Category Archives: Personal

Grey Days

My eyes seek reality
My fingers feel for faith
Touch clean with a dirty hand
I touched the clean to the waste

– Metallica, ‘Low Mans Lyric’

Depression can be crippling sometimes. It makes me end up staring at walls, not even screaming at them, just staring at them. I’ve started reading a lot lately, currently enjoying the great book ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’, by Chris Guillebeau, which has given me a lot of good thoughts. The book deals with finding goals, finding things that really matter to you and then pursuing them. I like that idea a lot, it sounds so powerfull, so invigorating.

Source: Wazafied.blogspot.nl

In the meantime I’m stuck where I’m at and not seeing where to go. I’ve received the results of my personality test and they were not too pretty either. I pretty much am stuck between ‘oppositional’ and ‘avoiding’. Probably I’ve changed bits of that, but I’m not sure where the whole change is going if I don’t find a purpose that I want to follow. I have the accepted research proposal for Helvete magazine (scientific mag about metal), which I should embrace. It’s only a little thing, but it would be a great step for me as a person and affirm my capacities. I don’t seem to be the fast thinger, so I’m also reading a book on that.

I noticed that I’ve been getting reclusive, to the point of me almost hiding from colleagues and friends. I’m even hiding at home from my cat and my girlfriend. When I’m asked what’s wrong, I have to answer truthfully: “I honestly wish I knew…” That’s the worst about it, there’s no puzzle to fix or quest to complete to get through this. I hope the Incubate weekend will bring me a bit more energy and happiness. I’ve started feeling sick today, also not good. Let’s hope it passes soon. It’s hard to describe the feeling of that depression. It’s like a clowd is at the edges of my vision, also pressing down on my brow, making me frown deeply. There’s a general unwill to speak, I’d rather whisper or not talk at all actually. Everything looks black, there’s a powerless feeling in my body and mind. It’s truly grey days I experience. Anyone recognizes that?

I have the desire to do something with my life and on the other hand I want security. I want to make sure I can pay the bills and I can take care of my little family here. I also want to do stuff, go beyond what I’ve done this far. I feel powerless when it comes to that. What can I do? What is it that I really enjoy? I love working with people, it is my only true source of energy. Perhpaps there is my hook, so to say, to find something. I also love writing. I enjoy penning down stupid crap for hypothetical readers on my blog.

Today I got a call from a TV show about my tattoo piece on  The Post Online. I have to say, I didn’t read any comments, because they can really unnerve me. Same goes for facebook discussions, I avoid them. No reason to get angry all the time. It was a good chat on the phone, I had answers to the questions and I think I was interesting. We’ll see, it could really help my carreer. I also was turned down for a copy writer job and as the writer for Roadburn today and for some reason that weighs  a hundred times more on my conscience.

Glimmers of hope, they’re totally there. A good weekend of music and then again to gym and such, it’ll do me good. This book too, it’s really great. Maybe I’m just overly tired. I’ll just get a good nights rest. Thanks for sticking with me.

What are you missing, what is needed?

Now you’re so ashamed, now I’m so ashamed of you.
We believe the same things. You stand to the side.
– Gorilla Biscuits ‘New Direction’

Today I want to write about a skill or visual representation that spurs action instead of opinion. I’ve always had an issue with judgements and I tended to actually have a lot of judgements. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing. Having a judgement of another person, since that’s what I’m talking about, helps you to anticipate and premeditate your actions and attitutde towards that person. That helps you in a way if you are only being reactive. If you want to be pro-active, it becomes a whole different ball games.

When we judge others, we do it by right and wrong. We do it so strongly that we might end up polarizing people into right and wrong. In a conflict I had I started doing that with a person. This person had somehow touched those triggers that are opposed to my values and ideas, perhaps inherently my personality. That person for a brief period became a demon for me, pure evil, because I judged by wrong and right.

rightwrong

Now, we can never really escape the right wrong axis, but letting go of it and moving on to the active stage is the trick. We can move there by asking ourselves: What is missing? When we have the answer to that, we can ask: What is needed? And this way pro-actively solve issues, problems and conflicts in a way that actually helps. This is a brilliant theroy and well set axis. The problem is  the letting go of the judgement you have in your head.  Now, the measure in which we do this varies between people. I’ve had it very strongly for a long time. I’ve started developing some small techniques to help me deal with it lately that I would like to share.

1. Depersonalise your oponent

it sounds really cliché, but try to see the person you are having the confrontation with as an empty form, a tabular rasa that you have to work with to get something done. Let go of the person you feel you’re facing and your judgements about that person, because they inhibit you in having an open mind towards this other. You are making all sorts of assumptions about this conversation that will in the end only hamper finding the solution.

2. Put first things first: your goal

Straight out of the 7 Habits, I know, but so crucial to what you want to do. Rethink the purpose that was behind this conflict, what was your actual goal and focus on that. The person or group of persons (let us not forge that option) is only a tool in reaching that goal, utilize it instead of beating your head against it.  Do you not have a goal? Go on to step 7.

3. Think Win-Win

Another one from the same source, but also very true.  Approach your problem in a win-win way, look for a common win and that way make it so much more easy to solve it by suggesting another way that serves both. It’s the easiest way to convince someone else. Is there no win-win situation imaginable? In that case, really continue to step 7.

4. Put your emotions aside

Try to find that switch in your head that allows you to stop being all emotional about the topic, try to find your cold, business reason and you will get to the core of the thing. This simple act may, when you manage to pull it off, tell you if you need to take action or not. Is it really not such a big deal? Then continue to step 7.

5. Figure out if it actually has anything to do with you

Some people, like myself, have this natural feeling that they should defend others and stand up for the voiceless. That may be right in some occasions, but hardly in all of them. Decide if you are really taking on this fight. Think hard if you really are touched by this in any way and if there’s any reason why you should get involved. If the answer is no, which is pretty often is if it doesn’t actually have anything to do with you or your job, then just go to step .

6. Take the other perspective.

Some things are really two sided, you might be stuck in your side of things. Try to take another perspective, willingly look for that other side of things. It’s really hard at first, but it opens a door to tolerance and open mindedness.

7. Just drop it, let it go, breathe in and out and go on with your life

Some things are just not yours to be angry about. You shouldn’t worry about everything. That means letting go, dropping it and just stepping outside to get some fresh air. This is the ultimate step and very hard to take. If you need some help, go past the last 6 again. I think you’ll get here anyways,

I hope someone will find this useful, I do, though I still remain in my cycle sometimes, trapped in frustration. It gets better though, but it requires a lot of practise. Don’t forget that usually people want the same things and strive for the same goals. Frustration, secrecy, shame and strife will always block your efforts. You can not control what others do, but you can control how you deal with it.

The Dead Flag Blues

The car is on fire, and there’s no driver at the wheel
And the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides
And a dark wind blows
The government is corrupt
And we’re on so many drugs
With the radio on and the curtains drawn
We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine
And the machine is bleeding to death

– Godspeed You! Black Emperor ‘the Dead Flag Blues’

Source: 4cculminating.blogspot.nl

Sometimes I write things in one go, sometimes I write them in a few different states of mind. I wrote this bit when I was angry, scared and deeply touched and sad. I’m writing to make sense for myself. Please don’t take anything to harshly. What I wrote was inspired by some thoughts following the crash of MH17 and some older thoughts about why we fight. Not why you and I could have a fight, but how masses of people fight and kill for lofty goals that are nothing but hollow ideals. 

Sometimes I get really scared. I don’t think anyone really notices, but I do. I am scared of some things that I have no control of at all. Mobs, groups, populations scare me and the way governments or opinion leaders can easily influence them. It seems like just an easy game to whip up anger, to place the blame and victimize another. The first thing that scared me was the mob mentality of social justice or whatever you call it when people take justice in our own hand. Our justice system might not be perfect, but what crime makes it right to mutilate another, to hound people, to tarnish their names forever and destroy their lives. Just and unjust victims of this mentality have been driven to suicide. Suicide, lets give that word a moment to sink in. Do you value your life? I do, I had times when I thought I didn’t, but I never contemplated suicide.

A man was burned alive because people were sure he was a pedophile. Another was hounded and threatened, because his name was the same as some guy suspected of animal abuse, a young boy of 15 can never live out his full potential, because he kicked a girl. Who in the name of Christ are we to judge others? He who is free of sin, cast the first stone, is it not? I have the fortune of misfortune of having gained inside in the private lives of many people and I have found little to none with a clean slate. We are all sinners. Some sins we think of as horrible and perhaps rightly so. It doesn’t give us right to be judge and excecutioner at the same time. Mob rules, another word is ochlocracy… the result is usually the tyranny of the majority.

Tyranny of one or all, it always has one thing in common: those who are different will suffer. I understand the wish for justice and also the idea that our system is not strict enough. Then the system should be changed to the current world, not just doing whatever you feel is right. There will be blood. Flight MH17 was that blood, it was blood of the innocent, but who’s innocent anyways? I sometimes think we just want to see the world bleed. Even the dead are part of this game of rallying the masses. Many Dutch people are ready to take up arms, we cry for justice, justice for that black hole that was shot into our society.

Blood

The way things look now, there will be blood. The insanity of the masses is the most murderous when it is placed under a banner, a flag, an ideal or a name like Russia, USA, Peace, Freedom or Liberty. As long as these still have to be pronounced there are no beacons of hope to speak of, they are the flags of the dead. Flags that represent allt he senseles killing that flows from the human race not being able to function as one, mainly because of an invented entity called money.

We all play the dead flag blues, all of us together. We are cavorting with hatred and flirting with genocide when we raise our banners, which we do because we think they are right, they represent the final resolution, the justice and solution to all our problems.  I’m scared of that sense of righteousness found under these banners, scared of the exctasy of power of both Putin and the other leaders of the world. Putin scares me the most, because I cannot grasp the ‘why’.  I sleep less easy when I see people are so easy to judge, to call for blood. Blood of the other, that enemy, that invisible alien that we must fight in the name of our dead flag.

Why do we fight for those ideals and do we let the media prod and push us like sheep to the slaughter. We refuse to think for ourselves, the Russian media is propaganda, so ours must be right isnt’t it? Our flag is that of truth and justice, the other a disease to weed out. I’ve quoted Lévy to often on this point, let it suffice to say that this is the road to ruin and bloodshed. There is no wrong and right, what matters is the solution. It doesn’t even matter anymore who shot the damn rocket. The issue at hand is that it was shot, innocent people died in a conflict that should never have escalated this far anyways. There is no evil to root out, the only goal that we should find is on a path to peace. We are all humans, the blood of us and that of the Russians and Ukranians runs the same red. We do not need to wade through rivers of that to find our holy grail.

Hope

I said, “Kiss me, you’re beautiful –
These are truly the last days”

– Same

A glimmer of hope was there today. I will share the video of the minister of foreign affairs speakin about the disaster in Ukraine. I would like to express my admiration for the man, who I’ve always thought of as one of the few actual passionate politicians in the Netherlands. When we are open to see the core of the issue at hand, we might find common ground. We might find another way.

He spoke about the people crashing down to the earth, looking eachother in the eye and giving comfort and support in those last moments. It takes all that to bring out that great good in people, that resignation in death. Only then we seem to see eachother for what we are. When I get in an airplane again in a month, I’ll be sitting next to a complete stranger. I’m going to say hi and see if we can get some chat going. We might as well be the ones that hold hands when we crash down. I pray I never have to face what the people on MH17 had to face, but even more so I pray I never forget what it means to be human and how you want to treat others as you are treated.

Sad & Proud

source: cage8.com

Today we had a day of national mourning. I’ve never experience this, most of the people I know haven’t. The 15 minutes, the time before and just after the minute of silence that followed at 16.00, the office seemed more quiet than it ever dit before. Even more than the times I worked the night shift. The bodies arrived in Eindhoven by airplane and were loaded into cars to be taken to a central point.

It’s funny how you can say that a number is ‘a lot’. When you see the coffins leaving the airplane in an endless stream, it becomes real. Every one of those was a person. Every man might be a father, a brother, a lover, husband and  a son. Every woman a sister, girlfriend, wife, mother, daughter and a friend. They are not nameless numbers, they are human beings. It could have been anyone of us in a way.

The cars started rolling out, a long the road through the country. The sides of the road were packed with people. Thousands must have come out to pay their respects. I feel a bit annoyed by the stream of cameras, but we all do what we do in our own way. We try to understand and accept the sadness in front of us. Give it a place in our understanding, find reasons and peace with the endless cars filled with the dead passing by. It made me proud of this country and its people. Time stopped, everything stopped today. We all felt it, it was different.

A glimmer of hope can be found in that, in people supporting eachother, paying respects. No blame game, no hatred, just sympathy and love. A sad kind of love, but a form of love. At the end of everything it’s all that remains, all that matters. This was one of those days when the flag wasn’t something dead, it brought people together. That power it has as well.

The bitter reality

I feel it’s only proper to go into the grim reality of things now and then. In the sky above Ukraine, an airplane was shot down by the separatists. In Israel, the Israeli army is bombing civilians in Gaza and the whole world knows what is wrong and right.

A friend from the Baltics said the me about the airplane disaster that it was finally an eye opener for Western-Europe about Russia, just that is was horrible that it took so much, so many… For months the eastern states have been on red alert, due to Russian expansion politics. No one took them serious and Russia was laughed at as a silly country. The worried people where laughed at too, as if Russia was going to do anything to us. They’re not though, Russia is a country full of people who only get to see and hear what the media allows and they only allow what Putins government wants. Russia may seem funny but it’s a cruel regime, where a human life is not the same in worth as we consider it over here.

That friend concluded that this was the eye opener for the west. The veil has fallen, but my friend mourned that it took so much. That this took so many lives of innocents to be clear. It’s a black page in the history books, with an introduction of the Ukrainian problem in grey. “Never again”, we said after WWII. Where the hell is this going then?

Then again, we know that the Russian media is propaganda, but never doubt the one you get from the west. Politics, interests and preference prevail in what you get to see on TV. Which brings me to Gaza in Israel. Remember how for years the Palestinians where the bad guys? Bombing civilians, killing children and women in the streets of the Israelian cities? That was what we saw, Isreal was the victim of Arab agression. It’s not like we didn’t know about the history of Israel back then, the media just didn’t mention it. Now the tables have turned once again, the media likes the sad Palestinians now.

So now Israel is the imperial state, bombing children and women in Gaza. Suddenly the Palestinians are victims again, while the death count rises on both sides. Why do we fall for this? Why do we simply float along with the opinions media shove down our throats? I see the elaborate facebook shares on how Israel is mean and cheering when people die. Do we instantly forget the cheers on the streets on 9/11? Do we forget the joy after the murder of Osama Bin Laden?  As long as people kill and rejoice in it, we continue this cycle. If Palestinians cheer again for some DIY bomb killing school kids in Israel, will we switch sides again? Or is it going to be a good thing if its Israelian soldiers instead?

Soldiers who are drafted, just young guys who should be out having a drink with mates, listening to metal music and being their obnoxious, young selves. But we cheer when they die, we cheer when anyone dies that we happen to think of as the bad guy for the moment. The news has been Hollywoodized. We forget the corpses are human beings, with lives and interests that might be exactly like ours. Every death is a sin and a loss. Not a single gun fired or rocket launched is serving peace in any way. Enlightenment never seemed so far away.

The Hockey Song

yeah, it's me in glorious hockey look.
yeah, it’s me in glorious hockey look.

OH! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hockey game.

– Stompin’ Tom Connors – The Hockey Song

I’ve walked around with this feeling long enough, time to write it down and let go of it. As some may know of the readers who know me, I’ve been involved with the Eindhoven icehockey team for about five years now. I’m not playing, but first I started up the fansite together with a friend (who later took a much bigger role in that, to his merit making it the thing it became), and later I worked as a PR guy for the team. I’ve used my skills in Social Media and learned through playing with posting times, stats, virality with the facebook and twitter accounts, both having more than 1k natural followers now. My girlfriend made photo’s and my friends were also involved. We had a great time around the ice.

Maybe many people never noticed us or noticed who wrote stuff and all, I don’t know. I’m not out to redeem some glory. This season another club asked for a permit to play this season. This caused a lot of problems, since it’s a team from the same town and it’s kind of a problem for a minor sport to be supported on that scale. You’ll have to much fishing in the same pond going on, specially when there’s barely enough fish to substain one of the parties. The take-over didn’t have much to do with having heart for the game and promoting it, it’s been a clash of ego’s, one group just more blunter, short term thinking and selfish than the other. I’ve worked with that old group for a long time, definitely there’s some ego’s and some self esteem involved there, but also a lot of passion and at the bottom line of those characters was always the importance of the game. They quickly withdrew and gave way to this other group, just to let the things continue. Expertise and help was offered, in an indirect way also mine, but it was discared as useless. That hurt, I know my value nowadays and I know how much I can mean for an organization when they get me on their side. I’ve conquered a lot of fears there and also in my professional field this year. I’m worth something for sure, I don’t doubt myself on that front anymore.

Months of silence followed, strange communications and a lot of negativity from fans and also people involved with the club. The old gang remained respectfully silent, which I would not have been able to. Many times I wanted to post blunt facebook posts, expressing how hurt I was and that they took something from me I cared for deeply. What particularly hurt was being discarded on qualities I also displayed for the other group in trying to make them the website they wanted (which is frigging hard if the person giving the assignment wants you to telepatically find out what it is they want, regardles of all my prying and asking for examples so we could discuss it). Suddenly I was asked for the website login by some other guy for another, I felt that this kind of business was beneath me. I’ve been pissed of and stressed a lot about this.

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I want to let it go, but I see the texts written on facebook and on the sparse other sources and it hurts my eyes as a writer. It hurts my eyes to see the way of using the media and the ways of expressing things, because I know better and they for some reason never saw that. Obviously, I’ve been analysing my feelings thoroughly. I feel hurt in my self value and appreciation by a bunch of people who probably don’t even know me. Who don’t see how much I have given up over the last years to work for that beautiful game of hockey.

But it’s ok now, I’m expressing myself here. There’s a lot of details I feel I would like to share about the case. At some point you get frustrated by any detail of the people involved, though bigotry will always anger me to great extents. That only fuels the flames of hate. Anyways, why do I bother… This will go the way it goes, no matter what I think about it. Aparently I’ve been discarded, like my friends, but that’s something I have to accept. I’m beyond the point where I wish to know why, I just need to accept this.

Kemphanenfan Crew
Kemphanenfan Crew

I’m ok in accepting that me and others needed to suffer these blows to give some people what they want. Maybe all the tactical and careful work of the last years needed to make way for a group with no morals and scrupules and who knows it might bring the game to that other level you always hope for. I sincerely hope so, ’cause though my heart for the game has been bled dry, I love the passion I’ve seen in the players and fans. I wish them all that and more. I really hope this club will learn to treat people they way the always shouted people should be treated and never do their business like this again.

Spock said it right: “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few”.

And I’ll just take this one from Gordie and let it go.

Source: rugusavay.com

Many thanks to all the people who made hockey awesome for me.
I’d flip my finger to the others if I weren’t above that, I’ll try to cherish my good memories and the people that were worth it.

Holding on to anger is giving the people you’re angry with way more attention then they apparently ever had for you.

Nervous Breakdown

“I’m about to have a nervous breakdown
My head really hurts
If I don’t find a way out of here
I’m gonna go berserk”

– Black Flag ‘Nervous Breakdown

I always thought stress was something for other people. Weak and feeble minded people who didn’t realise in time that they were worrying too much about too many things. I think I’m learning what the reality is the hard way. I’ve been having pain in my neck and shoulders for days, I wake up tired and with a headache that sticks with me throughout the day.  Accepting that is a good way to put a whole lot of things in perspective lately.

I’ve been extremely snappy and easily annoyed by things at home. I sit around staring at the walls a lot. I try to relax but can’t find a way to do so. It explains my total rattled experience a week ago, that I blogged about. It explains the bottled up frustration inside of me.

I talked with my girlfriend for a long time yesterday. There was so much rage inside me about everything and everyone… I’m taking vitamins now, though I don’t really believe in those. I hope to find a way to deal with it, because it feels really weird to not have peace in your own body and mind.

Not the result of stress according to me, it is according to the source.

Music really helps according to Josephine Bila’s blog. I believe that. I felt totally locked in stasis this morning, until I listened to the song that this post is named after. I felt something tingle in my fingers and toes. I wanted to smash shit up. I think I’ll listen to some more punkrock this afternoon and schedule some stuff for myself to do now. First a meeting I’ve been dreading. I’ll let you know if I punch anyone.

Trophy Scars

why did your golden hearts
effortlessly bruise?
how did that waning spark
fade to black and blue?

– Converge ‘Vicious Muse’

I love Converge, why don’t you?

So I have to retract yesterdays post (not that I will, but as a way of saying). I felt really good about my methods the last few days and felt optimistic enough to share them with you guys. Then this afternoon, for the first time in a while, I felt really upset. Not upset in an angry manner where I blame everything on the other person, but where I totally didn’t get what was happening.

I’ll be hopelesly vague, for privacy and personal meanings and reasons. I have reasons! So I did something for party A to make their thing easier. I do stuff that involves the leftfield in between party A and B at work and I try to be as pro-active about it as I can, suggesting developments and offering help when I can or when I wish someone realised I’m not a drone. I feel pretty good about doing that, because it always finds a bit of thanks and respect.

Now, I get the thing thrown in my face. I also get reasons after asking for them. For me reasons are not ‘feelings from the gut’, ‘nameless fears’ and other vague, shivery things. I actually just translate those to “This is my call and I’m calling it wether you like it or not.” That sucks, specially when you’re enthousiastic and energetic about your thing. For some reason the talk didn’t end there and for some reason it became personal, it felt isultive and it just really got to me. I started speaking hoarse and stammered when I spoke, confused I left and felt totally upset.

Why was I upset? I felt I had been pro-active on the whole thing. I tried to understand before I made myself understood and most importantly I thought in a win/win form. The win I got in the end was a minimal one and I keep thinking what I did wrong. I’m trying to not get stuck in it, but I really just have a hard time understanding what happened. When I got home I parked it, went to the gym, and tried to let go. I didn’t feel happy about it, but work is not my life. I put first things first and today that was my girlfriend. I’m trying to tank from the positive vibes I get, not the negative stuff from today. I think I did everything with the best intentions, but it takes two to tango and all that.

Well, I’ve managed to let that go now. I know I did a lot right, but maybe could have done some things better. Alas, I was the one rattled and confused. Learn and move on, right? I’m just someone on my own path to enlightenment. Sorry if I seemed arrogant. Advice is most welcome, but readers know this I hope.

Lenny

In this post I want to tell you guys about Lenny. Most people who know me personally, know Lenny too. Thats why I am going to dedicate a post to the little dude.

A year ago I had just moved in with my girlfriend. My almost neurotic urge to be in control of everything was really a problem and we had a lot of arguments. I will admit that most were caused by me. It wasn’t the best of times for our relationship and in general not the most cheery time. A lot of the issues came from me not being very happy with where I was in my life. Instead of grabbing the bull by its horns, I vented my frustration around others. I was an angry, stressed out dude at the time.

I think that has changed a lot, I’ve grown a lot over time, but that’s all much later. I was quite a dick towards people, who stuck with me anyways. I think that as long as your qualities outweigh your crap that will go on. I can’t change that, but I can learn from it, right?  I think I did when I started asking for help from others and got a lot of that from the people around me.  I can find a lot of  starting points for that story of how I got to where I am, which is a much happier place. If you can chose between the truth and the legend though, chose the legend. To quote from the film Big Fish:

– “Y’see, most men, they’ll tell a story straight through— it won’t be complicated, but it won’t be interesting either.”

This story starts in june 2013 when I met my new buddy and roomie: Lenny. Life started to become more full and mostly much more hilarious when he joined us. He just ran over the bed while I was typing this, and now he is sitting in the corner looking at me, sceptically… Weirdo.

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Lenny at arrival, Lenny a year later

Lenny was living with my colleague. She and her roommate had gotten the furry bundle from a lady that get’s abandoned cats from Russia and Belarus over to the Netherlands. Since these animals are easily dumped on the street over there and have a slim chance of finding a home, it’s a great oppertunity to get an awesome new cat-friend for your home. Lenny was born in Brest (Belarus) and spend some happy time with an owner. I imagine he was well taken care of, since he’s always been well mannered, leaving curtains and blankets alone. He did try to eat every plant we have, but after he got sick from one that stopped too.

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From there on Lenny ended up in a pet shelter. Bad food and conditions showed on the little fellow when he moved to the Netherlands before he was one year old. Having arrived here, he spend some time with Maja, the lady who gets them over to here. He left for a new family, but was quickly returned. The other cats were not  best friends with Lenny, hes super playful and doesn’t get it when others aren’t. His friend Orval the cat has often ended up exhausted from playing. Soon a new owner came around, which is how Lenny ended up at my colleague

An allergy was the reason she needed to find him a new home in turn, the cat didn’t spend long enough there to get a name. Me and my girlfriend discussed the animal and decided to go have a look. What harm is there to it?. Upon entering the appartment, the cat soon to be named Lenny marched out to greet us, specially my girlfriend. “We’ll take him.”, she said, immediately. This friendly fellow was going to be a new addition to our family. So Lenny, who was once called Taiger, moved across the street into our place and has been living there ever since, having all sorts of adventures.

Seriously, I can tell you about a hundred Lenny adventures, silly stuff he does that cracks me up all the time… You might not find it that funny to hear how he chases a record around, attacks my shoelaces or tries to get into my wardrobe. How he always runs into open appartments to say hi to people or how he time and time escapes me, forcing me to run after him five floors up… It is amazing how much fun I have with that cat.

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Lenny enjoying some Bongripper

Lenny gave us a reason to work on our relationship, we had a responsibility now. A furry, little guy who needed food, attention ,care and love. It’s funny how it worked out. How Lenny would position himself between us if we had a fight about nothing. How he comforts us and always takes the edge of stressful situations. In the morning he comes up the stairs to the greet us on our entresol, twice since we don’t get up at the same time. He sleeps here too, but obviously a lot shorter. His favorite toys are shoelaces and hair bands, he totally loves those and his energy in catching them is awesome.

He’s been here for a year now. We often go for walks, when he doesnt escape on his own. The open office space down the hall already knows him, like most cats in the hallway. Lenny has even won over my dad and many of my friends. There are still little lessons he teaches us. I don’t think he cares what I try to teach him. It’s great to have a cat to come home to, to hang out with and to laugh about. Soon he’ll have a buddy even and I hope he is as happy here as we are with him. We’re not crazy cat people, just crazy about our little dude who made our lives so much nicer.

Covey says that love is not just a thing that is there, it’s a verb. The feeling only comes once you ‘do’ that verb. What we needed was something to represent that, to become almost that relationship in the flesh. I guess in a way that’s what happened. Like a pet, a relationship develops, grows on you and gives you a great feeling once you nurture it and care for it. If you don’t, it becomes a burden, a strain and cause for stress. Working to take care of Lenny tought me to work for my relationship, a lot of relationships with friends and family too I think, all of that because of a silly little cat.

Lenny fell asleep, sorry if it was boring.

Hello World!

So I started a blog. I wanted to forever but never really could be bothered to actually do so. Why? Because of inert laziness I suppose. Also because posting updates on facebook is easier, directer and much, much less meaningful. When I did so again in an euphoric mood  after the Netherlands kicked Spains’ ass in football (I’ll save you from any 80 year war comparisons people have insisted on making, because that’s like discussing WW2 when Germany looses = Totally irrelevant), I decided to delete it. Why? Because describing your feelings and emotions in a FB update doesn’t work. It’s never really complete and doesn’t do justice to what I actually want to say. Also a facebook like is saying about as much as ‘I skimmed this’. It has very little meaning.

So I started a blog.

It’s kinda like that, yeah. I decided that if I have this urge to share, I should do it properly, even if no one reads it, atleast it’ll be proper and thought through a bit more. Now, I’ve said a lot and I might dedicate a post later to the two games between the Netherlands and Spain. One I saw a life time ago in Riga, Latvia, where we lost and I cried and I was angry (all… the … time) and the one we won where I was happy, grateful and in my place. Maybe I won’t really go into that but hey, let’s see. I should explain the title though.

A colleague recommended me a book, it was during the coaching sessions where I got to do nice things like facing my own fears, facing my own judgemental nature and how I thought I was a principled, sincere guy, but I was really a dick most of the times. Yes, I was a dick. The book was titled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Now, like most people I have an allergy for self-help books. They make me feel like I’m not good enough or something and the idea that a book can help you grow and learn…. weird. It’s also kind of strange to think I have that thought and over 50 books on philosophy next to me, but hey, we’re all hypocrites on some level. So I read this book. It honestly gave my whole thinking a kick in the groin.

There you have them, the seven habits. Yeah, it’s like a gospel, almost impossible to live up to constantly. It’s well worth trying though. So that’s what I do, that’s how I become more and more a Yes! person instead of a pessimist. I fail at them, every day, but I still keep trying.

Now, I was going to explain the title of my blog. I’ve become a Will Wheaton fan. You know, the guy from Star Trek who now does the Big Bang Theory and has an online show about gaming (table top). First he inspired me to an extent to start monthly game nights with my frients, where we spend quality time in our busy schedules, just playing games and doing what we love. His writings and videos let me see that it was ok to be a part-time geek (just don’t live in World of Warcraft) and most importantly he came up with Wheaton’s law.

So there I’m synergizing two ideas for you. From the Seven Habits with Wheaton’s Law for gaming. Wheaton’s law is very simple:

“Don’t Be A Dick”

The seven habits seem harsh, hard and difficult to live up to. It’s a high standard and failing to achieve it can really demotivate you, no matter how many times people tell you it’s ok. Wheaton’s Law offers a great alternative, because whatever transpires in gaming can be in one way or another transferred to life. Whether you’re playing PvP (player vs player = like worker vs customer, or you vs friend/partner) or PvE (player vs environment = worker + team vs project, you + parnter vs relationship), you have a social and interactive role with your environment. Maybe it’s hard to think win/win all the time or be proactive, but everything is easier when you’re not being a dick. If you are a dick, no one want’s to play with you. I decided I don’t want to be a dick.

So I started a blog, because I want to write about what I do and how I try not to be a dick and I might fail. I probably will also write about other stuff, like music, beer (though less and less), life style and stuff. And geekdom, oh yes, there will be geekdom. Writing is healthy, it’s one of those great excersises according to both Wil Wheaton as well as Stephen Covey. I’ve waited way to long to start doing it.

Thanks for bearing with me,
Guido

Remember, don’t be a dick.

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