Space Stuff Comping Up! (Reading List and Poetry)

I spent autumn getting back into my beloved science fiction and space in general.

Books I started reading:

  • The Tower and the Hive (series, sequel to the Talents trilogy) – finished two of five volumes. The Talents-universe Anne McCaffrey created just speaks to me with its unique atmosphere, slow and steady but still energetic pace, nostalgic feel, and threads of hard fiction (e.g. thorough description of life in domes on a Jupiter moon) among the crazy.
  • Spacefaring: The Human Dimension by Colin Phillinger; read the first few pages. Lovely blend of space exploration and psychology, as far as I can see. Not an easy read for tired evenings, but maybe for the upcoming holidays.
  • Cosmos, paperback version of Carl Sagan’s classic. Currently in my backpack, but as with the book above it needs some time and quiet to be truly appreciated. Hard to read on the train, but his wonderful command of metaphors and the like makes it worth the slow read an contemplation. When I find a seat in the mornings I try to read a few paragraphs to set the mood for the day.

I haven’t started Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Astrophsics for People in a Hurry yet, but I’m looking forward to it as I thoroughly enjoy his (and his colleagues’) insights on Star Talk Radio.

My wishlist for Christmas contains mainly books, from Earth in Human Hands to Broca’s Brain.

Reading inspires me to write. I finished creating a series of haiku-styled factoids about our solar system which I’ll post as soon as I’ve decided whether to post them separately or in one big post. Apart from this I started collecting bits and pieces of thoughts on my reading material. I’ve been toying with some bigger ideas for a few months but they are not solid enough yet, though I might post fragments on their own.

 

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The Pink Watch

When I was a child, my paternal grandfather (now long dead) gave me  Barbie branded watch. It might have been for my birthday, I can’t remember. I owned a few Barbie dolls, but I was not very interested in pink stuff. The only thing I liked about this watch was the fact that it had a little button that made the face of the clock light up, in this eerie green glow common to glow-in-the-dark stars.
After a few weeks the button and the light stopped working, maybe the battery voltage was too low, and the watch ended up in the kitchen drawer where my mother kept watches we children had outgrown and ones that needed fresh batteries or bands.
I wonder if this old pink Barbie watch still exists somewhere. My fascination with glowing things and my dislike for too much pink definitely have persisted.

What If I Just Want a Simple Life?

I get bombarded by notions of how I should live my life as a still kind of young adult. Travel, do crazy things, meet a million people, go to festivals all the time, party hard, eat at fancy places, save the world, be a sparkly social unicorn, …

Yes, sounds nice, but for the moment, I just want a simple life. I want to work, train capoeira, make art, learn about things at my own pace, sleep, watch the snail I put into a jar to keep it for a few days before releasing it again, I want to watch clouds and listen to thunderstorms, I wish I had more friends to simply hang out with to talk, sunset hugs, sit at the beach at night; I want to have more energy to ride my bike out of the city in my free time, just feel my kind of freedom again, or read more books again. Travelling all over the world is for another year. I want to be content, have what I need, feel secure for a while. I miss the fields, the old paths, poppies and green turning to gold, summer nights spent outside. I love and hate the big city. I love and hate what I left, what I lost because I had to run off with what was left of my sanity and sense of self, and I love and hate the melancholy of being stuck between these worlds. I long for friends and community and solitude at the same time. I’m dreaming of a small rustic house with a garden and a studio at the edge of a forest right beside the modern city, with friends willing to come over for stargazing. I want a simple life with space for my complex inner world.

Capoeira Update: May 2017

The promised update on my capoeira practise!

First things first: I’m getting closer and closer to a freestanding handstand. I’ve practised pushing off the wall a little and try to balance my weight before going back to the wall or the floor, as well as stopping right before my feet touch the wall. The wall is great to take away the fear of falling over with too much momentum. On a good day I can hold my balance three to five seconds. In addition I started practising without the wall, both handstand and underarm stand. I’m not yet able to get into a totally vertical position because I’m scared of falling over, but it’s much better than last year, so with building some more strength in my core, arms, and shoulders it should get even better soon.

I had a lot of colds this winter (and right now, because it’s still cold and wet outside – the shops display summer bikinis while I wear half-gloves and my warm, rain-proof anorak) and missed many classes, so I was thankful for the cheap, thick yoga mat I had bought on a whim. When I felt good enough I did some stretching, warrior poses, or even push-ups and planks. The worst was the month-long cough that caused me to lose a lot of core strength because I could do no crunches or similar exercises at all. I regained most of it by now, but my way to a six-pack has to start at zero again.

My knees hurt more than usual when doing lower movements like esquivas and rolés, so I have to be extra thorough with warming them up. I’m trying to loose a little bit of weight to take some stress off my joints (I’m not really overweight, but not in my ideal personal range for intense physical activity either) and eat even better food. I’ve learned to make yummy Thai curries and stir-fried noodles with lots of vegetables.

Some random things I’ve learnt/done: I went to an angola workshop with a friend and learnt a cool way to turn around on one leg – I don’t use it in real games, but it’s fun to throw into the mix in when we do warming up games without kicks. Last week or so I found a video tutorial that included a simple but cool transition from queda de rins to a turn (by extending the lower leg and crossing the upper one over it, standing up with the back to the other person, and then stepping around), which I started to use in slower games. On Wednesday I didn’t play in the roda because I was exhausted from the beginnings of my current cold, but I got the chance to sing two songs (with some help) while the others played, which made me really happy and a little proud.

Work in progress: slowing down/stopping in the cartwheel, getting back into doing more and different push-ups, the aforementioned handstand, not getting angry at myself when I have a bad day*.

If I feel well enough for training tomorrow I’ll try to start learning playing the atabaque in the music part of class. I tried the basic rhythm on my djembe already :)

 

*Sometimes I use my needed breaks to do sketches of capoeira movements, which is a nice way to spend time in class without feeling totally disconnected or useless. You can find some of my sketches and doodles on instagram.

 

Long Time No Write

Hi folks!

It’s been a while – mea culpa!

Some of you may have followed me on Instagram and Twitter for shorter updates and random thoughts. (And the Star Wars hair styles I did today and yesterday to entertain a co-worker, go look at them on IG if you need a chuckle!) I really want to get back into writing; I’m just not sure of the format.

There are some topics I want to touch, but I’d like to put more effort into these.

  • Getting in touch with your body and your identity through martial arts (and handling blunt weapons, lol)
  • Contentment vs. happiness
  • Space (I’d love to create something about planets, moons, and asteroids, playing with different ideas right now)
  • Navigating life with a mind full of opposites
  • Background noise

I’m busy with work most days and want to keep this blog completely separate from my job for different reasons. I’m still a linguist, doing linguist things in a language project for a big company, destroying (and fixing) templates, and occasionally dabbling in logic programming for internal purposes, while filling my desk with plants, listening to weird music, and drinking a little too much espresso. Sometimes I fold origami manta rays and other creatures when I need a break.

A long due update on my journey in capoeira will follow shortly!

Now I’m going to install the WP app on the “new” phone I got some months ago, so stay tuned for new random poetry spam.

See you soon!

PS: The last few months I didn’t find motivation for photography beyond the low-quality phone snapshots and I still haven’t posted the images from the last wedding I photographed. Life has been crazy, the weather disgusting, and nothing really interesting was going on. I’m waiting for the sky to clear so I can take pictures of the moon with my new tele-zoom lens, then next month I’ll be at the big annual capoeira workshop with my camera.

 

 

Capoeira and Weakness

I don’t really know how to write this post.

The last few years haven’t been that awesome health-wise. I started my capoeira journey a few months before an all-time low, a time that involved a lot of sleeping, brain-fog, headaches, and crying on the gym floor. There were people who still took the time to teach me. I’m still incredibly loyal to them and wouldn’t want to miss them.

I’ve grown stronger, my overall fitness is better than in the past, but the demands have grown with it. Demands from my instructors, from my group, from myself. So now every new low brings more frustration and more self-doubt. People tell me to give my best, to go faster, while my body wants to lie down and sleep. It makes me feel bad for my instructors – they spend time and energy on teaching us -, for my group – I hold others back -, and for myself, because I can’t be who I want to be. Dizziness comes and goes, some days my muscles hurt, sometimes I just feel like I’m far away and my body doesn’t listen to me. When I have a cold it takes me weeks to get back to my old level afterwards.

Most of this week I spent sleeping, because I’m down and out with a really nasty cold. The doctor told me my blood results are perfectly fine and I just have to deal with getting sick easily and not being as fit as others. I’ll just have to go slow with sports, which isn’t easy with capoeira.

But I don’t want to give up what I have – something that brings me joy, makes me stronger (as long as I don’t add stress on my body by going five times a week), and helps me connect to wonderful people. I’m just scared of telling people I’ll have to go even slower in the future, scared of their remarks, their looks when I take care of myself instead of going all in, scared of seeing others succeed and moving on while I linger. I’m scared of more self-doubt when I see the gap between me and others grow, of seeing others wearing brown and green while I don’t know if I ever will.

Today I went on a walk with my camera to escape from my self-pity and black thoughts. Taking pictures by the lake (just five minutes from our apartment) in the fog helped me clear my head and respiratory system. I brought home some cool seagull pictures I worked into a black and white series: https://starfishskiesphotography.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/seagulls-in-the-fog/. Maybe I will never be a really good capoeirista, but I can do my best when I feel well and take pictures on the other days, learn the music, contribute and participate in some way. I just hope others will accept this and help me, instead of looking down on me or adding to my frustration in some other way.