I am not normal.

normal_people_scare_meI am not normal. And I’ll always do what I can to be not normal.

Why?

Consider what ‘normal’ is. Normal is what is considered the norm. The thing that most people do. That’s the norm. Many people these days don’t seem able to distinguish normal from civilised or humane or decent.

Is it normal to be afraid of the idiots that make up this ‘Islamic State’ (which has, in my opinion, very little to do with Islam and more with spreading fear and oppression)?

If you say, “yes, it’s normal to be scared of them“, then you are influenced by the media who focus on those folks. They instil the fear in you. And then you are normal. Following the norm. Following the trend that allows others to control and – even worse – manipulate you.

Step out of that box. Do your own thinking. The chances of being killed by someone from IS are far less than being shot in an American school (now there’s something uplifting). Stepping outside the box is scary. For some people it’s impossible, because they don’t even know there is a box.

box

I won’t be normal. That doesn’t mean I’ll be a freak (although there’s nothing wrong with that once you’re outside the box). Remember there’s more than black and white. There are more than fifty shades of grey. Being different shouldn’t make you an oddball. Alas, the holy norm which decrees what’s normal will do just that. Don’t fit in? Then you need therapy! Like happened in Russia some decades ago. Like the US school system does these days. Like most of the manipulated, western world does.

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Leave it to the car

Many people do not want a self driving car. This is of course the human factor where the human wants to be in control of the machine.

self-driving-car

The ironic part in this is that the humans want power steering, power windows and more power options to the car so they don’t have to expend their own power. Leave that to the car. The humans also wants GPS navigation so they don’t have to look at maps and use their own brain power. Leave that to the car. Humans love the automatic wind shield wipers so they don’t have to switch them on themselves. Same goes for automatic lights coming on. Leave all that to the car. Or how about the car that won’t start when it detects you’ve had a few too many? Not even mentioning the people who love their stick shift, where the car tells them when to use it to be as fuel efficient as possible. Why not leave that to the car?

The latest nice thing I heard of is Lane Assist, where the humans don’t have to watch where they’re going in their car. The car will warn them if they get out of their lane. Easy. Leave that to the car. Of course you may hear the argument that this is a useful feature to keep you on the right track when you’re tired. Well, if you’re tired you should not be driving a car in the first place!

And still the humans think they are in control of their car.

Just leave it to the car…

A Christmas question for Muslims

Yes, you read that right.

I wonder how Muslims perceive Christmas. Most of the ‘white world’ is now submerged in the holy days that will last a week or perhaps longer for some. It’s nice to know that some people in that white world still remember what this Christmas is about (many know it is about a tree, presents, and love and peace on the dinner table).

Pagans have their own version of Christmas. It’s called Yule.  According to some well-informed Christians, Pagans stole Yule from Christmas. I am not going to comment on that as that discussion is as old as Yule. (Which is older than Christmas.)

So how do Muslims perceive this period? Do you shrug at it and go on? Do you engage in the celebrations because it’s as good a time to celebrate as other times?

And as I ponder this – is there an Islamic version of Christmas? Some kind of Allah-mis?

I really wonder and would appreciate some feedback. Please, no feedback of the scathing kind as that will be removed without mercy. (Christmas is about love and peace, remember? Just reminding you.)

Life and death.

Deaths in Paris.

Deaths in planes shot down.

Deaths in schools by trigger-happy humans.

And I am going to clean the bathroom…

There is no way I can even try to understand what makes these people do what they do.

Logically I can explain it. Influences. Hate-mongering. Mind-messing by twisted, sick individuals. But understand? No. I can’t. And I am proud of that. It lifts my mind out of their gutter.

I hate what happens and what happened, and from what the general direction of things is also what will still happen. The spreading of fear will go on for a while. Unfortunately. And it is hard to go against. A response with weapons doesn’t work.

Why is love and understanding so difficult…

I don’t want to be old that way

Sometimes you hear about, or talk to people whose parents don’t recognise them any more. That sounds sad. It’s even more sad when it happens to you. Like it did to me today. Dad was talking to me for a while already when suddenly he said, “The other one is coming too.” I asked him whom he was talking about. “Paul. He lives far away, and he has cats.”

Brain malfunctionWhen you hear that, it’s quite a shock. I told him I am that Paul. That surprised him. A little while later he started again about Paul. The one from Cuijk. Something like that makes me think.

Do I want to be old like that? Who does he think I am now? How often did he now know who I was before?

My Dad has been ‘slipping’ for a while already, and sometimes that’s hard to see. I know it’s hard on him as well; I can tell that from the look in his eyes and the pain in his voice. Everything becomes a jumble. Bookkeeping, computers, taxes, the past, the present, everything that once was and… perhaps even what never was? Today he told me, “It’s no good living like this.” He suffers from this too because he often has very clear moments and then he knows that in his head everything’s going wrong.

I don’t want to be old like that. When the time comes I want a dignified end. A good death. That is why I became a member of the Dutch Society for Euthanasia. Because, really, I don’t want to be old that way…

Zo wil ik niet oud zijn

Je hoort wel eens van, en spreekt wel eens mensen die niet meer door hun ouders worden herkend. Dat klinkt heel rot. Nog rotter is als het jezelf overkomt. Zoals mij vandaag. Mijn vader zat al even met me te praten toen hij opeens opmerkte dat ‘die andere’ ook nog zou komen. Ik vroeg hem wie hij bedoelde. “Paul. Die woont ver weg, en die heeft katten.”

Brain malfunctionAls je dat hoort kijk je toch wel even raar op. Ik vertelde hem dat ik die Paul ben. Daar keek hij van op, en even later begon hij weer over Paul. Die uit Cuijk. Zoiets zet je toch aan het denken.

Wil ik zo oud worden? Wie denkt hij dat ik nu ben? Hoevaak is het al gebeurd dat hij niet weet wie ik ben?

Mijn vader is al een tijd aan het ‘wegglijden’ en soms is dat erg moeilijk om aan te zien. Ik weet dat het voor hem ook heel moeilijk is; dat kan ik zien aan zijn ogen en vaak horen in zijn stem. Alles loopt door elkaar. Boekhouden, computers, de belastingen, vroeger, nu, dat wat ooit was en… misschien zelfs dat wat mogelijk nooit geweest is? Hij zei vandaag nog tegen me, “Het is geen leven zo.” Hij lijdt er zelf ook onder want hij heeft nog vaak heldere momenten waarin hij zich realiseert dat het in zijn hoofd helemaal fout gaat.

Zo wil ik niet oud zijn. Ik wil als het er op aankomt een waardig einde. Een goede dood. Daarom ben ik lid geworden van de Nederlandse Verening Voor Euthanasie. Want echt, zo wil ik niet oud zijn.

A bird and its bag

This morning I drove to work as usual. At some point I suddenly saw a blackbird fly off. It carried something in its beak. The something was a plastic bag it had found in a field. Birds should not find plastic bags in fields. Plastic bags are bad news for animals and I loathe people who toss their ‘useless’ plastic bags down wherever they stand. They don’t think. These people have no idea what they do, no respect for life.

plastic-bag-in-empty-fieldI can only hope that this blackbird used the plastic bag for a nest instead of trying to eat it. The latter would mean certain death  for a beautiful, innocent animal, thrown away by some idiot that doesn’t stop to think.

Is this what modern society turns people into?

Senntiment. Yes. Senn again.

I know, I’ve talked about Senn before. During my vacation in San Francisco and Santa Rosa I learnt almost everything there is to know about this (for me) still amazing film. Let’s start with the image up here. On the left is “We”, a character wonderfully played by Wylie Herman. I was fortunate enough to meet him in person and be an extra for a few seconds in a film he is working on with several other people. Then we have Senn, and Kona on the right. I sent them messages to thank them for their work on Senn and they appreciated that very much. I also messaged Taylor Lambert who plays Resh in the film, another good actor.

senn02Britton Watkins and Josh Feldman were wonderful hosts and great friends. They are the brains and creative geniuses behind Senn. We spent literally hours talking about the film and all the different aspects that it covers. Amazing, wonderful, and something I’d love to do again. We visited many locations where they filmed to make Senn happen and that was something impressive. I have learnt a lot about film-making during that visit (and that’s probably the tip of the iceberg that’s involved).

senn01I said it before and I will say it again: I feel blessed for having met them and having the opportunity and mind to meet so many wonderful people. Not only did I learn lots and loads about Senn and things involved in making a film, I also saw and learnt a lot about creating languages. (Britton created a special language for Senn which you see written in the image on the right.)

Yes. I will carry my Senntiment with me for a long time. It’s a good feeling.

About life and death

bridgeLife is an amazing thing. You hardly ever stand still to realise that because it’s a given thing, and so common that there is no reason to reflect on it, usually. It is however something I try to appreciate as much as I can. Why, you may ask. Well, there is this opposite of life and that is death. Have you witnessed death? As in someone dying? I have. Several times. The last time it wasn’t a person but a cat. It didn’t make any difference to me. When death comes, it comes. Life comes to an end, either quickly and hopefully painlessly, or slowly while life puts up its last physical battle. A battle it can’t win.

We all will face this moment, either consciously or unconsciously. Life is what you enjoy now, death is what you’ll go through later. Will anyone of us enjoy death as much as we enjoy life? Who knows. No one I know has ever returned to talk about it. Death is inevitable though. And when you are reading this, you know that life is inevitable in its own way – because you are inside it now.

No, this is not meant as a promotion for death. It’s just a little ramble on the consequence of life, this thing we call death. The way out of life, if you will, and into… who knows.

When I was there with my friends, waiting for their cat to go through that portal between life and death, I was sad. I cried. The battle didn’t take long but it was painful to watch, knowing there was nothing anyone could do for him. Oh, the vet was on her way to help him end the struggle, but until she came, his body kept going even when life was fleeting.

Maybe you think “It was just a cat, what’s the big deal?” It wasn’t just a cat. It was life passing and death taking over. Death in itself isn’t bad. It is part of life. The time to pass over that threshold however can be bad. May your step into the next phase be swift and painless. And may you enjoy life to the fullest until you stand in front of that threshold.

/|\

Cool

Yes. You know cool. The cool things and certainly the cool people. Who doesn’t want to be cool?

I don’t want to be cool. Someone who’s cool is always in control. Nothing can shock, excite, touch, harm or soften such a person. They are always “chill” which fits with the “cool”.

This kind of “cool” equates to someone who is desperately out of touch with their emotions. And that is not cool.