Holding a mirror up to the sky

In 2006, i started to study geography, but after two and a half semesters i stopped visiting the university, because of my burn out. Officially, however, i was a geography student at the University of Bonn for eight years, because of the discounted tickets for public transport and other perks. FYI, as a city child, i never felt the need for a driver's license.
I realized i was not confident with the decision and i could not tell people about it. I didn’t want them to worry about me, have questions, or judge me, being wrong or crazy. I was so fragile, and they could have broken me. I was embarrassed and i didn’t want anyone to see me as i was judging others. I had to put things into perspective, to let everything go i supposed to do. I asked myself, what that even mean, why do i care, and it was so freeing that nothing really matters anymore.
Between 2007 and 2009, i wrote two books about real life, philosophy, and art. I had several attempts to start a diary before, and they were the result of it. I published them via lulu, a online self publishing book and ebook service. There are not many copys of my books out there, because they only got printed on demand. At least two friends from my time at school bought them, and i’m grateful for this. I learned a lot while writing about others and myself. It was like holding a mirror up to the sky and seeing everything from above, but still standing on planet Earth.
I wanted to understand others in relation to myself better than anyone else can. I didn’t want to waste my time for something i wasn’t ready to be. I didn’t want to hate myself later for not falling in love with myself. I love the idea of being in love, but i was the only one who is available. Not just because i was overweight, but it was part of it. I learned that i can’t picture life without me, and that i’m complete, even when i’m alone. But i have dreams, and don’t know how. I'm a hopeless romantic, but i know it cost something to get somewhere.

I was a member of the McDonalds Club

I loved junk food like nothing else, because my childhood was like a roller coaster ride. Everything changed all the time, and McDonalds or Pizza Hut were delivering a consistency, which was missing in my life. This is why i ended up with 110 kg body weight and i had to do something about it in 2009. I did not feel well in my body and decided to get rid of everything i don't need. In less than one year i got it down to around 65 kg, with a body height of 175 cm.
Back then, i was a member of the McDonalds Junior Club. This way i got letters from them with vouchers for a free meal on every birthday. In Germany the happy meal was called "Überraschungstüte", literally translated as "surprise bag", because of the toy you get inside. In hindsight it’s nothing special, but as a child i wanted it to be my whole world. I was wild and free, but luckily i ended up like me today, which makes me relate to: "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."
When i was around ten years old, i regularly took the tram to get from the little town Ratingen to the big city Düsseldorf, just to watch Lego sculptures in department stores and wander around the shopping streets to the next McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Alone without anyone, like most of the time, because i didn’t feel something was missing. It was just normal and it was all i knew. At some point, i even tried to sell self-made bracelets on the streets, but nothing came of it.

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 and see all the episodes on VHS tape. 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 April 2004. I thought they would be worth something later, but i was wrong. FYI, i had to search through my mail archive in Mozilla Thunderbird to find the year of purchase. And i try to scan everything, which makes finding dates like this easier, as you can see on my blog.
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, because of my teacher Mrs. Klein: None of this would have happened without her. 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 for the student newspaper. 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 "indie" journalism. Because the numbers have shown that most don't care. And 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 1998, when i got a dial-up 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 have 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. And internet access via telephone modem was slow and expensive. Eventually, 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.
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