Read the latest posts from Blog.Optional.Page.

from Optional

Twemoji in Obsidian

I've spent literal YEARS trying to change the way Obsidian renders Emoji, from the hideous Windows Emoji to the beautiful Twemoji. But this isn't a recipe, so let's get right to it! Download the latest Twemoji font “in COLR/CPAL layered format” here (provided by Mozilla). Or the latest Noto Emoji from here. Once downloaded, right-click the font file and click “Install” (For Twemoji the file is Twemoji.Mozilla.ttf, for Noto it's fonts/NotoColorEmoji_WindowsCompatible.ttf).

Now that the font is installed on your Computer you have to tell Obsidian to use it. Refer to the image below for the following steps: Inside Obsidian open the DOM inspector by pressing Ctrl + Shift + i. Switch to the Elements-Tab and select the element that starts <body class="... (it should be one of the first). On the other half of the inspector make sure you're on the Styles-Tab. Under Filter search for “--font”.

Obsidian Inspector Guide

What we're looking for are the lines that define the theme-fonts. These might look different on your end, but here's what mine look like:

body {
    --font-text-theme: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Inter, Ubuntu, sans-serif;
    --font-editor-theme: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Inter, Ubuntu, sans-serif;
    --font-monospace-theme: 'JetBrains Mono', 'Fira Code', Menlo, SFMono-Regular, Consolas, 'Roboto Mono', monospace;
    --font-interface-theme: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Inter, Ubuntu, sans-serif;

Copy these (yours) somewhere. You can now close the Obsidian console (again via Ctrl + Shift + i or the little x). Open your Obsidian Settings (default: Ctrl + ,), go to Appearance, scroll down to CSS Snippets and click the little folder icon. This opens up the Snippets Folder in Windows where you now create a file called something like twemoji.css (The name doesn't matter, the file extension .css does). Open that file in your favourite text editor and paste the CSS you found earlier. But also place 'Twemoji Mozilla' (or 'Noto Color Emoji' if you want that one) somewhere among the existing Fonts—right behind 'Segoe UI' is what works for me. So here is what it could look like:

body {
  --font-text-theme: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', 'Twemoji Mozilla', Roboto,
  Inter, Ubuntu, sans-serif;
  --font-editor-theme: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', 'Twemoji Mozilla', Roboto,
  Inter, Ubuntu, sans-serif;
  --font-monospace-theme: 'JetBrains Mono', 'Fira Code', Menlo, SFMono-Regular,
  Consolas, 'Roboto Mono', 'Twemoji Mozilla', monospace;
  --font-interface-theme: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', 'Twemoji Mozilla', Roboto,
  Inter, Ubuntu, sans-serif;

Enable the snippet. You can do that by saving your .css-file, going back to the Obsidian settings, back to Appearance > CSS Snippets. Hit the little refresh arrows and your new snippet should show up. Toggle it on. Then open a file with some emojis to test your snippet.

If it doesn't work as intended (the emojis are still the old font or the font of the regular text has also changed) try a different ordering of fonts. They get applied from left to right until one is able to provide the required glyph. You might have to play around with the ordering to get the desired results. Just saving the .css should get Obsidian to reload and re-apply the snippet, you don't need to restart it every time.


from OptionalBooks

Poetry to die for

I always thought that everybody but me knew this story. It's hard to escape: It's sometimes assigned in school, the play is still performed in theatres, there's film adaptations in close keeping to the text like Romeo and Juliet (1968), and those taking some… creative liberties like Gnomeo & Juliet (2011). That's why I was quite surprised when I learned that a couple of my friends didn't even know that the two titular lovers commit suicide at the end—which is already revealed in verse 6, so don't you worry about spoilers.

But even if you know the basic plot of this tragedy and have seen a few adaptations, you'll probably still be surprised to find some plot details that are commonly changed or omitted.

And yet, the plot is not the main selling point of this play, the language is. The text is so full of puns, double entendres, and otherwise witty usage of words, that it's a real joy to read. Shakespeare's English is a bit difficult to understand for the modern reader, so I'd definitely recommend getting an annotated version that can help understand the text in all its meanings—I was happy with my copy, annotated by Burton Raffel.


from OptionalBooks

Das Cover verrät es schon: “Pick Me”

Dieser Band besteht aus 17 Abschnitten, die eine Mischung aus Memoir und feministischem Essay darstellen. Jeder Abschnitt setzt einen groben Themenschwerpunkt und versucht anhand persönlicher Erfahrungen allgemeinere Rückschlüsse zu erlauben.

Themen sind zum Beispiel Essstörung, Scham, Mode, Filme, und das Erwachsenwerden. Der Schreibstil ist witzig, nahbar und herzlich, und die kurzen Kapitel lassen dieses Buch leicht durchblättern. Es eignet sich also auch gut für den Couchtisch oder als Geschenk für junge Frauen (vielleicht 14 bis 22 Jahre).

Damit soll der Inhalt nicht entwertet werden; Der lockere Stil ermöglicht einen leichten und schnellen Zugang zu Themen, was auch zu einer überraschenden Fülle an Themen führt, die mit überraschender Tiefe abgehandelt werden. Trotzdem leidet die Tiefe dann insgesamt doch und wir werden ohne größere Theorien oder wissenschaftliche Unterfütterung zurückgelassen.


from OptionalBooks

Gute Ernte mit interessantem Geschmack

Liss, Mitte 40, lebt allein auf ihrem Bauernhof, bis ihr eines Tages die 17-jährige Sally zuläuft. Sally ist gerade aus einer Klinik abgehauen und sucht ein Versteck vor den Therapeuten, Psychiatern, der Polizei und ihren Eltern. Damit beginnt dieser Roman, in dem sich die beiden Frauen aneinander abarbeiten werden.

Liss und Sally sind zwei gut getroffene Persönlichkeiten, die ihre eigenen Sichtweisen und Probleme mitbringen und damit den Antrieb für die Erzählung liefern. Ihre Perspektiven färben die Narration abwechselnd und bereichern das Leseerlebnis. Veränderungen ihrer Charakterzüge und ihrer Beziehung werden in einem realistisch langsamen Tempo erzählt, was zwar nie langweilig, gezogen oder repetitiv wird, die Leser*in am Ende dann aber doch mit weniger zurücklässt als auf diese Seiten gepasst hätte.

Themen wie Melancholy, Trauma, Einsamkeit, Unpässlichkeit, Vertrauen, psychische Gesundheit und Natur werden interessant ausgekundschaftet und in Relation gebracht. Gerade in der Verknüpfung der letzten zwei—psychische Gesundheit und Natur—birgt sich die Gefahr, Natur zu stark mystisch aufzuladen und einer dubiosen Ablehnung der Moderne gefügig zu werden. Es bleibt letztlich der Leser*in selbst zu urteilen, ob der Roman seiner eigenen romantischen Erzählung eines Leben auf dem Lande zu sehr verfällt.


from OptionalBooks

Outrages tale quickly turns stale

A man suddenly makes it his hobby to emotionally hurt women by going out with them and first earning and later abusing their trust. He cruelly exposes their insecurities and reveals his own interest as an act. This story is presented from the man's perspective as an unreliable narrator telling his own tale. Much like Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita we share the POV of a morally abhorrent deviant. Unlike Lolita, this book does not let the reader feel sympathy, but bored apathy.

Right off the bat you are drawn in by the shock of crass language and vulgar opinions, but very quickly they lose their provocative allure and instead become an obnoxious chore. The narrator also reveals himself to be not only unreliable, but also unskilled; Long phrases are repeated verbatim making you question whether you've turned pages the wrong way, and passages of the protagonist doubting whether anyone will read his ramblings become boring from the second time they appear.

Neither the writing nor the—admittedly very interesting—themes of cruelty, blinding love, alcoholism, class, or career, are able to carry this brief read of 150 pages.


from OptionalBooks

Congratulations to the Women who don't have to deal with these Men anymore

This collection comprises seven short stories centred around men that have in some way or other lost their wives or partners. Now these men without women are struggling to move on. Sometimes they are lost in grief, sometimes they are looking for a form of closure. Regrettably, only a couple of stories can transcend being simple sob stories of men wallowing in self-pity.

Yesterday and An Independent Organ are very straight-forward in their approach to the topic. In the former two 20-year-old men are navigating their first relationships and breakups, while the latter is about a doctor in his fifties falling into depression about an affair not working out. All three of these men, not just the two 20-year-olds, are portrayed as emotionally immature and naïve to the point of making the reader cringe.

The story Kino tries to construct a metaphor where a man that's just up and left after finding out that his wife had an affair is haunted by some mysterious force. Could it be… his unprocessed grief and hurt? (Yes.)

The two stories Men Without Women and Samsa In Love1 leave more questions unanswered than these previous examples. Through this they succeed in letting the reader explore loss and grief on a more personal level and bringing in their own feelings about the topic.

Lastly, the stories Drive My Car and Sheherazade have both been reworked into the excellent film Drive My Car (2021). The first story provides the protagonist, who suddenly loses his wife to cancer and—rather than having to deal with sadness—is left looking for closure. The second story—through a framing device—provides the story of a 17-year-old girl repeatedly breaking into the house of her crush.

Both of these stories are more nuanced and interesting than most of the rest found in this collection, but the film greatly succeeds in adding even more nuance and interesting layers.

In conclusion, this collection is only able to provide the reader with a very narrow peek at grief and loss as it pertains to relationships. It often does not even leave enough room for the reader to project their own feelings and ideas into the space between the lines.


[1] Also found in the collection Desire.


from Optional

There's a new blog on this instance called OptionalBooks where I share reviews of the books I'm reading. I've imported my old reviews (from Bookwyrm) and will from now on post reviews only on this sub-blog here. If you're following the main feed of this instance ( instead of this blog specifically ( you will already have noticed that.

You can filter posts in your RSS reader via the author field. When I review German books I do so in German and prepend the title with “[GER]” for easy filtering.

Just a quick FYI for what's happening :)


from Optional

When playing Pen and Paper games I highly recommend the use of “Calibration Tools”. These are more commonly known under the name “Safety Tools”, but since they enable more than just “safe” play, I prefer “Calibration Tools”. These tools take the form of additional rules and/or processes that formalise the process of finding common ground on what stories we want to tell at the table. No tool is perfect and no collection of tool is perfect for every table. The choice of tool(s) is dependent on whether you play with a fixed group, re-use systems or whether you play a campaign or a one shot. With the name “Safety Tool” you might think that it's only important when you play potentially triggering genres like horror, but they still hold much value even when you play tamer games, like Cozy Town.

Before I go through the tools that I use, I'll point you in the direction of the Safety Toolkit, which lists even more tools you might find more fitting than what I use. My selection of tools is based on the fact that I often play with new players, always play new game systems and only play one shots.

Before the Game

Before we begin playing I use “CATS” as a guideline to introduce everything about how the session will go. Part of CATS is introducing the other tools we'll use, one of which also happens before the game, namely “Lines and Veils”.


The “CATS” acronym stands for “Concept, Aim, Tone, Subject Matter”1. This list is just a reminder for all the topics I want to explain before we get further into it. The original explanation of this tool can be found at this link, but here's my explanation:

  • Concept: Pitch the game. Example: “Trophy Dark is a horror game where treasure hunters enter 'the forest' out of complete desperation to find some treasure. It's 'play-to-lose', so expect for your characters to find a terrible death by the end. It uses a 'writers-room-approach' where we all will have great influence on how the world acts and what events will happen to your characters.”
  • Aim: Pitch the session and schedule. Example: “After I'm done with CATS we'll make characters. After a quick break we'll play the game and take 5 minute breaks every hour. Like I said, you'll all die. The game is split into 5 parts, called 'rings'. Some of your characters will find their end in ring 4, and the survivors in ring 5. If it fits, those of you without a character can take control of the forest for ring 5. Afterwards we'll order take out and do Stars and Wishes while we wait for the food. Sound good?”
  • Tone: Pitch the tone/genre. Example: “We'll be playing the incursion 'A Warm and Pleasant Hum', which means we'll have lots of insects and body horror. I'd like for us to remain serious, even when we are discussing things out of character. Trophy excels at symbolism so it'd be cool if we can weave that in. But I'm open to focus more on psychological horror or anything else you are interested in, what do you think?”
  • Subject Matter: Discuss ideas and boundaries that might come up. Also introduce and explain other calibration tools. Example: “The incursion lists the following content warnings: Cannibalism, Insects, […] and Eye Trauma, but Jenny already said that she doesn't want that in, so we'll avoid it. To make it easier for us to set more boundaries, we'll also do Lines and Veils next. And during the game we'll be using […]”

Lines and Veils

With Lines and Veils everyone gets the chance to mark certain content as “Line” or “Veil”. Most people also add the categories “Ask First” and “Interested”. The more severe categories overwrite votes in the less severe categories. If a person marks something as a Veil and someone else marks the same thing as a Line it is now a Line.

Anything marked as a Line is a hard limit and will simply not appear in the story or discussion at the table. Things marked as a Veil will be “hidden behind a veil”, meaning that it will not appear directly, but might be hinted at. For example, veiling the topic of death might allow us to describe a man lying in a hospital bed and as we leave the room we know that he's not going to make it. We don't say that he dies, but he does not reappear in our story. Ask First means exactly that, to ask before introducing something. This might be used if it's very context dependent whether you like the content to be in the story. Interested just tells everyone that this is a topic you're interested in. Anyone might try to push the narrative into a direction where these topics can be explored together.

To decide on Lines and Veils, it helps to have a list of possible triggers beforehand. You can come up with them yourself, sometimes the rules of the game or adventure provides them, or you can find generic lists online. In the best case it would also be possible for everyone to anonymously provide their choices, which is why I wrote a WebApp to do just that. The idea is that one person opens it on their phone, defines a list of content that might show up in the session and then hands their phone around and everyone fills the form with the option to add new content as well. It's then summarized and anonymized.

During The Game

Since you can't think of everything beforehand and some new things will come up during play, you'll probably want to use another tool during the game. I use the “Open Door Policy” and part of “Script Change”.

Open Door Policy

I explicitly state, that “If you need to leave for any reason, you can leave without explaining why.” This is quite easy online, but that's why I find it so important to highlight it in person as well. I also want to point out that you can apply this policy to the rest of your life as well.

Script Change

Script Change frames the whole gaming session as a movie. It's a very extensive tool that has ideas for what to do before, during and after a game. I only use part of what it suggests, so do check out the full explanation to see if there's stuff you like.

What I do during the game is to lay out a bunch of index cards with different symbols and commands that should be familiar from TV remotes. During play anyone can either tap these cards or say the command to use them. None of these require justification to use. These are the “buttons” and their functions:

  • Rewind: Like the X-Card, you name what you would like to have edited out and we rewind to before that and continue on an alternate path where that thing does not happen. Other than for triggering topics this can be used for things that don't fit the tone or are just plain boring. Examples: “Rewind. The werewolf does not wear a top hat and a tie.” or “Rewind. My character's best friend does not die. Instead they are banished from this plane.”
  • Pause: Pause the game and talk out of character. This can be to clarify or change game rules, to take a breather, or to talk about the content of the game. It's also the default option to use, if you don't know which other Script Change button you should use. Examples “Pause. I got to go use the bathroom.” or “Pause. Can we talk about this Luck mechanic? I feel like it diminishes the strategy aspect too much.” or “Pause. I don't like this scene. I guess it's okay to have it in the story, but which of these buttons allowed us to go to the next one? Fast-Forward?”
  • Fast-Forward: Fade to black and move to the next scene. This can be used in the same way that a Veil is used as it leaves the content up to here in the story, but tells us to move on to something else. To make my examples interesting, I'll add elaboration, but since it's very clear what to do when someone hits “Fast-Forward” it generally doesn't need any elaboration. Examples: “Fast-Forward. I get that these two characters are about to have sex and don't need any more elaboration.” or “Fast-Forward. These are just two NPCs talking and I want to see what Jenny's character is doing while this is happening.”
  • Instant Replay: Go over what just happened out of character. If things are unclear or deserve more time in the spotlight. Examples: “Instant Replay. My character was lying during that whole conversation. Does your character know that? Do you know that?” or “Instant Replay. Jenny, your character just killed the big bad and you're just telling us '17 fire damage'! Please tell us again what exactly your character is casting, what that looks like and what your character is feeling while they kill the big bad!”
  • Frame-by-Frame: Take it slow from here. Either to give a scene more weight or to leave enough time to hit any other button should need arise. Examples: “Frame-by-Frame. Remember that 'Harm to Animals' is a Veil. Proceed cautiously.” or “Frame-by-Frame. I want to hear how you manage to run through the collapsing mine shaft in as much detail as possible!”

After The Game

After the main story wraps I often allow players to narrate the “Movie Credits”, which is my very simplified version of the Script Change Reels. After that I love to wrap with “Stars And Wishes”.

Movie Credits

It depends on the kind of game we played what exactly I ask for here. Most often it's vignettes and sometimes also bloopers.

  • Vignettes: These are tiny scenes or still images. Like an epilogue, mid-credit-scene or “where are they now”. Mostly, I leave the floor open for anyone with an idea, but sometimes I ask specific questions. Examples: “We see the big bad's henchmen collect the ashes. Black. We see them collect herbs in the woods. Black. We see them mix a potion. Black. A drop of the potion hits the ashes. Black.” or “After this adventure the Barbarian returns to school to get his diploma. He sits on a tiny chair and still has his axe strapped to his back.” and “Two years later he sits nervously in an office and Maurice enters and says: 'So you think you got what it takes to deliver chocolate?'” Example questions: “How does your character's family react when they return home?” or “After your character died, who holds out hope the longest?”
  • Bloopers: Alternative scenes. This is very comedic, so it only really fits with those kinds of games. Example: “In one take when the big bad activates the trap door below the heroes he actually pulls the wrong lever and Maurice drops from the ceiling.”

Stars And Wishes

Finally, I end my sessions with Stars and Wishes, or Roses and Thornes (or Buds and Thornes). This gives everyone opportunity to award “Stars” (or “Roses”) and talk about “Wishes” or “Thornes”. Here's the original source for Stars and Wishes.

  • Stars (or Roses): Simply things you enjoyed. This can be moments, characters, plot points, etc. Examples: “I want to give a star to Jenny's character. He was such a lovable idiot, but when he came through at the end… That was epic!” or “A rose to Jenny. This was your first game and you committed to that crazy character voice! So great!” or “A star for pausing before the big fight. It was good to talk about the Luck mechanic and the rule changes we came up with worked really well!”
  • Wishes: Things you hope to see next time. This can also be character things or meta things. It might be a good idea to repeat them before the next session to refresh everyone's memory. Examples: “As a wish, I'd like to see Maurice return next time. He was so funny and I really hope he didn't die in that fire.” or “Another wish is to explore the relationship between Jenny's character and my character more. It would be cool to have a scene with just the two of them.” or “I'd like to try something else with the Luck mechanic next time. Not the original rules, but also not what we came up with today. I'll think about it and tell you next time what I came up with.”
  • Thorns: Things that did not work so well. Again, story or on a meta level. This can be used instead of Wishes when there's no next time. Examples: “A thorn for me was when we skipped the second break. At the time I went along with everyone, but then we had to pause in the middle of the fight anyway.” or “A thorn was when the big bad trapped us. It was a bit annoying that we didn't have any agency and had to wait for Maurice to free us.”


Phew, that was a lot to get through! But remember: These tools—just like the rules of the games themselves—were developed by people to fit their needs and be fun and usable for their groups. The way that I have explained the tools here is already different from how I first encountered them myself. I hope that you, too, take these as inspiration, try them out, and hack them to better suit your table's needs.


[1] The German publisher System Matters translated it as “GAST”: Grundidee, Ablauf, Stimmung, Themen.


from Optional

This is to tell you that there'll only be bad blog posts from now on. “So nothing changes?“—Shut up! But… yeah. You're still here? Okay. I'll go into a bit more detail.

Posts Until Now

I started this blog with the intention of having conversations in public, but when that didn't take I pivoted to the common blogging format of just sharing general thoughts. I barely reached my goal of publishing 12 posts in 2022. At the point of publication I was quite happy with all of them. I think they were all providing some unique perspectives that I hadn't seen elsewhere. So why not continue this way?

Good Posts

I still want to write good posts. But those of 2022 took a lot out of me. With loads of good, great and even perfect content online already, it's difficult to find new and unique perspectives to share. And even when I find one, it's a lot of work to polish them to a level able to compete with all these other great examples. So why are bad posts the solution?

Bad Posts

I don't want to write bad posts. There's more than enough of them and adding to that feels like making it even harder for people to find the good stuff. And still, the average quality of content on the internet can only ever improve when a thinking individual shares their thoughts. And to enable me to post anything at all I'll pre-commit to calling them “bad”. Whether that actually makes me post more often remains to be seen.


If writing good posts is hard right now, I can at least practice by writing a lot of bad posts. Walt Stanchfield once claimed: “We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.” So check back in 9,986 posts for my first good one or join me now on the journey there.


from Optional

You're learning to play darts. You don't care about the actual rules, but just want to consistently hit the bullseye. You do a couple of throws, all somewhere around “okay”. Finally, you hit the bullseye! You try to remember exactly what it was that enabled you to hit it… You had your right foot in front! You try again, right foot out front. You hit the edge of the board. Left foot, same result. It must've been something else. At least now you know that the legs don't matter. You do more throws. You're back to where you started, all of them okay-ish.

Now you do a throw that doesn't even reach the wall with the board! What happened? You took a drink of water. Probably some residual water on your fingers making them slippery. You dry your hands on your shirt. Another throw. No bullseye, but at least it hit the board again. The next time you break for a drink you take care to dry your fingers again.

Did You Spot The Problem?

The title states that we can't learn from outlier events. Yet, you learned that the position of your legs does not matter and that it's important to dry your hands after taking a drink. But since this example incorporates an element of luck, we expect a Regression toward the mean.

Rolling Dice

When rolling dice, what do we expect to roll after rolling a 1? There's a 1 in 6 chance for each side, so the chance to roll a 1 again is ⅙, but a better roll is 5 times more likely. So if you were trying to “get good” at rolling dice, you might try blowing on the die before rolling it again. You roll a 3. But it was likely to be better than a 1 regardless of your actions. Unaware of this bias you now get in the habit of blowing on dice.

Regression Toward The Mean tells us that in a probability based sampling, we can expect a less extreme sample after an extreme sample.


When we are learning something new that has a component of luck to it we cannot really learn from isolated extreme cases that involve luck. This also applies to playing the lottery of making online content and our thinking about the effectiveness of punishment and reward in teaching.

Over a longer period of time we can still take these extremes account, like hitting the bullseye 6% of the time with the right foot out front and 2% with the left foot, then keeping the right foot out front is definitely something to look into.


from Catking


The question you just read in the title (I hope you did) will function as guidance for writing my first blog post. I invite you, the reader, to give me feedback and share your own thoughts on this topics if you want. Feel free to use a similar or different approach than I did. So back on track. What is progress (Vsauce music plays)? That will most likely depend on who you ask. But since I am writing this now, I'll tell you my view on this. Progress is an advancement of any magnitude in any area of life that brings you closer to where you want to be. So with this definition in mind, it becomes apparent that education/work/career is only a little slice of the whole thing. There are so many areas in life to dive deeper into and different people will obviously value different areas. The way I will structure the areas of life will be loosely based on a construct as well as on areas that are important to me personally.

The PKM planet

The construct is called the PKM planet. PKM stands for Personal Knowledge Management. It deals with 6 areas of knowledge in a wider sense. The areas are related to the personal manegement of productivity, relationships, ideas, skills, memory, and writing.


There is an interesting Youtube video going more in depth into PKM.


For those who know me; it won't come as a suprise that I am a big fan of spaced repetition learning and digital flash cards. Spaced repetition learning is a technique in which you learn the same pieces of information repeatedly with an increasing intervall between the learning sessions. It can be a very powerful way for long term memory. I highly recommend this interesting web comic on the topic.

I apply spaced repetition learning by using a software called Anki on a daily basis. It is very convenient because I can learn on my smartphone in offline mode. As of now, I have a gazillion Anki flashcards! Per day it takes me about 30 minutes to review about 400 flashcards. Needless to say, this habit fits perfectly into the theme of progress. It is quantifiable. I can see the numbers go up. Each time I add new cards, each time I correctly answer a card, and each time a finish a learning session, I see the progress. I have an increasing amount of knowledge and trivia in my head and I am so ready to drop them whenever I see an opening. Additonally, I can split my learning into many tiny sessions.

  • Waiting in line somewhere?
    • Gotta do some flashcards
  • No internet connection on the bus or train?
    • Gotta do some flashcards
  • You're in a social situation and currently not talking?
    • Gotta do some ... wait a minute I should put the phone away.


Okay, I'll admit it right now. This will be somewhat sport focused because that's what I really enjoy. When I think of skills, I think about breakdance moves and calisthenics moves. The latter is a fancy term for bodyweight training coming from the greek words for “beauty” and “strength”. Naming the etymology was partly to highlight that it really is a fancy term but mostly because I want to flex random facts.

Back on track. Finally achieving a difficult sport skill is giving me a different sensation of progress. Some breakdance moves like the windmill, flare or airflare take most people many years to master. Some calisthenics skills like the planche, one arm handtstand or the human flag are so difficult, that even the worlds best athletes can only hold these position for seconds. I have spent a good amount of years practicing these skills. While I have achieved some, I am far way from mastering all of them. But it is this sensation after countless years of practice, when you finally do stick the move that will forever be unique and special to me. Maybe you can relate to this with another skill. Breakdancing and calisthenics just so happen to be sports in which you can all of a sudden unlock a move: the first landed airflare or the first one arm pull up. You just complete it for the first time and are overcome with joy. To give you a more lively impression of this phenomenon here is a video of a guy landing a standing double back flip for the first time after years of training. It's a high effort high reward situation with difficult skills that not many people experience. There are countless sport skills and moves left for me to learn and I am so hyped to achieve them and just showcase them out of the blue whenever I want! The long journey that's behind the skills really gives them a lot of value. Progress is basically endless. As a German saying states:

Der Weg ist das Ziel.


I like to evaluate a lot of areas in my life and the progress of relationships is no exception. A fulfilling social life can open so many doors. Especially if you can ask your friends to open them for you because you're hands are occupied holding breakdance and calisthenics gear. Jokes aside, I am very grateful for my friends. Looking back I experienced friends coming and going for various reasons. I had friends from different circles who didnt knew each other and were then mashed together on my birthday party. It doesn't have to be weird but it can be. However, during the last two years I can say that I met a handful of awesome people through improv theatre. It just feels awesome to be able to see the people that I adore on a regular basis, do nice activities and just see time fly by. Sometimes I might have taken the friends I have for granted but I really want to emphasize that they are very appreciated and I hope I will be able to hang around with them for many more years to come. It is astounding that I feel so connected to people that I have known for only 1-2 years but got to see often and yet other people who I have known for far longer remain just acquaintances. I'd rather have a few dear friends than a million acquaintances. Progress might be a strange term here so let's just say I collect another kind of great memories with them.

Education / Work / Career

How does one smoothly segway from an emotional topic to a work related topic? If you come up with something please let me know because I don't. For many years I have been climbing up the education system. Grade by grade and then semester by semester. I can feel the progress when I improve my grades and finish projects. But more importantly is repeatedly getting out of my comfort zone. The hustle is real. Whenever I am anxious about not performing well in an examination, embarass myself in a presentation or be clueless in the beninging of a big project, I think back to the countless times that it worked out fine in the end. It will be always be fine. You will find a good university, apprenticeship, job etc. It won't always be easy, but that's okay. I have huge respect for people who accomplish whatever stage of education they're at because I know that at that time things are uncertain. When the hard work finally does pay off and you get that good grade, degree or job it's more than a mere advancement. It can be a new chapter in life. The aftermath of switching from high school to college or moving to another place becuase of a new job is much more. New people, new opportunities and new challenges. I am always sceptical when people say things like “After school/college/a promotion, I am over the hump and things will be easy”. Oh honey. Conquer everything that comes next but don't think that sometime you just magically reach a point and then you have it all. There's always room to improve. There is always more to do and that is good. Humans are meant to advance. We are built to advance. Quite frankly, when we are in the right mindset we are trimed for progress.


Whether you see the numbers go up, finally learn a new skill, meet great people or start a new chapter in your career, always remember that every step you take brings you infinitely farther to your goals than if you stand still. I invite you to share what progress means to you. Which areas are important to you? How do you see/feel/experience progress? What makes it meaningful? I am interested in your opinion and your feedback. Feel free to disagree and challenge my views – I can take it. I hope that this will be the beginning of a series of interesting blogs and responses. I leave you with the words from the Dragon Ball narrator:

Until we meet again.