I collected The Simpsons comics

I have been collecting postage stamps ever since i can remember. Some regular customers of our restaurant brought me their stamps as gift and they have made my collection even larger. I often sat next to the aquarium in the restaurant and spend my time there. This way i got stamps from places i never heard of. In school i exchanged stamps with schoolmates and got even more diversity. But we moved in 1998 and i had to focus on other things.

The Simpsons was always something i was looking forward to. It has followed me everywhere. I even did crazy things to record all the episodes. Back then, nothing was automatic. And at some point, i bought a comic from my favorite TV series for the first time. But i didn’t get every new issue, because they were expensive. And my other passion was to watch movies in the cinema, which isn’t cheap either. This is why i bought a box full of old The Simpsons comics on eBay in 2004. I thought they would be worth something later, but i was wrong. I had to search through my mail archive to find the year of purchase.

But i’m happy that i collected stamps. It gave me a wider view on the world and got me interested in history too. This is one of the reasons why i decided to study geography at university. It all fits together and there are still pieces left. The stamps are not worth a lot, but i have many memories associated with them. They come from a time when i did not have much to worry about. A somewhat different world than today.

How i got into photojournalism

Two years after moving back to the place i was born, i got into journalism at school. Since 2000, i visited several courses to learn how to run a newspaper. But it was never really successful with my schoolmates. Because of this, i decided to do it alone, from creating content to printing the pages. I didn’t make any money from advertising, but at least i was running a news media, and got experience in delivering content to the public.

Five years later, in 2005, i got into photojournalism, because i was successful in transforming my print journalism into online journalism, and had enough skills with my DSLR camera. At some point, i applied for a press pass, and visited a variety of events, like concerts, politics and sports, to write about them and make photos. I got to shoot many actors, athletes, celebrities, singers, politicians, royals, and even the pope, while i was covering whatever they were doing.

But after over 100.000 photos, i got tired and took a break from making journalism. Because at the end, i wasn’t creating anything, just reporting what other people were doing. I have felt that i am at least as good as they are, and should show it to the world. This is why i focused more on myself, and started to make YouTube videos, where i present some of my skills i acquired, or aspire to be better in.

How i started with Perl programming language

Back then, in 1999, when i got a internet connection for my IBM computer for the first time, i found “redseven”. It was a online community from TV station “ProSieben” in Germany. They had chatrooms, guestbooks, forums and boards. At that time, i already started to build my own website with HTML and Javascript, just by try and error, without any programming skills. But i was quite limited with it.

And this is where at some point Daniel Rüd introduced me to the Perl Programming Language. I’ve met him in the chat and we became good friends since then. If i had any friends, most of them were older than me, because i was different, and they didn’t understand why. Back then, i was at school, and he was working as an IT person at a large bank.

This was before 2001, when the dot-com bubble was still not at its peak. Sadly i came too late for the whole thing and i never got a piece of the cake. But then again, i was really young. At some point, Daniel Rüd made me a FTP account for his web server, so i could upload my first Perl projects and try them out over the internet. He was really nice and helped me with everything. This is how i got my feet wet, and since then, i never stopped writing code in Perl, even when he moved on to the PHP programming language for his projects.

And at some point, i run my own server and started to code my own online community. Since then, most of my projects are based on Perl code. I have tried a lot of different things on the web, but never got something that made me rich financially. I just learned a lot and got a sense of achievement, because i had many thousands of people using my services regularly.

I even told him about the crushes i had on girls at school, and was never that easy on him, but he kept listening to me. Now he has his own family and is working as IT person for a weather forecast service. Thank you to Daniel Rüd, for being friends with me for so long.

Why i stopped playing table tennis

Around the peak of my burn out, would be the short answer. And at some point, i was too old for the youth teams, so i had to do my table tennis training with older people, which was fine, but i felt too young among them. The age gap was quite high. And it was before i got my body weight down to normal. Because of this, i was never really on top, just good enough to play in a team against other clubs.

I always liked it, because there is not much running involved. It was still a fast ball sport, where you have to be awake and focused. But i joined rather late in 2001 a table tennis club. I like to do things quick and precise. Small actions can lead to big points. And this is why i played it for around eight years. I don’t think i wasted my time, because i met pleasant people, who really care about what they do. Something that bound us together for the moment.

But i needed to do a reset on all my activities, because it was too much. I had already merged a couple of my web projects together and discontinued other services completely. And it felt good to have space to move the focus to somewhere else, because i got time to change or start things that made me more happy. I would never have done my trail of thousand origami cranes with all the weight i had back then.

Dissecting my obsession with Jessica Clements

Life is boring if you don’t risk something, even if it’s just your time. In late 2016, i folded over 700 origami cranes in Edinburgh, and had not much to do in the winter. At some point, i watched a video on YouTube with Jessica Clements and her birds, and i just wanted to go down that rabbit hole. I was investing some of my time in her, trying to find out what she is up to, hoping that one day our paths will cross, and share some time together.

My obsessions were always not that bad in hindsight. They gave me a goal to work towards, when i had no destiny in sight. And along the way, i picked up more parts of myself. With growing and learning came a little bit of happiness, by using the potential to fill the emptiness. It made me unique, but made me feel out of place too.

I’m afraid to lose my parents, because i would be alone. I still live with them, because i don’t have anything you would call a job. But only certainty gives confidence to act courageous. This makes me want to build something with others, to create a home where i can stay, just like now.

I’m not going to quit life, because of moments like with Jessica Clements, as glowing in the dark. There is still hope that the world can do better. Maybe she was just a distraction, but i wanted to believe something like this could lead somewhere. I wanted to go crazy on her and see where it goes from there. The future doesn’t look that good, and i end up lonely. This is why i gave it a chance, so it’s less likely to happen.

And at the end, there is still an animal inside, controlled and fed by me. His priorities weren’t the same as mine and he was unconcerned with everything i wanted. At some point in life, i have put him behind thick walls, so he never got to do anything, because i was a little bit faster and braver, with a wider view on the world and more ideas. It’s a lot of work to keep everything tidy, but he is one of the few things that makes me feel alive, and is worth it. He liked Jessica Clements, because she had something that reminded him of me.

Her birds made me go to Dublin

I already mentioned where i started the trail of thousand origami cranes, and if you read between the lines, you may know why too. It has to make sense at the end. Since i’m based in Bonn, there are a handful of countries in my reach, just by taking the train. Deciding where to fold my origami cranes is limited by this. I’m not going to fly far away without your support finding a sponsor. I would like to do it everywhere.

Some places have more motivation behind. Jessica Clements wrote at some point, probably at Saint Patrick’s Day, part of her background is Irish. After a while of thinking, i booked an apartment and tickets for Dublin. I had some travel credits from referring people to Airbnb. This happened last month, before i stopped myself going too far with Jessica Clements two weeks ago. Dublin was already on my radar last year, but there was not enough reason to make me go there, until she came up with birds on her shoulders.

I was geography student at university, and like to travel with meaning behind it. I wanted to have a feeling for the origin of Jessica Clements, her place on planet earth, and from where she got there, to see parts of the bigger picture, and to demystify Jessica Clements a little bit. Since this is better than nothing, i’m good with it, and i can move on. When i understand someone, i can let the person go more easily. This is just how my brain works. It predicts the future with the input i gathered, and since it’s real life, the outcome gives me most of the time room to say good bye.

Maybe the world is bad, but the people in Dublin i met last week were nice to me. Before my trip, i have read horror stories about thieves and violence, but i had a pleasant stay in the capital of Ireland. Although seven days don’t say much. And since i’m not going out at night, i missed the other part of each day too. Some people took a break to say hi, without even knowing me, just because i was there folding origami cranes. They have made my day. It was windy and it rained a lot, but i still got 706 of them done on my Dublin journey.

Finding and keeping friends is hard for me

I moved twice when i was young. Back then, there was no internet available to remain connected to each other. The only option was to be pen pals via snail mail. But i’m not good at communicating about things that don’t matter, because i still had so much to do. And there are limitations on what you can make out of trash. It’s just entertaining for a while. It didn’t make sense to me, and felt like a waste of time.

I had pen pals, but at some point we stopped. I wasn’t equipped with the skills to keep a conversation going. And i didn’t get many chances to learn it either. But i have tried to figure it out. Most people fear to disclose what they feel, and that is why a large amount about who we are is missing. They are scared not to be good enough, what makes them boring, without the failures, desires and craziness.

I have lost friends because i was too hard on them, and myself. The foundations just weren’t substantial enough. No mutual interests or compatibility. But i am grateful for the time i had with them. I was always different, because i lived between worlds. My parents are from Hong Kong, but i was born in Germany. Since the beginning, my thinking was occupied with organizing the different pieces and trying to make sense out of it, like having several jigsaw puzzles mixed together on a roller coaster ride. You can’t expect me to get it right at the same time, but i am striving for it.

Why i quit Jessica Clements

After months of having a crush on Jessica Clements, i stopped editing her photos on Instagram and unsubscribed from her channels on YouTube. It was still a fun routine to add a twist to her photos. Almost like having a relationship with her for a couple of minutes a day, just without the interaction.

But i’m a rational person, i know when time is wasted, and there is no chance that we are getting together. She is a twenty-three years old upcoming super-model in New York, living a dream, and i’m a thirty years old poor artist in Germany, scratching the universe.

Another reason for me to quit Jessica Clements was that she is not a real person. She creates makeup, beauty and fashion content for YouTube. At some point you realize that she is good at making you fall in love with her, like an actress in a hollywood movie. She is a professional, unlike what others think about her. The awkward deer thing she does just makes people want to watch her videos.

While writing this text, i researched different levels of relationships: Acquaintanceship, Companionship, Friendship, Committed Friendship, Primary Friendship, and Life Partner. Jessica Clements is not even someone i would bump into in the course of daily life.

Patrick Swayze and Stacy Widelitz wrote a nice song: “She leads me through moonlight, only to burn me with the sun. She’s taken my heart, but she doesn’t know what she’s done. (..) Just a fool to believe, I have anything she needs. She’s like the wind. I look in the mirror, and all I see, Is a young old man, with only a dream.”

She tried to hook me up

Back then, in 1992, when i was young, my parents took over a restaurant in Ratingen. In the catering trade they had only experiences as waiter, but they did it anyway. My mother did the waitressing and my father did the cooking. This was really hard for them, especially physically, and not worth it.

After six years, in 1998, we closed “Lotus Garten” and moved back to the place i was born: Bad Godesberg, a district of Bonn, in West Germany. But in hindsight it was not that bad, because of the nice people who occasionally took care of me, like my neighbour and the widow. My parents were busy with the restaurant, and they must have known that i needed more than myself.

My neighbour was graphic artist and is the one who inspired me to make art. She often invited me to eat ice cream too. The old widow took me to some of her cultural events, where i got to know that there is always more to see and learn. Without them i would be someone else. I wish i had done more with the opportunities, something that would have lasted into the present. I just didn’t know better.

My neighbour tried once to hook me up with a pretty girl, but i have done nothing, didn’t feel the need for it, because i was too busy with myself. We still kept sending us letters, till she was suddenly gone. Since then, i never had this kind of relationship anymore. It was loyal, unique and special for me, even after all this time we moved away from each other.

Thank you to Susan Flatow, also known as Pan Hsiao Ming, her son Helge Kaminsky-Flatow, for making me learn, and Hedda Beilke, for my love to make art. May both ladies rest in peace.

Being out there among the stars

I just saw a TED video where Chris Anderson is talking with Elon Musk. I’m going to pick the part i liked: Anderson asked him why he wants to build a city on mars. Musk answered that it is important to have a future that is inspiring and appealing. There have to be reasons that you get up in the morning and you want to live. Why do you want to live? What is the point? What inspires you? What do you love about the future?

And if the future does not include being out there among the stars, he finds that incredibly depressing. Anderson said it can feel like a distraction from the problems on earth. Musk thinks that the trend is down to nothing. Technology does not automatically improve. It actually degrade. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better. He is just trying to think about the future and not be sad.