Bastiaan Reinink

Jul 012015
 

Maybe I shouldn't complain too quickly, at least I'll never get -this- hot.

Maybe I shouldn’t complain too quickly, at least I’ll never get -this- hot.

On the tube home I happened to catch part of the newspaper of the lady sitting next to me: “Temperature in London underground higher than would be allowed for cattle transport.”

I’m not a cow, so I generally get to make my own choices. Including to get on a tube with an ambient temperature hotter than my own blood.

As sweat trickled in a small river off of my forehead I was seriously doubting the wisdom of that particular free choice. Of course, not getting home isn’t fun either (or walking for three hours through the heat outside. At least underground there was no sun)… So how much choice do you have in the end?

Maybe being a cow isn’t so bad after all…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Jun 292015
 

I’ll get to that tomorrow

I do have a tendency of writing things on my todo list after I do them. Just the joy of crossing something off...

I do have a tendency of writing things on my todo list after I do them. Just the joy of crossing something off…

That’s what I’ve been telling myself for quite a bit in the past month.

And though this should be fairly obvious, I found that, come the next day, there would be another tomorrow, just perfect to do that one important thing on…

A month ago I arrived in the Netherlands, my head filled with all sorts of important things I’d do. A whole list of them. A todo list.

It’s not that I didn’t do any of them. In fact, I got a whole load of them done (which I have to admit becomes easier if quite a few are “socialize” (and I still didn’t get to see everybody that I had wanted to…)). And I did some “real work” as well. I set in motion a small renovation, I painted the woodwork at the rooftop terrace (it now clashes horribly with the stonework!).

In fact, I’m quite happy with the amount of work I did in my “vacation”. Still, with a bit more effort I would have been able to cross off quite a few more items…

Procrastination, distraction, laziness. Choosing short term contentment over long term satisfaction.

Thinking back on quite a few of the previous days the process was as follows:

One thing that did work reasonably well was thinking about “things” (work mostly). I’ve found that talking to different people, letting things mull in the back of your head and writing a few things down, all in the span of a reasonable amount of time, does wonders to get that grey mass working. Now to figure out what to do with the conclusions…
  • Get up with all sorts of good intentions on what to do that day.
  • Do a number of the smaller items (interspersed with quite a bit of distraction, such as e-mail)
  • Decide that I’d done a lot and deserved a tiny break; maybe an afternoon nap, maybe an hour of playing computer games. This would usually be at about 2 in the afternoon.
  • Return to reality from either my mental or electronic dreams.
  • Decide that because of all the other things I had to do, I couldn’t possibly start that big and important thing, the one that would really require a few hours of uninterrupted work (even if it didn’t take that).
  • Continue with some small stuff and / or entertainment or / and socializing (hey, if it’s on your todo-list…)
  • Go to bed for the night.
  • Repeat.

So the lesson from this: If there’s something big to be done, start with that, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other things.

It only took a single semi-wasted month to figure this out. I guess I’ll have to take another working vacation again soon… :-)


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Jun 232015
 

Last week I was in Edinburgh for a few days. One of the things my girlfriend and me did was do an “escape room”.

An escape room is a real-life adventure game. And Day of the Tentacle was the best of them: Get the fake barf from the ceiling, flush it through the toilet to send it to the future so that the person there can use it to disqualify Harrold from the "best human contest" so that instead your long-dead mummified pall can win (after you give him hair consisting of spaghetti with meatballs of course...)

An escape room is a real-life adventure game. And Day of the Tentacle was the best of them: Get the fake barf from the ceiling, flush it through the toilet to send it to the future so that the person there can use it to disqualify Harold from the “best human contest” so that instead your long-dead mummified pall can win (after you give him hair consisting of spaghetti with meatballs of course…)

For those of you new to the concept: It’s a room filled with puzzles which you have to solve to “escape” the room (e.g. find the key which allows you to open the storage box which contains a riddle that points you towards the code for the vault…). There is a timer, you have exactly one hour to do this. And it’s awesome fun!

So, I was inspired! And having planned to have some friends over last Saturday, I decided to let loose my diabolical creativity and challenge their grey matter to the hilt. Puzzles, locks, numerical series, codes, even playing the saxophone!

The evening was a great success, everybody absolutely loved it! It took slightly longer than planned (2 hours instead of my estimated 1, but we had time so that didn’t matter so much). And they needed quite a few hints and prodding to get everything right.

Which results in a few observations:

One of my friends twittered about how much she enjoyed the escape room. Promptly there were two replies back from companies which would be happy to list my escape room in their index. Maybe this is an interesting career switch?!
  • Some of the clues I thought were blatantly obvious were completely misunderstood by the group. People will think differently…
  • It can be staring in your face, but people won’t see it. An A4 with the code to one of the locks was out in the open and completely ignored. Next time I’ll write next to it: “Secret code”?
  • The group ran with whatever bit of a clue they had. When there were two songs to be played they quickly got the first one (“You can leave your hat on”, sending them off to my collection of hats and removing the pieces of paper from all of them), but completely ignored the second song (“Under the bridge” by All Saints, with the file renamed to “Be original”; it should be obvious that the original of Under the bridge is by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and that they obviously needed the red hat. Right? (Yeah, I made this one too complicated…)), meaning that they they didn’t know anymore which piece of paper came from which hat.

All of the above says nothing about my friends, but it says a lot about me as a game designer (or communicator). One thing I took away from this:
If it isn’t blatantly obvious, people will misunderstand (i.e. hints don’t work (I’m looking at some of my ex girlfriends here! 😉 )).

I think this will help me quite a lot next time I have to give a presentation or write a report (or design an escape room!).


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Jun 122015
 

Just 2 more days…

At least I would have a new toy to play with...

At least I would have a new toy to play with…

The entire month of June I do not need to be at the office. And in that time I’ve got a lot of things that I want to do, some of which I could have done in London (think about the future, relax, write), but some are only possible in The Netherlands (visiting old friends and family, maintenance to my house). So the choice was easy: I’ll spend my time “at home” (also known as Utrecht (and surroundings)).

So far I’ve been really enjoying it! Seeing friends, having all the space and time for myself that I want (which so far has only involved a single evening of brainless gaming!), not going to work!

There is a minor downside to spending a lot of time in The Netherlands though, one detail that London has that Utrecht doesn’t: My girlfriend.

As she only started her newest job recently, asking for a month off seemed like a bad idea. We have plans to see each other halfway through the month (which will involve not only her, but also her parents and (I sincerely hope) copious amounts of whisky!), but that’s another week from now!

The first few days were awesome: Really being able to do whatever it is I want, not having to take anybody else into account, eating whatever I want (not that she’s a difficult eater, far from it, but still…), spending time with friends without being worried whether she’s actually having a good time…

But then not so slowly another feeling started to intrude. Because yes, time alone is great, but spending a lazy day in bed is better if you can do it together. And dropping by friends for dinner is great, but it’s even greater when you can share the socializing with the one you love.

Not only will I be re-united with my girlfriend, I’ll also be meeting her parents for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s a good sign that she seems more nervous about this than I am…
In London I’d be happy to see my girlfriend after a day of work, good to get a hug and kiss, to discuss the day. But it was the status quo, I saw here every evening, so it was hardly special.

Now however I can’t see her and I’m very actively longing to.

They say: “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone”. This is usually meant for things that are truly gone. But it works equally well for things (people!) that are temporarily gone. And what I’ve come to realize: This is a good thing.

Not seeing each other at all doesn’t make for a good relationship. But not seeing each other for a while, with some regularity, makes you appreciate the other person so much more.

Missing someone isn’t nice. But sweet reunions more than make up for it.

Only 2 more days…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!

Jun 052015
 

My experiment for the past month was “being good”. Time for a recap.

You know, it's not easy finding old ladies you can help cross the street...

You know, it’s not easy finding old ladies you can help cross the street…

The first thing I found was that it’s hard to qualify when I have been good (respect for Santa Claus!). If I didn’t do anything particularly shitty, was I “good” that day? Is doing “a good deed” enough? And how big does that need to be? Is standing up for someone in the underground sufficient, or will only creating world peace do? And if you did something not-so-nice (took that last seat in the underground, right in front of someone’s nose), can you make up for it by doing something good? Or maybe two somethings?

I don’t really have answers to these questions. In general I “scored” a day if I felt I had been a generally good person and had done at least one “good deed”.

The second observation was that being “generally decent” is quite easy. I think this would hold for most people around; there just aren’t that many occasions where you can act like an asshole without going out of your way (maybe it helps that I don’t drive a car?). Or is this saying something about my general (friendly) disposition (and perhaps upbringing)?

The experiment for the coming period: Be productive. I have a month in which I don’t have to show up at the office. It would be very easy to sit back, play computer games, read, watch movies and hang out with friends, but I also know that though those things are great, only that doesn’t make me happy. So, the experiment is to “be productive”in non office-work related ways. I have quite a could-do list, and I’ll let you know how this fared.
Third, being actively good is quite hard. Or better, remembering to be good is quite hard. Mostly my mind would be on other things (myself) and not that many occasions would present themselves (in such a way that I actually took notice). And while some good deeds can be pre-meditated (bringing a flower home for my girlfriend), I feel quite a bit has to be “in the spur of the moment”?

One way around this would be to spend more time in pre-meditation, which is not something I really tried.

Finally, when I actually did something good, it did feel very nice!

Conclusions: I’m happy that I find myself to be generally a decent human being. It’s nice to go out of your way do to something good once and awhile, but it’s hard to remember doing that. It would be worthwhile to experiment further with being more “pre-meditated good”, but I’ll leave that for another time (see the side bar for my current experiment).


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

If you enjoyed this (or another) post, if you have something to add or to ask, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment!