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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Karafka

Karafka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warning: the following post may prove to be a complete waste of time for the reader. If you are the more philosophical inclined person, you might like it, but be informed: this post has only been written because I felt like it.

Life is, in my opinion, a one-time experience. I’m not saying anything about having lived before, or the possibility that one may have a life after this one. You might, for the sake of this argument, consider all those lives stringed together into a long snake of lives, counting the whole snake as one life.

There is no way that you can relive any single moment of your life in exactly the same way. Every moment that happens, will be just that one moment. The next moment is a completely different one, and all that remains is just a memory.

The question is: what to do with all those moments? How to make sure that not a single one goes to waste? What makes one activity more valuable than another? Is pleasure or fun the goal to pursue? Am I better off, trying to make a name that will be remembered? Or would it be better if I try to leave some heritage behind that is useful for generations to come?

Added to that, the real reason to do anything at all might not be the reason that I think it is. Do I watch a comedy because I like it? Because I want to be distracted from reality? Do I do stuff because I am addicted to it (or its consequences)?

And is there any use in contemplating all this, if the only effect is, that it made some more moments pass on by, having served only to be wasted towards no conclusion at all?

My goal is, to enjoy and be aware of as many moments as I can. I think the reason for this life is to live it. But I might try to dig deeper into this.

Not wanting to start a discussion on personal life views and the truth in any of them, I will just ask you: what do you like to do of which you are certain that it is no waste of time?

I’ve been lazy all my life. I found out early in life, that I didn’t want to rewrite my code, put too much time in doing homework, or move more than I had to. That doesn’t really sound like a good thing, but it has its benefits. For instance, trying to reuse stuff that I wrote made me a better programmer, even though refactoring still takes some time. And hating homework had me paying way more attention in class, giving me oceans of time to read books during test week.

But about that moving thing… yeah. Could we just skip that part, please? Oh wait, we can’t, I already made up a title for this piece. Well okay. Not moving gave me time to sit and learn new stuff (did I mention that I like to read?), but it also gives me lower stats on CON, STR and DEX. And even though I grew up in a family that loved walking, that was about all the exercise I got (except for PhysEd). resulting in bad form, slightly disappointed looks in the mirror and, well, as a Quality Man, I won’t have any of that.

Since a couple of months, though, I’ve been trying to do something about that. towards the end of last year I picked running as the way to improve my fitness, using a great podcast (in Dutch), recommended to me by a co-worker who had used them himself. The running schedule fitted nicely, and my being lazy fitted right in. Why? I had decided to walk the 30 minutes from the railway station to the office each day, and back again. So I could not skip a day if I felt lazy: I would be going that stretch anyway so there was absolutely no barrier (except, maybe, for the winter). Having decided on this, I made good progress in the course of a couple of weeks. But then I felt my shinbones being uneasy. Even when I didn’t run, they would hurt while walking. After a break of a couple of weeks I tried again, but the hurting returned. So could this be the end of my moving story? (I know, bad pun)

Then I remembered that last year, I got a bicycle from a friend. And I had told her that I would try and use it to go to my work. But a 30 minute walk is about 20 minutes of running (which was optimal for training), and could be extended by going an extra block. On the bicycle, that would be more like 5/6 minutes though. Hardly a challenge, and it would therefor take ages to gain enough XP to level up. That’s when I decided to go all the way. 38.7 kilometers, or 24 miles, is about 2 hours on the bicycle. That means that I leave home at 6:00 to arrive at 8:00, work for 8.5 hours and can be back home by 18:30. And I am proud to be able to tell you: yesterday I cycled to work, and today I rode my bicycle back home. I have the RunKeeper records to prove it.

I’m glad I did this, even though I will take a rest day in between, next time. Monday I’ll be off to work again, and thanks to my laziness I will not even walk to the railway station to buy a train ticket 😉

What keeps you moving? Are you lazy as well?

This could have been a page on my wish list for life. One of the things that I enjoy doing is cooking. I like mixing ingredients, stirring the pots, tasting and smelling the aromas and the smiles on my friends’ faces when they can finally eat. Part of this stems from my Indonesian heritage, part of this because I like to eat myself.

Then why does it take a sniper-paparazzo to get some decent proof of my expressing myself in the way of this art? Is it the looming of the dishes that await me when I’m finally done? Should we blame the hard-pressed schedule of a person who tries to fit in many more things in their lives than humanly possible? Could it be the drag of going through the motions for someone who could just as easily buy a (kind of) wholesome all-in-one prepared meal from the store? Or can we all contribute this to the feeling of loneliness that is explicitly tangible when cooking a dinner for one?

I guess it’s not really one of these, and especially not some of them. But whatever the reasons may be, tonight I’m going to cook another Indonesian meal for four (that is, if my co-resident will join us, as I’m going to use some sherry in the “ulam”, and he has vowed not to drink any alcohol for a year).

There will be:

  • fried noodles (these will be fun)
  • pointed cabbage soup with santen (coconut) and perhaps some green beans
  • Quorn pieces, marinaded in sweet, spicy sherry sauce and leek rings

Now to find someone who will do the dishes for me…

Update: At least some table-guests liked my food. Nothing was wasted, and I did cook for the extra unexpected visitor (who again didn’t show up this time).

Let me get this straight: I am a morning person. I love to get up early, and when I do, I feel energetic and happy all day. When it’s getting dark outside, I start yawning, and I know I want to go to bed. It’s only the lure of the series I’m following that keeps me from turning in at eight.

And I love working out. I love planning it, but certainly also don’t mind working up a sweat. It’s one reason to feel good about myself all day long. (One of the other reasons is: solving some nice programming-related problem, in case you started wondering whether I really am that computer nerd that you thought me to be). It’s like that extra dose of energy.

And I love working out in the mornings, no doubt. No-one else is awake yet, nobody to distract me from my goals (and nobody to judge my actually following my plan or not, so it’s really all my own ***), the whole day still before me after I shower, watching the faces in the train to work, being all sleepy whereas I’m fully awake.

Then why, I ask you, why did I sleep in again this morning, preferring the bed to the floor, the lying down to the pushing up, the waking late to the jumping around?

One missed opportunity. But there’s still tomorrow to catch up.

Within Temptation logo projected on the stage curtains

So, last night I went to the theatre and enjoyed the latest concert by Within Temptation. What a great show! I don’t go to that many concerts, so I may not be used to good shows, but I can say for certain that this was high-standing musical entertainment.

The outstanding performance by Sharon (what a magical voice!) and the other musicians (quality, it’s very good to see people play even the most difficult riffs, rhythms and other constructs almost effortlessly) is accompanied by a well-composed light show, and really entertaining music videos that tell the story of the music with even more persuasion.

What I really love about WT’s music, is the message of “trust in a higher force”, that makes you want to hold on again. There are fewer signs of hatred against certain aspects of organised religion, and things feel more targeted against specific people who make other people’s lives unnecessarily harder. That said, even hate and anger can be powerful forces that can be used to bring good and harmony, and Sharon seems to want to tell that those emotions should not be ignored and put away, but not applied blindly.

I really enjoyed myself, and look forward to hearing and seeing more of this all. Thank you, Within Temptation!