An epiphany of Creativity.

footEpiphanies. On distant shores of countries far far away words floated back and forth yesterday. As the blue water crashed endlessly against the white cliffs .. My vision floated .. Like the seagulls over the pale blue skies. Within and beyond my sight lay only infinity and the thought that all these people walking the grassy lands and enjoying the wonders of nature, would be gone someday. That they are but specs on the windshield of eternity. The cry of a passing gull blown away by the endless wind of eternity. When one looks up and sees the scale of things.. The microscopic event called a human lifetime versus the punctualness of the sea.. One does wonder… I looked up from the keyboard yesterday. Looked away from the puny world that is called humanity and its digital progress and looked around me. Gazed into the start blue eyes of the horizon and listened to philosophical thoughts carried over the wind. Thoughts that seemed to come from far away and yet where very familiar. Thoughts and feelings that had been lost in the maelstrom of my life. And these thoughts lifted a weight that was on my shoulders. Something that has been dragging me down for months.

 

 

Dark days of last. The burden of progress. The weight of technology. The digital doom. Call it what you want .. It has been all around me over the last year. Life on the edge of real and cyberspace has been replaced by a life dominated by cyberspace. Shoulders weighed down by demands of others for support and help. A back burdened with keeping in touch with recent events and staying on top of the ball. Hands grasping the fleeting sand of failing operating systems that needed to be salvaged. Feet stuck in the mud of an overloaded calendar. A cyber citizen.. A digital wizard heaving heavily under the weight of his own potions. Technology was not something that works for “me”. Somewhere along the road of last year I have become enslaved by it. Thoughts crushed out by constant incoming communications. Silence blasted away by incoming phone calls. Concentration obliterated by the myriad of things to be done. Peace of mind burdened by the stress of having to keep up. The thin ice of ones personality cracking under the pressure of it all.

 

shoresOn distant shores….  They say somebody can be crushed under the weight of work. Of things to do, Things to keep up with .. Things to conform with. Where the pressure of being in high demand turns the air we need to breathe into damp oppressive steam that is hard to gulp down. Where we try to grasp too much.. Try to conform and say yes to every demand. Find ourselves dancing to the same corporate beat of having to preform. To sell .. to fix .. to please.. Yesterday I started to see just what I was doing. If conflict is the motor of progress we shall blame it on its bittersweet head. I dragged myself upstairs to our silent attic and started to write. Not to type .. but to write. The light of a single bulb pierced the darkness.. The sound of a pen dancing over a peace of paper floated through the silence. And words came.. No .. words came BACK. Soon the words scattered over once peace of paper after the others. It was like a doorway to the past had been kicked open. Because I remembered the writing style. I recollected the lyrical equations, I looked into the eyes of the writer and it where my own eyes. This is how I used to write.. This is how I used to be. Before I was pushed away from myself by the pressures of modern day life. The next day was the final key to unlock it all. A escape from reality without email, cellphones, or any means of communications. Just my love and I .. and a country where they do not speak our tongue. And slowly the thoughts came back. Watching nature.. Bouncing my thoughts of the wall of knowledge she has of me. Reflecting who I have become versus who I was.. and trying to find out just why things have changed to much..

Creativity in order to state who we are  At the bottom of the ocean lies a drop of truth. The key to this myriad of troubles that has been haunting me these last few months. My very core buckling under the pressure of my own choices to please everybody. Say yes to almost every request. Forgotten who I was in favor of what I do. Drowning out the one thing that makes us who we are. That sets us aside from the beat of the marching drum. That gives us color in the shades of everyday gray. Our own creativity. For setting free the art that lives inside us is just what makes us who we are. What lets us add our own touch of color to the perpetual sunset. The one thing that lets us define ourselves in a world that wants us all to be the same is that creativity. And that is something I found no more in myself. I became conform.. I said yes and thank you.. I forgot that what we do in life is not who we HAVE to be. For in order to be happy .. One needs to vent his creativity.

poles21 days of change. Tribute to the three words.  Veritas Passio et Diversitas. Enscribed not only on the back of my dear Ipod they are words that are the cornerstone of who I am. Veritas : Be true to yourself, be hones in what you say and do. Passio. Do what you do with passion of leave it be. Diversitas. Never be pinned down to one thing. Redefine yourself ever so often and surprise others and yourself with the dynamic nature of who you are. Looking back at the last few months I have seen little of these words in my own lifestyle and I now see the cracks that have been crawling throughout my own happiness. In order for things to thrive they sometimes must adapt to their surroundings and yet, they must also stay true to who they are. A difficult tightrope that must be walked. Yet it must be done. So that why I write these posts. In 21 days one can change they say. Keep something up for 21 days and it becomes a habit. So i'll try .. in 21 creative posts to find back the way that was lost. A little battle against the tides of modern life to make me think about what I want and how I want my creativity to reemerge. And perhaps to inspire you as well.

 

Pictures are from our visit to Wissant and Calais. More can be found in the Flickr section of Knightwise.com 

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Warm Weekend !

Yes I know I've been a bad bad blogger, But I have also been a bad busy blogger too. And shoot me for going outside with lovely weather like this to enjoy some sunshine. Yes : I actually have a tan this year and the summer hasn't even kicked off. But I'll rehash you through the weekend.

 Friday. Got home from a lovely day at work to gingerly pickup the pastels I had received at the post office. Knowing that the Ebay Fairy had come by I was looking forward to yet another book in my Star Trek Paperback collection (Star Trek SCE, Foundations ) that I had bought dirt-cheap of Ebay. The good news is they had the package. The bad news is .. they lost my second package. This being the powersupply of the second-hand Mac-Mini I had purchased the week before …. was not good news.  So my best layed plans of men and mice to set up my Mac Mini as a multimedia server in our living room during the weekend.. Had to be put on hold.  So when I finally got home it was time to rush and get ready for the recording of the Global Geek Podcast (We record on friday these days). A little panic got the best of me when Dave and Tim decided to "hide" from the Skype contact list untill 2 seconds before the recording started. Really .. That Aussie humor ! The actual recording was big fun due to the fact we where "Twitter-casting" As the show progressed we "twittered" what we where talking about and the listeners that where "twittering along" could send in their "twitters". So the whole thing became "semi interactive"

Saturday was one of those days where I thought that I either need a firewall, a bodyguard or a secret Identity. Cause it was support-mayhem as usual. Friend of mine asked me to come over to pick up his Mac I had reinstalled, My sister(s) in law where having a little secret agenda. I had ANOTHER friend with a crashed computer.. And you know how it is : They ALL want to do it on Saturday. So after some extensive schedule-juggling I got most of it out of the way by noon. The afternoon was spent helping Nyana"s sister fiend a smashing outfit ( I tell you : That girl would drive Trinny and Suzanna nuts ) But all in all we had a good time. The sun was out and life was good. ( So was the Vanilla Coffee they have at our favorite coffee bar here in Hasselt)  To be very honest : After watching X-men 3 that night I was to pummeled to do anything else and decided to turn in early (on a Saturday.. I know)

But the day was fresh and feisty on sunday so before the clock had even a chance to strike 10 am it was beaten by the slamming of the front door as we went out for the day. A little trip to the "Knokke of the Ardennes" Durbuy was on the menu and thanks to our great GPS system we where in for an adventurous ride. Somehow the system likes to send us through the vilest and most ghetto-like neighborhoods in order to get somewhere. So instead of circumventing the center of Liege the GPS decided to take us right through the brown-downtown core of the city. Would have been great to shoot some pictures but the chance we would get the camera mugged right out of our hands was not all that remote.

Adolph SaxIn Durbuy the weather was great.. The chinese tourists where plenty and the tourists trying to kanoo where hilarious ! (Not to mention the wonderful Italian food). Afterwards it was time to dive into Dinant which is probably  the most noisiest and smelliest city in the French speaking part of Belgium. The only reason Adolph Sax invented the Saxophone is this place is probably because he was designing some kind of breathing apparatus. Tried to make a nice picture of his statue but again 🙂 More Japanese tourists. But all in all the weather was too great to pass up so we plunked down next to the river "De Maas" and thought back of the first time we came to this place. Coming to think of it .. It was over ten years ago ! The little cable car we took to the top of the Fortress is long gone now. And all in all its amazing to see how fast time goes.  Just to give you guyz some peeks inside I'm plopping in some extra pictures. Enjoy.

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Serenity in the whisps of mocca

 

coffee

 

I slowly wrap my hands around the steaming cup. Almost too hot to touch, yet too tempting to leave be. The sounds of the dawn shout in their absence as I only hear the gentle ticking of the clock. Marching toward a world that just awakens. Some people need their morning cup "to get them started". Others need it because it makes them less moody. Some even need it to just keep moving along. I need my morning cup of cappuccino to stop time. To give me one solemn moment in my day where I focus my entire being on myself and the cup. The taste of the coffee, the smell, the sound of my own breathing and the absence of everything that we call the modern world. In the morning, on my way to work, I rush by a little house, where, behind a window a man sits and reads his newspaper. Beside him .. his own steaming cup of coffee. He too is enjoying that little island of peace. That rests between the nook of sleeping and rushing. That little island of serenety where one is awake enough to enjoy the peace. Savor a world that is not so hectic. Not so rushed. Just a little pause before the melody of  life.

 Picture : April14 on Flickr.

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More than meets the eye.

I think I got my first one when I was about .. 10 .. Back in 1984 they where actually called them Diaclones and they where still these kind of bizarre semi transformable "things" that had a very sketchy Japanese background. But the one I got was a real one. A genuine " Transformer " ( I think it literally fell from the sky on Easter morning, hidden in its box between the bushes in my aunts back yard) And It was no lame car or something. No, the first funky robot I got was a Decepticon : yesirreeee ! Shrapnell was one of the Insecticons who kicked ass from the get-go. The master of electricity and all that stuff.

 insecticonWithin the next years it seemed like the whole "Ark" plowed into our backyard as I got some more great members of my favorite toy-race. I rode the waves of good and bad toy idea's that Hasbro pumped out. From the great Die-cast classics and the fantastic head and power-masters to the disgraceful mini-cons and (god help us) actionmasters. I had a few of all of them but always looked back for the classics or the remakes of those very first Transformers that set foot on the earth. Jazz, Ironhide, Prowl, Bumblebee, Optimus Prime .. Or the fantastic Decepticons : Starscream, Soundwave, Megatron, Octane.  I loved to watch the cartoons that where (at that time) only on a Frenchspeaking channel. Later came my collection of Transformer comics, that I read over and over again.

 

 

bumblebeeBut these days times have changed. I"m supposed to be a grownup now and Transformers have barely survived the last twenty years. With some terrible death-thrashes like the Beastmasters, the Actionmasters and the whole terrible last series with those mini-cons. Needless to say I'm nostalgic to the classic transformer-universe I used to know. Once you grown up and make some money… you stumble onto " The ones that got away " Those Transformers you cried and sulked for for days because you never got them. And of course also the "elusive ones" that you never found in the shops, the stuff of legends so to speak.  These days they are all over Ebay of course and I have refrained myself from buying them cause owning them right now .. is like trying to recapture ones childhood isn't it. Its not realy the same. But with the whole new transformer movie coming in july I'm very curious what is going to be stirred up. With the Robots looking all different then how we used to know them … its going to be quite a surprise. But I'm not gonna talk about the movie. I'm gonna close of by telling you about the real Transformer fans. From the land of the rising weirdo's comes this little movie filmed at the Cosplay conventions. Where the fans keep the transformers alive and …  .. bwa 🙂 I'm not gonna spoil it , just watch 🙂

 

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TreoTwitter : My life in the extreme.

The Guyz at The Global Geek Podcast (along with the rest of cyberspace) have been all over the place about this : "Twitter" is what you could call a micro-blogging service that u can use to tell people what you are doing (in about 200 characters) and see what your friends on Twitter are doing. 

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The apple tv is a bad idea.

appletvThe first time I heard about the Apple Tv thing I was a little curious. It had been predicted, or should I say prophesised, as the Airport express with Video. Sure enough : That concept did sound pretty appealing, a way to stream your audio and your video to your tv. Like you could do right now with your Ipod Video. (At least if you bought the expensive apple cable to do just that). But when the whole Apple-Tv thing finally hit the stores.. I was less then impressed. Before I tell you why lets run down the merry list the Apple Tv Brings to the table.

 – Play Itunes video's on your Tv. The Appletv is able to play Itunes content (audio and video) from the Itunes collection on your "other mac" to your tv. The apple tv is hooked up using either an HDMI connector or a composite connector. So you can hook it up to both the old-school or the HD-tv sets.

– Syncs playlists from your Itunes on its local hard drive for seamless playback. The AppleTv has a built in 40 gig hard drive  that will sync whatever playlists you want to its local drive. That way the bandwith intensive HD movies you stream are already tucked away on the drive for jitterfree movie fun.

Has a funky remote and a pretty front row interface. If you manage NOT to loose a remote the size of an Ipod shuffle (old school shuffle) you'll be able to control your AppleTv when you are in the shower.  (should you need to). 

And erm .. thats about it.  Now in order to get all this  from your Mac Upstrairs to your Tv downstairs without making a cat-5e network-cable spiderweb the Appletv has a 802.11N wireless network connector on board. This baby plays nice nice with the new Apple airport express that pumps out the same standard.  

 Now : As for the downsides of the story.. If you live in the Us,  only own macbooks, macbooks pro, new airport expresses, have plenty of movies that you bought on the Itunes Music store AND own an HD tv . You are in Apple-Tv heaven. In this Utopian scenario you can download tons of Video content from the Itunes store,  pump this over your lightning fast wifi connection through your Airport express, and use the AppleTv either to stream them .. or sync them up when you are busy doing something else. Then you can play all that goodness on your big ass HD tv.

But even here there is a catch. The movies you would want to "sync up" to your Apple-tv are the ones that are in HD. Now these can go up to 2 gigs or more in size. The 40 gig drive on your AppleTv might just fill up pretty fast.  

And what about "the real world". Where our wireless network is mixed, perhaps you don"t own an new Airport express. Or heaven forbid : Don't own an HD Tv nor have movies to buy in your local Itunes store.  What does the Apple tv bring to the table for .. me .. for example. I have an 80211.G network (56 mbit) that drops down to 11 mbit when my wife's Ibook joins the party. So no dedicated 100 Mbit wifi for me. No matter, because since I live in Europe, we can"t even BUY movies on the Itunes store. So the only stuff I can play are : Movies I ripped myself, stuff that I recorded with my Eye-Tv and podcasts. That by far justifies the purchase of a 300 euro cupwarmer. (Since I don"t have an HD-tv, why should i even care)

miniSo i'm going to give all of you a nice alternative : Buy a second hand mini ! Seriously !! They are dirt cheap for the moment and the perfect solution. 

Hooking it up : The Mini has a DVI output : So you can either buy a dvi-composit adaptor or even a DVI to HDMI output to hook the mini up to your TV.

Operating it : If you buy an Intell Mini you'll even have the little front-row remote to play with. And that gives you most of the multimedia functionality you need. Otherwise, you can use a wireless mouse.

Streaming it : Using Itunes you can play everything that you have stored on your "other mac". Just like the Apple-Tv.

Syncing it : Don't worry bout that. If your wifi-speed is a little slow : SYNC the movies to your mini. Its quite easy : You have an 80 gig drive at your disposal : All you need to do is let the mini boot up at six AM and use your crontab and Rsync to sync whatever directory you need from your first to your second mac.

frPlayin it ! : There is a little horizontal slot that turns your Mini into a full blown dvd player too. So chuck out your dvd player and enjoy the ride.  

No limits : And where the Apple Tv screeches to a non-hacked halt when it comes to "Non-Steve" codecs, Just install VLC media player on your mini and it will play EVERYTHING to your hearts desire.

The Proof is in the pudding. Ok , So next week I'll go out and get myself a second hand Mac Mini and give you the lowdown on how its done. So stick with me and find out that the Apple-Tv is a big waste of money. 

 

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'Beyond the red line' Cross platform Battlestar Galactica Goodness.

I know I never told you guys this, but I have an addition. Its something i'm not proud of and that I do not boast with. Its something I hide away from the world as much as I can. Whenever the crave hits me I just have to get my shot. The only bad thing about it is, that my stash is dwindling away. With only a limited amount of 'the potion' at hand, I have to ration my usage. If that sounds pretty bad, Imagine the lovely Nyana being addicted to all this as well. Its not her fault. I pushed her into it.. Made her … and now she cannot get back.

Yes my friends.. "My name is Knightwise and I'm addicted to .. Battlestar Galactica". And i'm not talking about the old series (who are all pretty fine and dandy) but the new ones. The series that I was very sceptical about when I saw the first reports in the media. Starbuck a woman ? A white Tie ? What a load of "Beverly hills 90210 meets Space above-and-beyond" crap was this going to be  ?  But I did however get curious and aquired the pilot episode through less then legal means. I popped in the file in VLC Media player and watched in awe for two hours straight.

 

 redline

 

When the file was done .. I just sat there .. for two minutes straight. Not moving, not uttering a word .. And in my head the quote I heard on some podcast a year ago kept ringing and ringing. "Possibly the best Sci Fi EVER made" I could fill this entire post with praise but let me just dig up this anecdote to prove how good it is.  After watching it I went out to the store and BOUGHT (yes , you read that right) season one and two of "BSG" and brought it home. I begged and pleaded Nyana to watch ONE episode with me. After a lot of wining from my part she agreed. (if only to shut me up). And for her the results where the same. After the pilot episode was done .. there was silence in the room. Seconds went by where I expected her to snort dismissively and walk out of the room mumbling it was the biggest load of crap since Close encounters of the third kind. But she said one little word that traveled through the silence . " MORE "  

 

bes

 

So that first night we watched 2.5  hours of BSG. And now, every weekend at sunday we get our 'fix' of the big BSG. We have plowed through the first episodes in a few weeks. Devoting entire sunday afternoons to watching the series. Loving every minute of it. Since we have hit season 2 we try to ration our passion. Cause otherwise we would run out of episiodes and the box for season three is not in the shops as yet. But suffice to say we have some cash in our pockets jumping to buy that one too. The term "Possibly the best sci-fi ever" does indeed apply, and this coming from a Star Trek fan.. is quite something.

 

beyons

 

This morning I got an E-mail from good old Sharky , who found this little gem on the net. "BEYOND THE RED LINE" is a shooter based on Battlestar Galactia. Looking at the screenshots its pretty darn spiffy and all that . Now I know what you are saying : "So the Frack what " There has been a BSG game on the Xbox and all that Jazz. That is indeed true .. BUT : This baby is cross-platform ! You can play it on the Mac, on Linux and on the PC. And you know how much i like cross platform software ! There are free demo's to download and according to Sharky the final version is gonna be a freebie too. So this weekend its 'Fracking Showtime' !!! As i pull in the torrent and see if I can give it a spin on my Macbook. Lets see if "Beyond the red line" will add an additional fix on my addiction. Hell , perhaps me and Nyana can even play together 🙂 ..

Thanx Sharky !!! … So say we all ! 

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