"So open your eyes
And hope the rest of us do
Check your mileage
And turn off
Cuz you're driving in autopilot
- Doggod, "Autopilot"
I have this feeling too many times: most of us run our lives like in an autopilot mode. We all tend to like the same thing at the same time. In a sense most of humans are predictable. Pretty scary for me when I put things that way. It reminds me a startup idea by engineers I heard a while ago. They analyse someone behaviors, tastes and so on, and they come up w/ an algorithm that predicts (and pretty well) what you're gonna do next.
Wow. In fact the more I think about it the more I'm scared. And not really by the fact that we're 'analyzed' all the time; I mean it's probably a price to pay if we look for efficiency and speed; but I'm scared by the fact that our deep human nature is that easy predictable. Damn! Can you imagine that a second?
It makes probably sense in some ways. We're lazy by nature. One objective of our brain is to find the best comfort zone possible. Why? That's its way to optimize our chance to survive. At the end of the day one of the main goal of our brain is to survive. So we create patterns, routines. You enter the shop, you say 'hi', you look at the price, you order, you pay, you say 'thank you' and 'goodbye', you leave. That sequence is easy, this is secure, so you repeat it all the time exactly like that, and at the end this becomes predictable. What if sometimes you break it? Like you change one parameter. It becomes instantaneously scary. The funny thing is that one: each time you try to go out of your comfort zone you'll love it for sure! Trust me it will have wonderful effects on your brain, your inner yourself, your body itself. I loved that article by James Altucher on the subject. He tried to ask for a special price in a Starbuck. Go read it and discover how he felt at the end.
I'm afraid that most of us, humans, share the same kinda comfort zone. Which leads at the end to the same things, the same goals, the same tastes, ideas, views and so on. It's probably intensified by the media, advertising cos, fashion, trends whatever we call it but by a group of institutions and people who have a great influence on what we think. I don't blame them. I blame us. We're too easy to be influenced. We lack curiosity first and a true open-minded approach and finally, we lost our deep sense of critics.
The result? We eat what we're told to eat. We think what we're told to think. And here comes the end of the world... but it's not a problem, we found a new pair of jeans in sales. Let's go and buy it no?
"And we continue growin', one day at a time"
- 2Pac, "One Day at a Time"
April 2nd. No April 3rd. I'm quietly sit down in a kinda small restaurant / coffee shop near my place in Berlin. There is a great atmosphere; I love that place actually. It's called 'Bitte!' and it's located on Glogauer Straße 6 in Kreuzberg. Here is their Facebook page. It serves Mediterranean style food; I came to have a lunch there earlier today and I can tell you it was great. I ate a spinach w/ feta pie and my friend got a plate of roasted potatoes w/ goat cheese. We both loved it. Oh and on an important note: the meal costs only 3. something €. Ok it's Berlin but still, this is cheap. And homemade, and above all: really super good so. This is a must see (or a must-eat) believe me.
That being said the place is beautiful. Small but simple, like raw. There are only minimal furnitures like wood tables and benches, few flowers and cactus here and there, few boards on the wall and people are super nice. The place seems to be run by young women. We talked to one of them and she comes from Greece (we guessed that one right due to the accent in english and because of the mediterranean thing).
Anyway I love that kinda stories where you can come from somewhere else to a big city and only few years after you're able to launch your own restaurant / coffee shop. That's a dream to tell. When things like that are possible in a society that's great. And we should all encourage that type of entrepreneurship, exploration, discovery etc.
They have few books on a shelve. I borrowed one: The Monocle Guide to Good Business. Wow I knew the Monocle Magazine (and I kinda loved it already) but the book's great. Well it's published by a publishing house that I generally love too: Gestalten (based in Berlin too by the way). The last book I bought from them for instance (only few weeks ago) was The Outsiders. Amazing book too I couldn't advise it to you enough. Back to Le Monocle, let's order that book. I want it at home and especially wanna take time to explore and digg deeper into each one of the company they mention.
The Monocle Guide to Good Business (Extended Version) from Gestalten on Vimeo.
I'm really more than excited by one thing nowadays: people who do things that last! The kinda ambition where the company will be there in few centuries, still independent, to claim proudly 'Since 2014'. It could be seen or perceived as obvious from the outside but I can tell you that from where I come from (well those past few years only in fact) it's an important shift. My (still short) professional experience was mainly made by web-based startup. And let's say that long-term-ish thoughts are not a major part of their founders DNA. It's not a critic (well it could be but it will be part of another writing session) but it's a fact. You try to build something, you try to grow, and normally you end up by selling it. Well those are the success factors that will be celebrated by the industry: a launch, a round of funding, an acquisition. And the key is that word: speed!
Slowness isn't part of the value chain. The funny thing is that one: slowness is less and less part of any value-chain; of any industry, world, culture you name it. Well except maybe Luxury (w/ a big L). On my mind that's the essence itself of what luxury is: time!
Well, I honestly plan to live in that world for the next 60 years. I start to think I have time. And I wanna take that time to make things right; really right.
Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no"
- Beyonce, "Crazy in Love"
"I'm the 7 in the center of the sun, I keep shining
My inner light would turn my baby's tear drop to small diamond"
- Wu-Tang Clan, "Sunlight"
Bad luck today because I've to visit a flat at 4:30p in another neighborhood. Argh worst timing possible in a day if I wanted to skate. I can't go before or I'll be pretty sweat and broken for the visit (which is not the best tactic possible if I want the flat); and I can't go after cause at the time I'll be back at the (other) hostel to grab my skate sunset will be there. Bad organization. I've to pay more attention next time. Well funny thing is I start to use more and more the weather app of my phone. I've never used it before. Well in Spore it was easy: hot, humid, maybe it'll rain (ie in this case don't be under it or you'll be completely and entirely wet) but no worries it won't last. Then LA: even easier cause it's a blue sky and a mega sunlight everyday. Perfect for skateboarding and no need to plan your session according to the weather. In fact the beauty is: you don't give a thing to the weather at all. Really different here. I start to check frenetically the weather app several times a day; and I check the entire week to come! I'll get used to it I hope. Well the good news is: we're in March so the weather could only be better and better. And I'm never too far from LA neither.
Interesting cause it's noon and some peeps in my team have a visit planned at noon. From where I sit I can see them. They're waiting in front of the entry door of the building. We arrived together actually and it was 11:30a. Haha they wait there in front of the door from half an hour! Strange behavior for me. I hate waiting first (probably like everyone else). But the second thing is: if you visit a flat in a new city and you arrived 30min in advance; take the opportunity to walk around and discover your possible future neighborhood. Look at the people, walk, enter into shops, order a coffee etc. Especially since on my mind the location is worth more than half when I judge an apartment. Anyway; their style; their flat so I don't care; it's just a funny situation from my point of view.
I'm sit down at a terrace of cool kinda coffee. I say 'kinda' cause it's not a coffee shop per se. It's more like a mix b/w a tiny bio-supermarket and a bio-restaurant. I think the flowers shop just next to it is owned by them too. So the atmosphere is cool. I ordered a bio juice pretty original and apparently it's locally sourced (and it's super good!). I've to ask the brand. But the context is beautiful. Nice terrace w/ wood tables and chairs, a lot of flowers, crates, some straw... The atmosphere is b/w a farm and your beautiful garden. It doesn't look like super original for Berlin in fact. I've the feeling that I've seen other places like this one in the city. But for sure I haven't seen a lot them somewhere else.
In Paris, London, LA, Spore, Barcelona... the type of coffee shops where people meet and tend to like are way more hipster-like. Funny cause you start to see those type of coffee shops everywhere around the world and... they all look the same! You have a lot of them of course here; but I've also seen stuff like that in more exotic cities like Bangkok, Jakarta, Mexico, Oaxaca...
Well they're a bit right for sure when they say that city centers around the world tend to all look the same; with the same coffee chains (welcome Starbuck); fastfoods (welcome McDonald, Burger King and cie.); hipster-like shops; fashion brands (welcome Levis, Zara, H&M and cie... + their luxury part w/ Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Dior and so on). Which unfortunately leads to the same people.
My friends got into the building and I've just seen them on the balcony at the top. Hmm the flat seems good; well, high at least, and big cause I've seen them on two different balconies. I hope it's good inside. I look forward to listening to them about it.
It's a beautiful day.
"Bitch, bring Softpacks oder Shisha
Chille mit' ner Messe-Hostess von der IFA"
- Shindy, "Nikotin & Alkohol"
March 5th. I'm in Berlin. I finally found a shisha bar. I don't know its name oh yep Marrakech I think but written in a german way it should be 'Marrakesch'. I like the oriental atmosphere; the smell especially. It reminds me the one I used to go (hell a lot!) when I lived in Paris 9th district. I always liked shisha bars; 'lounge' as they say; I don't know why they put that word 'lounge' everywhere; it's funny. It's probably due to the sofa all around; maybe because it's kinda bars where you just lay down on the sofa in this sort of way where you're half sleeping half dreaming. It's not hard wood chairs where you have to sit straight.
Anyway the 'Apfel' shisha I ordered is good. I have my fresh mint tea but it's too hot to be drunk. I never succeed to drink too hot beverages I've to wait. So I'm thinking and dreaming mostly; look outside too. I picked up the sit near the large window in order to contemplate the street outside. I always loved contemplate people going through their lives like this. It's night already cause it's 7:15p here. It's raining; something common for a place like Berlin at this period of the year as far as I understood it. People are funny outside; they seem to be in a rush; there are a lot of traffic jam; probably due to the time; peeps leave work and go back home massively I guess. I don't speak german yet so I dont understand the words in front of me like 'Feinkost' 'Reinigung Reinigung' 'Bucher'; well I know Bucher in fact; it means Books. I love bookstores I've to go there at the end of the week (we're Wednesday, well, I think).
Weird I'm not sure which day we are in. We work all the time so I'm pretty lost in the week. And we don't sleep that much nowadays so the schedule in the day is a bit special; I didn't have lunch per se and I'm not hungry for a dinner. Anyway I also think that smoking make me loose the appetite. I've to keep that in mind; being more tactic regarding the time I smoke and the time I've to go out to eat. Hmm I've to ask this 'lounge' bar when they close too. I'm alone. (nb: it's 4:42a and I checked; we're b/w thursday and friday; well technically we're Friday super early)
Peeps in my team don't like shisha apparently; they don't smoke also. They're probably right. I came with my current book consequently. I used to read one book a week back in the great old days; probably succeed to keep that pace for years; I'm particularly proud of this timing during my time in Spore. I'm reading a Bret Easton Ellis book named Lunar Park; in french unfortunately. It was a gift for my GF but she doesn't like it. Well funny enough she didn't give it a try yet so she only supposes she doesn't like it; I've to force her to try at least.
On my side it's the third book I read from that author. I discovered him when I was in school and read 'Moins que zero' in french... dont know the title in english; oh here it is: Less than Zero; I felt in love at first sight; then I instantly bought the second one named Imperial Bedrooms. And bang; another love. I didn't know LA at that time but I thought about those books a lot when I was there last year. I love that city; it's completely different from what I know but I love it. Interesting fact is that I spend most of the year 2014 there and... I don't have my driving licence; yep it means that (a) you can enjoy that city w/o a car and (b) you can even live it w/o a car. Most people don't think it's possible. The thing in my case is that I love cycling so it didn't bother me to ride for an hour to go somewhere. And when you go out at night Uber is the perfect friend there; reliable pretty cheap (I mean compared to cabs elsewhere) and the experience is pretty good so at the end of the day I'm not convinced a car is absolutely necessary in LA.
Well back in Berlin; back to this 'Marrakesch' 'lounge' bar. It's funny cause they're a lot of peeps around me who seem to come from arabic country but they speak german b/w each other. I guess it's normal but still it's funny to notice. As a french guy who lived in Asia and the US I didn't get used to that mix. In this type of environment I truly and sincerely love our world. So many places, people, languages and everyone live among each other; I'm optimistic in this kinda atmosphere. It makes me think humans are great.
Argh I hate typing on my phone, it's horrible, I make a lot of typo. Note for later: bring your laptop to write! Especially since writing is one of my goal for this year 2015; I already wrote about that.
Haha cool; the guy next to me starts to sing in arabic. I love that sound; that music; wave! I've really the feeling to be somewhere else now. It's still common life outside. Oh I'm impressed for few days w/ one thing here: there are a lot of bikes despite the weather, this freaking cold weather I should say. It's like more than a hundred bikes which passed by in front of me since I started typing this (ie 10min. max right).
I see 5 cars packed in front of me. In that order: BMW, BMW, Mercedes, Mercedes, Audi. Welcome in Germany!
Yippee my tea is getting colder so I can start drinking it. It's good; it doesn't taste like real traditional one tho but still, it's pleasant. Let's enjoy it and go back to the book. Oh I have to ask for new charcoail.