The reading of books. Part I

“He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music.”
― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

I love reading and I love books. I don’t seem to find enough time to read though, so often these days I listen to books. That might sound weird, but it really isn’t . In this ‘section’ I hope to say something about what I read, because  pretty much always a book has values, lessons and thoughts to convey that you carry with you. Many great people say that you have to write, but more so they say that you should read. I try to read the books, but there’s nothing wrong with an audiobook. I will probably say more about that in another blogpost sometime later.

Wil Wheaton – ‘Just A Geek’
Wil Wheaton – ‘Dancing Barefoot’

So I listened to both these audiobooks. Why audiobooks? Well, in this particular case because the writer is also the narrator that does the audiobooks. How about some word from the horse’s mouth. Will tells the stories of his post-Star Trek carreer in ‘Just A Geek’. It’s not the tale of succes, but the story of self acceptance, finding your passions and loving your family. Chosing what comes first. It’s a great story based on his blog, which I think inspired me to start this particular blog.  I put up this little thing here so you can listen to it. Wil is a talented writer, with plenty of humor and self deflating honesty. I won’t say too much about ‘Dancing Barefoot’, because its a bit more of the same, just less coherent. It’s more upbeat, highlighting episodes of his life. I really recommend these to every geek, learn about life, and what the idea behind Wheatons Law really is. I think it’s at the heart of who Wil Wheaton is.

Gaius Suetonius – ‘The Twelve Ceasars’

source: Wikipedia (english)

I’ve always had a keen interest for ancient history. Though in the past I used to skip over books that dealt with the Romans, this time I figured to give it a go. Suetonius wrote his works on the emperors a long time ago. He clearly didn’t like the first few much. We already know Caligula and Nero as monstors and madmen, but I never knew that Tiberius (my favorite emperor for the simple reason that he was in Age of Empires I), was such a depraved man. Unfortunately, it’s fair to doubt a lot of the information Suetonius gives us, since he is basically using a lot of gossip and word of mouth in his writing. Still the portraits he draws are of high value for our understanding of these times and put a lot of perspective on Roman History. On the later emperors he’s a bit more sparing with his information, which might have more to do with the time he was living in (70 AD – 140 AD).  A great work for those interest in a genuine feel of the times.

Source: Wikipedia

Nicolai Gogol – ‘Dead Souls’

I don’t think of literature as something that is per se elitist. I do think you need to know what you get yourself into, when you start reading the Russian literature. People tend to think of it as heavy and dense, which is absolutely true. The Russian cultural history, of which many writers like Dostojevsky, Turgenev and others write, is full of protocol and ancien regime behaviour. Characters are dramatic and full of emotions, landscapes are dreary and forlorn. Though Gogol’s twisted romanticism with hints of early surrealism may seem a bit more modern, the general style is exactly what you expect. Sometimes going on for pages, it’s hard to keep track of the story at all. Still there is much amusement in this work, wit and drama. I do believe this book depends strongly on its time period and temporary culture. To get a feeling of that, this is also a worthy read.

I’m currently checking out some other stuff:

James Joyce – The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man
Noam Chomsky – Class War: The Attack On Working People
Cicero – Selected Writings
Francis Fukuyama – The Origins of Political Order

More on that later.

Iron

Blazing fire under the moon
Burning taste of lead
We’ll ride forever
Cause’ the Iron is stronger than death

– Ensiferum ‘Iron’

Not the best opening quote, but traditions are sometimes not that convenient. Well, what is a tradition anyways. I’ve written a bit about my personal feelings about the gym and how I keep it up and what and why I go there. I have not spoken about ‘The Iron’ yet. That almost meditative bit of writing of Henry Rollins about the significance of going to the gym. I want to go into this for a bit, because physical excersise has both physical as well as mental effects on you as a person. I value them both, but the mental is why I’m so stubbornly going there.

Source: see picture

Yes, I would almost start writing about fit chicks. At some point your whole aesthetic starts to change and physical aspects you find appealing are those that are honed by workouts. True fact, but that’s not what this post is about.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it’s impossible to turn back. – Henry Rollins, ‘The Iron’ (source)

When you work mostly with your head, like I tend to do, there is nothing better than to have everything go away for a while. To listen to music or a book, while lifting weights, doing cardio and all sorts of excersise. Your body takes over and does it’s thing, anger, frustration and the daily troubles slide of your back. There is only you and the iron. Every bit of frustration you have, you can put into that excersise in a guided, controlled way. It will tell you what you can and cannot do and make you want to try harder. It’s one of the most honest things you’ll ever do.

When I started out I was always sceptical towards the  so called ‘jocks’ with their ‘Gold’s Gym’ tank tops, tanned look and greased hair. I thought that this was fake and taking it too far. There must be some that use steroids instead of good food and that live on the supplement powders, but most are just really dedicated. It takes discipline and dedication to hang out in that gym 3, 4 or 5 times a week. It’s not for the week, because you have to give up other things. Sleep, downtime, going out, eating crap and just chillaxing have no part to play for those who take this path. Nowadays I get these gruding nods of recognition and approval of those guys, that’s cool. We’re all here for the iron and for our daily check. Whatever crap we get thrown at us during the day, these two hours are just us versus the steel weights and machines.

What is so nice about torturing yourself in the gym? I can’t tell you, there’s first drive to go and later the desire to go. You start going because you really want to. If you persevere, you start feeling a craving for it. Your body will start loving it, specially if you watch your food too. It will feel most satisfied when its beaten to pulp by excersise. When you crash down on your couch, with just enough time to watch one tv-show and read a few pages, you’ve done what most people can’t make themselves do. That in itself is a reward, the feeling your body gives only makes it better.

Lyrical Lucidity

I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
to the hip hip hop, a you dont stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat

– Sugar Hill Gang ‘Rappers Delight’

Not many people know that I have a great love for hip hop music. It sounds strange to most, because they know me for loving hardcore and black metal. For some reason hip hop always spoke to me, from the first time I saw the videos on MTV as a child with the checkered shirts and fell in love with that early stuff of Snoop Dogg (that video where he changed into a dog, awesome), Notorious BIG and all that stuff. When I got one of those oversized, woolen black/white checkered shirts I was over the moon. I was sure I looked bad ass.

So later came the Dutch stuff with Extince’s ‘Viervoeters’ and ‘Zoete Inval’ or Osdorp Posse’s ‘Origineel Amsterdams’. I was loving it. I started listening to a lot of harder stuff, but one can hardly deny the hard hip hop influences in the likes of Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Rage Against The Machine and various others. The whole nu-metal scene was full of rhymes. I started being a DJ myself in a bar later and slowly got into the resurging wave of Dutch hiphop, or Nederhop as they call it again. I started checking out all sorts of stuff over the years.

I loved the clear sound of words and literary qualities of the genre. I still dig smart lyrics and listenability. I guess I got into it again and again over the years, checking out oddities and other languages. From the Baltic groups like Metsakutsu. Gacho and G&G Sindikatas to German, Swedish, Russian and whatever kind of stuff. I listened to anything.

Another point of interest has always been the lifestyle. Having listened, identified and dressed like a hardcore and punk afficionado for most of my life, there was a close connection between the two cultures. This is ofcourse emphasized by a lot of hip hop groups I came across in later life, like the Beasty Boys (I knew them, but didnt really get it until later) and the stuff Danny Diablo and those other NYHC guys did.

Now we come to a more fun part though. Did you ever hear about this subgenre called Nerdcore? I did. I’ve always been a geek and if there’s any music (apart from power metal and W40k metal (yes…)) that helped me accept that, it’s Nerdcore. Nerdcore deals with the same beats, sounds and lyrical skills, but just doesnt talk about beef, bitches and bling. I’m not a cool dude who had tons of bitches in my life, I don’t care that much about golden chains and big cars and I try to avoid beef by not being a dick (I’ll get to that link later). So what do they rhyme about? Daily life, porn addication, self acceptance and just dorky, funny, silly and highly amusing songs. Two MC’s I’d like to mention that are really great, are MC Frontalot and MC Lars. The second is actually an English major, who did this whole TEDx talk on hip hop and Shakespeare (watch it, its so cool). I’m still hoping ‘the Front’ will let me interview him.  Look for the documentary ‘Nerdcore Rising’ as well, to get more of an idea what the whole thing is about.

That does not mean I limit myself to anything in that sense. From Devlin and Giggs to Ice Cube, NWA and Public Enemy, my iPod is filled with it and more new things I get to hear every day. Words have always been important to me, good lyrics, catchy beats and the right hooks to get you hooked on a song. Hip hop is all about self expression and whatever you do in your life, there’s something to be found in this music for you.

In the mean time I continue looking for that perfect beat and the sharpest words. I love music and hip hop has a special place in my heart.

Later!
G.

Review roundup #2

I love shows, but I really need better shoes for them. My legs hurt so much when I just wear my Vans shoes. Leather boots all the time are not going to work either, one loves to look fancy now and then. For the first show I went to this week that is very important, the second… mwoah.

Ignite + Colors Dead Bleed + Said And Done @ Dynamo, Eindhoven

I missed one support act but did get to see Said And Done, band of Some Will Never Know Zine chief editor Pim. I’ve been writing for SWNK for 2 years now I believe, so I’m quite excited to finally see his band. The guys look tired and struggle with some of the sound, but still play a heavy and grungy set. Very different to what I would expect. Definitely enjoyed that. Colors Dead Bleed plays some nice melo-hardcore, but lacks a distinguishing quality. The singer does pull of a great Nathan Gray look though. I might not find them that special, the crowd loves them and who am I to doubt that judgement.

I’ve seen Ignite play live a bunch of times now, all after the ‘Darker Days’ album of 2006 except for once in Hungary in 2005. That was impressive. Today the band looks tired and enthousiast at the same time. The songs are still the same after 8 years of touring and the passion Zoli Teglas shows with his men is more about the fans than the music. Some new songs are played too and the band livens up a little there. Zoli also is strong and convincing in his rants and speeches in between the songs. I think this band loves playing, it loves its audience, but the songs remain the same so the plans to go into the studio are a great next move for these guys.

Songs like ‘Let It Burn’, ‘A Place Called Home’ and so on, they still give me chills. I love how the background of Zoli has shaped up so many of his songs and how he transferred it to something global and understandable.  No Sea Sheperd this time though, just a sweater from a Pelican saving organization. I can’t say I’m sad about that, I’ve always found them a bit too hard edged to receive main stream sympathy (particularly about the Faroe Islands tradition: they might have a point, but sometimes it’s the way you carry it that matters).

All in all a satisfying experience again, good show from Ignite although I think the sound made them sound a bit weak now and then.

Slayer + Gojira @ 013, Tilburg

I’m actually more excited about Gojira for this gig than I am about seeing Slayer again. Slayer is not really itself anymore, I got to see them 4 times after tonight. That excludes 3 cancelled shows in this very venue, one after the support act actually playing. So tonight I’m a bit nervous about that.

Gojira plays a smashing set. Their technical death metal makes it hard to stand still and look onwards stoically like many Slayer fans apparently tend to do in such situations. Though that might be a harsh verdict. Funny is the fact that many Slayer fans have brought their spawn with them, so a second Slayer Nation Generation is being raised. The kiddos seem to enjoy the support act more though.

All in all, the band themselves play a great set. Slayer might not be the original fourpiece, they rock as hard as they always did. The crowd chants along with ‘Disciple’, ‘Suicide’, ‘Reigning Blood’ and ‘Angel Of Death’. A new song is also being played. I’ve never been a huge Slayer fan, but they are something unique in the metal scene. Respected and eternal in their own peculiar way. Loud, fast and raw, finding controversy, whatever they may do. I must admit that they sound a bit sloppy and tired here and there, but all in all they play just as tight as ever. There’s very little to no interaction with the crowd, but that’s fine. The crowd is happy, whatever the band will do.

Long live Slayer!

Source: Metal-Archives.com

The Hockey Song

yeah, it's me in glorious hockey look.
yeah, it’s me in glorious hockey look.

OH! The good ol’ Hockey game, is the best game you can name.
And the best game you can name, is the good ol’ Hockey game.

– Stompin’ Tom Connors – The Hockey Song

I’ve walked around with this feeling long enough, time to write it down and let go of it. As some may know of the readers who know me, I’ve been involved with the Eindhoven icehockey team for about five years now. I’m not playing, but first I started up the fansite together with a friend (who later took a much bigger role in that, to his merit making it the thing it became), and later I worked as a PR guy for the team. I’ve used my skills in Social Media and learned through playing with posting times, stats, virality with the facebook and twitter accounts, both having more than 1k natural followers now. My girlfriend made photo’s and my friends were also involved. We had a great time around the ice.

Maybe many people never noticed us or noticed who wrote stuff and all, I don’t know. I’m not out to redeem some glory. This season another club asked for a permit to play this season. This caused a lot of problems, since it’s a team from the same town and it’s kind of a problem for a minor sport to be supported on that scale. You’ll have to much fishing in the same pond going on, specially when there’s barely enough fish to substain one of the parties. The take-over didn’t have much to do with having heart for the game and promoting it, it’s been a clash of ego’s, one group just more blunter, short term thinking and selfish than the other. I’ve worked with that old group for a long time, definitely there’s some ego’s and some self esteem involved there, but also a lot of passion and at the bottom line of those characters was always the importance of the game. They quickly withdrew and gave way to this other group, just to let the things continue. Expertise and help was offered, in an indirect way also mine, but it was discared as useless. That hurt, I know my value nowadays and I know how much I can mean for an organization when they get me on their side. I’ve conquered a lot of fears there and also in my professional field this year. I’m worth something for sure, I don’t doubt myself on that front anymore.

Months of silence followed, strange communications and a lot of negativity from fans and also people involved with the club. The old gang remained respectfully silent, which I would not have been able to. Many times I wanted to post blunt facebook posts, expressing how hurt I was and that they took something from me I cared for deeply. What particularly hurt was being discarded on qualities I also displayed for the other group in trying to make them the website they wanted (which is frigging hard if the person giving the assignment wants you to telepatically find out what it is they want, regardles of all my prying and asking for examples so we could discuss it). Suddenly I was asked for the website login by some other guy for another, I felt that this kind of business was beneath me. I’ve been pissed of and stressed a lot about this.

1377622_667873586569881_1053546575_n

I want to let it go, but I see the texts written on facebook and on the sparse other sources and it hurts my eyes as a writer. It hurts my eyes to see the way of using the media and the ways of expressing things, because I know better and they for some reason never saw that. Obviously, I’ve been analysing my feelings thoroughly. I feel hurt in my self value and appreciation by a bunch of people who probably don’t even know me. Who don’t see how much I have given up over the last years to work for that beautiful game of hockey.

But it’s ok now, I’m expressing myself here. There’s a lot of details I feel I would like to share about the case. At some point you get frustrated by any detail of the people involved, though bigotry will always anger me to great extents. That only fuels the flames of hate. Anyways, why do I bother… This will go the way it goes, no matter what I think about it. Aparently I’ve been discarded, like my friends, but that’s something I have to accept. I’m beyond the point where I wish to know why, I just need to accept this.

Kemphanenfan Crew
Kemphanenfan Crew

I’m ok in accepting that me and others needed to suffer these blows to give some people what they want. Maybe all the tactical and careful work of the last years needed to make way for a group with no morals and scrupules and who knows it might bring the game to that other level you always hope for. I sincerely hope so, ’cause though my heart for the game has been bled dry, I love the passion I’ve seen in the players and fans. I wish them all that and more. I really hope this club will learn to treat people they way the always shouted people should be treated and never do their business like this again.

Spock said it right: “The needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few”.

And I’ll just take this one from Gordie and let it go.

Source: rugusavay.com

Many thanks to all the people who made hockey awesome for me.
I’d flip my finger to the others if I weren’t above that, I’ll try to cherish my good memories and the people that were worth it.

Holding on to anger is giving the people you’re angry with way more attention then they apparently ever had for you.

Romulus: Romans, Metal and Game of Thrones

Standing at the hill cliff
A flock of birds crown me
I am fathered by the god of war, I am the king of Rome

– Ex Deo ‘Romulus’

My title is random in mentioning GoT but really, where do you think that whole show gets it from? Right, from the Romans. Now, I’ve listened to a lot of epic metal in my day. From the blazing battle sounds of Amon Amarth to the proggy Nordic mayhem of Moonsorrow. The Celtic originals from Skyclad to the atmospheric and instrumentally superb Eluveitie. Now and then you come across bands that do something differently, like the whole German Mittelalter scene or ofcourse the wonderful Orphaned Land, bringing harmony in metal to the middle east. I also got to interview Melechesh once, a band playing Assyrian themed metal. So amazing… I almost forget my friends in Skyforger, with their Baltic pagan metal. I talked to their singer over a bottle of Jacknells.

What always has surprised me though, is how none of these bands take up the most epic, sensational culture the world has seen: The Romans. I got to see one band using them as a theme. I’ve just finished reading Suetonius’ history of the Roman emperors. The incestuous, murderous bunch in Westeros look like amateurs, compared to the Romans. Apart from that, they were a brutal warmachine that conquered most of the known world and managed to keep it together for ages. The sound of Ex Deo expresses that in majestic, bombastic and powerful death metal.

I can see the appeal of the likes of Vikings or national cultures, but why can no one be arsed to do something with Romans? Most of the series and films we have are totally metal, why no metal that’s totally Roman. Yes, there are some bands that are listed as playing with the same themes as Ex Deo, but those are the confused Fangs Of Molossus from Italy and Neron Kaiser from Russia. Both confused sounding bands and hardly doing justice to what they wish to tell. Maybe Sabaton will get around to it, but I will hardly like their version…

Rome at its peak, like Britney Spears in 2000 according to source: curtblack.com

For me, Metal has always been much about storytelling and painting visions. Listen to some black metal from the likes of Emperor and Burzum and you’ll probably get that. Think of the fabulous concept albums bands like Turisas released once upon a time. The Roman emperor has all the material for that. Heck, you only need to pick to of the sauciest years of Caligula’s reign to fill a 3-LP record!

I’m going to see if I can talk to bands who do this sort of interesting stuff, like Ex Deo. So this is a tribute to the Canadians (for fucks sake Italy, Canadians are the only ones doing something metal with your heritage!), who only started doing this, because Maurizio Iacono got interested in it. The vocalist of Kataclysm is half Italian and that was all it took.

So what is a good new audiobook about them Romans? And bands, get in touch!

Nervous Breakdown

“I’m about to have a nervous breakdown
My head really hurts
If I don’t find a way out of here
I’m gonna go berserk”

– Black Flag ‘Nervous Breakdown

I always thought stress was something for other people. Weak and feeble minded people who didn’t realise in time that they were worrying too much about too many things. I think I’m learning what the reality is the hard way. I’ve been having pain in my neck and shoulders for days, I wake up tired and with a headache that sticks with me throughout the day.  Accepting that is a good way to put a whole lot of things in perspective lately.

I’ve been extremely snappy and easily annoyed by things at home. I sit around staring at the walls a lot. I try to relax but can’t find a way to do so. It explains my total rattled experience a week ago, that I blogged about. It explains the bottled up frustration inside of me.

I talked with my girlfriend for a long time yesterday. There was so much rage inside me about everything and everyone… I’m taking vitamins now, though I don’t really believe in those. I hope to find a way to deal with it, because it feels really weird to not have peace in your own body and mind.

Not the result of stress according to me, it is according to the source.

Music really helps according to Josephine Bila’s blog. I believe that. I felt totally locked in stasis this morning, until I listened to the song that this post is named after. I felt something tingle in my fingers and toes. I wanted to smash shit up. I think I’ll listen to some more punkrock this afternoon and schedule some stuff for myself to do now. First a meeting I’ve been dreading. I’ll let you know if I punch anyone.

Black Coffee Blues

“Got up on the wrong side of life this morning.
Nothin’ today is gonna go my way.
Horoscope told me lies this morning.
I don’t think anything’s gonna be okay.

Today!
Everything sucks today!”

– Descendents ‘Everything Sucks’

It’s always good to realise that days will always suck now and then. Stuff will suc, people will suck and coffee won’t taste as brilliant as it is supposed to taste. At my work we have not got the right coffee, its either too bitter or too watery. It always comes from a machine as well and that is in general no good start for your days. A good cup of coffee is vital, specially when you can get a good breakfast with it like pancakes, eggs and bacon. After that you can take on the whole world.

Coffee in Vilnius (by J. Lukosiute)

There’s one coffee machine with filters and grinded coffee in the office of the manager, there’s only a limited amount of users for that. Oh, the sheer glory of being one of the inner circle and getting a cup of actual coffee from there… The joy is so enormous. That can really make my day. I used to have one of those machines that grind the beans themselves, but for some reason it never tasted as good. It had some issues as well , that’s true, but it mainly didn’t feel like coffee as I know it.

This inevitably is going to lead to the best cup of coffee story. That’s pretty hard, the best ones are on the day after a long night, with the great breakfast and preferably with the sun in your face. I am fairly sure that some of those great cups were had in hostels around Europe. On Sardinia I got to taste the coffee culture of the Italians, that was an eye opener for sure. The best though is coffee made Lithuanian style, with dark bread, butter and sausage. Guaranteed to feel stuffed and ready to fight a fucking mammoth with a chainsaw wielding orc on it’s back.

One day I was derived of coffee on the location I was working. A colleague kindly posted various pictures of coffee on my facebook page. That was rather frustrating and hilarious at the same time. All in all, there is nothing that says sobering comfort like a cup o’ Joe. Nothing better to have a chat over than the black stuff and nothing that allows you more to just play that internal black coffee blues , while staring out of a window. All you need is a cup and some time…

 

source: Zazzle.nl

 

God Hates Us All

Not once has anyone ever seen
Such a rise of pure hypocrisy
I’ll instigate I’ll free your mind
I’ll show you what I’ve known all this time

God Hates Us All, God Hates Us All
You know it’s true God hates this place
You know it’s true he hates this race

– Slayer ‘Disciple’

Yes, I think that this is, without a doubt, the case; God hates us all. But the funny thing is ofcourse, that when you state something like this it requires God to be a real or perceived to be real entity. Oh dear, what have I gotten myself into this time… Yes, I am writing something about religion now. And I think that whatever God you believe in, he hates us all.

Source: tiger4iq.deviantart.com

I’m not an atheist. Once upon a time, I did think I should strive to be one though. It’s about as easy to believe in a Godhead, God or Goat, as it is to say it doesn’t exist. Both are equally as dogmatic and stubborn. This leaves no way for any sort of consensus. I believe it’s more valid to teach evolution in schools, but that doesn’t make evolution wrong. Most of what we’ve figured out about the first turns out to be wrong and the second is impossible to disprove this far (though this museum doesn’t make creationists more likable). I can’t help but disliking dogmatism either way, it’s like a brick wall in your mind. It started when a friend kept coming up with the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion as a way of mocking Christianity. It is quite hilarious though. But think about it, humor is a great way of opening up the conversation between believers and non-believers.

Source (I guess): venganza.org

The most important thing for human beings is to keep their minds open. If they close up, they do so for good and I think that at the core of most wars and conflicts, there’s something like that involved. I don’t consider myself either, I think I’m an agnost with a drop of Buddhism where it suits me (the Buddha never was a God, mind). Mix that up with a keen interest in philosophy and something of a life philosophy that leaves the option of a deity filled in with a question mark. I’m not saying I’m right here and that I’ve found the golden road to enlightenment. It just seems the most sensible to me. I think believers have always got valid points and things to draw from their faith. Just like rationality of non-believers can really get us to go places. Still, Kierkegaard never stated that his ‘leap of faith’ was exclusively for Christians… Plenty of great scientists did just that: taking a leap. It’s also the only way to get out of that eternal circle… Yes, dogmatic atheists have one too.

source: iamchristianiamanatheist.blogspot.nl

I believe we all have some form of faith to us, something we cling on to when we have no other refuge. No one will stare into the abyss, without feeling it stare back into ourselves. Lovecraft already wrote about incomprehensible fear that made people go insane, mad and lost. We all have our breaking point where something we perceive or are face with becomes the Kantian sublime, the unimaginable that rocks our foundations, we will always grasp at whatever we have to hold on to.

As soon as we start realizing the existential needs that make both sides equal as human beings, maybe we can find a dialogue that doesn’t involve insults, hatemongering and intolerance. If we don’t, then you might be next.

 

Salad Days

But on I stay on where do I get off?
On to greener pastures
The core is getting soft

Do you remember the time (I don’t know)
We’ll call these our salad days
– Minor Threat ‘Salad Days’

For Minor Threat the ‘Salad Days’ EP marked their departure from the old fashioned punk sound. There’s a certain remorse to it. ‘The core is getting soft’, it was also the end for one of the most ground breaking bands. Onward to something new, to something more mature to keep the wits as sharp and powerful as before. The song is about age, experience and insights that come with it. In this blogpost I want to write about things I chose to change.

I eat salad every lunch break, that’s my choice. I consider these my Salad days and I think they might stick around. There’s no political or environmental reason to my diet. I have a diet, indeed. In so far as diet means your conscious eating pattern, I do. I try to eat Paleo as much as possible. To really explain what that is, I will let you read this here.  Simply said: no sugars, no grains, no dairy, no legumes… I eat meat, veggies, eggs and nuts. I drink tea, coffee and water most of the time, sometimes a glass of wine.

Now, you might say: “This is not true, I’ve seen you eat chips!” You are probably right. Possibly you also saw me having a beer or eat some kind of bakery. Why? Firstly, because I’m not ‘holier than thou’. I’ve eaten potatoes and bread my whole life and it’s no easy transition to just stop eating that. Really, it was not an easy switch and the first weeks I had a lot of headaches from the whole detox proces. I still love chips now and then, but more and more their after effect on my constitution makes me pass on them.

Secondly, I’m not eating this way to prove a point to anyone else. Ofcourse, I feel a certain appreciation towards the general concept behind this diet, but I have the same to most of those. I loved the Krishna thing and the straight edge movement, but I just couldn’t work with that. Neither was it really good for me. So since I’m doing this for myself, I don’t have to ‘Keep The Edge’ or so for anyone else. When I fail myself by eating a pack of cookies, the only one who has a right to be upset with myself is me. Simple as that, there’s no political side to my lifechoice. Ofcourse I totally feel sympathetic to movements that support cleaner food, but it really had no influence on my choice, it’s a thing outside of it.

Thirdly, I firmly believe that the body needs a kick against its proverbial backside now and then. If you have  a fever, a shower with real hot and then real cold water really shakes it off a bit. It can really help to get in the cold with a cold. I can continue with the value of shocking your body now and then. The same goes with a lot of detox programs or even when you go drinking for the night. You test your body, you shock it and it reacts. I notice that the shock of eating something like chips or pizza once a week, not only satisfies the craving you will inevitably face, it also kicks my body into the next week in a way. I’m not an expert, but it’s either something physical, or the mental inspiration and motivation to start your next week good. For me this really works well.

About that then…

Fourth, I’m not a wealthy man. I can not buy myself all the insane products that American supermarkets have in stock. I have to deal with a budget form of eating paleo and you can easily see how meat, fruit and vegetables are comparitively the most exensive products on the shelves. Also, go ahead and try to eat paleo in a restaurant; it’s not possible. In the USA they probably have those, but not here. There’s literally nothing to eat for the diet exept a salad. You wouldn’t want to hamper your social contacts in that way, so it’s up to me, as a follower of the diet, to make up my own choices on the topic.

Now, I have to be honest. I feel a bit prinicpal about it, which might come from listening to those hardcore bands all my life. I feel like I’ve created with my gym and food regimen a pretty strict lifestyle that really works for me. The big advantage of not eating so many sugars is mainly that you start feeling much more energetic. I was struggling with energy peaks and lows a lot before. I feel sharper, more awake, more aware and more on top of things. That might have to do with a general switch, but I think I’ve been building towards it for a long time by working out and now living healthy by eating healthy. The downside is that you really can’t handle alcohol anymore. That in turn is a good reason to enjoy your one special beer a lot more than having 15 lagers without any joy to them.

Much has been written on paleo and alcohol..

Now, I’ve not been great at holding my ground on that ever, so it was a good reason to really change my mentality towards alcohol in general. Did I mention that this diet really supports a schedule where you visit the gym a couple of times a week? By visiting I don’t mean guzzling sports drinks and watching the telly. I talk about working out on just water for 2 hours. Because you eat a lot of eggs in the diet, you basically already got your whey in your belly.

The bottom line is that it makes me feel good. I try my best to grow in it and develop my range of recipes so I can stop eating all those addictive other foods. If you feel you couldn’t do that, then you should probably not even start this. If you feel you could, but it would take time, I encourage you to try this for a while. Go for a month of rather strict following and you’ll feel if it does for you what you hoped. The only reason I do this, I can’t stress enough, is for myself. That’s the best motivation you can have I think.

I don’t see my choice as the best there is, I see it as what works best for me now and what I hope to grow in. If you have a similar path or are you interested in this one, let me know, get in touch.

Keep your own edge! It’s what Minor Threat did.

Guido