Response to Yesterday’s Freewrite

I might consider writing this up to make it more legible. Didn’t want to sit behind a screen at this hour so at least minimizing like this. Later! 

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It’s really just about doing what you love.

Try to find the win win situations. Win win, or no deal.

I realized that I have that kind of relationship with music. I play music because I enjoy it. It isn’t my life, but it’s definitely part of it. I believe, however, that my being is bigger than that. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, it’s just that I want to taste all the flavors that life has to offer, and I’m lucky enough to be able to choose to do that.

Don’t compromise on yourself. Don’t compromise on your integrity. Learn to channel yourself. Your inner energy. Listen to yourself. Who are you following? Yourself or someone else? In the end, you’re the only one that knows what’s best for you, so let your inner self guide you. Let your principles guide you.

Since I’ve started re-reading Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits” I’ve realized that I have to keep “sharpening the saw”. It wasn’t even all that sharp when I finished his book back when I was in university. At least the foundations are there. I just need to build on them.

I like my life as it is now. It’s a mix match of different things, though very cozy and casual. I feel at home, especially when my woman is around.

I’m not an extrovert. Let’s get that straight. I might be able to handle myself in social situations, but I really need to be doing my own thing most of the time. I used to often meditate at parties (especially after smoking some marijuana) because I had to. Dealing with other people’s energy sometimes takes energy. Sometimes I find people that give me energy, and I know I need to give them some back. I’ve been somewhat selfish in that regard but I’m trying to change that. To be more giving. My woman teaches me a lot about that.

The last 24+ hours have been really cool actually. I’m doing what I love almost all the time. As a saxophone player as well, its not necessary for you to play all the time. Besides, I need to catch my breath after a few rounds… and it fits into who I am.

I was really all over the place yesterday during the jam/rehearsal. Before people started arriving, I had a swim in the sea and did some beach Kung Fu. Then, I was practicing sax in the company of the coconut ladies. Later, I sat outside practicing flute, I was doing Kung Fu, I was dancing, I was joining my friend with percussion. I picked up my sax when I was needed… but I really just had a great time; I didn’t want to ruin that by treating band practice as ‘work’… because it isn’t, and it felt like that when I got asked for rehearsals again.

Perhaps I’m stubborn. Perhaps I’m lazy. Perhaps my heart’s just not in it. But I’ll remember this: win, win or no deal. I just didn’t see the win for myself in that scenario. Picking no deal just felt like the better alternative… and it was.

I’m a jack of all trades. Though I need to think about what I want to master. Permaculture really is one of those things. At the moment, most of that is directed to mycology, because I just see an opportunity in that right here, right now. It still fits under the umbrella of permaculture and I just see a massive need for this, especially here since it doesn’t exist.

Even though my family is far away, I still feel very close to them. It’s like Quantum Entanglement, in the way I understand it; the way that everything is connected and that space and time and don’t affect the simultaneous behavior of two particles. It helps that we have internet these days too.

I’m really tired now though and off to sleep. I’ll write some more later. Peace!

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Menno’s Last Days in Cabo

I was thinking of writing blogs again because my friend said he missed reading them. That’s all it takes for me really. I just need a slight push because I’m already on the edge of things. I’m not afraid to get out of my comfort zone and try new things. In general I feel that’s real. Ofcourse there are moments where I find myself being insecure about things but luckily I have a partner who I can confide in. 

Yesterday we had a jam session and a barbecue at my place. It was pretty sweet. We had a first group and a second group, and some overlap. It was a good crowd and everything worked out the way it should’ve. We started with the barbecue early because I know barbecueing chicken takes time and attention. I watched the sun set as I was preparing food before the guests arrived. Its good we have a pretty good sound system now too. The first group involved mostly IT professionals and some other friends and the second group involved more musicians who came to jam. We had flutes, saxophones, guitars, an accordion, voices and some beatboxing. It was pretty fantastic since some of the musicians I invited also were professionals. Me and Menno started us off with some Sunshine Castle originals (our latest recording), and we ran out just as the other musicians joined the party. 

I find that that happens a lot here. Serendipity. Everything happens when its supposed to. Just give it time and have patience. Not saying thats the case with everything, as putting people under pressure when you want things to happen is also necessary. It’s a balancing act of pushing and letting go. 

Its the last day for my friend in Cape Verde as well. We had a good run. I’m glad he visited and learned a lot with him. It helps that his job involves coaching startups as well as he gave me some valuable advice and helped progress my business after the first night already. 

He gave a presentation at the university and we travelled to another island (Fogo) as well as exploring Santiago to the extent we could with the time we had. We played a lot of music and made some moves with business. It was pretty fantastic.

As a Libra, he balances out my extremeties. Whether you believe in astrological compatibility or not, I’ve found it helps me balance my life and relations with others. It gives me an alternative lens to look through and helps compare and contrast what aspects of my personality and that of others works well and doesn’t. Its a crude lens, I admit, but it captures some generalities marvelously. 

I’m about to head out for a last meal before we’re putting him on an airplane. 

I’m thankful for his presence and we had some good adventures during his stay. We laughed and we harmonized, we created beautiful things together and I hope we will continue to do so in the future. Overlapping his field with mine could potentially create new opportunities and new adventures. I wish him the best of luck and hope to meet again. Bon voyage! 

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Freewrite July 20th

I’ve been a bit obsessed with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (again?) today. I’ve been actually going through all kinds of music lately, and really studying sound development and the process of music making. I was listening to some Xavier Rudd and reading a story from him, then going deeper into the sound and lyrics of Nahko and Medicine for the People, then moved on to the Beatles and tried to listen to the difference in sound before and after Magical Mystery Tour (after in which they went to India and had somewhat of a spiritual transformation, especially George). Today, I found myself back with the Peppers, as I was listening to their latest album last week, and now again, also diving back into their past a bit. Listened to their interview of some of the songs of Stadium Arcadium and got a bit of a grasp of their music making process and imagined myself in the studio with them. I made me also think back of all the musical experiences I’ve had in my life, especially the creation of it and jam sessions and it made me want to do and be more.

The thing is, I want a lot of things. It’s hard to find focus sometimes. But its good to work in a project based manner. Right now, I’m thinking of finishing a song that I have sitting on my smart phone as a recording. John Lennon wrote like 15 songs during his time in India, Paul McCartney about a dozen and George Harrison wrote 6. Even though their lives were dedicated to music, I’m sure with my will and determination I can at least finish what I started some months ago now.

At the moment I’m at work, and I try to keep myself productive and thinking ahead. Working on my own business a lot lately as well, making designs, planning materials, writing requests, studying processes. It takes a lot of energy too, and even though I enjoy it, and its interesting, I need variety in my life. Writing a blog is a welcome way for me to express my feelings and thoughts, doing something different while I’m here.

Work is pretty easy going for me at the moment. I just finished some administration to pay workers which is a sort of meditative process for me as I focus on efficiency and automatizing as much as I can. Probably in my genes since my father and grand father both specialized in Information Technology. I listen to music and do what I need to do.

I reply to emails when they come up and try to be proactive on most tasks that need doing. I push myself to finish a task so that I can play a quick game afterwards, matching the task-reward aspect of my brain. I probably have a bit of a gaming addiction but going about this strategically seems to work as I discipline myself to enjoy these things after tasks I don’t like doing.

At home everything is fine. I’m missing a certain someone but won’t go into details about that. Life’s good here though. I’m a lucky man.

I’ve been having a couchsurfer over from Brazil who’s a mellow guy. He’s actually from the Congo but studies in Brazil momentarily. I got the last season of Game of Thrones from him so will watch that in the coming days possibly. I was watching an old episode the other day because he put it on when he was transferring it to my external drive and I was just glued to the screen after that. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) is such a fantastic actor, Tyrion being one of my favorite characters as well.

So yes, I’m a bit behind with that. Not a terrible thing, because now I can just marathon the whole thing and be done with it. Other things I’m also behind on is Pokemon Go… although now that I think about it, I’m kind of curious how many Pokemon I can find on the island. Water Pokemon on the beach perhaps? Hmmm… perhaps worth to find out one of these days.

I also think about my family every now and then. My dad, who’s mostly busy with his hotel software business in South East Asia and my sister, busy with her life in Groningen, the Netherlands, trying to combine her business savviness and creativity with waste reduction and marine conservation, which is part of her job. My mom is in Thailand and I know its probably hard for her to have her family all over the place like this. At least she has more opportunity now to visit her parents and brother who she normally wouldn’t see as often when we were living in the Netherlands. I miss them sometimes… although I’m glad I am where I am.

Cabo Verde has been good for my growth. I’m in the prime of my life which means that now I have to chance to establish patterns and habits for myself which will have impact on my later years. I’ve matured more on the inside, feeling secure with who I am, and letting myself express who I am with more authenticity. A lot of the things I read on these personal development blogs I seem to already have, or already be doing. I’m on the right path, and it feels good.

I’m excited for what the future holds. I’ll make a quick stop in the Netherlands in October, and hopefully visit at least 1 other country as well, but for the rest I’ll be in Cabo Verde at least until the end of March 2017, quite possibly longer. So far so good here anyway.

I’ll leave it at that for now since I think the electrician for my company just arrived. Will update some more later.

Have a great day. Tchau!


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9 Types of Permaculture People

Permaculture people. As the way plants reflect human beings, we all have different purposes, come in unique shapes and have a certain relationship with our environment. I’m getting more fascinated by this world I decided to jump into, and realized there’s also a whole spectrum of people to explore. Here are 9 types of Permaculture people I’ve met:

The Intuitive Expert

These are people who have a deep expertise of a certain field sometimes very much related to Permaculture, but have come to a Permaculture way of thinking from their own intuition and understanding of their environment. Experts probably have a job in their respective fields or are using their knowledge applied in specific niches related to Permaculture, but wouldn’t necessarily classify themselves as Permaculture practitioners.

The Young Adept

Young Adepts have recently graduated from a Permaculture Design Course or a more specific field underneath the Permaculture umbrella, and are looking to apply their knowledge with the skills they’ve learnt. They are starting to deepen their experience in a certain area with the first drops filling the bucket. They may already have come from a certain related field but are letting Permaculture tie it all together.

The Radical Activist

The Radical Activist likes to March Against Monsanto, but can also be seen shouting out about animal cruelty, injustice against people and probably is a bit of an anarchist too. They want to farm for their sovereignty.

The Sensitive Artist

The Sensitive Artist sees and feels too much of the world sometimes. Is happiest when making art or gardening in the community garden.

The Working Professional

Has an established Permaculture practice. Is applying it a demonstration site or a terrain at least a few acres in size, and consults with other people and organizations on issues of sustainability.

The Grass Roots Leader

Has crafted their own philosophy through experience and found a way to bring people together with a garden. Has a charismatic personality that puts a smile on your face. Charms you to pick up a shovel.

The Recently Converted

It’s when we’ve taken our first Permaculture introduction or are starting jump on this path of gardening, and attempting to grow our own food. How does it all work? What do worms do? Soil huh? Tell me more?

The Alien

That guy who’s slightly separated himself from mainstream society, perhaps a bit cynical of it. He’s a bit weird, but the people around him don’t raise an eyebrow because he’s in a place of love… well they sometimes raise an eyebrow, but that’s why he’s loved! 😛

The Overseas Starter

The Overseas Starter lives, as the name implies, abroad. Had different reasons to move but is turning their attention to their purpose and inner calling. Somehow Permaculture is something that’s resonating strongly on their path. They might very well be combining their job with Permaculture happenings because of its related field and planting the seeds of an organic lifestyle.

Hope you enjoyed the read 😉

Until next time!


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How Strategy Games Helped Me Manage

Managing this project hasn’t been without challenges. But many challenges can be approached in a game-like fashion I find. The strategy games I’ve played throughout my life have helped me with parallel process thinking and macromanaging as well as knowing where to micromanage when necessary. What I’m trying to say is that all those hours I’ve put into videogames haven’t completely gone to waste.

I’m reminded of Shogun 2: Total War a lot, one of the last strategy games I’ve played.

Shogun 2

Shogun 2: Total War

In Shogun 2, you’re experiencing what its like to lead a Japanese clan into dominion over Japan during the Sengoku period (15th-16th century Japan). One of the aspects of this is a requirement to wage battle in real-time, as you command your troops into combat and find ways to counteract your opponent’s moves.

One of the main pieces of your army is the general, who if you lose during combat will likely cost you the battle. Another important aspect of the general is in improving morale. Keeping him close to your lower morale Ashigaru units improves morale, and deters them from wavering and scattering when faced with losses. I find this to be true at work as well.

In this case, I am the general (a hefty promotion, I know). I notice that when I leave the construction site to do some office work, morale slips. When I return, I’m very suspicious of the multiple whistles I hear, most likely a signal from those ‘on watch’ signaling my return and a cue to keep working. Lately I’ve been more actively surveying different groups to make sure my presence is felt, and I notice it does make a difference. There are certain people I know I need to keep an eye on, and also certain jobs can be done with smaller teams, so I micro manage certain individuals on different tasks. The other day I had 21 people doing 7 different tasks.

Another game I’m reminded of is Age of Mythology (similiar to the Age of Empires franchise).


Age of Mythology

In Age of Mythology you have to manage your economy whilst managing battling your opponent. Sometimes when a task gets completed by villagers they become ‘idle’, and because your focus is elsewhere, you forget to re-task them on something else. The ‘idle villager’ problem is something I’m experiencing here as well. To solve this, its important to make a round with all the different teams to check progress, and to give follow up instructions so tasks are queued. Even simply observing some teams and being present makes a difference. Kind of like the pharaoh’s ’empower’ ability in Age of Mythology (from general to pharaoh! Getting really generous with these promotions…).

The whole thing with the military ranking system I use for my workers also didn’t come out of nowhere… I’ve played an extensive amount of Brothers in Arms and other squad based shooters like Full Spectrum Warrior, Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon to know how squads should function, and recognize the responsibility that different ranks bestow.

Brothers in Arms: EiB and Full Spectrum Warrior: Ten Hammer (respectively)

Understanding the different leadership at every level is useful for coordination.

Rainbow Six
Rainbow Six: Athena Sword

Team based tasks are also more easier to manage even though breaching a door with explosives and flash bangs is a bit different to the work I’m doing here.

The underlying theme is that games, especially (real-time) strategy games, have helped me into a mindset of coordination and management in ways I couldn’t have otherwise learnt. The only difference is that clicking and dragging in real life works a little different.

Simulations that put you in leadership and command positions also help craft responsibility for real roles. I remember caring about the life of every pixel soldier in Command and Conquer and often refusing to complete a mission if any of my mech pilots died in Mech Commander.

RA1Mech Commander
C&C: Red Alert and Mech Commander (respectively)

Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions and take responsibility even though you might not make the best choices. There is however a ‘Save’ and ‘Restart’ button which is sometimes missing in real life. Learning through trial and error in the real world is sometimes the only way, but it can happen that you only get one chance, so prepare yourself in whatever way you can to help you make the best decision. By playing games of course. I probably wasn’t thinking about that with all those hours burnt, but things sometimes only make sense once you start to connect the dots in hindsight… and according to Michigan State University scholars, both boys and girls who play video games tend to be more creative, regardless of whether the games are violent or nonviolent ( So my reasoning actually has relating scientific support from the academic community! That’s put my childhood addiction in a whole other light 🙂

Now to see if I can pirate a copy of Mech Commander somewhere…

Ciao 😉

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