Pain and gain

I’ve been thinking about writing on this topic for a while. I probably will get into it more at a later point in time,  since it matters to me. It motivates me in many ways and I think it’s something people don’t know. I hang out in the gym.

Normally, I go to the gym 3 times a week. People might think that’s weird, since many of the people around me can’t even drag themselves there once a week… or ever. I respect that, some people feel good the way they feel normally and don’t need the accomplishment/rush I get from it. It’s not that I want to look like a pumped up Hulk or something, nor am I swallowing all sorts of supplements. It just makes me feel good to go there.

It’s a fairly easy way of challenging yourself both physically and mentally. Your mind often tells you to slow down, take it easy and get things over with quickly. I, for example, hate lunges. My knees hurt often and they don’t like lunges and squats. Making myself do them anyways gives me exactly that feeling of accomplishment I’m talking about, it gives you an oppertunity to turn your mental no in a yes. In fact at some point your body starts craving for the burning feeling of the iron. For the exhaustion following it, in which muscles feel relaxed and your frustrations have been worked through. I need to share that Henry Rollins bit here. I’ve talked about how I found Wil Wheaton inspiring. Henry Rollins has been that for me as well, an inspiration on many fronts. I may not always agree with him, but having your own vision is always a value and a lesson to learn, going against the grain is what I’ve learned from punk rock. This is similar in a way.

Please, read this when you need some motivation to go yourself.

You may find something there, maybe not. We’re all different in that respect. For me, the Iron became a place, my silent garden where I listen to books and lift weights. I have enough parts of my body that can’t do things like running anymore, jiu jitsu was also no longer an option, but this gives me piece and relaxation. Pain and gain don’t have to be a combination coming from unnatural muscle building. Protein shakes are not steroids, that’s a whole different ball game.

I haven’t been there since a week ago though, I had so many painful parts that I decided on a rest week, first time since I was on holiday. I let myself deserve this one, and after that we step it up again.

Another great site to get motivated is Nerd Fitness. I really want to share this with anyone who’s interested. I’ve not used their workouts much, but their information is very broad and intriguing. Also about food, it’s why I started eating paleo. So check them out.

I’m not a jock, I’m just a guy who found balance between the physical and the mental surrounded by iron. I recommend people to try it. I don’t go there to socialise, I go there for me. It makes me feel good and in control, it heps me train my body, demonstrate discipline and persistance and in the end relax. This is my meditation.

Oh, and squats don’t give you a big ass…. stop saying that you morons.

Star Trek vs Star Wars

Probably a perennial discussion Memoriam among Montville those gifted with the geek gen. Which is the best? Both must agree that the latter incarnations of both sucked. I mean, Jar Jar Binks and the later series… I’m still in doubt about those new films. Anyways, this comparison doesnt work.

So I’ve endeavoured to list a contest on my terms, where not everything is fair. If you really let it come to a fight, a lightsaber cuts you in two while the phasers are set to stun. Princess Leia would not put on that dress cheap nba jerseys if she wasnt forced to by Jabba and Jean-Luc Picard may not be such a swagger as Han Solo, he does get shit done. The force is like all powerful. Nothing is really balanced is it?

Who owns that shit?
While Star Trek is owned by CBS and Paramount, both respected companies for some things and less for other Milk productions, Star Wars has a big disadvantage here. Why? Because Disney owns their shit and has just discarded half of its awesome mythology (Exar-Kun for the win!). Now, with the new films I’m still sceptical about the future of Star Trek (atleast it has a future now). Still, this round goes to Starfleet.
ST 1 – SW 0

Cool Characters on screen?
Apart from Obi-Wan Kenobi (old and new), Qui’gon Jin (come on, Liam Neesson always rocks) and Han Solo, Star Wars has little to offer. Oh, there’s a massive score for Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Yoda, Mace Windu and ofcourse Admiral Ackbar. It has to contend with the likes of Kirk, Picard, Spock, Data, Sulu, Scott, Bones and ofcourse Wesley Crusher! Oh, they also have Khan ofcourse, both the new and old awesome. This round goes to Star Wars though, Darth Vader on his own would be hard to beat, but that with Yoda and so on… oh, Darth Maul too and Count Dooku. This must be clear enough by now, the empire strikes back!
ST 1 – SW 1

Cool Characters off screen?
William Fucking Shatner! Leonard Nimoy and George Takei! Patrick Steward, Brent Spiner and ofcourse Wil Wheaton (I don’t care what you think, his stuff is geektastic). There’s ofcourse some actors in the new films of Star Wars who are cool. Ewan McGregor, Liam Neesson, Samuel L. Jackson and Nathalie Portman are all great people. cheap nfl jerseys Yeah, Harrisson Ford is also quite cool. The new Star Trek films added Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg (yay!) and Benedict Cumberbatch to their line-up. Christopher Lee is not enough to tip the scales (though how cool is his metal stuff?).
ST 2 – SW 1

Technology/Civilization
You may think that this goes to Star Wars easily, but the civilization only has a certain amount of stability unter wholesale nfl jerseys the tyranny of the Empire. The empire is basically a military power like a Roman Empire or maybe something less positive (calling them nazi’s is a bit too strong though). On many fronts the whole Star Wars is in some pseudo-medieval status with some crusader dudes who wield close combat weapons where you can nuke planets. Star Trek is on that Galactic mission of peace and prosperity, their humanity is an enlightened humanity (well, you can have your doubts about Captain Kirk ofcourse). Spock even gets it to a higher level with his rationalism. For me Starfleet embodies ideals like that ahead of the European Union (regardless of its cheap mlb jerseys current failings). I like that, so I’m giving this one to them #1 too.
ST 3 – SW 1

Bad guys
So this is pretty predictable, isn’t it? Darth €3M Vader, The Emperor, Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Jar Jar Binks… Iconic badasses that everyone recognizes. Oh, and ofcourse Sand People, Jawa’s and big ass monsters. Star Trek has the Borg, Romulans and Klingons. Individuals like Khan don’t compete with that arsenal of the Star Wars universe. Jabba! I forgot Jabba! Well, obviously there’s tons of intriguing enemies in Star Trek, but none really stuck. That’s alright for the series itself, but it loses this battle.
ST 3 – SW 2

Ladies 
Are you into Twileks? I never really fancied Princes Leia to be honest, too much shouting, to covering dresses and just not that hawt. Yeah she had that slavegirl costume, but she wouldn’t wear it in private circumstances obviously… So that leaves Nathalie Portman, who is the kind of girl you’d sell bodyparts for to be with.

This is what Star Trek has to offer and I think this list makes up for Nathalie Portman. So this one is a tie… Just kidding, how could this rapping, badass chick not win this one?

ST 3 – SW 3

Geekiness
No matter how dumb those rattails and funky jedi haircuts look, nothing can live up to the trekkie costume. There is no World! contest on this front at all. Now, the question is ofcourse how to judge this cheap nba jerseys item. I’m just gonna let Star Trek win this one. I like Star Trek better. There.

ST 4 – SW 3

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Review Roundup #1

Since I write tons of reviews I thought it would be better if I write about them in one piece instead of dedicating a post to every gig I go to. I’m not sure if I’ll share album reviews since those vary in length. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s still something I do with much love and passion.

Also, I don’t get te review everything I see. I still enjoy writing about stuff I get to enjoy so I’ll try to do roundups of what I think you should have seen, my appreciated reader (is there anybody out there?).

Huntress & Battlecross @013, Tilburg (UP Magazine)

I was excited about this gig, mainly because of Huntress. Old fashioned sturdy metal with a tinge of the occult dropped in there. More so maybe for the extravagant vocalist Jill Janus (who was a playmate, which for men is a good reason). I was impressed afterwards, not just by her.
I can be brief about Battlecross. Though a  fine band in their specific style, which I think is typical NWAHM (New Wave of American Heavy Metal). Their energy and passion ignites the crowd. If you dig that sound of Lamb of God, Darkest Hour and such, check them out.

I want to focus my attention on Huntress. Their sound is more Sabbath and Pentagram then anything of these times. Add to that the occult vibe and Banshee shrieks of Jill Janus, wearing make up that makes her look like a witch, and you’ve really got something. True, it may not be as clean and well done all the time, its still entertaining and powerful. Janus really gets into the whole act, but keeps friendly and grateful.

Chuck Ragan + Northcote + Billy The Kid @013, Tilburg (UP Magazine)

I love the whole acoustic punkrock gig, its brilliant and brings the music I loved as a teen to me in an adult and more ‘musical’ form. Apart from Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan is one of the kings of the ‘genre’ and he brought a great gang with him for this.

Billy the Kid is a pretty lady from Vancouver, playing gentle singer songwriter songs with the right amount of balls. During her set Matt Goud (a.k.a. Northcote) helps out as well. That continues the whole show, musicians join eachother on stage, demonstrating passion and love for what they are doing. The polished songs of Billy the Kid contrast slightly with the raw diamond of jolly giant Northcote, but the sum is better than the parts. Specially if you consider what is left to come.

Chuck looks like a rugged cowboy from the States with his boots and jeans shirt. It doesnt take look for that to get soaked with sweat. He plays songs with his band The Camaraderie, many of those from latest record ‘Till Midnight’. His big heart shows in his appraisal of the venue and its staff, but also of the fans and other bands, who join him on stage too. After more than an hour an encore follows with, ofcourse, the haunting ‘For Broken Ears’.

Weekend Nachos + Primitive Man + Wake @Dynamo, Eindhoven (Sleeping Shaman)

So I got myself into a grindcore gig again and luckily I brought my earplugs. Wake is a Canadian band Martin playing powerful, in-your-face grindcore full of pace switches, going like a rocket and then like creeping death. I must say I always dig the grind, just not in too big portions (a day of Bloodshed Fest, who organise this gig, is enough for a year usually). They’re not the band that drew me here anyways, thats next in line Primitive Man.

Primitive Man is where doom, sludge and grindcore collide into the dark, dripping ball of hatred that is this band. The vocals of Elm are insane barks from depths unimaginable. Combine that with heavy hatchet guitar work and burning rage and you’ve got something that’ll chase the sun away. They are everything they clame to be with their misanthropic nihilism, very impressive.

Equally impressive is Weekend Nachos with their blend of powerviolence and hardcore.  I’ve seen them before and they do get that party going all the time. I must say that the combination is weird tonight, but it works out for the best. I can still not make out what they sing, but I was told long ago that this is no problem. Weekend Nachos makes it into a violent moshing mess in front of the stage in the basement of Dynamo. Great stuff, all the time.

 

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Selim Lemouchi: in Memoriam

Though my plan definitely is to write this whole blog in English, I’ve found that I had one thing lying around in Dutch that never got put up anywhere. For Dutch music zine 3VOOR12/Eindhoven I wrote about Selim Lemouchi and his new music. The former singer of The Devil’s Blood had started a new band, named Selim Lemouchi & His Enemies. The music was great and haunting, so I met up in his house. Yes the walls were covered in blood, yes there was an altar, but also a visionairy, a musician and beautiful person.

So when he died, suicide, a couple of months later, it wasn’t a cool thing for me. It made me sad and more so due to my interview. I’ll probably post that here after it’s up at Wyrd’s Flight. I was asked to write an In Memoriam, so I set to work. Unfortunately for me, rock’n’roll writer Henk van Straten beat me to it. That was fine, he’s much better at it and had much more of value to say. Trust me, I’m a fan. I’m a fan of many things, as you will see if you check back here often.

Still I had this text and I love nothing more than to be read. So, what else to do….

selim_lemouchi_&_his_enemies-12

” I had the dubious honor to be the last Dutch interviewer, that spoke with Selim Lemouchi. Dubious, because you never want to be the last guy that interviewed a guy that is now no more. Then you get the question: do you want to write something about it? Am I someone who knew him forever? Someone with endless anecdotes  about them man? No, I’m just a guy who had a short but intense meeting with Selim and I got a shred of his thoughts and ideas, because I wanted to write something about his music. A cup of black coffee, a big pile of words, but mainly a meeting with a special and inspiring person. I was priviledged to meet that person.

“I have to expres myself. I don’t always want to, but I cannot stop it. There’s a controlled side of order inside me, but also an untamed creative side. Those two clash and collide and I am still trying to find balance.” Those are the final words of that interview. It took place at his home, on the 24th of november 2013. I went there by bike, to the other side of Eindhoven. I was a bit nervous, that was different. I rarely have that when I do interviews nowadays.

I had met Selim before and we chatted for a brief moment after his show in café ‘Oude St. Joris’. I told him the show was great and I bought his record ‘Mens Animus Corpus‘. He told me and others that he was happy we showed up, he appreciated it that people liked his music. He sold a lot of records. It was a great show, he only had to get angry a few times when the crowd wouldn’t shut up or the sound guy didn’t do what he wanted. I had seen The Devil’s Blood live, which I loved, but this was something else. The musician was radiating that sense and special and welcomed the visitors who came for his music with total dedication.

He described my review of that gig as “… a well written article with journalisic insights.” An interview, conducted by me, was something he was open to because of that. When I came in he was very busy with a lot of things at the same time. Selim Lemouchi is not as big as I thought he was. The living room does look a lot like in that video interview a couple of years ago: altar in the corner, blood on the walls but also a huge cupboard filled with records and a table littered with ashtrays, mugs and so on. His huge dog is walking around between all those things. He told me he took long walks with the animal, while listening to his recordings over and over again. “Milk or sugar?”, he suddenlay asked me. He just sat down and calmed himself a little. The start of the most intriguing interview I’ve ever done.

Selim Lemouchi loved talking to someone who listened and not just about himself. He kept asking me questions, where I suddenly had to gather up my thoughts and come up with answers, keeping me sharp and to the point. Sometimes his line of thought races on so fast, I had to ask what he ment. He didn’t mind, at least I wasn’t comparing his music to ‘occult rock’. That was something that annoyed him to no end, people thinking in those strict genre categories: “Music is like a web, everything is connected and everyone can inspire another. Without the Beatles, no Pink Floyd, without the Floyd so many other bands wouldn’t be there and so on and on. Don’t ever limit yourself to one genre or style or they will become your prison.” We spoke about many topics, like his philosophy and his two sides. The animal on stage and the perfectionist, working on his music. He expressed how anxious the challenge of his new project made him and how hard it was at times.

 The album is beautiful, eclectic, border crossing and brilliant. Sometimes it sounds unfinished, but it never pretends to be. Live it was sensational, with my girlfriend I went to witness it in the Temporary Art Centre. I talked to some people who knew Selim personally and read my interview: “Hasn’t he put new wallpaper up yet?”, one of them joked. We talked briefly after the show, me and Selim, because many people wanted to say high and shake his hand.

A lot of words, new ideas but mainly a beaming Selim there in the TAC. What happened after that, between that show and his passing, I do not know, I regret it. A huge talent. far from finished, now lost to us. I met a good, warm and kind person in Selim Lemouchi, what many who do know him well confirm. It’s a geater loss though for those who are closest to him.”

So that’s what I wrote. I dreamed about that interview the other night. It’s not easy to let it all go. I hope he’s happy, as much as his music gave people happiness.

Pictures with kind permission by Paul Verhagen

 

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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