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.
2017-08-19

My relation to people in white coats

I wore between around 1993 till around 2002 dental braces, because my mother has a underbite. And to make it less likely to happen to me, my parents decided to put me through years of horror. Because they wanted just the best for me. Depending on the braces or retainers i got at that time, it was a pain to brush my teeth. This is why i don't know how to really smile, while others have done it their whole lives. And i developed quite late a brushing and flossing routine. Luckily, back then, the health insurance covered all costs.
At some point, in my first years of school between 1993 and 1996, i got eyeglasses, but i never got used to them, so i didn’t wear any till around 1998. Because my sight is not too bad, with my right eye at -1,00 and my left eye at -0,50. But eventually, i was at the eye doctor again, and she gave me a new eyeglass prescription. Since then, i wear them and they are part of my identity, just like Clark Kent, also known as Superman. At least, this is what i like to think. And the weight is not an issue anymore, because the frame is made from titanium by Titanflex Eschenbach.
I was a hypochondriac for some time, but i got it under control. I still don’t like to touch door handles, toilet flush buttons, public transport handholds, and i can’t accept food workers handling money and touching food without wearing gloves. This is why i avoid most food vendors, and make it myself, preferably with organic ingredients.
2017-08-15

Dying in front of me up in the air

It was the second time i experienced someone dying. The first time, a person jumped from the Cologne cathedral. Years ago, in late 2014, i could feel and hear the bang it made when the body smashed into the ground. Now, in mid 2017, a passenger of my flight from Hong Kong to Frankfurt got some critical medical condition. My first impression of him i got was while we were filling the bin with our carry-on baggage. He was a solo traveller and already a bit old. He seemed to be nice and patient. I think he even smiled, because i performed some serious Tetris skills to get our stuff into the bin over the seats. He was definitely happy that i got him enough space for his bag.
After this, we ate our first meal of the 12 hours flight. And at some point, i saw his head and left arm hanging over into the aisle from the seat in front of me. I thought he was just really tired. The flight attendant, who was checking him out visually, thought this too. Because our plane started after midnight. But hours later, i came back from the toilet and saw a lot of action around me. I realized, he is probably dead, because he was for a while like that.
At the check-in counter in the airport, i got a seat at the end of the plane, next to my mother. They brought the body behind us, where enough space was available, right in front of the toilet and next to the kitchen. I could experience the whole thing, how they tried to get him back alive. But only his beer belly was still moving. And after they gave up, we got new seats, while we were still in the air, to make room for the professionals on the ground later. In the end, i got to fly for at least six hours with a dead person, literally close to heaven.
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