Herr Bischoff

A Full Moon and a Sleepless Night

It’s fascinating how I can tell whether it’s a full moon simply by my inability to sleep.

I’m listening to Motorpsycho’s Starmelt/Lovelight and feel transported back to 26 years ago. More than a quarter of a century has passed since I’ve felt I’m on something resembling a path that leads to something worthwhile. Statistically, that’s about a third of my total lifespan. I’ve been absent from myself for far too long.

I still have no idea where I will eventually end up. I want to trust that whatever I do now all comes together to propel me towards where I need to be. It’s a counter-intuitive process that involves lots of unlearning of established patterns. All in the service to help me become the person I’m supposed to be, that I should have been all along.

Tomorrow is my first competitive marathon run. Two years ago, this was unthinkable. Tomorrow I’m going to do it, running just over 40 kilometres. Somehow, it’s crazy – and it absolutely isn’t. I know I can do it. I know this is where I need to be, what I need to do and what I want to do. Something is going to happen. With me, through me.

The people I care most about will be there. I’ll be at the right time at the right place. And if for some inexplicable reason it doesn’t happen for me, it will not have been the right time or the right place. That much I know. Everything else is yet to come. For now, I’m pretty damn sure it will.

Maybe I can get some sleep now. Good night to all.

The Future Is Offline

Maybe I’m doing it wrong but the more stuff I see on any social media channel (including Mastodon) the more exhausted I feel by having to mute and block more and more people. I’m really not all that interested in undifferentiated and annoyed opinions by Joe Random from Tritesville.

Maybe I’m that Joe Random to others. Maybe they are as disinterested in what I have or want to say as I am in their ramblings. I do miss real human connection though. Connections with vulnerable, real, complex and introspective humans – not just some tech dudes complaining about their favourite pet peeve. That’s boring, one-dimensional and uninteresting to me.

In-person encounters in a conducive setting have an entirely different quality to them than meeting random online strangers. It’s a rather obvious insight, as so many of them are. There’s a difference in understanding a concept intellectually and experiencing it first hand though.

Sometimes I feel like wanting to reply to something someone posted on Mastodon. When I do, I almost always come to regret it. Increasingly, I avoid engaging. Most people don’t want to hear dissenting opinions. They don’t want new information they didn’t explicitly request. They want to vent, for whatever reason. They’re not looking for a conversation, despite the medium.

Maybe they are lonely. Maybe they don’t have anyone to talk to. At best they expect their opinion to be validated, not challenged. Eventually, you learn to ignore most people. Which is kind of the opposite that those mediums were designed for. People are terrible online.

I used to love discussing technical topics. I spent hours upon hours obsessing over minutiae, having repeated arguments about whose opinion was more correct. Today, I couldn’t care less. Usually both opinions are, viewed from different angles. And people who are fatally wrong don’t want to hear about it. Their willingness to listen is inversely proportional to the firmness of their… let’s call them beliefs.

In short, it’s not a nourishing use of my or anyone’s time and not fulfilling at all. It turns out to be empty and largely pointless.

This is part of larger changes. Over time, I’ve become disillusioned with the promise of modern tech and the global village. In some regard, I still like computers and certain kinds of technology. I have some intuitive capability to make sense of it that others apparently lack. I’ve also developed a fine-tuned bullshit radar that pinged early and hard on stuff like Facebook, VR, TikTok, blockchain and cryptocurrency whatever, the “Metaverse”, everything called “AI” instead of machine learning – and future hollow money and power grifts the next inevitable hype cycle undoubtedly holds in store for us all.

We, as fallible humans, are hopelessly overwhelmed with the non-stop barrage of information from all corners of the world. We are not built for this. We need to slow down. If we don’t, soon enough we’ll be forced to. If we persist in stemming the tide even then, we’ll quite literally be run over. Hubris, of course, has been a characteristic of humans ever since we deluded ourselves into thinking we’ve conquered nature.

These days, I’m way more interested in humans than technology. Maybe there’s a way to fuse those disparate areas, leading me to a new purpose. I don’t believe that more people need to learn how to code or use computers or spend any more time with technology than they already are. What we do need is more breathing room, both literally and figuratively.

For now, I’m experimenting with personally uncharted territory: endurance running, dancing, writing posts like this one, remaining open to whatever unknowns are ahead of me. Trying out unfamiliar things, treading new paths. I’ll probably be writing more on this blog, reading more long-form material and consuming way less so-called social media channels.

If you, dear reader, have similar experiences and feel like connecting to a fellow human being, please feel encouraged to write a couple of lines in response. If you don’t, do it regardless. I’m always happy to hear from other beautiful and flawed people.

The Tyranny of the Marginal User

How is it possible that software gets worse, not better, over time, despite billions of dollars of R&D and rapid progress in tooling and AI? What evil force, more powerful than Innovation and Progress, is at work here?

Original · archive.org · archive.today


The ever-thoughtful Ruben Schade recently wrote about Macroblogging and made some great observations. In the age of Twitter-esque Microblogging, personal posts that go beyond a couple of lines are increasingly rare. Following the lives of friends or interesting strangers used to contain more depth. Not in a literary sense. There used to be more of the person there.

I’m still struggling with thinking “who could ever be interested in what I have to say?” Should those people exist, what do I even have to say?

The most popular posts this far are those with technical information and how-tos. I don’t care all that much about popularity. Yet the general feeling remains that personal experiences may not be what others want to read at all. I mean, I do. I like to discover interesting snippets, thoughts and random bits and pieces out of the lives of others. Especially when their lives are different from mine. I find this inspirational. Sometimes it triggers a thought, a feeling, remembering something from my own life – and I suddenly feel connected to the experience, the person itself.

The authenticity is what makes an encounter meaningful. In a plastic world full of fake plastic trees, we need authenticity, honesty and deliberate vulnerability more than probably ever before.

Connection is a strong thread that runs though my life. The desire for connection, the lack of it, shielding me against it. The rediscovery of connection to myself, people close to me and eventually total strangers. We all seek connection, we are social beings. Even those actively avoiding other people feel a strong need for the presence of other humans, longing for someone who understands them, whether they like it or not. Usually it’s the latter and leads to more isolation and an attempt to approach life rationally, without the need for emotions. I know. For the last 26 years, that person used to be me.

It may be a little much but I feel like sharing something. Feel free to skip the next part, if – for any reason at all – you don’t want to read about mental issues, depression or intensely personal experiences. Here be dragons.

About two years ago a transformation occurred. Triggered by adverse circumstances, a major depressive episode announced itself. I could feel, taste and smell it already. In every fibre of my being I knew that this time there would be no emergence at the end. This was it. It went downhill fast.

Sitting in my therapist’s office I broke down within seconds and cried. I cried and cried and then cried even more. When I had stopped crying, I sobbed and cried again. This went on for the rest of the session. We barely spoke a word.

He suggested caring for the part of me that was crying, the infant, the sad and confused little child that couldn’t understand why all of the sudden, everything felt wrong, back in 1979. And that’s what I did. Back home, I grabbed a pillow, held it in my arms and immediately started to cry again.

The connection happened almost instantaneously. I felt the sadness and abyssal despair, the blind fear and the helplessness. I let the infant cry and held it tenderly. I was present, fully immersed in that moment. Time was meaningless, life outside passed by unnoticed. Nothing was more important than to be there, for that infant, for myself, in that moment.

Eventually, it felt safe. It began to trust me. This happened quickly, a lot quicker than I had expected. I had believed it to take weeks, months even, of careful nurturing to slowly build trust. Instead, at one point it relaxed, felt safe and at home. I could feel a blissful sigh echoing through every part of my being.


That’s when, for the first time, love opened up to me. More precisely, I opened up to love. To pure, universal, all-encompassing love. Love for the infant, love for me, love for other people, love for everything that is. I felt thankful for all I’ve been given. I felt humble, for probably the first time in my life. Before, the term equalled subservience, like submitting to a dogma. Now it is closer to awe, tenderness and gratitude, to dedication and devotion. My rage was gone. It was no longer necessary.

But all that turned out to just be the beginning of the ride. It’s a long story. I may tell it at a different time, maybe even a different place. Who knows. Life is full of surprises.

How to Get the Second to Last Line From a File or Output in the Shell

It was so obvious that I almost slapped my head when I figured it out.

cat /path/to/file | tail -2 | head -1