Apr 172014

Based on my latest blog post I had an interesting discussion with someone. She felt that the word “energy” had many more meanings than just the physics one and that it made perfect sense to use it as such.

But why choose when you can have both?!?

But why choose when you can have both?!?

Thinking about this I came to how much power words really have. If we want to convey anything that is beyond the most basic emotions (which can be done using only body language / tone of voice), we have to resort to words. And while a well-known bit of statistics says that only 7% of the meaning of a conversation is in the actual words that are used (again, body language and tone of voice make up the rest) I’m willing to postulate however that our world would be completely different had we not had that 7%. Ideas are shared, shaped, challenged, built upon, using words. Without words inventions would only be possible by showing. Which works quite well once something is finished, but not so well if you’re still in the formative stages. Imagine a world without inventions…

On the other hand, words can be incredibly limiting as well. A few years back the word “career” would have called up images of slowly working myself up through my nine-to-five job, getting promoted and then getting promoted again (until you reach a level that is just slightly above what you are actually able to handle). It took a long time for me to realize that “career” could also include starting something for myself, being my own boss and biting off larger and larger pieces (until I bite off slightly more than you I chew…). Of course it wasn’t only the meaning of the word, but it sure contributed!

Don’t believe words are powerful? Try telling a random stranger you think they’re cute…
Words have power. They can communicate meaning or they can communicate misunderstanding. They shape our thoughts and the world around us.

I guess there is some truth to the saying “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

But if you bring a pen while your opponent brings a sword, you’re still on the losing (meaning the pointy) end.

Having altered your mind enough with my penmanship, I will leave you to your own thoughts…

Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog 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.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Mar 272014

I wasn’t worried. Not yet anyway. Not really. I mean, I could foresee getting worried. Maybe even in the near future. But that was still the future. So I wasn’t worried. Yet.

It was swell while it lasted...

It was swell while it lasted…

Today I had my first day of full-time work again in more than 3 months. Money wise I could’ve done without for a bit longer, but for my general sense of “being useful” it was very good to get this now. And also not finding an assignment was getting to me just the tiniest bit. Not that I was worried of course… ;-)

So this is the end of an era. An era of vacation, of lazing about, of afternoon naps, of some work, but definitely not too much.

The thing that surprises me most is how little I achieved in this time. Ok, I was on vacation for quite a bit of it, but I had ample time at home as well.

I didn’t write (edit) my book. I didn’t do sports. I didn’t finish up the white paper that has been floating in my head for a few months. I didn’t program. I didn’t get my stairs fixed.

The thing was, I could always do it tomorrow. Because there would be a tomorrow. And that would be just as “empty” as today was. So no rush. And no rush means not done.

Work itself was nice enough, though the first few days are usually a lot of reading and today wasn’t any different. I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into some juicy mathematical problems…
This morning I stepped onto the train to get to work and I wrote for my book, for the first time in over three months. On the way back I started this blog post. Now I’m home and I’m dying to cook something fancy (just for myself), to play saxophone, to work on that white paper…

I’m happy when I’m busy. And yes, relaxing is very good as well, but I do know my boundaries (meaning that I know exactly when I am crossing them :-) ).

It was swell, but I really am happy to be ending this era!

Mar 232014

It had been a busy and enervating night. But now it coming to an end.

No, I'm not dating a sculpture... And no, they had slightly more clothes on...

No, I’m not dating a sculpture… And no, they had slightly more clothes on…

Frances (name changed, because she thought that was a good idea, and who am I to argue?), the girl I’m dating, organizes a get-together for people who live a non-monogamous life. The theme for the night had been “the big scary future”: Where do you see yourself (and your love life) in a few years from now? Answers ranged from “living in a big farm with my lovers and their lovers and their lovers…” to “in a happy triangular relationship, including a bunch of kids…”.

Interesting discussions, deep thoughts and a lot of laughter as well. But all (good) things must come to an end and so did this one. Mostly everybody had already left, except for Frances (obviously, as she was the organizer), myself and Ayha (again, name changed), Frances’ girlfriend.

I’d met Ayha on a few other occasions: Smart, quick to smile, with a core of inner strength; I can see why Frances fell for her.

It had already been decided that I would be sleeping over and it was getting to bed time. I gave a hug to Ayha, before passing her along to Frances.

And something strange and beautiful happened. These women, who have been together for three years, said their goodbyes.

I try not to write overly much about other people, but this post made it impossible not to do so. Of course I asked whether the involved parties were ok with this (before putting this online). A reply came quickly: I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many hearts in an instant message… :-)
A hug, a lingering kiss, something in their eyes.

A lot of things were going through my mind.

Just a bit of jealousy: Who was this girl to be kissing my date?!? That passed quickly enough though (oh right, it’s her girlfriend…).

Then the male fantasy given flesh: Two beautiful women making out in front of your eyes (forgive me for being a guy :-) ).

But mostly it raised a sense of beauty, to see these two people who so obviously loved each other dearly, to feel myself filled with a sense of happiness for them, to enjoy their joy, to feel my heart lift at the lifting of theirs.

And it struck me again, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: Happiness, joy, love, these don’t diminish by sharing. They only grow.

Mar 072014

We all do what we all do. Or perhaps it’s better to say: Everybody is doing it, thus so will I.

Dislike Facebook!

Dislike Facebook!

And most of the time this is a very good strategy. Because if everybody is doing it, there must be some value to it. Right?

Personally I’m getting less and less fond of this way of acting. It’s the path to the average and thus to mediocrity. Sure, it’s safe to be in the middle of the herd. But you’re never going to stand out (that’s the entire point of it of course…).

The subtitle of this blog is “In search of a life extraordinaire”. That means doing things differently (again, by definition). It means sticking my head out. It means thinking for myself.

Today I’m acting upon some thoughts that I had for myself a while ago. Today I’m leaving the herd. Today is my last day on Facebook (and the associated Whatsapp).

I’ve had a little back-lash, mostly from people who seem to use it as their sole means of communication. But I’ve also heard from people who “wished they could do that, but…”. And the people who would stick with their profile but removed everything that was on it (hint: Facebook still has your old data and will continue to gather which pages you look at and whom your friends are (of course it also holds true that they still have my old data, but at least I won’t be adding to it anymore…)).

I will still be posting this blog on Facebook: Simply like the Perpetual Wonder page and you’ll get an update when I have another piece of my brain I want to share with you. Or use the E-mail subscription, RSS feed or drop by the site some time.

Goodbye Facebook! It’s been fun!

Until it wasn’t…

Feb 272014

"There be gold in that there... data..."

“There be gold in that there… data…”

I’m as curious as the next person (maybe a bit more…). And I like attention as much as anybody (maybe a bit more…). Because of this I’ve been an intermediate user of Facebook for the past couple of years.

In those years things started happening. Privacy protection was diminished step by step, usually without any form of information. Secondly, Facebook started asking for more and more information (“Please enter your phone number for security reasons“). And finally, the things that can be done with this (and other) information is getting to the “oh hell, that’s creepy” levels:

  • There is software that will quite accurately predict from someone’s friends and likes what their sexual orientation is…
  • Combining information from Facebook and location sharing software such as 4square allows you to walk up to someone you see in the street / pub and knowing everything about them they put online. The perfect tool for any confidence trickster…
  • Amazon is now doing tests on altering the prices of their products based on what they (or better, their software) thinks you would be happy to pay for it; recently ordered a top-of-the-range wide screen television? Expect to be paying a few Euro’s more for the Blu-rays to watch on it…

And then Facebook bought Whatsapp. My favorite chat-as-you’re-waiting-for-the-train-application. Which does contain my phone number. And stores every conversation I’ve been having with my friends over it.

I haven’t trusted Facebook for quite a while. And now I don’t trust Whatsapp anymore.

So it’s time to move on. To move away even.

Thus, as of the 7th of March I’m deleting both my Facebook and Whatsapp accounts.

Of course Google also stores my data and does who-knows-what with it. Anybody know of any reasonable alternatives to GMail and perhaps even a truly alternative search engine?
My main reason for hanging on to my Facebook account until now was that quite some people read these blog posts through it. So, if you read these through Facebook and would like to continue doing reading them, either sign up for the e-mail alerts, add it to your favorite RSS reader, or “like” the Facebook page for it (I’ll be keeping that one up, as it really is just a vehicle for getting this blog under the people).

I’ve also already installed an alternative for Whatsapp. After prompting and some own research I ended up with Telegram. It’s not perfect, but it definitely is far better security / privacy wise: Open source, run by an non-profit, ability to have messages deleted after a certain period and the possibility to encrypt messages. If you want to message with me while I’m waiting for the train, this will be the way to do it. Of course you can also still send me e-mails, or even call me!

Enjoy your privacy. While it lasts!

In case you don’t know what to think about privacy, this XKCD comic.