2017-11-13

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.
2017-11-05

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.
2017-10-05

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.
2017-09-15

Alternatives to Anthony Bourdain

After i finished editing, remastering and uploading my latest origami crane videos, i binge-watched three travel-food channels on YouTube. In 2006, i discovered Anthony Bourdain in "No Reservations", and since then, i love this kind of format and style. I dreamed about travelling around the world, but this was all i got: 142 episodes full of travel and food. I saw so many different people, and how they lived, i wouldn't have otherwise. I liked the point of view of Anthony Bourdain, but every show will end at some point, and so did his. Luckily, with the rise of YouTube, people can put all kind of content out there, and some of it do fill the empty spot he left behind.
All three channels i binge-watched are run by Canadians. Not necessarily by my own choice, but rather by chance. It does makes sense too, since i watch almost only videos in English. And Canadians travel more abroad, and are perceived as friendlier, than the average American. I grew up with German television, but i don’t have a TV anymore since a long time. This made me learn and love the diversity i get through content in English. Because there is just more of the good stuff on the internet than in any other language.
I really enjoy "Samuel and Audrey" and "Simon and Martina": Married couples travelling around and trying local food. Their happiness feels real and is contagious, unlike other YouTubers, who are more bad actors than good people. I almost didn’t watch "The Food Ranger", also known as Trevor James. Because he was smiling too much at first. But his "local friend", also known as "Chu Chu" from Chengdu, made me keep watching his videos. Then i got his point of view and it made me subscribe to his channel. But all these YouTubers are not in the same league as Anthony Bourdain. He is just hard to beat for many reasons.
2017-08-24

Lost in Time

If you hit the right spots, i can be quite emotional. And actress Cecilia Cheung as "Siu Wai" and actor Sean Lau as "Dai Fai" are telling a great story about lost and love. I discovered the movie "Lost in Time" almost a decade ago. And you are probably not going to watch it, unless you understand Hong Kong-Chinese, also known as Cantonese. But there is a little hope, because English subtitles are available. I like the movie so much, that i actually have two DVDs of "Lost in Time", because i didn’t found my first copy from 2008, so i bought it a second time in 2010, just to cry a little bit again. Last year, i made a digital copy of the DVD via "HandBrake", because i don’t want to let it go that easily.
A week ago, i was with my mother for three weeks in Hong Kong. And i was a passenger of these iconic minibuses several times. They are an essential part of the story, which makes it feel even more authentic. Because "Siu Wai" takes on her fiancé's minibus business, after he has been killed in an accident, to support his son "Lok Lok". Siu Wai struggles and finds a friend in "Dai Fai", another minibus driver, who was at the scene of her fiancé's accident. Dai Fai assists Siu Wai by taking care of Lok Lok and teaching her the rules of driving a minibus in Hong Kong. As Dai Fai becomes more involved with Siu Wai and her daily challenges, their relationship is getting more complicated. Now you just have to watch it yourself, because i’m not going to spoil it for you.
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