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Archive for September, 2013

Things to learn in a weekend

Going into my last year of adschool, I’m pondering which direction I wish to go after I have my diploma signed. Advertising, writing, something editorial? I don’t know yet.

Yet whichever I choose, I’m free to change it, or do the other things in my spare time.

‘Am I not too old for that?’ is a question asked by many, unworthy of asking. Ask it now, and the answer is no. Ask it again in fifty years, and the answer is still no.

I always wanted to play an instrument, but apparently, not enough to get through the ‘learning phase’, which I always thought would be very lengthy. Earlier this year though, I bought a guitar, and now I’m still playing silly tunes, but I am playing! It’s a wonderful feeling, turning notes into music, and I was actually surprised how quickly I was able to learn it, and left wondering why I didn’t start earlier.

So, inspired by that, here’s a list of things which you can learn in one weekend. Learn something new, and then something new again the following weekend. It doesn’t have to be something from this list, it’s merely something to get your mind started.

The art of folding a simple paper into a three-dimensional shape is incredible. It’s fun, and depending on the diagram, it can be easy or hard. You’ll find origami paper in many stores with folding instructions, but you can easily find instructions online too.

In the Netherlands, nearly everybody can ride a bike, but in other countries cycling isn’t as common. Just lend a bike if you can, and adjust the seat low enough so your toes can easily touch the ground. Start with just pushing yourself forward with your feet on the ground. Get the hang of that, then gradually try to pedal-push yourself forward. Once you get it right, it’ll be an amazing feeling.

You might need a partner for this, but massaging is both healthy and relaxing.  Massaging can, among many things, decrease stress hormones and blood pressure, and increases white blood cells (cells of the immune system) and serotonin, a natural antidepressant. If you have hands, you can massage. Just take some reading or YouTube tutorials. I’m sure your partner won’t say no.

Like massaging, yoga has a ton of benefits. To name a few, it lowers stress, blood pressure and improves your mood, confidence, muscle strenght and helps you lose weight.

Knitters knit because it’s fun, relaxing, creative, or simply because it’s tradition or to raise a feeling of accomplishment. Besides, knittings make a wonderful gift. Nothing says ‘I love you’ like a you like a hand knitted scarf or pair of socks.

You can learn how to write some particular types of poems, such as haikus or sonnets.

Classic music
You should understand that not all classical music is the same, and some is really great. But you have to learn to appreciate it. Some pieces are easier to enjoy than others, such as Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or Danse macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns.

Benjamin Franklin once said that ‘the game of chess is not merely an idle amusement.’ And it’s true, aside from being fun, it’ll improve your concentration, planning skills, memory, attention span and develop logical reasoning. You can get a real board with pieces, or play it online. Just make sure you read the rules first, otherwise you could be daunted by the apparent complexity, while it’s rather simple.

Coding is amazing, bringing something to life. There’s a lot of different coding languages you can learn, but you can’t go wrong by learning HTML. The great thing about HTML is that it’s so basic, with each line you write, you can instantly see the result in your browser.

Learn how to play an instrument
Guitar, piano, flute, violin – there’s plenty of instruments which are easy to learn within one weekend. No, you won’t instantly be able to play an amazing guitar solo, but playing a simple tune like ‘London Bridge’ right can be quite satisfying. You don’t need expensive classes, you’ll find lots of tutorials on YouTube.

Start a blog. It’s free, and it’s a great way to educate yourself. More about this in my article ‘Write‘.

You can take a CPR class in a couple of hours, and it might just save a life.

Mastering your camera
No matter how simple your camera is, or how long you have had it, it probably does a lot of cool things you don’t know yet. Read the whole manual, while keeping the camera in your other hand.

Making bread
Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods, which was already made some 30,000 years ago. There’s many types of bread, so just head over to a recipe site and find what you’d like. In return, you’ll get a wonderful-smelling house or appartment, and some fresh bread to eat. In fact, if you did the recipy right, it’ll be the best bread you’ve ever had.


You can learn all these things now, and thank me later.

New blog about Formula 1

I love writing, and writing is the only way to get better at writing. I’m also an avid follower of Formula 1, and interested in its history (perhaps even more than the developments which are made in the current. My first article can be found there, which is about Jean Behra, a French driver who never won an official Grand Prix, a fighter in the Gilles Villeneuve mould, with courage and car control to spare.

Jean Behra

What is the biggest waste of money in your life so far?

Originally posted on Quora.

A glass vase of  €0.50.

I bought it, had to carry it with me the whole day while shopping, then – when I got home I quickly filled it with water and put in the flowers, to leave for the weekend. When I got home, I found out it was leaking as the whole floor was soaked, and the wooden floor was bended cause of the water.

I then put it outside on the terrace, but later, it was blown over by the wind so the whole terrace was covered in glass shards. Cleaned it, but still found bits ‘n pieces of glass many weeks later.

Seriously, that vase was a bad buy.

Design: What are your best examples of really bad design?

Originally posted on Quora.

I’m rather disappointed by Apple’s case for the iPhone 5C they announced moments ago. It looks like a cross between connect four, a cheese grater and Crocs, and clearly shows a design fault. For a company that’s all about design, that’s pretty bad. Steve Jobs would have fired the entire design department for this.