How i lost my chains

Over a decade ago, i had a lot going on on the internet and in real life. I was developing and running several large sites on the web, studying geography at the University of Bonn, writing my first "published" book, and doing many other things, like photojournalism or playing table tennis at DJK Blau-Weiß Friesdorf. I was pretty close to being an average person, except maybe the body weight. But then Dirk from Sömmerda sent me emails in 2007 and a letter from his lawyer in 2008 terrorizing and threatening me to sell him one of my domains for less than it is worth, because he had a registered trademark that was supposed to match the web address, but was just a watery "Bildmarke" with no stand in this case. He had already .de, .net, .at and .ch redirecting to his website, but he was hungry for my .com regardless.
I kept the domain, but i lost my chains, thanks to this troll. I became free by realizing that i'm different and not in any way like these greedy Germans. I wanted to leave this country, because Germany did nothing good for my parents and me. I didn't want to be a part of this "food chain" anymore. I am neither a shark nor a fish. Thanks to my relatives in Hong Kong, who helped me to get the necessary documents, i got the option to go and stay somewhere warm. This alone made me feel better by not being bound to this harsh cold place. Because there are still some nice people left on this planet. I wanted change. And i started with myself by reducing my footprint on the internet and in real life. There you have it, my burn out.

A door to another world

I always liked animated shows and movies, because they were a door to another world, where bad things can happen, but no one gets hurt for real. And since i'm an only child with working parents and few friends, this is how i learned many things in the first place, for better or worse, because life is not a cartoon.
I grew up with Alvin and the Chipmunks, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Hey Arnold, Inspector Gadget, Ninja Turtles, Pink Panther, Pinky and the Brain, Rugrats, Scooby-Doo, Scrooge McDuck, Superman, Sylvester and Tweety, TaleSpin, The Flintstones, The Real Ghostbusters, The Smurfs, Tom and Jerry, Wallace and Gromit, and, as you already know, The Simpsons and Futurama.
But except for Sailor Moon, Anime never found the way to me, until i stopped watching German TV some years ago, and started to get my shows and movies exclusively through the internet, without all these ads and nonsense. Thanks to the "uBlock Origin" ad-blocking browser extension by Raymond Hill. In the past couple of hours i binge-watched and really enjoyed:

Why i'm tired of people

Usually, i like to write here about the rare good people in my life, because it makes me happy talking about them, like the neighbour in my childhood. But to give you a sense of the level of stress i have to live with on a regular basis, i let you know this: Since over a decade, my neighbours around me are "Medizintouristen", basically noisy tourists from the Middle East, living several weeks or months in my town to get their health fixed by German doctors. Just imagine overexcited monkeys escaped from the zoo paying some serious "oil money" to physicians and landlords in Bonn.
And to be fair, occasionally they literally throw a few cents out the window too, if a beggar gets their attention. The whole district is catering to them, and enabling a "parallel society" to grow. If i had the choice, i would be somewhere else, far away from this, because they live in their own time zone, and it is tiring: Some of them don't get started until the sun goes down. And these illiterate people don't know how to use their doorbell and ring ours to come inside.
Back then, when i was going to school, i had for several years annual passes to the Cologne Zoological Garden, just an hour away from Bad Godesberg. I enjoy seeing all these animals from a distance, but i would rather not like to live next to them. At least i’m here with my parents: I love them so much that i even wrote to "Santa Claus" in Himmelpfort and put their well-being on the top of my wish list. Maybe in some way they are monkeys too, but at least we speak the same language. And unlike these animals, my parents have to work really hard for their money.
FYI, in 2010, i had a "Bahncard 100" for one year, which allows unlimited travel on the entire public transport network across Germany. And i got me a annual pass for the Zoo in Berlin because of panda "Bao Bao", who died five years ago, in 2012, as one of the oldest male giant pandas in the world. Back then, i made many photos of him, while i sat on my Walkstool folding chair, with my white Canon lens resting on a Manfrotto monopod: After a long train ride, he made my day, everytime.

Eleven years on Facebook

Eleven years ago, i joined Facebook. I have a love-hate relationship with the site. Back then, i run my own online community, developed by myself, written in Perl, long before Mark Zuckerberg with his "social network". But i never got that many users on my side, and it was only available in German, which might be the reason. There just weren't that many people on the internet at the time. His trick was to make the website a exclusive thing only for students worldwide. In November 2006, i was a geography student at the University of Bonn, and i had my own university email address, the former key to sign up for Facebook. But now everyone can join, it became mainstream, and animated GIF images have become a bit silly.
This is why i never used it that much, just like Twitter. When i was down for some reasons, i occasionally removed people from my friends list, because it didn’t make me happy seeing them there. I had the people close to me on ICQ, "MSN Messenger" and other instant messaging apps anyway. It felt easy to do it. But as i slowly burned out, i cut off all these connections, till i found myself. And there i was, with only two friends on the list. I remembered former schoolmate Matthias Kleist saying that we will always be friends, whatever happens. And he accepted my friend request on Facebook again. But nothing was like before. A lot of time has passed. People change, and i changed. I wanted to say sorry for not having explained myself, and i really missed the time we played board games with Johannes Kalle and David Rahman. They all have jobs now, while i’m still trying to get it all to work. There is not much left to glue back together.
My social activities are quite limited these days, even more than in the past. But i search for the right amount within my means, by looking out for opportunities. Occasionally someone is saying or asking me something, while i’m folding my origami cranes. Just like a couple of days ago on the campus: She asked me where to find the coffee shop. I didn’t know, but we looked each other in the eyes, much longer than we needed to, till she left. It felt good to give and get some attention. It was like seeing a big bang, the birth and death of a universe.

Happy anniversary Thinkpad

My first laptop was manufactured by Hewlett-Packard, second by Sony, third and fourth by IBM. In 2005, the Thinkpad X41 made me stop looking for another maker in this device category. I already had a IBM "Aptiva" desktop computer with Microsoft Windows 95 from 1998 at the time, but i didn’t know "Thinkpads" existed back then. My last Thinkpad is the X60s from 2007. Both are still working today, but only the X60s has Windows 10, while the X41 is still running Windows XP. I was never a real Apple person, although i had a non-Intel "Cheese Grater" Power Mac G5 from 2005, a first-generation iPad, several iPods and iPhones, when Steve Jobs was still alive.
My old Thinkpads are not much heavier than modern notebooks, but many hardware parts can be swapped, like the battery, keyboard, memory, and harddrive, as i have done. I took them to school, press events, university, and basically everywhere, till they got too slow for my needs. I didn't try to run "RollerCoaster Tycoon" or SimCity on them because of this. I would have needed an external CD drive anyway. Since Thinkpads were always on the expensive side, i stopped buying them, although i like their contemporary devices. Without IBM personal computers i probably wouldn’t be here. Thank you and happy anniversary, Thinkpad.
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