Nov 012015
 

Slightly grainy, but I hope it still conveys the beauty of all these people (and costumes)!

Slightly grainy, but I hope it still conveys the beauty of all these people (and costumes)!

It happens every year, but it still always comes as a bit of a surprise: My birthday!

Being born in October, I decided to combine this with the other awesome thing that happens that month: Halloween!

Beer filled the fridge, assorted other drinks on the table (why did I think it was a good idea to buy tequila?!). Spiderwebs, assorted weaponry, skulls, rats and spiders covered every free spot of my house. Candles burning and the other lights down low. The stage was set!

Only one part was missing: The actors. And beautiful they were! Giving people an excuse to don witches hats, stick (fake) knives through their head and cover themselves in blood and gore brings out the best in everybody! That and the fact that the general rule is: More skin = better costume. It’s not slutty, it’s Halloween!

To remember for next year: 100 grams of fake spiderweb is enough for a house. Luckily I bought a bit more than that and I now have enough for the coming 10 Halloweens…
We talked, laughed, admired costumes, drank, ate and were merry (and scary!).

I’m now nursing the remnants of my hangover (pizza for breakfast helped. Breakfast by the way is the first meal you eat in a day, no matter if that is at 1 in the afternoon…) and looking back at a truly awesome party.

Thanks all for celebrating with me!


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!

Oct 192015
 

And, it was an excuse for cake!

And, it was an excuse for cake!

It was September 2012. I had been talking to two friends of mine, both of whom were complaining that there just didn’t seem to be any good guys / girls around.

“An opportunity to do good!” I thought.

So I sent a short e-mail introducing them to each other…

Fast forward to 17 October 2015.

A bit nervous, but even more happy, there is a beautiful couple walking towards me. She in white, he in grey-with-mother-of-pearl. Behind them I can see a little under a hundred people – friends and family – who have come to share and celebrate this joyous event.

I do my best to hide my own nervousness, but as soon as I start talking, it just seems to fall away and all I can think of is helping these people have the most wonderful day possible.

”Welcome, to the bride and groom, to the friends and family, to all those present…”

In twenty minutes I try to share some of the stories that the happy couple had divulged to me, on how they found on their first date that they shared a common language (C++) and how they already had a ceremony for the bride’s family (arranged in 24 hours!).

Then it’s time for the official part. Twice we have “Do you take…”, followed by “Yes” (in the Netherlands we like to keep things simple, “I do” is just too complex…).

Love is not easily visualized, but after this day Ihave a number of images that complement the feeling very well!
Finally I get to pass the verdict: “I now pronounce you husband and wife!”

It was never on my bucket list. But thanks to a simple email, the love of two people and the flexibility of the Dutch system (which allows for anybody to become an ordained civil servant for a day), I am extremely happy to be able to say: “I married a couple!”

Love, to the newlyweds, as well as to anybody reading this!


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!

Oct 162015
 

"I'm gonna offer him a presentation he can't refuse..."

“I’m gonna offer him a presentation he can’t refuse…”

Why is “the boss” so important?

For the last few days at the office I’ve been working on a presentation for someone high up in the corporate tree.

And when I say “I”, what I mean is that with every new version of the presentation I produced, I’ve had three people going over it a pair of very small tweezers, pulling apart every word to make it all just slightly better.

I fully understand the need to communicate what we’ve been doing, to show that the final outcome isn’t total nonsense.

Before this however people have been perfectly happy with haphazard excel sheets, half-formatted graphs and word documents that need a bit of creative interpretation to make sense of. And they would take whatever it was that I put on those sheets, graphs and documents as gospel truth.

But now things are getting bumped up and suddenly it has to be perfect! Or better to say, it has to look perfect…

The results really aren’t going to change with formatting. The outcome is still the same, even with that picture 2 points further to the right…

The thing is, I have constant interaction with the project manager (my “boss”). So if something looks a bit sloppy, we can talk it through. If not today, then tomorrow or the day after.

It’s strange when you think about it: As soon as we step into the workplace, any thoughts of democracy are left behind and it’s hierarchy all the way…
The big kahuna however only has time to look at something once (I can make an estimate of what her time is worth by adding up the amount of time spent, multiplied by the hourly rates of all those who have been working on this presentation – the hour she’s going to spend looking at this thing is worth a small car…)

So where I can build up a decent image of myself through a myriad of interactions with the project manager, she only has a very limited number of opportunities to shine in front of the top brass. And it is in the end there where the decisions are made on who gets a pat on the shoulder, who gets promoted and who is destined to remain a project manager for the rest of eternity.

From that perspective it makes perfect sense to spend a small fortune on polishing; it might not help, but it certainly won’t hurt.

Unless of course you’re the poor sod who gets to make just a few more changes to version 26-c…

Maybe I should consider getting out of this while I still have some of my sanity left? Somewhere where I’m the biggest fish in the pond myself…?


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 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!