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!


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!


Ohrwurm of the week 30/2017

Make Them Suffer – Let Me In

I actually had to look through my post history to check if I haven’t posted this one and was surprised to find, that I haven’t. Make Them Suffer is an Australian Deathcore outfit from Perth. Lot’s of good music coming from down under.

These guys blew me away with the first song I heard from Neverbloom in 2012. Beautiful poetic lyrics meet this wall of sound with sweet keyboard melodies and great moments as well as breakdowns not too different from the French Betraying The Martyrs. They are heavy, they are classically influenced and deep. What’s not to like? There is so much going on in their music that you have to listen to the songs multiple times to appreciate them fully. Their first album is raw, brutal and energetic – frantic really. Their second full length goes into a more melodic direction and above song is probably the best example for that.

Let Me In has this drive and beautiful hook that makes me grin every single time it comes on on shuffle when I am riding the bike and most of the time I repeat the song then until I finish my ride. It’s intense and the melodic part with the keyboarder singing is nothing short of amazing. I find they are a very aesthetically pleasing band with beautiful songs and smart videos.

With their third album they changed and evolved even further, listen to the song Ether and you hear a super modern, polished and progressive sound that leans a bit on Northlane (fellow Australians).

Again not a band that is very accessible on the first listen, but try to develop your understanding of this style of music and you might notice that Mozart would probably listen to this or make similar music!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grow, burn, embrace the change and the new!

Ohrwurm of the week 29/2017

Low – Especially Me

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

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

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


Recipes and Punk Cooking

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Weird Green Power Smoothie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bastardised Laksa

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

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

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

Next up my current favourite:

Fake Spinach Soup

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

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

Breakfast during winter time is the following:

Oats with Power

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

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

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

Bonus Meat

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

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

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

Ugly Crunchy Salad

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

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

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

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

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

That’s it for my Punk Cooking!

Ohrwurm of the week 28/2017

Oceans Ate Alaska – Escapist

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

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

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

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


A lifehack and how gaming influences (my) life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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