Two full weeks without sweets!

Hey there folks,

I made it!

What? 

No sweets for two weeks!

It wasn’t even that hard. I had practically no cravings, except on two occasions: last week, when my wife baked an apple pie and yesterday, when a colleague of mine opened a fresh box of soft cakes (my favourites). 

BTW, here’s what I count among sweets: 

  • Any kind of candy
  • Any kind of cakes
  • Any kind of biscuits or cookies
  • Any kind of (sweet) pastry 
  • Any kind of ice cream
  • Any kind of fruit yoghurt
  • Any kind of dried fruit (figs, dates…)
  • Honey, agave or maple etc. syrup
  • Or any other food that has more than ca. 6g of sugar per 100g

I normally eat fresh fruit very rarely if at all (instead I really enjoy eating vegetables), but if we include an apple or a banana in the above list – oh, well – then I failed miserably. I ate an apple AND a banana this week. Hm… 

Obviously, I haven’t simply decided to stop eating sweets out of nothing. The true reason is – I want my (long gone 🙂 six-pack back!

I mean, if someone has managed to quit smoking, stopped drinking alcohol, doesn’t drink any coffee and doesn’t eat any bread for years AND now also says goodbye to the sweets – getting back a six-pack shouldn’t be a ‘mission impossible’ now, should it? 

Next milestone: one full month without sweets! 

Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted!

No more sweets for el capitan

Dudes and dudettes, dear friends! It’s been a while since I published the last blog post. But, worry not, you haven’t missed much…

In the meantime, I started taking diatonic harmonica lessons, learned how to repair MacBook Power Adapter (and actually repaired it), designed a video game, sold the remaining stuff from the basement on ebay, got a pair of brand new teeth, gained some weight and… I decided to quit eating sweets. Again. Only, this time I really mean it. No more sugar for this guy. It’s already 4th day today since I quit eating any kind of sweets. 

Chocolate? Nope, I don’t eat chocolate anymore. Cookies perhaps? No. Cheese cake? Nah. I’m not even eating dates, which used to be my favourite sugar substitute. Since I’ve never been a fan of Coke and co. anyway,  essentially – I just had to get rid of typical sweets from my diet. 

But why did I suddenly decide to stop eating sweets, you’re asking? Well, last week at work, our cleaning guy came to pick up my trash bin in order to empty it, just like he does every other day. That trash bin was full of chocolate wrapping papers, soft cake packagings etc. He looked at the trash bin, then he looked at me, as if he feels sorry for me and said: “Hey capitan, what’s wrong?” He just shook his head and moved on, not waiting for an answer or an explanation. That very moment I decided to finally lose weight and stop eating sweets. Enough is enough.

From my experience, this process is very similar to quitting smoking (or overcoming any other addiction) :

Admit (to yourself) that you’re addicted and that you need to quit
Decide to break the addiction
Find good reasons why you need to quit eating sweets
Quit

1. Admit

In the very first step, you have to admit that you have a problem. Because, if you “don’t have a problem” (or more precisely: you don’t see a problem), you won’t be able to find a solution. That’s obvious, right?

2. Decide 

Once you realised that you do have a problem with addiction (of any kind), it’s time for a decision. Decide to quit. You don’t have to actually action on it right now, just make a firm decision: e.g. “I’m not eating any sweets anymore”

3. Find reasons

You’ll need really good reasons to quit. The better reasons you have, the easier it will be to convince yourself that you need to break that bad habit.

4. Quit

Simply quit. If it’s smoking – just stop smoking. If it’s eating sweets – just stop eating sweets. As easy as that. Your reason(s) will support you in doing so.

And, as my favourite yoga book* suggests – this should be done not by forceful suppression but by detachement. If you suppress the desire, this desire is still there, just sitting and waiting for the right moment to come. Detachment is the key. 

So I detached myself from the sweets for the time being. Let’s see how long I’ll stay sweets-free this time. 😀 I’ll keep you posted. 

 

 

 

* Bases of Yoga by Sri Aurobindo

Taekwondo and the “Secret”

I haven’t been attending Taekwondo training for almost a year now. Reached the blue belt and… paused. I just had to stop for some time because of my knee problems. I guess I was too heavy  (ca. 106 kg at that time) and my knees were simply not able to carry all that weight. Specially with all the spinning, kicking and jumping around.

Since approx. end of June I’m down to ca. 96 kg and my knees practically don’t hurt anymore. Naturally, I started thinking of continuing my “Do”. But, you know how we procrastinators are: today I cannot go because of … [insert literally anything here]. Rain was forecasted for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow I’ll have to … [again, insert any excuse here].

The issue is – Taekwondo black belt is one of the items on my life goals list. And I’m really commited to achieving all of the goals on that list during this lifetime.

TaeKwonDo
Taekwondo – kihap (기합)

Now, believe it or not – but yesterday morning my instructor texted me to remind me of the afternoon trainig session. Ok, perhaps this doesn’t sound like much of a surprise. Only, I haven’t heard from him for months! And now – out of nowhere – I’m getting a message with an invitation for the training. Call me crazy or desparate or whatever, but I really believe in “The Secret”. I believe that whatever goal you have – you can achieve it. You just have to know what you want, why you want it and you have to take meaningful and targeted action towards achieving your goal.  And should it ever happen that you procrastinated and neglected your goal – you’d get a wake-up call like I did.

I also believe that during our lifetime, we encounter such people that seem to help us achieve our goals. On the other hand, we also encounter such people who seem to hinder us from achieving our goals. The funny thing is  – more often than not we only realise which are which after many, many years…

Of course I attended yesterday’s training session (and fell asleep from exhaustion the moment I came home :-). I even promissed to show up next monday. Because – by summer 2019 I’m planning on passing the red belt test and by Christmas 2020 I’ll be a black belt holder.

How about you guys and gals? Do you believe in “The Secret / Law of attraction”? Do you have a list of your life goals?

Smoking kills

Cigarettes stink!
Cigarettes stink!

My ex band mate’s wife died the other day. Lung cancer. Boy, did I cry when I got the news. She was such a good person, helped me and my wife when we needed it back in the day. I was totally shocked, didn’t even want to realize what I just heard. 

As I said – a wonderful person but also a chain smoker. You would never see her without a cigarette. So sad. Why do people do this to themselves? Why do people smoke this stinking poison?? 

She was diagnosed with lung cancer towards the end of 2017. Her family and friends have done everything to save her, tried several therapies but to no avail. 

Is smoking a form of masochism? Because, what other mechanism makes a healthy, intelligent person reach for the cigarette?

Quit smoking, dudes and dudettes! 

It gives you nothing and takes away everything! 

Need help quitting smoking? Just watch “Quitters, Inc.” in Stephen King’s movie Cat’s Eye (1985).

 

p.s. one more thing: cigs stink like hell. Don’t believe me? Do this: stick your nose in the next ashtray full of cigarette buds and take a deeeeeep breath through your nose. Breathe in through your nose as deep as you can. Ok, now – if you really did this, no need to reply to me or this blog post, because the answer is written all over your face: cigarettes stink like hell!

Sh*t happens…

Hey there, dudes and dudettes! I’m back. Finally. And I’m really sorry if you have been visiting this blog from time to time just to realize that there were no new posts. You see, I was unable to upload new posts due to… to… ahm… TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES. Yep. Technical difficulties! (Note to self: wow, this is such a great excuse. Works every time and it sounds so real, people don’t even doubt it. I’ll have to use it more often!) 

Ok, ok but what’s with the sh*t happens story, you’re asking? Well, recently I embarked on a path of becoming a frugalist. Fruga…what? Frugalist. Check it out here. Really cool lifestyle concept. And so, on my way from pure consumerism towards radical frugality, I decided to throw away, give away and sell my belongings. Literally everything. Ok, almost everything. But I guess you know this already. I believe I’ve mentioned this idea in one of the previous posts some time ago. And guess what – I already sold a few things on eBay and got rid of some old stuff. Yay! But there’s so much more to be listed and sold… 

Anyways, to cut the long story short: I decided it was time for my Maurice Lacroix chronograph to go.  For those of you who don’t know what a chronograph is – it’s just a flashy name for a wrist watch with a few additional “complications” (that’s what they call wrist watch functions beyond simply indicating time. I’m serious. Marketing never sleeps). Being a chronograph and not a plain wrist watch with a stopwatch makes it more expensive, too 🙂 My particular chronograph is a beautiful, stylish but also somewhat older quarz model. Nothing too fancy. Since the battery was already with one foot in the happy hunting grounds, I decided to change it DIY style. C’mon, how hard can that be? And I’d save 15 euros, too.

Oh, man. Big mistake. A perfect example of “make or buy” decision gone wrong. It’s not that I didn’t have the tools, skills, time or patience. Not at all. On the contrary. I did a wonderful job opening the case without a scratch. And then I went for the battery clamp screw. Did that, too. Unscrewed the screw and… 

Maurice Lacroix battery
Maurice Lacroix battery

Then I got the stupidest idea ever: to make a photo of the battery clamp while that tiny screw was hanging in it’s tiny screw hole. I reached for my iPhone which was lying on the shelf just behind my back, and made a few photos. And when I checked the last photo I took, the f@”&$*%* tiny screw was *not* on that photo. What?! It was there just a second ago. As you can imagine, I was about to explode. Oh, boy was I angry with myself. DIY? Seriously? Save 15 eur? WTF?! Idiot. But then I decided not to get upset at all and said to myself “you’ll find it, man. Don’t worry. Calm down. Breathe in, breathe out and start searching”.

And then I launched the rescue mission: first I checked around the desk. Under the monitor stand, perhaps? Hm… No. Under the printer? Nope. Keyboard? No. Hey, maybe the bloody thing is still in the watch somewhere? So I shook that watch inside out, hoping that the darn lil’ thing will fall out from the housing. Nah. No dice. So I went down on the floor. There was still hope that I’ll find the tiny screw on the floor somewhere. BTW, I’m calling that little thing a “tiny screw”. If you’ve ever opened an iPhone or any other cell phone, then you’ve seen small screws. Now, this thing is 10 times smaller! It’s literally just a bit bigger than a grain of sand. Crazy! How do they make them so small? Ok, so I searched high and low, square inch by square inch… and nothing. Ever heard of “needle in a haystack“? Well, this is the point where that figure of speech comes to life. 

But, not all was lost! I could swipe across the floor with a strong magnet! Ha! A trully marvelous idea! Said. Done. But – nope. Fail. “Error” (as my colleague Deniz used to say). And then I went for the last resort: install a fresh vacuum cleaner bag and vacuum the whole damn floor. Afterwards simply use a utility knife and carefully cut the bag open. The screw must be somewhere inside… Now, this last step I haven’t done yet. Because… what if I don’t find the screw inside the vacuum cleaner bag?! 

Home-cinema

For years I’ve been dreaming of a family-home-cinema evening: just the six of us, in our standard five+one formation (five humans + our canis familiaris), squeezing  cuddling on our living-room couch and watching a good movie on a big movie screen. Right… now you’re probably asking: oh, yeah, if you’ve been dreaming of this for years, how come you never managed to organize such a simple event so far? Well, the answer is simple: it’s first of all video-projector producer’s fault. Those prices… they’re incredible. Way too high. It’s their fault that so far I could never justify shelling out hundreds of €€€s for a piece of equipment which would be used only occasionally… Oh, wait a sec, my conscience is telling me something: excuses, excuses… Ok, nevermind. In a nutshell: we’ve never had a chance to organize such a family event so far (due to video-projector producer’s pricing policies 🤥).

And then my employer declared bankruptcy, ruining my dream carreer… Ha? Say again? Bankruptcy? What does any company’s bankruptcy have to do with family home-cinema dreams? Well, it has everything to do with it. You see, since the very first moment of the insolvency proceedings, the company (i.e. insolvency trustee) has been trying to get as much cash as possible by selling all possible assets, including all of the remaining marketing collaterals, furniture and IT equipment. For the first time in my life I got the chance to purchase an old but really nice pre-owned Dell DLP office projector at an affordable price. Poor thing has probably been hanging from the ceiling in some meeting room as it was rather dusty, but with only a few scratches and -most importantly- it was in the price range which I could afford  (perhaps one could have fished out a similar unit at a comparable price on eBay? We’ll never know…)

[now you get to choose the ending]

Ending nr. 1

And so I brought the projector home, we connected an old laptop via VGA cable (this projector can only do XGA) and streamed “Balto” from Amazon Prime. It all worked out perfectly and we enjoyed our first ever family home-cinema evening and the movie about a brave dog who… ah, you don’t need to know this right now. 🙂

Ending nr. 2

And so I brought the projector home, we connected an old laptop via VGA cable (this projector can only do XGA) and played a DVD movie. Tried to play the movie, that is. Because the darn thing was obviously broken. Aaarrghh! The picture started flickering after only few minutes and projector bulb went off and on again… oh, man. I brought it back the next day, but the IT guys wouldn’t accept any returns. 😥

Ok folks, so what did we learn from this story? Which ending did you like more?

Please leave a comment and like!*

Home-cinema
Home-cinema evening

 

* due to lack of Facebook and Youtube channels, we currently only accept “old-school likes”. Just in case you forgot how this is done: put on your best used car salesman’s smile while looking straight at your device’s display. Now, while smiling and looking straight at the display, make an upwards motion with your hand and do the “thumbs up”. Don’t forget to keep smiling! And if you really like this blog a lot, do the upwards motion & “thumbs up” with both hands at the same time! And now nod with your head. Oh, and make sure you don’t get caught doing this because people *will* be asking questions… 🙂

Video blogging…

Yesterday I received my China made photo studio set consisting of a white backdrop, two softboxes incl. 5500K bulbs and a set of light reflectors. The quality is not bad for the price paid. Not bad at all. From now on, I’ll use this set for all my eBay photos. As a matter of fact, I already did shoot a few photos of my Bass ukulele (which I will put up for auction on eBay very soon, BTW) and the photos came out really nice. Yeah, I know – I should’ve ironed the backdrop, but honestly – I can’t be bothered right now. Perhaps I’ll do it later… Check out my photo/video studio setup on the pic below.

 

My basement photo studio setup
My basement photo studio setup

And here’s one of the ukulele photos. Whaddaya say? Looking good, ha? Oh, and yes, that is indeed the original B-Band pickup/preamp system. Yeah, baby. And Aquila Thundergut strings. Believe me, this little uke sounds like an upright bass when amplified. I’ll hate to see it leave my collection, but… New life, remember?

Bass ukulele with Thunderugut strings and B-Band pickup
Bass uke with Thundergut strings and B-Band pickup

After this initiall photo success I decided that it was time to follow up on the old idea of doing a video blog. Casey Neistat style. And so I did a first test-run. Recorded a few takes with different settings, just to see what gives. Yeah, right. Video blog my a$$. It was a total disaster. Fail. My voice sounded awful (as in: totally horrible) and I was moving around as if I was suffering from a really bad case of a hyperactivity disorder.

Apart from the actual video being less than optimal (due to my… ahm… appearance and voice quality), I have to say that, from the technical perspective, this home-recording-video-studio setup was really well made. Two softboxes, one on each side of the room provided beautiful lighting. I attached a Røde microphone for studio-grade sound quality. I even used my MacBook as a monitor, to see myself while recording (I found this tip on YouTube: Frame Yourself with iPhone’s Back Camera). Being able to see the resulting video while recording is, of course, a cool feature. The problem is that – one tends to look at the monitor all the time, instead of looking straight at the camera lens. That’s why I came up with this little sticker-reminder saying “<- Look here!” (a trully revolutionary idea. Wonderful solution. Every video blogger novice should be using this! :-).

Oh, well… I guess everything requires practice. That old martial arts proverb “train for a 1000 days and you’re still a beginner; train 10,000 days and you are a master” is so true. Now I have just 9,999 days to go. Master photographer, here I come! How many years was that again?

Look here!
Look here!

So, folks – don’t expect to see any videos in this blog for the time being. It’s just too embarrassing. If I manage to brush up on my voice with some compression and EQ to a decent level, I’ll dare to upload a video in the future… Or maybe I’ll just upload a few videos and let you choose. How about that?

Thank God it’s Friday

Petak je. Najzad. Ja zapravo nešto baš i nisam u fazonu “thank God it’s Friday”, al’ kad su svi u tom fazonu, eto, da se i ja priključim. Ja lično sam mišljenja da – ako ti se npr. ne svidja posao – promeni ga odmah. Nemoj da čekaš petak, jer ćeš ionako u ponedeljak ponovo “morati” na posao. I tako do penzije. Čuj, što kaže Vanja – neki tako zapravo i presede na poslu do penzije, čekajući da prodje dan i dodje petak… Ja sve kontam, bolje naći posao gde se raduješ ponedeljku i novoj radnoj nedelji, nego se mučiti na poslu cele nedelje, da bi se obradovao petku ili tom patrljku od nedelje zvanom vikend.

Sedim u vagonu gradske železnice, hitam poslu. Oko mene umorni jutarnji maratonci, i oni trče tu istu trku. Svaki dan. Tamo. I nazad. Poneki zalutali turista tu i tamo. Njih odmah prepoznaš: uprtili rance, napunili torbe pa su valjda naumili da stignu nekud. Ljudi većinom zaronili u knjige, novine, mobilne telefone. Svi u istoj pozi – čitaju uspravno sedeći, pognute glave, pod 45°. Kao one lutke u izlozima prodavnica. Ceo vagon kao jedan veliki izlog. Šta li bi se prodavalo u jednoj prodavnici sa takvim izlogom? Boga pitaj. A vagon je star. I osvetljenje je staro. Lampe bacaju neku sivo-žutu neonsku svetlost. Napolju se još nije sasvim razdanilo. Klasika – suncu se ne žuri da dodje, a mesecu da ode…

Prošaram pogledom po vagonu s vremena na vreme. Čisto da vidim dal je neka interesantna nova faca ušla u vagon. I onda spazih sopstveni lik u prozoru. Da, to je ta ista poznata faca i dobri stari nasmejani lik ali… ostario si, Markane. Ostario a da nisi ni primetio. I tako, ako nekad stojite na peronu gradske železnice i vidite nekog putnika kako vam se iz vagona smeška  – to sam možda ja. Samo, ne smeškam se ja vama, već sebi. Putujem na posao. Radujem se. Osam sati zaborava. Osam sati nit’ me juri prošlost, nit’ me vreba budućnost. Osam stručnih sati, pretopljenih u jedan dugačak trenutak…

Odraz u prozoru
Odraz u prozoru

Velika rasprodaja snova…

Srećna Nova Godina! Happy New Year! Frohes Neues!

Jutro. Mračno jutro. Hladno. Kiša lije. Prava pravcata novembarska kiša. U januaru… Malo smo zbunili ovu našu majčicu Zemlju u poslednje vreme, pa ona ni sama ne zna kakvo vreme priliči ovom dobu godine. Al dobro, ajde, to nam je što nam je…

Rainy day in Berlin
Rainy day in Berlin

Danas je prvi radni dan u ovoj godini. Znam, jeste, i juče je bio radni dan. Ali ne za mene. Uzeo sam bio slobodan dan. Čisto da pozavršavam razne kućne poslove, da odnesem stari neupotrebljivi nameštaj na deponiju i da se odmorim od… od… Hm. Da, od čega? Osećam da mi treba odmor, a nisam baš načisto zbog čega i od čega. Čuj, uskoro će mi trebati odmor od odmora, toliko sam postao “popustljiv” prema samom sebi. 🙂

Danas beše produktivan dan: odnesoh neke stare raspadnute dušeke na deponiju (tj. recycling yard). Ti dušeci su stajali u podrumu, naslonjeni na zid. Zauzimali mesto i čekali bolje dane. Pa onda neke ogromne kartonske kutije, pa brdo nekih knjiga za predškolski uzrast. I masu drugih starih i neupotrebljivih gluposti. Podrum je izgledao kao stovarište. Ali bukvalno. Sada je kao nešto malo bolje… Pa sam popravio stolice u trpezariji, pa išao da kupim a potom i zamenio izgorelu sijalicu u kuhinji. Pa sam pomogao Lukaškinu da sastavi svoj novi radni sto, pa pomogao Maksi da rastavi ormar iz njegove sobe (da se odnese u podrum, gde će valjda i on stajati i čekati bolje dane).

A podrum nam je, inače, prepun snova i starih, sad već istrošenih želja. Bukvalno, sve neki impulsi nekih trenutaka iz prošlosti. Neki stari snovi (ispunjeni, pa odbačeni), neke kompenzacije ko zna čega iz mladosti. Svašta nešto, čega nismo imali, pa nam se sad prohtelo da to nadoknadimo. Sve se to našlo u podrumu. U obliku raznih džidža-bidža, većih i manjih. Da se razumemo, sigurno i drugi imaju slična stovarišta, ali ovo naše je za mene baš specijalno. Kao neki vremeplov. Tačno mogu da se setim šta me je kad spopalo. Koju sam “veliku ideju” imao u kom trenutku. Te gitara, pa pojačalo, pa bicikl, pa ovo, pa ono… Ali toga svega više neće biti u novom životu. Novi život će biti opušten, lak i oslobodjen takvih gluposti. Kol’ko god to bude bilo moguće. A sve te stare materijalizovane snove i želje ćemo prodati.

Počinje velika rasprodaja snova…

How it all started…

Just a few months ago, the company I worked for went bust. Hey, that’s a marvelous first sentence, innit? Totally in-line with my decision to be positive, think positive, say and write only positive things. Oh, well… you have to start somewhere.

Anyway, there I was with no job, no money, no future. And? What do people do when they’re out of job, out of luck? Start a blog, of course! 🙂

Ok, you might be asking now: how’s starting a blog going to help? Well, it’s actually really easy, I have this brilliant, unique, bulletproof business concept all worked out:

1. start blogging

2. content attracts visitors

3. become “Internet famous”

4. since the blog is famous, it gets even more visitors

5. activate all affiliate marketing links, banners and what not and that’s it! Lean back, relax and count the money.

Oh, and do a seminar or two each year on blogging-related topics. Maybe start selling some blog-branded T-shirts… How cool is that?