Possibly the most heroic hero shots I have seen in superhero movies so far. It grows on me massively.

King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword was such a fun fantasy movie with great montages (half the movie is a montage) with great music, a pity this movie bombed and will probably never see a sequel. I blame Beckham! A Guy Ritchie movie through and through.

Now on to the games that I have enjoyed over this time bound to my four walls. I burned through roughly a quarter of my game catalogue.

Let’s start with the games I finished. Ori And The Blind Forest was possibly the best jump and run I have played so far and it’s emotional and made me cry. Perfectly balanced and direct gameplay and graphics and a superb soundtrack. It’s worth nothing that Ori looks like our cat. Unravel was similar but is not as good but rivals Ori in the graphics and music department and it made me just as emotional – it’s always an achievement when games do that. Halo 5: Guardians was a short and completely forgettable experience with no emotions whatsoever but it is pretty to look at. The story is generic and even if they got Luke Cage and Cayde-6 a.k.a. Castle a.k.a. creepy older dude with Haley from Modern Family (also: from Firefly fame but I never watched that) they can’t even make this better. On the plus side the multiplayer of Halo 5 is fun. Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a long and nostalgia filled update of the original and I had a good time finishing that game but having played the first level Deus Ex: Mankind Divided I can already say it is improving on the game in any way. Life Is Strange was such a reply emotional and interesting experience. Heavy themes that come together in an interesting way and deliver a choice  based experience similar to the Telltale games. I cried and it was more touching than modern TV dramas, because I was making the choices.

To the games I have not finished yet: 

Destiny! This probably never ends but man, is that game a romp and fun with friends. I play with a good friend and 2 random young dudes from Japan. It’s fun and super polished. Graphics are on par with Halo 5 and I love the looting in the game but despise the loading times and wish the raids where easier or an easy system (and not going to a website and signing up somewhere etc.) to pair up with other players. Just heard about Warframe that I will download and seems to be Anthem and Destiny in the mix and it’s for free. Anyway here is the ultimate review of Destiny that should get you to jump on the wagon. Destiny 1 will have to wait until some DLCs are out and the game is getting a discount as this turned out awesomely for me.

Shadow Warrior 2 meanwhile improves on almost everything compared to the first one of the reboot. Looting weapons is always fun and the silly humour is cracking me up. Movement in the game is spectacular too. Which other game has a double jump and then a button to fall faster and do a superhero landing or a ninja roll? Unfortunately for the great co-op and multiplayer my Xbox playing friends don’t share my taste for humour and this game with me.

Wolfenstein: Old Blood is fantastic dual wielding story driven Nazi killing fun with sneak parts. Half way through now.

Red Dead Redemption really gets going after a couple of hours and I am impressed with the graphics that the 360 got out of this game. Better than any GTA I have played so far. I hated GTA 4 and haven’t played 5, so that might be good. There is a reason RDR is hyped and still talked about today. I think I am 70% through the main and also have the zombie DLC to look forward to.

Metro 2033 is a blast and very close to the book I read 10 years back or so. I enjoy this game on the highest difficulty and it’s still fair and super immersive without a HUD and a great balance and engaging world and story. I think I am 70% through.

Bastion is a good fun game with the best and unique narrator that makes this more action adventure less RPG like Diablo game mixed with 16bit experience a lot of casual fun.

Middle Earth: Shadow Of Mordor is basically Batman meets Assasins Creed in Middle Earth and a complete different experience with an exciting and fascinating Nemesis system. It’s super interesting, fast, challenging and the best part is the power struggles and levelling up of the bad guys that kill you or you hinder in their rise of power. I wasn’t prepared to play a game as good as this.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a reboot of a C64 classic I remember fondly. Made out to be the c64 Mario clone it was fun back then and this reboot adds a great twist switching between the sisters which changes the graphics and the music and some of the mechanics. Casual fun for in between games.

Doom! This game is basically a badass simulator with the fastest 3D shooter gameplay and a style that doesn’t let you hide but instead to run headfirst into action and brutalise enemies in close combat to regain health. Smart and fits my play style. Here is a fantastic video on the game and what it does best. What is also worth mentioning is the superb metal soundtrack that fits the game perfectly.

Killer Instinct meanwhile is my fighting game of choice until Mortal Kombat XL and Injustice 2 and Tekken 7 drop in price. So much fun with friends, super fast and an interesting Shadow Lords campaign. The soundtrack is also worth mentioning as it comes from the same creative heads that get you pumped in the new Doom.

Dying Light is still great but I have not played it much recently. Diablo 3 is still being played with my girlfriend and insane fun, same with Borderlands 2 and the Pre-Sequel.Titanfall 2 is the best online multiplayer game I own for a couple of quick matches. I still have both DLCs of The Witcher 3 to look forward to and Dragon Age: Inquisition, Sleeping Dogs, Darksiders 2 and Metro: Last Light.

Gaming is great fun but I can’t wait to move again!