You can train a little bit everywhere

I’m looking forward to capoeira class tonight. For two weeks in a row I was only able to go to class on Monday and train a little, then struggled with illness for the rest of the week so I couldn’t go. I didn’t work on my handstand at all and only a tiny little bit on the ponte. Naturally I felt squirrely after just a few days of resting. My body craves the exercise by now. I don’t do big sets of exercises and I can’t stick to workout plans, but I enjoy integrating some small exercises into my daily routine. When I pass the living room door and feel like it I fool around with the pull-up bar in the door frame. When taking a walk around the lake I like hopping onto some of the bigger stones next to the path and do some balance stuff. Other things I do for fun without really thinking about them are walking up stairs in different ways, stretching and moving across the bed in funny manners, doing small leg lifts or ballet positions (just the feet) while standing somewhere, kicking at people (only those who can handle it and won’t get mad at me, of course, mostly it’s the Nerd or one of my guy friends) while passing them or standing somewhere together, and generally stretching a little bit every now and then when I feel stiff. Yesterday when I was stuck at a train station with the Nerd and some other guys for an hour I did a set of push-ups with my feet on the lower bar of a guardrail out of boredom. Afterwards I did some stretching, also using the two bars of the guardrail. One of the guys even joined in by doing a few yoga stretches himself.

Train everywhere, make creative use of whatever you find when you have to wait somewhere.

Data is soulless.

Only digital ghosts keeping me company while I’m in bed, waiting for something to happen, something to shift in the neon maze of cyberspace, now mostly switched to off, the remainders dimmed, muted, grey light mingling with faint voices, echoes of steps not really taken by anyone. There is pain in my body tonight and I try to fade myself into some alcove of this fleeting texture woven from millions of messages not meant for me and pictures passing by and vanishing again, streams of code I cannot see but feel, an insane non-physical machinery grown over decades, partly build, partly haphazardly thrown together, brick-a-brac output of innumerable human minds and their creations.

Connected, but alone – watching more data float by in a minute than my ancestors would have been able to access in a day, a month, a year, and – way back – even in a decade or a lifetime. Data is soulless, disembodied from its purpose, if viewed somewhere between point of origin and destination, and most of the time it’s not interesting enough to encourage looking for the creator, the recipient, and make sense of the intention put into whatever it is that just drifted by. It’s like hanging in limbo in a stacked mirror void, instead of actively following them just passively watching trickles, currents, and maelstroms of information moving along invisible grids, for a moment lighting up like a meteor just to fade again in the distance, already forgotten. Everything is sped up, and yet time seems to be stretched like thin skin over monitors, small red vessels beating diminutive reminders of life, of precious moments running out, but I still stare and wait, something might occur at any given time, watch, wait, be there, but everything that happens will in turn fade and be just a part of the black void of waiting. Data is soulless, and it’s a bad companion.

Life Is Changing

I’ll be starting new work soon!

After finishing my master’s degree I continued working in a project at university, but as I won’t be able to continue there after this semester I had to look for something else. I had planned to get some “normal” job on a regular employment base, but somehow this didn’t work out and a totally different opportunity opened up. I’ll freelance as a language teacher, starting next week (if everything goes right).

So I’ll be away from university for the moment, learning to navigate the jungle of class preparation and paperwork instead.

Weird Brain: Chopstick and Pen Edition

While I’m “officially” right handed, I’ve never managed to learn holding knife and fork the normal European way (which would be fork in the left hand, knife in the right hand; I do it the other way round); most of the time trying to do so results in a mess of food flying off my plate and awkward attempts to cut my meat. On the other hand, I’m perfectly capable of eating with chopsticks held in my left hand. Maybe I can’t use them as efficiently and elegantly this way as I do with my right hand (not to mention the comparison to people born into a chopstick-using culture), but still better than the average European person holding them in their dominant hand, I bet. At least when eating from a bowl. Picking rice off a plate is a whole different story, in that case my right hand is much more proficient, though I don’t know in how far it’s maybe just a matter of lacking the fine motor control gained by years of practise. Same with writing/drawing with my left hand – I’m able to produce recognisable letters and shapes without too much effort, but the lines are wriggly and shaky and I have to focus harder because the motor patterns aren’t ingrained that deeply. When for a while a few years back I practised writing with my left hand more intensely it took only a few days until I didn’t have to concentrate so much and the letters became less shaky. Something I’ve never been able to do was mirror writing – some of the completely right handed people back at school had fun taking a pen into each hand and writing the same words with both hands at the same time, producing normal script with their right hand and mirror writing with the left hand. When I tried this I always ended up writing the normal way round with my left hand as well, adding in only a few mirrored letters here and there.

So I guess I’m fall somewhere in the grey area between being fully right handed or fully ambidextrous. I’m just not sure how much of it is hardwired and how much it was affected by juggling, experimenting/training, and trying to give my right wrist some rest after it had been pulled until it hurt on some occasions – ever tried holding a surprisingly strong Shetland pony determined to run across the yard? Or take being dragged around by a mentally handicapped kid during project week at school.

First time I played in a bateria!

Tonight in capoeira class we had a small roda. And for the first time I was a part of the bateria (the group of percussion instruments accompanying the game) for a moment. A friend of mine had been playing the agogô for a few songs, so when I was tired after my second game I decided to take his place in the bateria so he could play in the roda again. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped and missed a few beats here and there, but at least nobody stopped to correct me nor did anyone try to take the small instrument away from me (which happened the last time I was holding a pandeiro while a roda was being formed), therefore I guess it was okay for the start. So I played the agogô for the last few minutes of the roda. Dong-ding-dong, dong-ding-dong …

I’ll need to practise keeping time with my pandeiro so they’ll let me play that instrument as well.

Shooting Star Hunting

The Perseid meteor shower has arrived, so I’m sitting on a cushion on the window sill, biting the cable of my headset, listening to Night Vale and setting the self-timer of my camera over and over again. So far I’ve seen three or four normal shooting stars and one really big, bright meteor, flashing right in front of my window. But I haven’t managed to capture any shooting stars with my camera yet.