This playlist will make you happy
I’ve been quite busy for a while, which is why I haven’t posted since February 3, where I wrote about an awesome run in the dark. To be somewhat honest, it’s that typical blend of a) a lot of stuff is happening, so I don’t have time to write about it, and b) some of the stuff isn’t for everybody. Living in the moment is more important than constantly wondering about blogging or Facebook-posting.
The picture above shows hyacinths and napkins on the dinner table in my living room. The flowers were fresh when they had their “dinner of fame”
Also, the deer on the napkins suited the menu
Even though I’m usually a very positive-minded person – I’ve even been named “the eternal optimist” by a colleague (it probably wasn’t meant exclusively as a compliment) – I’ve actually been even more positive for the past few weeks. Now I have to be careful what I write… Oh noes… The written word sometimes begs to be misunderstood. The reason for my exceptional happiness is that I’m dating a very sweet, beautiful, wise, interesting and creative girl. If she reads this, I fear she’ll put too much weight on the order of the adjectives. Maybe she’ll also wonder if I left some out. She shouldn’t, of course. There’s no ulterior motive – it’s nothing but a simple attempt at an unreserved compliment, left as a breadcrumb in the digital world.
Of course I’ll not reveal the identity of my princess. I know some of my colleagues have found out, but they are also quite capable detectives. Especially when I’m talking too much and giving them clues…
Let me end with a few pictures. Each of them has a small story to tell.
For years (honestly!) I didn’t have a pair of stylish, shiny, black shoes. I had a pair of brown ones, Dockers, and they were kind of beautiful in their own way. They weren’t shiny though, and they didn’t match anything. Now I have a fine, black pair suiting my black belt. On the picture I’m superglueing my belt, as it has lost some kind of screw, which I haven’t been able to buy anywhere.
Visiting my parents, I got four boxes of ready-to-use firewood for my stove. I help my dad with forest work, and in return I get firewood. Since I was expecting a special guest, and I sort of had to carry firewood inside the house anyway, I decided to be creative. It doesn’t lean against the wall.
Sometimes it seems I’m the last one to leave the office. This isn’t true very often, as we have a few people raising the bar, but I do have such evenings. It’s typically when I’ve been busy fixing a system that broke down unexpectedly, deploying new software to a production environment, or when I’ve been running near work.
Last night I persuaded myself to go for a run in the dark. I had all day to do it in sunlight – well, to be fair, in overcast daylight – but those hours were spent washing windows, splitting logs, carrying the logs inside and watching The Devil’s Rejects. I thought “If I can just run 5 km, it’s okay. No need to overdo anything.” Armed with a positive mind, Five Finger Death Punch‘s latest album and a headlamp, I worked my way through snowy, wet roads in the countryside. Without doubt, the positive energy came from a very special Saturday evening I didn’t stop until my watch showed 9 km… 170 bpm heart rate on average… Click on the picture to see the original size.
I cannot brag about the pace, but the heart rate shows that I did my best. I’m still running in minimalistic shoes – Vivo Barefoot Evo II – which means that technique is far more important than pace. Also, it was very slippery, and these particular shoes are very smooth on the bottom. They are primarily built for dry asphalt, certainly not trails, ice or snow. I’m thinking about buying some trail shoes, but I haven’t decided which ones yet.
The endorphins from the run combined with the documentary Spirit of the Marathon made me sign up for my biggest physical challenge in 2014 – a half marathon at Nationalpark Thy Marathon in September. I do not expect to better my personal record of approx 1h and 36m. The primary objective is to finish and to do so in a relatively respectable time, i.e. way below two hours. I think a goal will make it easier to run regularly. Maybe 2015 will finally be the year where I run a full marathon. I would like to think so.
I have just stumbled upon this old post, where I had had my longest run ever. It would be awesome to reach that level again.
I have finally begun the insulation project that I have been talking about for months. In the process I’m removing the old aluminum vapor/heat barrier, installing air sealing (boards directing air flow) and a modern plastic vapor barrier. It’s a huge project. In the end there will be – from the bottom – 5 cm glass wool, a vapor barrier and then 30 cm glass wool.
It has been a quiet weekend, more or less. I visited my parents in Thy, where I picked up wind boards produced by my father. There are many boards and they probably weigh more than 100 kg in total, which meant I had to drive very conservatively on my way back. If you’re in doubt, they are for my ceiling insulation project, where I need to direct the wind over the layers of insulation. It was super awesome that I could “order” the boards from him, and I’m starting to understand – with additional inspiration from Bonderøven – that the process of building or fixing something is as important as the end result. It’s important to involve family and friends. I also managed to sit with my rifle in a hochsitz for a few hours in the rain (without seeing anything) and to buy some art for my many walls at a charity store. When I wanted to go to bed at my parents’ house, one of their dogs – Birko – had stolen the bed while I brushed my teeth
Actually, I had planned to start working in the attic today, Sunday, as I finally have everything I need for the first eighth of the project. It didn’t happen, though, as I had a pile of clothes that needed to be washed, the weather was suddenly suitable for a run, my conscience begged for a run, logs needed to be splitted and brought to the stove, my kitchen needed to be cleaned, a better (sturdier) toilet seat purchased the other day begged to be installed, etc. In addition, I decided to relax in an armchair this evening with a foot bath, a quietly burning stove and The Expendables 2.
As always, I’ve been digging around the net for metal stuff, and I’ve found something that means a lot to me. Back in 2003 when I started at Aalborg University, a friend introduced me to metal music. There were also other friends pointing me in the metal direction, but one friend stands out. None mentioned, none forgotten. I humbly say thank you. It was through Nightwish and Within Temptation, I learned to appreciate metal. When viewing and listening to this pot of gold – Within Temptation playing for two hours with the Metropole Orchestra in the Netherlands in 2008 – I seriously don’t understand why many people like the boring music that gets played on the mainstream radio stations. Being on the subject, let me wholeheartedly recommend the documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey.
Hot shortcuts to the aforementioned pot of gold:
Within Temptation will release their new album Hydra on January 31, where we will see guest performers Tarja Turunen (ex-Nightwish, see this Hydra-video) and Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, see this Hydra-video), among others.
That’s all I wanted to share for now
On my Aygo, a metal connector has separated from the exhaust due to rust. This caused the exhaust to hang too low, which then again made it touch the rear axle when the rear springs were compressed. The picture to the left shows the exhaust hanging too low, and the picture to the right shows my temporary solution.
Since I don’t know whether this has resulted in further damages to the exhaust, and since the exhaust in general is very rusty, my plan is to get a mechanic to install a new exhaust. This ought to make the car more or less ready for the upcoming inspection.
Not so much to say… I’m alive and well, and I think 2013 has been great. In a few hours, one year ends and another begins, just as we’ve witnessed many times before. Let’s not be too religious about it
I plan to do a lot of stuff in 2014 – no surprise The public part includes celebrating my 30th birthday in some way, maintaining and improving my house and garden, being regularly active with running, badminton, weight training and mountainbiking, and continue working with the great colleagues at my workplace.
I hope all of you had a merry Christmas. I sure did – together with my loving family.
Happy New Year!
Edit on January 2: Here is a picture from the New Year’s Eve in Nors that I attended…
I’m writing these words with metal music playing in the background, my stove burning perfectly a few meters way, a handful of almonds on my coffee table and a glas of red wine within reach. Today I’ve discovered a few new bands that I will be listening to in the near future – Trivium and Aghora. I’ve also managed to get some actual stuff done today, including picking up 200 m² of vapor barrier, buying and wrapping the last Christmas present, buying groceries, washing clothes, splitting logs for the stove and changing some outdoor light bulbs.
Relatively many days have gone by since my previous post. During those days, I’ve eaten delicious, homemade pizza and tasted fine whiskies and rums at a colleague’s home, attended a friend’s 30th birthday party, attended my mother’s birthday get-together and attended a friend’s PhD defense party. At the latter party I met my former PhD supervisors, as they were also my friend’s supervisors. I only worked on my PhD for approx one year, which means that I didn’t complete it. I needed to try the “real world”, and I’ve honestly never regretted my decision. It’s three and a half years ago now. Being at the party and talking to the supervisors of course made me think about life and how you can take many paths. It was really nice to see that one of my friends – one of the co-authors on my master thesis – completed his PhD.
DIY-wise, I’ve realized that adding insulation to my attic requires me to install a vapor barrier and wind boards, which makes the project more expensive, more complicated and more time-consuming. I’m of course going to complete the project anyway. Fortunately, the work can be split into many parts.
I’m looking forward to the Christmas holidays. Merry Christmas
Addition: Actually, another small thing happened today. While I was driving home from Hadsund with vapor barrier and groceries, a roe deer suddenly crossed the road 50 meters in front of my car. I braked hard, felt the heavy vapor barrier take off from the back seat and thought “one or more deers typically follow so do not accelerate too early”, and yes, another one followed two seconds after the first one. My heart rate was a bit elevated