Simply staring out the window

 

Staring out the window one day long ago in Hamburg

Staring out the window one day long ago in Hamburg

Stumbling round the web today, I happened upon a New York Times article that was talking about how our brains work. The whole thing is worth reading, so I’ll link to it here:

Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain

However, you don’t need to read the whole thing to get what I thought was the best part. Never hurts if you can slide the word stick-to-itiveness into a sentence…here, enjoy:

This two-part attentional system is one of the crowning achievements of the human brain, and the focus it enables allowed us to harness fire, build the pyramids, discover penicillin and decode the entire human genome. Those projects required some plain old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness.

But the insight that led to them probably came from the daydreaming mode. This brain state, marked by the flow of connections among disparate ideas and thoughts, is responsible for our moments of greatest creativity and insight, when we’re able to solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable. You might be going for a walk or grocery shopping or doing something that doesn’t require sustained attention and suddenly — boom — the answer to a problem that had been vexing you suddenly appears. This is the mind-wandering mode, making connections among things that we didn’t previously see as connected.

Did you read that? Daydreaming mode. That’s the best mode. I excel at that one.

Have had some long meandering conversations this summer with some of my favourite people, and quite an unlucky few have difficulty with down time. Time when they don’t actually have to be doing something. It’s a topic I find myself coming back to again and again.

Writing and playing music and teaching are all things that I enjoy. They bring me untold pleasure, and I shine when I’m in my element. Yet, if there’s one thing I’m exceptionally good at, it’s idling. Doing as little as possible.

You don’t put much value in such a thing? Yes, I suppose I get that. Probably not going to change your mind on this one, anyway, which is why I was so thrilled to see the above-mentioned article. Don’t take my word for it.

The creative answers that make the breakthroughs? They don’t necessarily come when you buckle down and try harder. They just might materialise while walking the dogs or catching a street car. Or the one of the best scenarios for daydreaming?

Simply staring out the window.

Go ahead and try it. You’ll be glad you did.

 

The Media’s ‘Silly Season’ is Upon us – What the Germans call the Sommerloch

This originally appeared in MunichNOW, which you can find here:

The Media’s ‘Silly Season’ is Upon us – What the Germans call the Sommerloch

We have entered what the Germans call the Sommerloch, which is yet another example of a German word for a situation that we did not even know was needed. Directly translated, this is the ‘summer hole‘, but for some it is more colloquially referred to as the media’s ‘silly season‘.

To fully understand this phenomenon, one first has to understand that many Europeans are on holiday for the entire month of August. Small shops are closed and getting a craftsman to do even the smallest job is inconceivable. Politicians are far away from their constituents, and as a result, there is little traditional news to report . Because these newsmakers are absent, journalists are left to write about topics that would not normally make it into the news.

Several years ago, a lot of both real and virtual ink was spilled to describe Yvonne the wild cow which had miraculously escaped from a slaughterhouse in Upper Bavaria. A few years previously, there was an octopus who could accurately predict World Cup game winners.

One of the most recent examples of such stories we read only last week on the German news site Focus Online. We were alerted to the plans that some Swiss had to annex regions of Southern Germany; culturally and philosophically, the southerners are far more aligned with the Swiss than with Northern Germany, after all.

These feel-good stories would perhaps otherwise be mentioned in the local section of a regional paper, but for a few weeks in the summer they receive unexpected national and even international exposure. Whether this is proper news is debatable at best – and certainly laughable.

In English, we might say that we are having a slow news day. In this case, we have an entire season of it. In Germany, we are right in the middle of the Sommerloch.

Ode to Joy

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Tonight’s the Eurovision Song Contest, and during the voting they’re singing Ode to Joy and climbing ladders. As one does.

I don’t care how camp this thing is, I watch it every year, mock it on twitter and laugh at the voting from the countries that couldn’t get their entry into the Finals.

If you have no idea what this is, I’m not sure you want to research it. My parents were visiting me one year during the weekend when the Grand Prix was on. They watched it with me and were completely baffled by the whole ordeal.

This year? I suppose the bearded lady from Austria. Or the Polish maidens churning butter & washing clothes. Yes, that was a thing.

It’s a bit like an annual World Cup for the Homosexualists. Was that an insensitive comment? I can live with that.

Shake your booty

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Had a great time dancing the night away and was once again reminded how elemental it is to hear a beat and want to sway one’s body to and fro.

The lady in the photo above stands along Leopold Strasse here in Munich, and every time I pass her by, I can’t help but smile. She’s a statue, but she moves better than many of the people bustling by me. To be fair, she moves better than I do when I’m sometimes wrapped up in my thoughts.

Here’s to not only stopping and smelling the flowers, but to a bit of good old fashioned hip shaking. It’s certainly done me a world of good this evening.

shameless self promotion

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This photo says enough that it really doesn’t need any text…nevertheless, this isn’t a photo blog. Find the appropriate words below.

Was about to say that I hadn’t talked about turtles in a while, but I went back and looked at my earlier posts on this blog and there’s nothing turtle-related. Not a damned thing.

Which is a bit strange, because I’m really into turtles.

And?

There’s a beautiful human female riding atop the turtle. Not in some inappropriate and potentially embarrassing way, either. As a matter of fact, I doubt you could misinterpret this lady and her motives. As beautiful as she might be, everything about her seems pure.

Wait, what are you blathering on about lahikmajoe? Is there any method to your madness?

Well, sort of. In a roundabout way.

See, I’ve been doing quite a bit of freelance writing and editing lately, as well as translating and proofreading. It’s been a bit of a boon, to be honest, but the sad reality is that I haven’t had much time for the whimsical that I typically find myself writing here.

The curious thing is that a good deal of the work I get is from people who first come here to look at samples of my style. Or they find old posts from the teablog if they’ve been able to circumnavigate their way around the patio furniture nonsense, that is.

If that last reference is lost on you, take a look at patio design ideas, and you’re guaranteed to be on the same page with me at least once in the last 10 minutes.

If more people are coming here to assess my writing, wouldn’t it be logical to make the writing more serious? More commercially viable?

I’m not against commerce. I’m not above shameless self promotion.

The thing is: if I’m already generating some sort of interest by simply writing about whatever the hell I want, and this is a personal and rather miscellaneous blog to begin with, shouldn’t I keep doing what got me here?

What I’ve noticed recently is that the more I write for other people, the more essential it is that I persevere in entertaining myself hereabouts. A pristine woman and the turtle beneath her is as good a place to continue as I could imagine.

If a handful of you enjoy it? Well, that’s lagniappe.

 

Guinness is apparently good for you…apparently

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Who wouldn’t trust a gnome carrying beer?

 

Not sure exactly what’s going on in this window, but apparently Guinness is Good for You. I suppose that’s useful information to know. I thought the gnome holding up those several Krugs of Bavarian beer would be a nice way to mention that the Oktoberfest has begun here.

For the uninitiated, that means upward of two weeks of more and more tourists descending on Munich for the renowned beer festival. Pretty sure there’s no actual Guinness on offer there, though. There are plenty of Irish pubs in town if that’s really what you need.

I’ve got other things to talk about here, but life keeps getting in the way of regular blogging. I’m aware that blogging is still something people do. It’s a done thing. Not often enough by me, but a done thing nevertheless.

Hope you’ve got other things to read. There’s plenty out there – to read, I mean. Hoo-whee…that’s why I’m throwing this half-arsed blogpost up and rushing off. I’ve actually been enjoying a book that I can’t wait to get back to. As you were.

whimsy in the sunlight

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A bit of whimsy in Munich

Can’t quite remember when I took this, but I love the whimsy in the above face. Lots going on in the world of Lahikmajoe, but I want something new to show up here periodically even when I’m occupied elsewhere.

More soon…you can hardly wait, can you?