Category Archives: Personal

What’s that colour?

Being colour blind (or colour challenged as some people prefer to call it) has its benefits.

It also has some drawbacks.

I have a little bag in my car that sucks up moisture, and the instructions say:

When the blue dot turns pink, put the bag in the microwave for 6 minutes.

Yes. Great. Blue. Pink. What?

Light blue and pink?

Apparently there is light blue and pink in the image up here. Ehm. Right. Beats me, and praise to you if you can see it. For me, it’s something blueish and something white/lightish.

So how do I tell if the blue dot turned pink? Tech to the rescue, because yes, there is an (Android) app for that! Meet Color Grab:

This is a screenshot from Color Grab. Point the camera at something, and the colour inside the little (green? yellow?) circle shows at the top of the screen. Outstanding. This is what I need.

I used the app on the dot that’s on the moisture sucker and it’s still ‘faint blue’, so I’m fine. No waving needed, not even micro waving.

Color Grab logo

Color Grab is available on the Google Play Store. And it’s free.

If you’re a dedicated Apple/Ios/iPhone user in need of such tech, you’ll probably be able to locate something similar to Color Grab for your device.

It’s all about the pitch

I’m still not a grandmaster on the theremin.

Okay, let’s face it: the chances of me becoming one are probably as large as anything coming from Mars, but I’ll keep trying.

Kip Rosser told me that it’s a good practice to try following random tones and play those on the theremin. I tried several ways but with only two arms and one theremin, that’s tricky. So I got creative:

tone generator

It doesn’t get more random than using a tone generator app and a happy finger. Try the video, it’s not long and might even be educational.

Using this nifty tool I had a powerful ally to go for random tones and pitches. Here’s how it looks. And sounds.

Word of warning: it’s hit and lots of miss.

If you dare, hit play and suffer this ‘performance’ of little over a minute. There’s no music, just beeping and my attempts to catch the tone generator beep on the theremin. It’s a lot harder than you might think.

Does that sound like progress to you?

No worries, I’ll beep the bad words out of any reply.

A brilliant Theremin-exercise

Yes, here I am again, with the theremin(i)

Moog Etherwave Theremin Plus

No, I didn’t buy that one. It’s out of my price range; I know my wallet’s limits. (Open to donations though! 😀 )

I just did an amazing exercise for the theremin.

Random pitches. That doesn’t mean “just wave your hands around and make some sound” (although it feels like it at times 😉 ).

The lesson consisted of a series of random pitches that you try to guess as well as possible without listening when you put your pitch hand where it should be. First you silence the theremin, then you place your hand, and then you bring up the volume and listen. And correct if you’re wrong (which you will be).

Awesome. Thank you, Kip Rosser, for this amazing set of videos.

May is Lupus Awareness Month. What is Lupus?

Understanding Lupus

Lupus is a cruel mystery.

It is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. There is a range of symptoms, and strikes without warning.

Lupus is a chronic (long-term) disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of your body. It’s an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system — the body system that usually fights infections — attacks healthy tissue instead.

Lupus most commonly affects your: 

  • Skin (rashes, itch)
  • Joints (pain, inflammation)
  • Internal organs, like your kidneys and heart

Because lupus affects many parts of the body, it can cause a lot of different symptoms.

What are the symptoms of lupus?

Lupus can cause a lot of different symptoms that come and go over time. Common symptoms include a butterfly-shaped rash on the cheeks and nose, pain or swelling in the joints, and fatigue (feeling tired often).

How do doctors diagnose lupus?

There’s no single test for lupus. If your doctor thinks you might have lupus, they’ll ask  you questions about your symptoms and they may also do a few different lab tests to find a diagnosis .

What are the treatments for lupus?

Most people with lupus take several different medicines to manage their symptoms. If you have lupus, you and your doctors can work together to find the right treatment plan for you.

Where to find more information?

For America, you can find out more at https://www.lupus.org/

For the UK, visit https://www.lupusuk.org.uk/ or https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/lupus/

Worldwide you can always visit https://worldlupusfederation.org/

You can also follow the #lupus hashtag on Twitter.

Lupus and COVID-19

COVID-19 virus

For people that suffer from (or simply know they have) lupus, the current time is dangerous. Autoimmune systems will not work well so be aware that you are extra vulnerable. Please take all the precautions you can!

imagine aliens and their lifestyle.

Note upfront: this could be considered an #NSFW post depending on your work, so be aware of that.

Aliens as often seen on TV

Right. We all know about aliens, be it from close encounters of the third kind, or from films like Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. (These are the up-close, personal ones, in case you don’t know.)

Imagine you have the opportunity to visit their planet (and you can actually live there. Air is important, as is food, and there are some more things like that).

What would you expect of their lifestyle? Would you expect it to be like ours? The same social norms? Like having a family, children, a house and the local equivalent of a car? Having dinner together –

STOP.

Let’s assume something’s different here. Let’s assume that eating on that planet is considered something you only do in private. Like we go to the toilet in private. I know, it’s perhaps a mental stretch, but stretch with me and think of that for a moment. Because it could be true. Something we on Earth consider to be normal and social could be totally unheard of, doing it in public on our alien planet.

I’m sure you can think of a few moments here. Keep that thought.

Maybe these aliens don’t have marriage but they live in large communes where kids are born and raised among everyone, not among just two of the species. Or three.

And maybe they are a bit different in appearance. That could be, right? Plenty of scifi films have projected possible alien creatures for us, and they might be even weirder than we can imagine. Up to the point of…

Image from paradox plaza.

… them not wearing clothes, or any other kind of body cover. Is that possible? I think it is. Humans on Earth started wearing clothes to protect themselves from the cold, not out of modesty. (The whole Adam and Eve story in which they covered themselves because of shame is nothing but that – a story).

How would you feel about going to such a planet, where aliens like the one in the previous image walk around uncovered? Unhindered? Free as a bird, or whatever flying animal cruises the skies there?

Would you call those aliens indecent, based on the cultural and religious dogmas you had implanted as a child? Or would you be open-minded enough to accept that way of life? And would you adopt that lifestyle if that is required to be there, walk around and interact with these aliens?

Would you feel… ashamed to be naked?

And how long, if so, do you think you would feel that shame?

I think you’d be surprised about how quickly that feeling would fade.

Enchroma. My experience.

Today I visited an optician who can supply Enchroma glasses. It was an interesting experience.

What is Enchroma?

For that you need to know what is colour blindness. Most people probably know what it is. A colour blind person has a visual defect or deficiency that makes it hard to distinguish some or many colours.

Sample of a colour blindness test.

The above image comes from colourblindness.com.

If you see six numbers in the above circles, you’re probably not colour blind. I see 25 in the top left one, the one next to it has ‘something’ in it, and that’s where my numbers end. So yes, I’m colour blind (or for the politically correct: colour challenged).

Now there is a company called Enchroma that has developed all kinds of glasses to help colour blind people to see more colours, colours better or at least enhance the experience. I had my experience enhanced today.

The glasses.

There are two types of glasses, named after the two most common types of colour blindness. Protanomaly and deuteranomaly. Both are for red/green correction but in different ways. (Ask your local specialist about specialisation.) Each set they had had 3 strengths: mild correction, moderate correction and strong correction.

The mild one did barely anything for me, so that was off the list quickly. Outside we went with the other two. First I tried the ‘strong’ one. It wasn’t the colour explosion that some people on videos mention to see, but this means nothing. As the salesman said, there are no two people identical. What works for me might not work for you, or the other way around. The strong type put everything in an exaggerated red hue for me, which didn’t disappear after several minutes. Also, my perception of colour didn’t change very much. Red was redder. In the clouds, I saw a bit more detail. In the leaves of trees, I saw a little more contrast. Obviously, that one wasn’t for me.

Colour wheel.

I tried the glasses with moderate correction. The overdone, red hue wasn’t there. Green and red were greener and redder than without, but not to the degree that I was stunned. Next door was a shop with a very colourful poster on the window. That had, indeed, more colour than I could see before, but it was a very confusing experience since I had no idea what I was looking at.

The moderate glasses were far less ‘obnoxious’ than the strong ones but apart from a bit more contrast and very confusing shades of colour, there wasn’t anything in it for me. I tried them a few times, inside and out, in sunlight and with clouds (yay Dutch weather for versatility on a 3-minute basis).

The result

After taking ample time to try the different kinds of glasses I decided not to buy them. For the price (they aren’t cheap) they just don’t do enough for me. Again, this is me.

In the shop, there was an older man who had them for a week and loves them (he was there to have something adjusted a bit). There was a young man, about 11 I think, who was so surprised at suddenly seeing all those colours. He and his Mum left with glasses, happy as a camper could be. Great for them.

That’s why I insist this is a very personal thing. Don’t rely on my experience to decide it’s not for you. If you feel your life can do with a colour boost, find an Enchroma dealer near you and go there. Try them. It’s free and it might just change your life.

For some it’s just a flash-drive

If you’ve ever been around computers, you probably know what this is. A flash-drive. USB-stick. Name it what you want.

It used to be my Dad’s. There is music on it. Music I put on it for him, because in his last days he couldn’t do much more than listen to it.

The music on it isn’t my kind of music, but I will never be able to wipe it off this USB-drive because the files on it were the last ones I put on them for Dad. He listened to them a lot. When he wasn’t able any more to switch on his little stereo, the nurses at the home did it for him.

As I titled this post: for some it’s just a flash-drive. For me it’s 16 GB of memories of my father, a man I got to know far too late.

End of a year, start of a film

Yesterday I ended the year with a film.

I don’t watch many films, so this is kind of special. The film I watched was “Lucy“, with Scarlett Johansson.

Official trailer of “Lucy”

I accidentally came across this film as I was paging through the Google Play store and discovered it.

The comments for the film were quite mixed and also intriguing enough for me to decide to rent it and see it for myself.

I’m glad I found this film. It was (for me) very enjoyable and definitely worth watching. The idea of expanding the capacity of the human mind is something that intrigues me and this film deals with that. It does so in a rough and extreme way. It made me think of this more than I was already doing.

Absolutely a good film for me.

Guten Tag, Gutenberg

I’ve tried this new editor a few times. It has advantages. It also has serious issues for me.

I’m once more trying it in this post, since ‘lots of changes have been made’, so I heard.

Do you use WordPress? Do you use (and like) Gutenberg? How easy was the switch for you?

Right. I see one of my main issues with Gutenberg is still there. It’s a mystery to me how to add an image and add text to the left or right of it. (I don’t mean the caption.) I’ve heard it can be done. If you know how and you’re able to make this clear and easy, I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve written this post in the Gutenberg editor. After posting it I’ll switch back to the classic editor for now. This switch is going to be an interesting road.

What do you think about naturism? And what do you know about it?

Naturism. The internet is loaded with it…

…but it’s not naturism.

According to the internet at large, naturism is sex, porn, bad stuff, naked people doing ‘the unmentionable’ (whatever that is, because there are plenty of words – check any dictionary). The internet is quite clever, but the people filling it often aren’t using the right words for what they’re spreading. Unfortunately, using the ‘wrong’ words is the best way to attract lots of visitors.

Then what is naturism?

Let’s have a look at Wikipedia:

Naturism, or nudism, is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating, and defending personal and social nudity, most but not all of which takes place on private property. The term may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family, or social nudism.[1] Naturism may take a number of forms. It may be practiced individually, within a family, socially, or in public. Additionally, there is also militant naturism, including campaigning, and extreme naturism is sometimes considered a separate category.[2]

Right. You may notice something here. There’s talk of ‘nudity’. Yup. Part of it. There is no mention of ‘sex’ or ‘porn’. Correct. That’s not part of naturism (nor is it of nudism but let’s stick to one word for now to prevent confusion).

America: what does the AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation) have to say about it:

Our Mission: Simply put, we exist “To advocate nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings while educating and informing society of their value and enjoyment.”

holding_handsRecreation. Yup again. Nude. Yup again. And no sex, no porn, although (still) the internet is loaded with it. Go to images.google.com, look for ‘naturism’ and prepare for what you’ll be shown if safe-search if off. That is not naturism. That is porn and sex and what-not.

Safety check: did you know that? Did you know the difference between naturism and porn? Honestly?

Britain: What does the British Naturism site say about it:

Naturism is the practice of going without clothes – whether that is just occasionally at a beach or in your garden, or as a more general part of everyday life. Naturism is healthy, sensible – who wants to wear clothes when the weather is hot – and great fun!

Gosh darn, still no mention of porn or sex. Is that disappointing? Instead there’s a sensible thing there: who wants to wear clothes when the weather is hot? Now I hear some folks say that we have air conditioning for that, which is the clever thing to use.

Yes, it’s smart to spend money on clothes that make you feel warm in summer, so you spend more money on a machine that cools you down artificially!

And why do people do that? Because they’ve been taught (indoctrinated, culturally branded) to believe that being nude is bad. Offensive. Not healthy. I guess that is why babies are born with nappies on instead of naked.

And who started this oppression in the civilised, Western world?

Adam and EveWas it the Christian God who created Adam and Eve “in his image”? After all, he put them in a garden, naked and all, and watched them. Adam and Eve therefore were the original naturists as they lived that way and enjoyed themselves.

Oh. Wait. God watched them. Was he the first God-person to watch porn then? Is the internet right after all?

Let’s assume that isn’t the case.

Through some trickery Adam and Eve were evicted from their garden and covered themselves in shame. So being naked is shameful from then on. Check. Wearing a fig leaf apron was the first step.

The clothing industry happily jumps on that bandwagon, and certainly the swimwear fashion designers.

modern swimwear

This must have been very comfortable in the Victorian era. I wonder… would you care for that? Or do you think modern swimwear is better?

I’d say: go for the Victorian ones. At least they keep you warm so long they haven’t been wet. These flimsy things don’t help anything in keeping you warm – not even in the water. And don’t they feel great when you get out of the water? Wet and clingy and getting cold fast, even when it’s warm? (By the way, lots of swimwear fashion resembled a fig leaf, in amount of cloth, for a while. Did you notice?)

Body acceptance

No. It’s about time that people rediscover naturism. Being naked isn’t bad. Being brain-washed to think that your body is ugly is bad. Making people think that they have to look like dolls is bad.

Remember: whether or not you believe in a god, you were born naked. If you believe/follow the fashion folks, you make them your gods. Look up body acceptance. Naturists accept their bodies. No one is perfect, and if someone tells you there is something like a perfect body, they lie.

Seriously… naturists are better off.

nudist swim

Did you know that? Or do you still think naturism is just a nice word for porn and sex all around? If you still do, please educate yourself. 🙂