Bastiaan Reinink

Jul 252015
 

A week back I was in France with a group of friends, for a hiking vacation. We hiked part of the coast of Brittany, climbing over rock outcroppings, being astounded by the tides (a 6 meter difference!), seeing menhirs. And after the hike there was of course time for playing a game, having great food (awesome mussels!) and just relaxing. In all, the perfect vacation!

While hiking you've got to keep some rocks up at times as well...

While hiking you’ve got to keep some rocks up at times as well…

Though I do my very best to stay in contact with my friends, living on the other side of a sea (even if it’s a tiny one like the North Sea) makes that somewhat more complicated. So the first two days of the hike were spent catching up with everybody, sharing stories, learning what they had been up to, exchanging a bit of gossip.

After those two days I was basically “up to speed”. And I found that it was harder to keep the conversation flowing. Sure, we’d get into something personal a bit more in dept. Or we’d talk about the world, politics, the economy, etc. But there were quite a few silences as well.

As a student I would absolutely abhor silences; I would start to prattle just to have some sound around, much to the amusement of my friends. I’m not quite at that level anymore, but silence still can make me uncomfortable.

What I really enjoy about hiking as well is that it allows a lot of thoughts to be processed in the back of the mind. It seems the legs work perfectly as pistons for the mental machinery…
I think it took another 2 days, but then that feeling changed quite radically. The awkwardness disappeared and instead the silence became amiable: “We are both walking here. We enjoy looking around, moving through this landscape. And the fact that I get to do that with you by my side, makes this an even better experience.”

My friends are my friends because I like them (and I’m assuming they like me back). Having a good conversation most certainly is a part of that, but it’s actually just a small part. Being together, spending time, forging mutual memories, all of that goes towards a beautiful and dense tapestry of trust, understanding and a feeling of belonging.

Hiking with friends is the best! :- )


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!

Jul 092015
 

It’s 8 o’clock as I’m writing this. I’ve done my day of work, I had a bite to eat. My girlfriend is out (of the country, to be exact).

Indeed. Time for a walk outside!

Indeed. Time for a walk outside!

I have 2 to 3 hours to fill before I need to be asleep. 2 to 3 hours to do whatever I want.

But what do I want?

A very big part of me wants to “sit back and relax”. Which basically means watch a series or movie, browse the internet or play a computer game.

And those are perfectly reasonable options. It’s nice to do nothing for a bit, to immerse myself in some alternate world, forget about the real one for a while. And it’s a very easy choice. The laptop is right there (well actually, right here, as I’m currently typing on it), bringing all of that to my finger tips.

I’ll spend 2 or 3 hours at a mild distance of reality. And at the end of those hours I will have lost or gained exactly nothing.

And the question is, is that good enough? I know I don’t need to be productive all the time, time for relaxation is very important.

But I tend to make that choice a lot. To always go for the easy option, the lazy entertainment.

Somehow starting work is so much easier. It helps when there is someone holding you responsible?
And as a result the things that are important to me don’t get done. I haven’t written my book for ages, haven’t been to the gym for well over a month, haven’t taken an evening stroll for way too long, have barely been able to write a single blog post per week. And I’m not happy with that.

Even sitting here now, for the first time in over a week producing a blog post, already makes me feel a whole lot happier than I would have been with a series or some random browsing. And I know that. I know that doing something makes me feel so much better than doing “nothing”. I feel better after the activity, I feel better during the activity.

There is only one moment where doing nothing feels better than doing something. Right before you start.

There is always a hurdle you have to take, an investment of energy, effort, to start. And without a start, there is no middle and no end…

This evening I’ve made my start with being productive. After this I’ll take a nice evening stroll, which will bring me to the gym. This evening will be fine.

Now if only there was a way of making starting easier…


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!

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!