Your whole life from start to finish

In the past couple of days, i watched quite a few movies, but not many of them made me think about it later. I just saw the movie “Arrival” with actress Amy Adams as Louise Banks, a linguist and mother. I can’t even summarize the story, it’s just that good. But at the end, it’s about how the direction of a language shapes behavior and the perception of life, and going beyond beginnings and endings, because it’s limiting what we are capable of thinking.

The alien language is nonlinear, written in circular puffs of smoke, without a beginning or end. The beginning of a sentence contains already the information of the end, because they both exist at the same time. Most movies are told in a linear way, unlike “Arrival”, where future and past become one. This is why the story gets a little confusing, because our “Memory is a strange thing, bound by the order of time”. Another sentence i liked: “If you could see your whole life from start to finish, would you change things?”

Only a handful of songs are on my phone

When i was young, i liked country and pop music a lot. It gave me comfort and hope, when i was sad and lost. But when i got older, i realized there is nothing new coming anymore. Sometimes there is a song popping up i find interesting enough to play it on repeat for a while, and let it absorb all the feelings and thoughts i have at the moment, like a temporary distraction. But at the end, i still have the same music on my “smart” phone. Some of them are with me since many years, because it’s familiar and soothing:

  • Song “On the Nature of Daylight” by Max Richter, 2004
  • Song “Ashes Of My Paradise” by Kelly Sweet, 2012
  • Song “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara, 2013
  • Songs “That would be enough” & “Burn” by Phillipa Soo, 2015
  • Album “The Corrs Unplugged” by The Corrs, 1999
  • Album “Vivaldi: The Four Seasons” by Janine Jansen, 2005
  • Album “Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto” by Janine Jansen, 2008

The first time i heard “I Was a Fool” by Tegan and Sara was in London, while i was eating breakfast at McDonalds. When i noticed the music from their speakers, i immediately took my phone out to record a piece of it, so i could download the song later. The first time i heard “Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto” was in the movie “Le Concert” with actress Mélanie Laurent as violinist Anne-Marie Jacquet. I really liked that movie and it made me cry a little too.

Around 1998, i got my first “mobile” phone, a Siemens E10. I remember how friend Luis from school called me after the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center got hit by planes in 2001. We both were sitting in front of our TVs and talking to each other via phones to make sure it wasn’t a bad dream. Back then, they weren’t capable of a lot of things, because making a call almost everywhere was enough. And the mobile phones couldn’t play music either, but getting custom ringtones was a thing.

In November 2003, i got a iPAQ H2210, and a little later as backup, a iPAQ H1930 Pocket PC by Hewlett-Packard. The most annoying thing about them was their volatile memory. This was long before i got my first Apple iPod in 2005. At some point in between, i even had a Palm PDA, but i just couldn’t go back to a monochrome display. In October 2007, i got my first smartphone with a physical keyboard, the Nokia E61i. My first iPhone was a white 3GS with 16GB in 2009. After three years, in May 2012, i got my first Android, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. And over the years, i have seen fewer phone booths being around, till they were gone.

The Lighthouse Technique

I watch most videos speed up to at least 1.25x, because life on earth is short, and many scenes are longer than they need to be. In the past couple of days, i binge-watched TV series Arrow, Gotham, and Supergirl. I like Willa Holland as Thea Queen and Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen. In “Arrow” they are siblings who are trying to right the wrongs and save the city from the crime.

When i was young, i loved the Batman character, because he is a real human with a lot of anger towards everything and nothing, just like me, but with a lot of expensive tools to get things done. This is why i enjoyed TV series “Gotham” with a young Bruce Wayne slowly becoming the Batman from my childhood. The cast is doing a great job in portraying a modern version of the Batman story.

The first time i got introduced to the franchise was through Christopher Reeve as Superman over two decades ago. I love Calista Flockhart since i watched her in “Ally McBeal” and she is back again in the TV series “Supergirl” as Cat Grant. Together with Melissa Benoist as Kara Zor-El she is trying to change the world and protect the planet.

I do not fully agree with Cat, because if you want something just go for it, but her choice of words is funny nonetheless: “If you must, read my 1998 guide to finding love entitled The Lighthouse Technique: Shine Your Light and Let Him Come to You. And before you know it, he’ll be docked in your port. Not my best work but it did get me a spot on Oprah.”

Why i was never in a hair salon

My mother has always cut my hair, with only scissors and a comb, which is why i never was in a hair salon. And since late 2014, i cut it myself, because i got a electric hair cutter with an adjustable comb for different lengths, the Norelco 7100 Hair Clipper by Philips. It’s convenient and i have never known anything else. And when i look at the hair salon prices, it is totally worth investing in a electric hair cutter, at least for men with short hair. The only thing that makes trouble is the cleaning. All the hair on the floor requires a vacuum cleaner, and a bit of manual work around the bathtub drain.

Time travelling in june 2017

In the last couple of days, i binge-watched three time-related TV series i liked: Frequency, Wayward Pines, and Timeless. The first two shows are not directly about time travel, and rather more about manipulating history, or fast-forwarding it. “Frequency” tells the story of a detective in 2016 who discovers that she can speak to her deceased father in 1996 via his old ham radio. She tries to save his life, but this changes the present unpredictably.

“Wayward Pines” is about people who go to sleep for 2000 years to survive the “abbies”. A doctor predicted that humans will evolve through a series of genetic mutations. And he wants to skip this violent time period, and chooses people with special qualities to rebuild mankind after they have woken up.

In “Timeless” a time machine gets stolen. And a history professor, a soldier, and an engineer are trying to get it back. But the thief wants to rewrite American history. And they learn that each of them are part of a much bigger plan by a mysterious organization that funded the development.

I watched the TV series “Outlander” too, but i skipped many parts, because it didn’t kept me interested enough. I like actress Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a nurse in 1945, who time-travels back to Scotland in 1743. The scenery, the costumes and the story are not that bad, but i’m just not in the mood for the eighteenth century.

Everyone dies alone

Two days ago, i decided to get me a BitTorrent client “in the cloud” for a month again, just like last year. This way i can catch up with all the shows and movies i missed. Because the Amazon Prime Video Catalog is quite limited, and the cost of all series and movies would be too high otherwise.

I just saw the last episodes of the TV series “Person of Interest” and it made me cry. I watched it since 2011, and i love it, especially actress Amy Acker as hacker “Root” and actor Michael Emerson as software engineer “Harold Finch”. But i really like all characters in team “The Machine”. Because they make it complete. The story is about trust, purpose and friendship, wrapped in a contemporary battle between good and evil.

I can relate to Root and Harold, because i’m deep into technology as much as they are, and i like both of their views on the world. I enjoyed Person of Interest, because of the ideas, and they keep it interesting with a lot of care. There is not much more to ask for, because of everything i didn’t know i wanted.

I’m going to pick the final words i liked: “Everyone dies alone. But if you mean something to someone, if you help someone, or love someone, if even a single person remembers you, then maybe you never really die. And maybe it isn’t the end at all.”

Binge watching in mid 2017

I like the idea of time travel since i watched the “Back to the Future” movies as a child. It made me love science fiction and it made me aware that there is a link between cause and effect. The present can influence the future. And this is why it was a pleasure to binge-watch TV series “Heroes” and “12 Monkeys”. I already saw all episodes of Heroes before, but this time i got to watch it in German.

After i decided to stop myself going crazy on Jessica Clements, i wasn’t able to make a clean cut. Instead i binge-watched her daily vlogs with Erik Conover, from a time when they were still a YouTube couple. I unsubscribed this kind of channels a long time ago, but i liked Jessica Clements enough to make it worthwhile.

I really enjoy actress Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in the TV series “Homeland”, because i can relate to her passion, paranoia, and obsession. Her mental state causes pain to her and those she loves, but it allows her to find the truth. She decides to go off her meds, because she knows it will give her the intense focus she needs to figure out who is trying to kill her.

Normally i don’t watch horror TV series a lot, but sometimes there is an exception to the rule, like with “The Strain”. Back then, when i was young, i watched “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” because of Sarah Michelle Gellar. But The Strain has more to offer and is more mature. I only managed to watch it in the second attempt, because some scenes are quite creepy.

My first celebrity crushes

In 1999, i saw the movie “Notting Hill” several times, because of the love story with Julia Roberts as main character. I really liked how this regular guy got the chance to fall in love with that famous actress. After twists and turns, with some ups and downs, there was an happy end. I wanted it to happen again and again. Because it gave me hope, and the cinema is in walking distance, just a few minutes from our rented apartment in Bad Godesberg. I even bought it later on VHS tape. And the movie was probably the reason why i liked London so much in the first place.

But there was another woman that got my attention in 1999. Britney Spears came with “Born to Make You Happy” into my life and made me buy too many of her CD’s in hindsight. Watching music videos on TV was not enough. I had Britney Spears posters on the wall and i visited two of her concerts, in 2000 at Cologne and in 2004 at Oberhausen. Back then, my English was not that good, but i liked her music anyway. I even made a fan page with biography, news and pictures. But later she got messed up with the wrong people and i lost interest in her. It was still a great time, because it distracted me from the problems at school.

My first digital graphic drawing tablet

In late 2006, i started to study geography at the University of Bonn, and i had to pick two subsidiary subjects. I chose geology and urban planning. At some point, i had contact with “Computer Aided Design”, also known as CAD, and i decided to buy a digital graphic drawing tablet because of this. In February 2007, i bought a Wacom Intuos 3 Tablet, and i still use it today. It’s more natural and much faster than a regular mouse. Five years before, in January 2002, i already got a 12000U Tablet by Aiptek Hyperpen, but it was not practical, and in hindsight, definitely not as smooth to use as a Wacom Tablet.

Shortly after i got my first “real” computer by IBM in August 1998, i stopped using traditional pointing devices anyway, because of the Logitech Marble Trackball, which is more precise and takes less space. I even played “Counter-Strike Source” with a setup like this for a while. My first “junior” computer was a JC100/01 for children from 3 years, intended for playing and learning, made by Hartung Spiele Berlin, for a price of 179 Deutsche Mark. According to the packaging, one set of batteries lasts for around 200 hours, but i never got that far.

At the moment, i have three input devices on my “Alex desk” table from Ikea, a Wacom Intuos Tablet, a Cherry Strait Keyboard, and a Logitech T650 Touchpad. I’m left-handed, and that’s why it’s arranged that way. I do not draw a lot on the computer anymore, but i still edit photos and create graphics sometimes, while i sit on my “Markus Swivel” chair by Ikea. FYI, in January 2003, i got my first SETI@home certificate for completing 100 workunits, and in July the same year, my second for 250.

My first DSLR camera was a EOS 350D

I loved to make photos ever since i can remember. But film-based cameras were expensive during their active lives. This is why i had a lot to catch up on in 2000, when i got my first digital camera, a Kodak DC3800 with 2.1 megapixels. It was the beginning of many more cameras in my career. First i used them at school to make photos and videos for presentations. And later as photojournalist i documented history being written.

In 2005, i got my first DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 350D with 8 megapixels. It has enabled me to capture a wider range of situations. It gave me access to events and humans i would not have seen in real life otherwise. At that time not many people had a DSLR camera, so i was special and ahead of my time. It was a quite unique moment, because there was hardly any competition, unlike these days. And this is why i have made steps from photography towards videography in the last years.


  • 2000: Kodak DC3800 (2.1MP)
  • 2003: Canon PowerShot A20 (2.1MP)
  • 2004: Canon PowerShot A85 (4MP)
  • 2005: Canon EOS 350D (8MP)
  • 2009: Canon EOS 7D (17.9MP)
  • 2011: Canon EOS 5D Mark II (21.1MP)
  • 2012: GoPro Hero2
  • 2014: Canon PowerShot ELPH-150 IS
  • 2014: GoPro Hero3 White
  • 2014: Sony DSC-RX100 III
  • 2015: GoPro Hero4 Silver
  • 2016: Sony DSC-RX100 IV