Jack the sound barrier. Bring the noise.


No Interest in Films Lately

Recently I've noticed that I've been less interested in going to the cinema. Most films don't seem to interest me at the moment. I think it came from a string of bullshit films that just left me disappointed. There's a whole series of superhero films that I don't even entertain. With the exception of Deadpool and Logan, two films I watched despite them being superhero films, I haven't watched any superhero film since X-Men 2. They are just so bad.

I suspect it's because I've been having a hard time suspending my disbelief. Usually that went hand in hand with immersion, but lately my demands of immersion have increased, probably due to a few really solid video games which have soaked me up, like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

I'm writing this post to act as a marker, so I can look back upon it a little later down the line to see if my understanding what is at play here has increased.

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Exercise, Injuries and My Mental Well Being

In April I blew my knee out. It happened while rolling. I caught someone in a calf-slicer and I couldn't quite finish it. I decided to push the knee of my trapping leg deeper into the back of the knee of my opponent and I heard the tendons pop. I think this is the closest I'll ever come to being Major Kusanagi as she rips her arms off her body trying to rip open the console panel off the battle tank.

Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating. I healed up in about a month. I didn't need another body, but still, I was unable to train for a a few weeks. I went back to training and the second class in I dislocated by elbow. That left my elbow sore, and I could train two weeks later. Then I re-injured an old injury in my neck.

A few years ago, I got injured during training. I couldn't sit or walk without incredibly pain flaring down from my neck and into my left shoulder and arm. Even laying down was only comfortable in certain very specific positions. I was bed-ridden for three days before things started to improve. The problems lingered for a long while until I found a hernia specialist that helped me with my neck, and I started feeling better in no time. It turned out to be nerve damage. Or rather, it was a nerve that had gotten quite a beating and was overly sensitive.

So about two months ago I re-injured that same old injury. Initially, it wasn't as bad as before, but it progressively got worse as I kept cycling to work and I started running more to compensate for not being able to train. I went to the same physiotherapist that helped me before and things steadily got better.

Then holidays came. And after that I had to go in for a little surgical procedure (which is a story for another day) that has left me with some stitches. All in all, it's been a hell of a few months.

Now, this certainly isn't the first time I'm not capable of training, but it has been an exceptionally long time where I couldn't do anything, not even run or bike. And I'm starting to notice it's taking its toll on my mood. And my sleeping pattern.

Currently, I like my job, I'm in a loving relationship, my siblings are doing well and I have no real major worries in my life. And yet, I don't feel particularly motivated to do anything constructive -- no project to keep my occupied, no goals I want to achieve or new things I want to learn. Usually I have something like that to occupy me. A story I want to write, a book I want to read, learning how to solve a rubik's cube faster, learning how to make a particular cocktail, some project I want to code... But now, nothing. No desires.

And I've been sleeping poorly. I've never had problems sleeping and I can't rightly say that compared to actual insomnia I am having problems now, but I tend to sleep early and wake up early. And I wake up in the middle of the night, which hardly ever happens. I think it's a general sense of restlessness.

All in all, it's not bad, but it's also not good. I think the lack of exercise is really getting to me.


The Baltic Sea

Several weeks ago I traveled to Poland with Joasia to continue the discovery of her homeland. This would be the fourth time we'd traveled to Poland, but we had been in and around Warsaw twice before, and that city left me not too exited to discover the rest of what Poland had to offer. The city is large and bland and uninspiring, which is not surprising considering destruction that was visited upon the city during the second world war. Only a very small part of the old city still remains, which is actually quite cute. But the rest...

When Joasia asked me if I wanted to go to the mountains a couple of years ago, to visit the mountains around Zakopane and Kraków afterwards, I wasn't so enthusiastic. I was really glad she convinced me, because it was breathtakingly beautiful. Despite this experience, I still was a little reticent when Joasia suggested we go to the north this time, to visit Gdańsk and the coast of the Baltic Sea. Of course, I should've known better, because northern Poland turned out to be as beautiful as southern Poland.

Gdańsk itself has a beautiful city center, very reminiscent of Amsterdam because of the trade along the Baltic Sea by the Hanseatic League. Though it was a little bit too touristy for my liking, it had its charm and we found some great places to eat. We visited Malbork Castle by train, which interesting and impressive. But I was really blown away when we start driving along the northern coast, towards Łeba.

We made sure to drive along the small country roads, through tiny villages and the wooded countryside. When we finally reached the coast, it was a stunning mix of beach, dunes, forests and lake side meadows. The forest was quiet, and we even saw a wild deer, the dunes were pretty popular with visitors, but the beaches were very empty, despite the weather being rather nice.

Another very successful trip to Poland. The country is so incredibly large that I've now seen some very different countryside from the mountains in the south to the coast in the north. I've learned more about its long and turbulent history, and I am starting to understand Joasia and the Polish people better as a result of it. I'm looking forward to the next region to discover, and what I might learn about my partner as a result of it.


Nine Years

It's been nine years since the hardest day in my life. Nine years since my mother died in a hospital in Imperia, Italy. In previous years, I wrote about those last few days, but this year I find myself considering how my feelings regarding her death has changed over time.

My sadness has definitely changed. Initially it was a destructive inferno, now it's a comforting campfire. It has matured. In the years after my mother's death I felt like an injustice was done, and my tears came in protest to what happened; a rejection of her death, and a refusal to accept that she was gone. Now I have accepted that she's gone, and my tears are an acknowledgement of my loss and how much she meant and continues to mean to me.

I couldn't have done it without the help of my brother and sister, who are the biggest gifts my mother ever gave me, and who have helped calm that inferno and allowed me to temper the sadness. Ruurd, Moulsari, Joasia and Eva also played an important part in getting me to where I am today.

And yet, when I am by myself and I think back to the last few days of her life, there is something that scratches at the back of my subconsciousness. An irritant that pokes at me and tells me that I failed her my letting her suffer in that hospital. That I should have done more or done something differently. When think about that and I close my eyes I am assaulted by images of my mother in distress. It used to be that those images would come to me uninvited. So I suppose there is improvement there too.

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Lynmouth, Exmoor

Last weekend we hiked abouth 9km on Exmoor. We started out from Lynmouth, up the East Lyn River to Watersmeet, crested the hill at the Parish of St. John the Evangelist and returned along the coast back to Lynmouth. The first part was forested, the second part was cliffs. Stunning. Here's a few photos I took.