2017-12-10

Why i never learned to swim

My father helped me to learn riding a bike. It happened on a empty playground and later on a car park near our restaurant in Ratingen, sometime between 1993 and 1996. In hindsight probably quite late. Because at primary school we were already learning the rules for biking on public streets, but i didn’t even know how to ride a bike. Maybe this is the reason why i never broke a single bone: I'm just not into risking my life. I never smoked either, for obvious reasons. But i passed the test, supervised by the police, and since then, i really loved to move around like that.
I took part in bike rides and was even photographed once for the local newspaper, when i visited the "Schützenfest" in Ratingen on my bike. And i cycled several times from Bad Godesberg to Cologne, along the Rhine river, a distance of about 40 km. But in December 2015, i sold my latest bike on eBay, because there is nothing out there anymore: The human overpopulation is knocking on the door, and i have no skin in the game. It was not the right size for me anyway: My "OCR Zero" by Giant from 2004 became a waste of space. Nevertheless, one year later, i was interested in the "Kwiggle" folding bike, claiming to be "the most compact bicycle", which is why i backed the Kickstarter campaign, without success for founder Karsten Bettin in early 2017. The label "Made in Germany" is not enough these days.
I never learned how to swim, and i almost drowned the first time i tried, but friend Luis Diaz from school pulled me back to the pool edge, sometime between 1999 and 2002 in Bonn. No one makes it alone, really. Years later, i wanted to learn it, this time with my father. Back then, in 2009, it seemed like a good way to lose weight. But i have decided that i will not pursue it any further, since i found another path to get it down, just by eating healthy. And the only time when swimming skills could have been useful was in May 2006, when schoolmate Oona Frick and i were invited by friend Daniel Tiedge to go sailing for a week in the Netherlands. This was very generous and nice of him. I have never done that before and afterwards, because it’s quite exclusive. There you have it, i’m going to sink with the Titanic.
2017-12-06

Why i never got into reading books

Since my parents native language is not German and i didn’t learn to read Chinese, i never got into liking to read books for fun. I was only at school forced to consume a lot of literature, especially in the last three years at the "Oberstufe" from 2003 to 2006. For my "Abitur" at the Gesamtschule in Bad Godesberg, i had to choose "Deutsch" as advanced course, which made me enjoy "The Tin Drum" by writer Günter Grass, who i photographed many times at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2009 and 2010. Since 1998, i was already reading and writing a lot through coding on the computer, just by learning and doing it, or the other way around: I developed a variety of messaging and publishing platforms on the web. And since around 2005, i had with "Google Reader" a powerful RSS tool in my hands. At the peak, i was subscribed to over 600 blogs.
After Google discontinued it in 2013, i moved over to the RSS Reader by AOL. I removed dead sources and still had over 500 blogs filling my stream with things relating to life on Earth: It's a lot more personal than only reading posts from large magazines. With the years, i refined the incoming articles and got down to around 400 sources. In December 2017, AOL announced to shut down their Reader, which made me clean up my subscriptions once again, to a total of over 200 blogs. And even with that lower number, every couple of minutes i get a handful of new articles loading into my stream. Instead of giving you all these RSS feeds i curated, which would go beyond the scope of this post, i publish here a complete list of my over 50 podcast subscriptions in iTunes, just to give you an idea:
Accidental Tech Podcast, America's Test Kitchen Radio, Arts and Ideas, Bookworm, Call Your Girlfriend, Common Sense with Dan Carlin, Cooking Issues, Current Geek, Dan Carlin's Hardcore History, DateFails with Kate Quigley, Disruption, Freakonomics Radio, Good Food, Good Life Project, Keith and The Girl comedy talk show, Ladies Who Lunch, Lady Lovin, LadyGang, Let's Get Real, MacBreak Weekly, Material, Modern Love, No Agenda, Quit, Radiolab, Recode Decode hosted by Kara Swisher, Security Now, Story Grid Podcast, Strangers, Stuff You Missed in History Class, The Book Review, The Complete Guide to Everything, The Critical Path, The Dana Gould Hour, The Girls on Games Podcast, The IGN Movies Show, The Incomparable, The JV Club with Janet Varney, The Naked Scientists Podcast, The Nerdist, The Partially Examined Life Philosophy Podcast, The Splendid Table, The Sporkful, The Sword and Laser, The Talk Show With John Gruber, The Writers Panel, This American Life, This Week in Google, This Week in Science, This Week in Tech, Totally Married, Triangulation, Truth & Iliza, WTF with Marc Maron Podcast, Weird Adults With Little Esther, Windows Weekly, and You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes.
2017-12-01

Why i liked listening to this old guy

When i was really young, i discovered musician Heino while shopping with my parents. Back then, "compact discs" were a new thing, at least for us, because we didn’t have a CD player. This is why i was looking through shelves with "cassette tapes". I saw this old blonde guy with black sunglasses on the cover art standing out, and i made my parents buy it for me. Since then, i kept looking out for him, because i wasn’t exposed to a lot of music, except for the tapes my parents already had, and i liked to pick things i already know.
I got my first audio CD from our landlord Manfred Camphausen in Ratingen as christmas present. It was a album from Backstreet Boys, 1996. I was around ten years old, and we still didn’t have a CD player at the time, so it took me a couple of months to expose myself to a new world of music. Because i wasn’t listening to radio, or liking any specific songs at all, except for German "Schlager" in form of Heino, also known as Heinz Georg Kramm.
Back then, i was already occupied with Lego bricks and Lego trains, watching TV, taking things apart, collecting things, being outdoors, doing camping in the garden, biking, and discovering new places on my own. My mother was obsessed with Tetris, but after moving to Ratingen, i had the Nintendo "Game Boy" to myself. And i played with RC cars from my uncle, who came from Hong Kong for three years to help in the kitchen of our restaurant, till 1996. Later, in Bonn, i had RC boats and even a RC helicopter, long before quadcopters became a thing. But i learned the hard way that some things are too costly for me to maintain. I never played like the other kids, probably because i saw how exhausting my parents worked, and i didn't understand why.
Around ten years later, in July 2007, i was visiting his coffee shop in Bad Münstereifel for the first time, together with friends from school, Melanie Jülich and Matthias Kleist. It was nothing too special, except the owner was Heino, and the decoration was targeting to fans like me. I got a piece of cake and some photos as souvenir. I already lost track of him at that time, and my music taste changed, but it was fun to warm up memories, especially with people i like.
2017-11-29

Things i never get tired of: 1937 to 1990

Since a couple of years i’m building a collection of movies and series i liked in the past. A handful of them were published before i was born, but are still good after all this time, because they bring joy and meaning. Unlike most popular music these days, cinema is constantly reinventing itself through new technologies. Things are getting easier to achieve and are pushing the boundaries even further. This is why i like to make videos myself. There is more than one way to do it, just like in the Perl programming language. But with understanding comes the prediction, and when i get tired of the present or the future, i like to watch these movies from the past:
2017-11-28

Things i never get tired of: 1993 to 2016

There are not many movies i want to see again after some time has passed. It needs a lot of care in the storytelling to make me come back. But once it’s in my heart, i hold it tight, to make it a part of me. Some movies i may forget, just to be remembered after a couple of years, when i feel lost. They make me refocus on things i have not valued enough, more than any written text could, because "a picture is worth a thousand words", and if it's sort of entertaining, even better. I like seeing lives broken down into moments, and trying to make the connections, the things that explain why they did what they did. I wrote a Windows batch script file to get all names automatically sorted like this:
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
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