Categories
Music Personal Development

A New Hobby

Music, for me, has always been a strictly passive affair. I listen to it. I might hum along a bit or even sing a little when no one is listening. I do not play any instruments. Or did not, actually. In December 2017 we bought a piano. My girlfriend has been playing recorder for over 25 years. She can read sheet music and play along with what she reads. I can’t.

Or actually, I couldn’t. It is starting to be something that I understand, at least the basics. When we decided to buy the piano, I decided I wanted to take lessons. Not that I see myself playing in big venues anytime soon, but if the thing is in my house, I would like at least a rudimentary understanding of its workings.

So, every Thursday night for the last 6 months, a very nice lady comes to our house to teach us how to play the piano. We take turns, so I have a lesson every 2 weeks. And it is challenging. Starting at the very beginning, as I did, means playing children’s songs a lot. That is not necessarily bad, but my hands are itching to play some music I actually listen to. Currently, I am far away from that.

But I am having fun learning and playing. And I notice it actually helps me with my mental state. Playing requires so much focus that thoughts about things not related to the music tend to disappear for a while. There has been some research on the health benefits of playing music, so I am actually doing something that is good for me in several ways AND I am having fun. I’m curious where this will take me.

 

Categories
Personal Development Podcasts

The Joy that Podcasts Bring

To me podcasts are a thing of beauty. It is like radio, but better. I can pick what I want to hear. Skip a part if I’m not interested in that, and often one podcast leads me to finding another. In this article I want to point out my top 5 of podcasts at the moment. As this is ever changing, I might very well revisit this now and then to take out a podcast and put in another.

5. Trek.fm

I start here with a bit of cheating. Trek.fm is not a single podcast but a network of 28 podcasts all dedicated to Star Trek. There is Literary Treks, about Star Trek Books, a dedicated one for every one of the series, a podcast about socioeconomics, I basically pick and mix whatever I feel like at the time. Be warned though, this is a massive time sink if you are into Star Trek. Listen at your own peril.

4. Minimalists

Minimalism interests me. At the moment my interest lies more with the concept than with any kind of practical commitment, but I might get there one day. Besides some excellent books, the minimalists serve up a wonderful podcast that is fun to listen to, explains things well and gives a lot of room to user input. This is my to go podcast when I walk back from dropping the little ones off at school.

3. Inside iOS Dev

At the moment I am doing a Udemy course on iOS Development (this one). I like to listen to this podcast to pick up some things and just get a feel for how programming podcasts work, as I have little experience with those. At times the topics are challenging but they are also very interesting, so I keep up as good as I can.

2. The RPS Electronic Wireless Show

This is the podcast of RockPaperShotgun, a website dedicated to PC gaming. Being an avid gamer, I like to listen to what they have to say. It helps me discover new things to play and just is fun to listen to. They hit the tone of their written content quite well in the podcast, and what they write is often funny without losing informational value.

1. A Plate to Call Home (with Gary Mehigan)

Those who know me in person, know that I can gush on quite a bit about Masterchef Australia. Won’t go into that today. Gary Mehigan is a judge on (with Matt Preston and George Calombaris, who both have an episode on this podcast). In A Plate to Call Home, Mehigan chats with someone who is into food, often professionally. Besides his Masterchef colleagues, great names like Nigella Lawson, Alla Wolf Tasker and Curtis Stone have been on the show. I like how the show slowly meanders from topic to topic, with Gary Mehigan as a pleasant and interested host. I highly recommend this show.

What are your favourite Podcasts? Please let me know, I am always looking for new ear candy. If I like it, your recommendation might even bump one of my Top 5 out of this list.

Categories
Personal Development

A Fresh Start

For a long time this blog has been silent. I think I put up the maintenance warning somewhere around christmas 2017 and it hasn’t been removed since. Not that the itch wasn’t there, but work, illness and other life stuff somehow always moved the blogging to the background. And I missed it.

I also noticed an issue with my old posts. They rambled on and on, so now I am trying for a more structured approach. Stay tuned.