16 September 2014

What I am

I've been thinking lately of all the things I am, as an exercise on introspection and came with this list. Certainly it is not an exhaustive list and not in any order of relevancy. This list will be placed and kept updated as an independent page at the top.
  • Physicist
  • Lousy researcher (ORCID/ResearchGate)
  • Slow programmer
  • Aspiring mentor
  • Devoted friend
  • Avid music (rock, prog, metal and some classical) listener
  • Bass player
  • Member of a rock band
  • Avid reader
  • Enthusiastic boardgame player
  • Videogamer (steam/origin)
  • Technologist
  • Wanna be writer
  • Free thinker
  • Politically incorrect
  • Introvert and socially awkward
  • FOSS enthusiast
  • Sporadic climber
  • Long time martial artist
  • Amareur photographer
I invite people who know me to suggest definitions which will be added in the following.
  • Bipolar existentialist

25 August 2014

Unintended Rocker

The moment I started playing the electric bass-guitar quite some years ago already, I never imagined to do much more than "noise" on my own. In particular knowing that the kind of music I like the most, progressive metal rock, is far beyond in skill to what I would have achieved at any point.

I had some experiences where I played with a few friends together, but was never something serious even when we made a very interesting cover of the song Zombie by The Cranberries as documented here (sadly nothing survived from that trial). But now, a few weeks ago, this changed and now I'm part of a (proto)-band.

Granted, this is an interesting experience. Who knows where will this end, for now my main objective is to have fun and slightly improve my playing.

10 July 2014

Book quote I

I remember reading the following paragraph some years ago from the book The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (awesome trilogy and awesome person and writer) and it made so much sense...

“I thought of all the others who had tried to tie her to the ground and failed. So I resisted showing her the songs and poems I had written, knowing that too much truth can ruin a thing. And if that meant she wasn't entirely mine, what of it? I would be the one she could always return to without fear of recrimination or question. So I did not try to win her and contented myself with playing a beautiful game. But there was always a part of me that hoped for more, and so there was a part of me that was always a fool.”
- Kvothe

10 May 2014

My rock supergroup

For a long time, I've been thinking on which names from the rock and progressive rock/metal world would I join to make a super awesome band. There are already some bands on that vein like Transatlantic and Liquid Tension just to name a few. As a guideline, I decided not to repeat members of a band to keep it more interesting and somewhat more varied.

The hardest part of this process was to come by the drum and keyboard players. Incidentally, my selection is very vocal oriented. That's something I really appreciate in bands like Pain of Salvation.

Mariusz Duda (Riverside): Bass and vocals. You can hear his nice bass lines all over in Riverside, along to his moody voice.

Anneke van Girsenbergen (The Gathering, Solo): Vocals and guitar. Just a lovely woman with a very characteristic voice tone and high versatility as exemplified from her involvements in The Gathering, Ayreon, duets in Within Temptation and her own work.

Daniel Glindenlöw (Pain of Salvation): Guitar and vocals. Masterful composition, multi-instrumentalist and a very versatile and emotive voice.

Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree): Drums. Just go and hear to Porcupine Tree's Sounds of Muzak from the In Absentia album.

Derek Sherinian (Planet X, Black Country Communion, Dream Theater, Solo): Keyboards. A touch of psychedelia and very atmospheric sounds, just perfect to create atmosphere accompanying the three voices. Besides is a good showman.


And hope hat someone agrees with me.

28 April 2014

An abandoned life... sort of

I've been living abroad for about three years an a half by now. And, wow... time really goes by. 

Before leaving the country I was born, I never gave much thought to the fact that I was going not going to be present for important events and milestones of my friends... my beloved ones. And beyond that, missing their development as they embark into new challenges and adventures... the impossibility to be there and help or be part of it. Or even the fact that they would be also barred from my events and developments.

Events and milestones like my brother's (and other friends) university graduation, Bryan's entrepreneurial explorations, or new meaningful relationships and people in my friends lives. And the list could go on for a while.

Personally, I do not place much value on marriage, at least not on itself alone. But I'm on a stage of my life where some of my friends are getting married. And for them, it seems that it is at some level important. Certainly I'm not a good guest in weddings and their parties, as far as my experience goes in non-friend weddings. Anyway, the point is that I would have liked to be there with them, just because they're my friends.

Wedding rings
For the most part, I really dislike this symbol.
I'm sure that this situation is a very common one for most of the people in similar circumstances than me. Those who decided to leave their lives behind and embark in something new of their own. Luckily for me, I'm not that sentimental or attached to things and people to make this situation make me feel really bad. But certainly makes me slightly sad, every now and then. However, I recognize that this is part of the price I have to pay for what I've developed, learned and experienced over these last three and a half years. One has to keep that in mind... regularly.

Sometimes is hard, in particular when you have awesome friends as I do believe I have, but for the most part it's just life. They don't stop being awesome by not sharing as much as before. And even when friendship means sharing important milestones and events in life, it's also so much more than that... and I'm there for that.

03 February 2014

Date a traveler, Do or Don't

Man travel with bag
It could be a boy or a girl... does it change anything by that?
from ualucky@flickr
During the weekend I stumbled upon two articles related to travelling and dating. The first one was Don't Date a Girl Who Travels while the second one was Date a Boy Who Travels. My first reaction to each of them was: "what a pile of bullshit!". Clearly it was not something with me as a target audience.

But after a while of reading both articles, I realized something very striking and deeply saddening. They end up portraying a very harmful social expectation of gender roles, just deepening the current inequality.

A childish view of people and relations, but certainly not cute as this picture
from susivinh@flickr
Whereas in the first a boy looks for a down-to-earth girl without ambitions and independence, to be maintained and dependent, the second show that a girl should aspire to a boy with experience, determination, and drive to dazzle and impress her. I don't know, or really care, the gender of the writer in each case... it's largely irrelevant.

Every argument against a girl who travels could be made against a boy who travels. Likewise all the arguments for the boy who travels could be used to argue for a girl who travels.

Why cannot we grow up as society?

As for me... I prefer something like this

"... a girl with passion, dreams and wit."

22 January 2014

20 December 2013

Star Wars Year

Some time ago, probably last year, I said that I was not going to read a Star Wars novel. This was based on my bias on cheaply exploited franchises, even though I've played some games and had some comic books over the years. But books I thought it was too much.

In 2010 I played two Star Wars based games (Knights of the Old Republic I and II) which were very good, in particular the first one (being one of the best games I've ever played, so it's highly recommended). The timeline of these two games is 3000 years before the original story (movies). This gave the stories great independence without losing the Star Wars feeling. Now that I remember, I also played two space flight games based on Star Wars (X-Wing and Tie Fighter) in the 90's.

This situation changed, rather drastically, when in January I happened to watch a couple of episodes of the Cartoon Network "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" animated TV series. I really liked it and started to watch it from the beginning once I was back in Germany. After that I was hooked with the Star Wars universe. I went on an replayed the two videogames and then read books linked with the Old Republic time frame. Then I played another videogame in the Clone Wars time frame (Republic Commando), which led to read a whole series of the Republic Commando. A very nice series, a war drama dressed with the Star Wars universe elements, sadly the ending is not really a proper one. This totals 8 Star Wars based books during this year.

After all this, I was still hooked to this universe. A couple of years I played as a beta tester the massive multiplayer online game of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Since it's launch, I avoided getting near it knowing it would be a time sink-hole for me. But now I couldn't resist it and succumbed to the temptation and started playing. Interesting and gorgeous landscapes, although not as good as a game (storywise) than the Knights of the Old Republic.

Probably I'll continue to read some novels and play some games in the future, but still being rather selective on that and mostly steering away from content too close to the original movies, since I believe the expanded universe is much more mature and more "Star Wars"-like than the original stuff.