The Donkey and the Gremlin

In three words I think I would characterize my current relationship as being humorous, inspirational and affectionate.

We challenge each other on an intellectual level and will leave no stone unturned when we run into a surprising new fact or notion.

I like to go all the way down the rabbit hole with him when confronted with an oddity. We, take our time with our analyses and make sure we understand each other before moving on (as much as our schedules permit).

Also, in the decade I have spent with him, I don’t think we have ever left any uneasy feelings undisclosed nor left to fester into something big and ugly.

Even though communication is super important for us we don’t necessarily have the same approach to it. I guess that might have to do with our upbringing or just simply with the fact that we are different individuals.

The pushy gremlin

If something sparks my curiosity my mind goes into philosopher-mode. I can stare into blank space (or a crackling fire) for hours, drifting off into a maze of thoughts that might take days or weeks to figure out. Blogging helps. So does talking to fellow maze dwellers.

I like to think I always try to understand a puzzling fact by doing my best to approach it from different points of view. I end up making my own opinion but not before giving every idea I come across a fair chance.

G and I have similar ideas about many things. That awesome fact sometimes actually ends up being the problem.

If I notice he is not agreeing with me on something, I tend to think I just haven’t explained my point correctly. An expression of disagreement or confusion turns into a stimulus for me to introduce more ideas and arguments, as I myself have probably also gone through stages of confusion before forming my final opinion.

But as I push my point further to bring him on board I sometimes end up empty handed. My perception of “giving context” ends up tipping the scale towards domineering behavior, resulting in annoyance on both sides.

The ease with which I sometimes dismiss someone’s ideas without giving it a second thought is disrespectful, I see that. I just haven’t figured out how to keep myself from turning into that pushy gremlin yet.

I still need some more time staring into a fire to untangle that one…

The donkey

Geronimo is a self taught intellectual. All though our ideas are often quite similar, he likes to get his information from different sources than I do, which keeps our conversations interesting.

G’s opinions are no less strong or present than mine. However, he does back down from a discussion in cases where I would not. If he feels there is no point to it he shrugs, puts on a certain (slightly dismissive) face and goes on with his day.

To him a discussion is pointless if the other is not listening well enough (up to his standards) or if he senses the other is not prepared to change their opinion.

Also G is very wary for signs of manipulation (some would say he is oversensitive). When a question of mine turns out to be a cloaked demand, he goes into full donkey mode.

And don’t get me wrong… I adore donkeys…

So yes, I don’t always agree with his judgements on these moments and sometimes feel unfairly shut down. And that in turn is something I find wildly interesting and am still in the process of trying to fully grasp.

Luckily, in the end, we always figure out which wrong turn we took and like I said, no hard feelings are ever left to fester, which is so important.

We celebrated our anniversary last month and I expect to celebrate many more!

Dystopia

The letter D has brought me to Dystopia.

According to Wikipedia a “dystopia is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. (…) Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, tyrannical governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society.”

A quick online search further shows that imagery associated with dystopian landscapes are often overly industrialized and polluted. I noticed many computer games these days are set in such a landscape.

My motivation for choosing this word as an inspiration for a blog post does not stem from a conviction that my life or surroundings are dystopian right now. On the contrary, I see a lot to be hopeful for.

Despite my optimistic outlook on things, I do feel that many of the ingredients to plunge into something terribly horribly nasty are present as well.

There is a reason the series Black Mirror was such a success. Each episode tells a story based on an exaggerated and uncomfortable aspect of modern day life. It is an unbingeable series for me, because so much of it feels just a tad too familiar. I guess that is why it is called Black Mirror and not Black Window.

The other day my boyfriend said that he wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the near future reality would ‘split’. He didn’t mean we would be entering into a parallel universe or something star trekky like that. What he meant, was that there would be a rift in society, where different groups live by different sets of facts (and therefore different realities).

It’s a scary idea but I do actually catch his drift. People are choosing to believe such silly (untrue) things, and they in turn think I am crazy for believing what I do.

This image of two people debating what number they see, is often used to explain how two people can be right or at least believe to be. It’s a metaphor for people being convinced of different things, based on their point of view.

Still….

Somebody put that number there and that person meant it to be a six or a nine. Communication can solve the mystery. Just find the guy that chalked that numeral there and ask him what the message was he was trying to bring across. And once the number-creator has let us know he wants six loafs of bread, not nine, there is no need to continue debating what the number looks like. It’s a six. Period.

It is impossible to have a conversation about things if you can not agree on the most basic principles. When communication is no longer possible, anarchy awaits.

I remember how my punk and goth classmates used to talk about anarchy as if it was something the world needed. I never understood what they meant, as I believed anarchy and chaos were pretty much the same thing. And who wants to live in a constant state of chaos? This video helped me understand anarchy’s charm a bit better:

Nobody wants hate to prevail over love. Nobody wants to make decisions out of fear. Nobody wants to distrust their neighbor.

Lawlessness and violence are not ingredients for anybody’s utopia, I don’t think. People only want to get rid of laws if they feel those laws are corrupt or unfair. Violence is only a means to bring a process of change in motion, not a goal. People that thrive for violence just for the sake of violence are psychopaths, and I choose to believe those are actually quite rare.

There are moments when I feel there is a bigger power pushing us towards the cliff, like in that horribly disturbing (but kind of catchy) song by Stromae (who felt it was fitting to include an image of Obama in his music video in 2015 to depict people being eaten up alive by the Twitter-demon… man… that hurts even more in hindsight…):

But in the end, I think there is no architect behind any of this.

This current state of affairs has been constructed thoughtlessly by many individuals, all acting selfishly but without a higher purpose. Most people do not base their day-to-day choices on a future plan or any bigger picture. They just react to what is straight in front of them.

And I think that is how I would sum up the current state of the world. It is nobody’s fault. Everybody is a victim of an involuntary structure that forms them and they it.

We all agree it’s horrible but the consensus is that “it is what it is”. We learn to work with this system, even though we don’t want it. We fortify it by basing our laws on the premises of its faults. Many people have convinced themselves that we can’t change it until we have found who is responsible.

The winds are changing though. As I said in the beginning, I am feeling hopeful. More and more people are learning to vocalize their feelings and needs. We are starting to see how society is falling short. “It is what it is” is no longer an acceptable explanation.

If there were a way to achieve true and positive change while bypassing the anarchy-fase, that would be awesome. If keeping the peace means leaving everything the way it is, then bring the chaos, by all means!


This dedication to Freedom is a contribution for my own personal A-to-Z challenge, which I will be adding to once a month. Alphabet so far:

Mind Cleanup July 2020

July was not a good month for blogging, apparently. My goal to publish at least three blogs per month was not met. It was my Alphabet challenge that got in the way. The letter D… Ddddamn you, letter D.

C-words

Words that were more prominent in my life were all C-words: Communication, conspiracies, consciousness and, you know that other C-word.

A double C-word that featured in a discussion I had with my boyfriend G was crowd control.

He was telling me about how 5G technology has the power to stun and paralyze people through milimeter wave frequencies. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, and G couldn’t help but notice.

It turns out that Mona Keijzer, the Dutch State Secretary for Economic Affairs, helped fuel this idea when she mentioned crowd control during a debate on the implementation of 5G in the Netherlands. For Dutch speaking people interested in hearing her exact words, click here (but please close your eyes while you listen, as the imagery in the vid is misleading imo)

My first reaction was that she was referring to the capacity of 5G to be more precise about peoples’ exact locations, making it possible to anticipate where it could become undesirably crowded (and of which individuals that crowd might consist). Cynically enough, I think we’re already past the point that that is shocking or secret, troubling as it may be. This New Yorker article from April 2019 explains my feelings about that quite well.

My boyfriend challenged me to read into it further, as he felt my filter bubble may have been keeping me away from seeing the full picture. So, I did. And I hereby admit that I did find reliable, science based information, backed by governments and mainstream institutions, that affirms that “hypersonic weapons” are a thing and that 5G could play a role in making the application of such weapons easier.

That’s all I’ve got to say about that (for now).

Music

Time for a musical interlude.

Can we all just take a minute to appreciate the talent of this young man?

And can somebody please make him a sandwich?

‘Good’ communication

During the lock down period, when we were all working from home, a lot of communication was conducted in writing, rather than in spoken form.

It has been interesting to see how eloquent people who have no problem explaining something face-to-face can have so much trouble doing the same thing when those words need to be presented in writing. I witnessed a lot of sloppy communication that I knew was meant well, but could be interpreted in so many ways, that it made my brain hurt.

I find the power of language wildly interesting. Learning about meanings behind words and the unintentional damage that can be done with them is something I wish everybody would take a little time to think about.

Luckily, I actually like my co-workers. They are cool peeps with good hearts, making it easy to forgive their verbal clumsiness.

I have been re-listening Marshall Rosenberg’s teachings myself, which have turned out to be excellent running and cycling soundtracks.

As a lover of sarcasm and brutal humor though, I have always needed to check myself every now and then. I don’t always get it right but I do try to fix any damage I may have done and do better the next time around..

It did make me realize that, once again, ignorance is bliss.

The fact that I have knowledge of Marshall Rosenberg’s teachings and the implicit idea that there is such a thing as ‘violent communication’ turned out to be a bit of a burden for me.

It made it harder to let things pass, even when I knew what the message was that someone was trying to convey. Words that I have come to identify as ‘aggressive’ make me frown, where I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought in the past.

These spasms of annoyance also demonstrate that I’m not done learning. I know that the way I receive and process a message is up to me. How I feel can never be somebody else’s responsibility (or their choice of words).

Still… I just wish they would just ‘do it properly’.

the letter D

Deodorant. Doom’s day preppers. Defunding the Police. the Daily Show. Dancing. Drought. Dominance.

As I said, I’m having a hard time finding something to write about that starts with the letter D.

I had an idea about the word Dixie, but I have to admit that would just be a sorrow attempt of me trying to be relevant and probably failing. I know too little about it and simply do not have a strong enough opinion about the matter, which means I lack motivation.

And then there was Democracy. I do have an opinion about that. But I just wish I could come up with something easy for once… A topic that not only makes for easy writing but also easy reading.

I’m sure something will get written in the upcoming weeks, but July 2020 will have to go into the history books as one without an Alphabet-inspired post.

Alright, August Blogust. I’m ready for you.

Lifetip 6: Calibrate and compare

This lifetip was originally supposed to be titled ‘Create your own compass’.

When Jesse Frederik discussed this lifetip in a Rudi & Freddie podcast episode, he lamented that fact that people tend to prioritize whatever fact they encounter most often.

He described that, as a consequence, we only seem to talk about what everybody else is talking about. His tip was meant as an encouragement to always ask ourselves what is important to us individually and to talk about that instead.

This all rang so true to me. I could think of dozens of examples of people that followed their heart, going against the stream, and making the world a better place because of it.

Also, Jesse Frederik proclaimed that people should make their own estimates and assessments with the available facts. You can do that by asking yourself, what ‘a lot’ means to you (for example when speaking about money)? What is a ‘big’, what is ‘small’? What is ‘wealth’? What is ‘poverty’?

Is a billion dollars investment in military equipment ‘a lot’? Should the amount going towards education be equal to that or would that be ‘too much’? Is a farmer in Spain rich or well off? Is he still rich when compared to farmers in the Netherlands? Is he rich in comparison to you?

Those type of questions are crucial for people like Jesse Frederik, who make a living from the understanding of politics and economics. It must be so frustrating to realize that people (including politicians and people in positions of power) have lost sight of proportions.

In money terms, it’s like everything above a million is just ‘a lot’, putting millions and billions and trillions all on the same heap of unfathomableness. This lack of understanding that we have of amounts and dimensions, is something I will go into further on another day, in another blogpost.

Whereto does the compass point?

Allow me to bring the focus back to the metaphor of the compass and the suggestion to ‘make your own’.

This lifetip was pretty much ready to be packed and posted, when the pandemic took over our lives. From that moment on, all sorts of people started deciding they knew what was good for themselves and their families in ways that were hard to fathom.

All of a sudden, me telling people to stand up for their own truths and to ‘create their own compass’, suddenly sounded like quite a dangerous notion, or in the very least an incomplete one.

I guess I had never considered the possibility that the idea of having an original opinion and a rebellious mind could backfire this way. That sounds incredibly naive now, doesn’t it?

So I came to the conclusion that suggesting you can make your own compass, implies that it is up to you to decide what North is. That is really not a good idea at this particular time.

We already know where North is, as well as East, West and South. The wind directions are not up for discussion. These are facts, backed by science and carefully crafted compasses (and modern day global positioning systems). The compass is fine. you don’t need a new one.

At the same time, I can not ignore the importance of questioning absolute truths every now and then and to never settle for answers like “That’s just the way it is” or “Because I told you so”.

So I went back to the drawing board.

True North

Something that applies to all compasses is that they are of no use if you don’t know where you are or where you want to go. If you don’t know what the starting point is, then there is really very little point in knowing what North, East, West or South is…

I then renamed the blogpost to “Find your own true North”, which is more of an encouragement to figure out which ideas you want to guide you through life.

I also contemplated if it would be different if the lifetip would be ‘Calibrate your compass’. This wouldn’t require a whole new set of truths (aka a new compass), just a re-allignment of your values with the current one.

It also reminded me of Jack Sparrow’s ‘broken compass’, that doesn’t point towards the classical wind directions, but only towards the thing you desire for most in life.

The idea of having a compass but no idea of ones position or destination paralyzed my whole thought process for a while.

Explorers and cartographers

When I found my courage to continue with this post, I decided to investigate the compass metaphor a bit further. I realized that, as a tool, it is most useful when you also have a map. With a map, you can pinpoint your location (or so I’ve been told) and analyze what you would encounter if you were to go in this direction or that.

Once you’ve decided where it is you want to go, the compass can be useful to set your course.

The map we all have to deal with in our daily lives, is one of those computer-game-type-maps where you only get to see the areas where you’ve already been and only fill in the rest as you proceed.

This means you will inevitably be flying blind for a a bit, until you pass a certain threshold and the new borders of the map become visible. I guess that notion comes closest to the way the first explorers had to navigate.

The point beyond the furthest anyone had ever gone remained blank on maps for many centuries. Dragons were drawn into these unknown territories to discourage people to go any further down that unknown path.

The parallel between that metaphor and life is that we can’t really know anything about situations in the future, nor anything that we haven’t experienced first hand.

I have to suppress the urge to type something sarcastic after the previous sentence, as it is almost insulting to have to say it. As professor Redundant would say: you don’t know what you don’t know.

Compare maps & compasses

Basing your choices in life solely on what you have experienced first hand is not very practical, though.

As an example; if I saw somebody diving into a pond from a high cliff and not die, I would assume I could do the same and survive as well. I wouldn’t need to measure the depth of the pond or the wind or check if the water was of the right density. I also wouldn’t check if there were crocodiles, sharks or anacondas down there ready to gobble me up. I would instantly accept that the reality that applied to the first diver would also apply to me (and that I would have fun in the process).

But what about the person standing on the side of the pond refusing to take the jump, convinced it would not end well? What reality does he base his ideas on? Does he have different facts? What does his compass read and what does his map show? Can both realities be true?

If I were to speak to the bystander, I could encourage him by saying “Come on and jump in with me! Hakuna Matata. It is fun!”. With that, I would be assuming many things.

His answer could be: “I am so clumsy, I would surely trip before making the jump and hurt myself with the fall”. I could comfort him by saying (without lying) that I had very poor motor skills myself and that if I could do it, he would surely be fine as well.

If he were to say “sure, but I can not swim”, that would definitely change things. It would indeed be dangerous for him to jump in, without being able to swim, and very reckless of me to encourage him anyway.

Pushing someone who can not swim to dive into a deep pond, would be homicidal. One could say that, from where I stand (with my compass and my map), it is quite rare to encounter someone who can not swim. It is customary for Dutch children to learn how to swim at an early age. My frame of reference tells me that, being an adult equals being able to swim. The possibility that an adult may not be able to swim, would simply not occur to me.

So… long story short: when speaking to someone with a different idea or opinion, it is very useful to check if your maps and your compasses are based on the same parameters, for you could be having a very long discussion without realizing you are simply not talking about the same thing.

Trust the equipment

This leaves me with the dilemma that I don’t want to encourage people to embrace ideas that are just not true.

After thinking it over, I arrived at the conclusion that people that are embracing ‘true fake news’, are not using a compass at all (and the fact that there we live in an era where we have to differentiate fake fake news (which is true) from true fake news (which is fake) continues to baffle me, but no something to go into further here).

People that are not willing to base their life decisions on facts but prefer to rely on gut feelings, would never look at a compass to decide whether to go left or right. They navigate more like Sandra Bullock did in the movie Birdbox; moving around in fear with a blindfold on, shooting at scary sounds and hoping for the best.

A compass will always just do that one thing, which is show you what direction North is. If someone would say “I don’t want a compass that shows me what North is, I want one that always points towards the closest supermarket”, you can simply conclude that they don’t really want a compass. That is not what compasses do. Period.

That means that the compass metaphor stands and that “Make your own compass” is still sound advice. The definition of that device already encompasses (hehehe) its parameters as well as its scientific origins.

Check your coordinates

Along with the creation (or purchase) of a compass one must also be encouraged to figure out the coordinates of ones current location.

I suppose that means you must become conscious of your position, which you can only do by looking around you and retracing your steps to where you came from.

Which lessons did you learn along the way? Ideally you would also ask yourself which lessons you didn’t learn, but that is a tough one (that goes back to the lesson professor Redundant brought us earlier).

What are your values? By whom were they instilled in you? What are your life goals and how do you wish to reach them?

Let’s say your life goal is “owning a house, a pool and a golden retriever”. Do you want to achieve said goal by working your ass off and slowly climbing the corporate ladder? Do you want to marry a rich gal or guy who will make all your dream come true? Or would you rather rob a bank?

All these options are viable. All of them have their up- and downsides. Your moral compass can help you decide which method fits you best.

The triad of tips

Congratulations, you have reached the bottom of the page and the end of this blogpost. The conclusion is that this lifetip consists of a triad of metaphorical tips:

  • Make and calibrate your own compass to set your course.
  • Determine your coordinates to figure out where you are, where you came from and where you want to go.
  • Check and compare your map and compass to that of the person beside you, especially if you plan to go out on an adventure together.

For now, I will leave any further translation of these metaphors to your own personal lives to you.

They be trippin’

Art by: Clancy Cavnar

After haven written a blog on psychedelics in July I got several reactions from people around me. A few of my friends let me know they thought I was being unfair in my testy accusation towards hippie-trippie space cowboys, in particular when I said there is no such thing as “inexplicable”.

My boyfriend said the following about it:

“Words are used to describe reality as we see it on a daily basis. The stuff you see and experience when doing “the trippy thing” is not every day reality. A trip will have you process information with your senses that is so odd that the vocabulary that a brain has access to will always feel inadequate to describe it.”

the G-man

Sure. I can accept that.

What I do not accept is being dismissed by people.

Let me be clear, I am not talking about my boyfriend here. On the contrary, he never lets the limits of our vocabulary stop him from sharing his experiences and insights with me. He tells me about his psychedelic experiences in such a matter of fact way that an outsider may not even notice we are talking about something so “out there”.

There are others though who sort of set (people like) me aside as being naive, uptight and bigoted for not diving into the psychedelic hemisphere with them. They don’t always do this explicitly, which makes it harder to pinpoint, but it’s definitely there.

It annoys me because it is not true. I do want to understand. More even, I feel I may actually already understand it up to a certain degree and definitely more than I am getting credit for.

Aren’t they the ones demonstrating narrow minds towards me then, when they decide I am not worth the trouble of formulating a description for?

That last sentence makes me sound like an entitled nosey body, I realize that. I suppose me saying that isn’t the case, isn’t worth much, but emmmm… that really isn’t the case…

Maybe I should let it go but something about all of this is still nagging me. It has something to do with interpretations of what is real and accompanying feelings about who is right (and possibly my own overblown reactions to condescending behavior).

I’m going to chew on this one a bit longer and dedicate a new blog on the matter when I’ve figured it out.

the Platinum rule

I recently discovered that a very common principle I have known all my life is referred to as the golden rule. I also learned that it is coming under scrutiny and modern times are asking for it to be updated.

Golden Rule

The golden rule is a principle we all must have heard at some point during our upbringing. It comes in different forms. You may have heard one of the following varieties:

  • Do unto others as you would want done to you
  • Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated
  • What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself

The golden rule is pretty simple. You only need to embark on a quick soulsearch and pinpoint how you like to be treated and then apply this to others.

Unless you’re dealing with some psychological turmoil, the answer should be available pretty much immediately, as you probably already know what makes you happy (and what does not).

Until recently, I would have told you the golden rule has great merit and that the world would be a better place if we lived by it more strictly.

Platinum rule

The golden rule stands on the assumption that every other person you interact with wants what you want. There are many ways you can miss the mark on that one, which is why the golden rule is in need of an update.

The upgraded version of the golden rule is referred to by some as “the platinum rule”. It boils down to something like this:

Treat others as they would want to be treated

Its a simple idea and the underlying sentiment is still the same; be nice.

Its practical implementation does require a bit more effort than the golden variety, which is what I will dive into a bit more, below.

Ask and check

When putting the platinum rule into practice you would have to figure out what it is that the person on the receiving end of your actions wants.

Asking is one way to go about it.

A direct question, especially directed at someone you may not know very well, may not get you the answers you need. When you put someone on the spot like that, the person in front of you might say something like “Nothing” or “I don’t know”.

If you truly want to be the person the other person needs (or at the very least the person that doesn’t hurt the other’s feelings) then getting an answer like “nothing” does not mean you’re off the hook.

The pitfall with this approach is that by asking the question you make your problem their problem. You put the spotlight and the other and achieve the absolute opposite of what you were trying to do.

In the end, the fact that you don’t know how to behave is YOUR problem, not THEIRS.

However, I am convinced that you can solve almost anything with a drop of empathy and a whole lot of communication. Keep asking questions. Keep listening. And back off when appropriate or requested.

Titanium rule

Contrary to the golden rule, the platinum rule leaves room for interpretation and error. Because:

  • What do you do if the other lets you know they want you to treat them in a way that (you believe) is harmful for them?
  • What if the way the other wants to be treated is something you are not willing to do (for example because it goes against your own values or because it is harmful to you)?
  • How do you avoid becoming that annoying person that asks a million questions at every turn?

These questions have come up when dealing with people I hold dear, that struggle with addiction or tendencies to self harm. The platinum rule would not help me or them, if I followed it strictly. The golden rule would also fall short.

An opinion piece written by Kris Williams on Medium that I bumped into just now, struggles with similar dilemmas. Ms Williams describes a third stance, the Titanium rule, and it goes likes this:

“Treat others as it is in the highest and best good to treat them.”

This might be a bit much for every day life, but it sounds like a sane way to deal with more complicated interactions.

At the end of the day I think it’s not even necessary to choose between the three. I think all have their merits and make sense in different situations.

What do you think?

Language

This is Blog 12 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Language

My boyfriend, G, and I share a love for language and linguistics.

It happens almost weekly that some odd expression, pronunciation or unusual word makes my ears perk up (and often it is something that I see is simultaneously happening in his mind, which is obviously a huge turn on).

We then tear the matter apart, googling the heck out of it (after we’ve agreed on the best search terms, which sometimes can be challenging enough).

The last word we dove into was “psychopath“, which I now know stems from the Greek words psykhe, meaning mind and the word pathos, meaning suffering.

So a psychopath is, in the purest sense of the word, somebody who has been diagnosed with suffering of the mind.

In modern times we envision a psychopath to be a manipulative charmer that spends his days fantasizing of all the ways he could make you disappear. We would say a psychopath is more often the cause of suffering than the victim of it, wouldn’t we? I suppose we have TV crime-series and horror stories to thank for that.

G and I debated on how much empathy a psychopath really would have. I decided that they actually could have some empathetic abilities in the sense that they recognize feelings and know how to respond to them convincingly. What they lack are soft feelings such as pity and compassion (making them perfect for politics or wall street).

Another word we tried to decipher was “discussion“. Not something you would normally need to look up the meaning of, right? We came to the conclusion however that our personal definitions were quite different, with his being much more negative than mine.

In his view, there is no such thing as a “good discussion”, given that there are always two (or more) people participating with opposed opinions and no real willingness to change that.

In my opinion a debate can be a tool to get closer to the truth and changing your mind about your argument is actually allowed.

This made me realize that being in (his definition of) a discussion is an experience he does not enjoy at all. Now that I know that, I can change the way I react to him when he mentions a discussion he’s had with this or that person.

These elaborate exploratory talks we have (often during breakfast) remind me of how important it is to check during conversations if we are actually talking about the same thing.

Even when your convo partner is using the same words as you are, you may be missing the point completely because you do not know the weight it has for the person across from you.

We are a species blessed with the ability to use language, in spoken form and also through gestures and posture. Putting a little effort into the way you communicate can make life so much easier!

Mind Cleanup – March 2016

Epiphanies

  • I need to stop telling people in “the real world” about my blog...
  • … or I need to own up to my thoughts and opinions and face the music when stuff I write here reach the eyes and ears of people I know.Oh-hi-gif
  • (Hi friends and co-workers!)

mirrorSelf-reflection

  • cuddle donkeys.jpgJust like everyone else, I need oxygen to live. I also need water and nutrients. And chocolate. Pretty straight forward stuff. However, I can also run out of animal love. I found this out last weekend, when I visited the petting zoo (don’t start, I live in the city, I need to get my furry fix somewhere…). I felt so replenished after having cuddled with a donkey that I realized I had run out weeks ago and only now felt complete again.

emoji happyUppers – Cowabunga

  • Donkeys.donkey.jpg
  • I got a new bike after my previous one was stolen (again!). Thx Zeefje!

emoji disappointedDowners – Bummerama

  • Caitlyn supports Trump… Now this really got me fired up. This is some new level donkey droppings. WHY is this even on TV?! And why do I know about it? Argh… I don’t know where to start but my dog, it really truly deeply annoys me…

emoji SeeNoEvilDenial

  • When I was walking home on the 24th and saw many government buildings in The Hague had flags hanging at half mast, I decided that we had instated a national day of mourning in memory of Johan Cruyff, and decided to act as if terrorists didn’t exist.

emoji musicMusic

  • My dad bought Coldplay’s latest CD for my mom… which confused me… and surprised me in a pleasant way…
  • I’m going to see Beth Hart in June!

emoji film.jpgMovies

  • New Indiana Jones in the making. O.o
    (don’t want to get excited, but most of all don’t want it to suck. Still kind of hoping it’s an April fool’s joke…)
  • Deadpool: Very funny. Pretty brutal. Go watch!
  • I re-watched Frozen, after having expressed my dislike for this film a couple of times, which is apparently “not done”. Friends told me I probably didn’t like it because I didn’t really get it the first time. I needed to watch it again. So I did.
    • My summary of the movie before re-watch:
      It’s about anxiety, poor communication and anti-social behavior
    • How people summarized it to me:
      It’s about love, self-worth and letting go of fear.
    • My summary of the movie after re-watch:
      It’s about bad parental advice, bad judgment and poor communication, with a small bit about love and family at the end.
    • What would have made me like it more:
      • Explain the origin of the trolls.
      • Better understanding of why the troll-king found it necessary to remove all memory of magic from Anna’s mind… Really don’t see the use in that.
      • Explain the origin (and use) of the ice-magic gift/burden
      • Leave out the Olav-song and the troll-wedding-song
      • Explain Kristoff’s background. Did he just leave his parents because some rock troll decided to keep him? Or was he actually an orphan? Where are his folks?
      • Make Sven more reindeerlike. Why does he have to pant like a dog?

I still don’t like hearing kids sing “Let it go”. It’s not a healthy song. It’s a frustrated angry song. It’s an “up yours”, a “fuck you all” an “I don’t care” in a fancy dress. Elsa is not a likeable person.

Hakuna_Matata

It made me think about Hakuna Matata and I wondered if that isn’t also a “fuck you all”-song. I don’t think it is. I think the final effect might be the same; which is doing whatever the hell you want, but Hakuna Matata is not an angry song. It has a “Don’t worry, be happy”-message, that might have irresponsible and anti-social behavior as a side effect, but not as a goal.

look-downLooky here

This new mind cleanup category will be where I will dump tidbits that I saw or read over the past month and that I want to share with the world:

emoji paellaEpicureous

  • I have been going through an avocado craze phase in my diet. I found a small fruit and vegetable store near my house that sells ultra ripe and yummy ones, which has spiked my avocado intake by 2681%. I have come to the conclusion that eating more than half an avocado a day makes me feel bloated though. Kind of interesting, kind of a bummer.

 

emoji hourglassEpilogue – What’s up, April?

  • I have a week off in the first week of April. Still no plans. Looking forward to it, though!

Cruel intentions

blunt thoughts

My sense of humor can have a cruel touch.

Besides making jokes on specific people’s expenses I also always enjoyed making offensive jokes about entire groups of people. Literally any group. Men. Women. Chinese. Latinos. Jews. Dutch. Gays. Cripples. The elderly. Hippies. Farmers. Lawyers. You name it and I would make fun of them and enjoy myself shamelessly in the process.

Not only have I enjoyed making these jokes, I have also loved being on the receiving end of them. There are few things that I find more entertaining than being in a humorous battle of wits and being outgunned by someone quicker than me.

And don’t forget dirty jokes! People don’t expect them to come from my corner and the looks on faces when I let one loose is highly addictive; A priceless mix of confusion and shock, topped off with a swirl of delight and disgust. Love that shit.

I speak in the past tense, as if it is something I don’t enjoy in present day. But I do, just not in the same way. I still make the same remarks, just not as loudly. In some cases I may even bite my tongue and chuckle silently as I share my witty remark with just me, myself and I. If I’m lucky there is a kindred spirit present to exchange glances with.

snark-meter.jpg

There are times when I really mourn the loss of my snark and want to blame the world for stirring up my conscience to such politically correct levels.

The sentence above is something I wrote weeks ago. Maybe even months. It’s been moved around from one draft to another until last week when I started to doubt it’s meaning.  I was planning on going into my own personal anti-political-correctness-tirade, which would have boiled down to something like this:

The last few days though I have felt the need to do the opposite and come to the defense of political correctness and promote it as the only true and right attitude to have.

Why?

Donald Trump.

Yes, I am really trying to ignore and deny his existence but he’s just so LOUD. The kind of stuff he’s been saying in the last couple of weeks has really truly blown my mind:

In the good old days, they’d rip him out of that seat so fast. But today, everybody’s politically correct. Our country’s going to hell with being politically correct
February 26, Oklahoma

And:

Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it. … We had four guys, they jumped on him, they were swinging and swinging. The next day, we got killed in the press — that we were too rough. Give me a break. You know? Right? We don’t want to be too politically correct anymore. Right, folks?
March 4 in Michigan

These are just two of the many things he said when confronted with protesters at his rallies. I don’t know if I am more angry or sad.

And then yesterday, while campaigning in Tucson, Arizona, he promised the world he would be acting more “presidential” in weeks to come (whatever that means). Not because he wanted to per se, but because his wife and daughter “begged him”. Ah yes, of course the weaker sex would do that… And as a good husband and father he can’t help but give in…

So yes, if opposing political correctness puts me on his team….

….I don’t even know how to finish that sentence but I think you get the point. I’d rather give up humor for a decade than associate myself with this man in any remote way.

clv1126c

Mind Cleanup – January ’16

The first month of the year flew by like a rocket! I must find a way to slow this thing down. I hope you all had a good start of the year. I would rate this month a 8 out of 10.

emoji happyUppers

  • My work contract was extended for another year!
  • My brother made a bird feeding house for on my balcony and managed to attach it to my unconventionally shaped banisters and now cute little birds come visit every morning (until the seagulls arrive).
  • Serena Williams did not win the Australian open, but was a really good sport about it. The hug she gave Angelique Kerber at the net after the game, really made me smile.

emoji disappointedDowners

emoji sunriseEpiphanies – getting to know myself

  • After watching a documentary called Growing up Trans I came to the conclusion I am more conservative than I thought, when it comes to accepting transgenderism and sex-change operations (and I will write a full blog on this topic soon)…
  • I really hardly drink alcoholic beverages at all but I have decided that if I drink at all, I prefer beer over wine. For some reason I used to always order white wine, out of some sort of strange society-induced conviction that that is the drink women should order or something…

emoji paellaEpicurious – food related thoughts

  • Five sperm whales died last month on the beach of our largest Wadden Island, Texel. I have been having so many discussions with my colleagues about what is healthy for us and the environment and the animals that we do or do not eat that I can’t help but wonder….
    • Could we eat the meat of beached whales?
    • Should we?
    • Where does it go when it gets “disposed of”?
  • I recently found out, yes thanks to one of my fanatically vegetarian colleagues, that we use pig and animal hair as a fluffener in bread… Who knew…
  • I have never had a quiche that made me want to go for a second round. I think it’s the egginess. I’m just not a big quiche fan. There, I said it.

emoji musicMusic related thoughts

  • I have never really cared for David Bowie
  • Sam Hunt’s hit song was one that I was pretty ecstatic about when it first came out but it’s sappiness kind of gets on my nerves now.
  • Speaking of Sams, I think Sam Smith has an unpleasant voice.
  • I really like Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, which has introduced me to some great new music, but for some reason keeps suggesting crappy covers of Beyonce’s “Halo”, which I really don’t understand…
  • Some songs get a whole new dimension when listened to with headphones on or with an incredibly good sound system.

emoji hourglassEpilogue – February expectations

  • Carnaval!
  • Valentine’s day
  • I will be going funtubing with a friend, next week.
  • I am going to go to a karaoke evening with my co-workers. The kind of thing you are totally looking forward to and totally not, all at the same time. haha!