All posts by lex@magical7.com

I have never quit I Never

As time goes on, so must we. And I feel the time for me has come to move on from I Never. When I started this project back in 2014, my goal was to force myself to try new things. In a way, I succeeded. There have been a few things on this blog that I’d never have done if it weren’t for I Never. But quite often, my I Never was about something that I was already planning on doing, or little things I wouldn’t consider worthy of a blog post.

Most months ended with me stretching to think of something to do that’s new, easy to fit into our budget and schedule, and interesting enough to write about. Doing I Never became more of a chore than a method to experience new things.

Must new experiences always be big? Should they always be interesting to read about? I suppose not. But then must I write about it? I guess also no.

So with this comes an end to 52 months of big adventures and small challenges. To those who joined me in this road or kept up to date from these silly blog posts, I thank you for your time. With a closing door, another surely opens, so who knows what new things will be on this blog? Time will tell. Until then, goodbye!

I never extinguished a candle with my fingers

Some months I have big plans for I Never, while other months I struggle to find something interesting. Last month was especially difficult. By the time the month was almost over, I still hadn’t done anything new.

However, with the end of last month also came the end of the year. We had guests over for our New Years party and were playing Truth or Dare. Conveniently, I was dared to extinguish a candle with my fingers two hours to midnight, thereby completing my I Never for the month!

The dare itself was scary at first, but once the candle was extinguished, it turned out to not be so bad after all. It didn’t even hurt. Alright, short I Never, short report. Gonna have to try better again this month!

I have never fed kittens

Over three years ago, I made a life-changing confession to the woman I may now call my wife. Last year, we had a big celebration, where we visited the Lion King musical and I went ice skating for the first time in my life. We wanted to do some similar things this year, albeit a bit smaller. So for this year we planned to go skiing (also an I Never) and maybe go have a high tea.

Two weeks before our anniversary, on Thursday I believe, I started having a nasty cough. I didn’t think much of it, as I usually get some sort of cold in October/November.

That Sunday however, exactly two weeks before our anniversary, we were startled to find our cat Jolie going into labor. We knew she was pregnant; Lena had wanted to breed a litter of Maine Coons for a long time. However, Jolie wasn’t due until one week later, which is very premature for cats. As a result, Jolie’s hormones weren’t completely ready and Lena and I were tasked with feeding the kittens every two hours.

Meanwhile, Lena fell ill as well. Coupled with the lack of sleep brought about by this sudden arrival of cats, we both found no opportunity to recover. The day before our anniversary, I even came down with a fever.

And so it came to be that on the day of our anniversary, we had to hand-feed our kittens every two hours and spent the rest of the day (and the day after as well) in bed. An emergency visit to the doctor’s office after having a 39.5 degrees fever revealed I had pneumonia. Fortunately, the antibiotics I got for that allowed me to regain some of my strength. Meanwhile, the kittens grew up and needed to be fed less often, further reducing the pressure.

Unfortunately, this entire ordeal meant no skiing adventure for me. Luckily, having kittens was a new experience for me too, so it’s not a completely I Never-less month.

Pictures? Pictures!

 

 

 

I have never made ice cream

This story goes back a long way, even before I did I Never. Back when I was still in University and living in Enschede, I had a hobby similar to I Never, called Crazy Ideas. The crazy ideas were more related to food and were a lot wilder than what I’m up to these days.

At Huize Entree, where I lived, I became known for these experiments. One fateful birthday, for this very reason, my housemates got me an ice cream maker. However, this was near the end of my study time, after which I kind of left it to lay around. As time went on, Lena moved in and we got to throwing a lot of our old things out.

Except for the ice cream machine. I really wanted to keep it, and try my hand at making ice cream one day.

This month, the time was finally there. Unfortunately, I didn’t make too many pictures, so you’ll have to make do with my walls of text.

So, first of all, I decided I wanted to make cactus ice cream to make up for September, where I wasted my cactus fruits. However, it turned out that none of our supermarkets sold cactus fruits, and because it was Sunday, I was unable to check the fruit market.

On Monday, Lena told me that the fruit market also didn’t have any cactus fruits. However, she got me pitayas, which is also the fruit of some form of cactus. So on Monday evening, I started working on preparing the ice cream batter. It had to cool in the fridge for another day, so today, on Tuesday, I was ready for the final step: making the ice cream.

Preparation for the batter.

Today, I got the batter, took the ice cream maker’s bucket out of the freezer, attached it to the mixer and turned it on.

And it did nothing. The mixer made some noise, but it didn’t spin. I don’t know if it’s been like this all the time or that it broke somewhere during all the moving.

Anyway, after a trip to the shop, I did end up with a bit of ice cream, even though it’s not of my own making.

I was pretty excited to be making ice cream though, so I’m going to try to get my hands on a new ice cream maker and try again.

I have never tried a Nuzlocke

At the end of last month, I was about ready to quit I Never. A trend in the previous months is that I often find it difficult to do I Never because of time and money constraints. Last month, for the first time, I actually didn’t manage to do an I Never. As a small side-note, I should apologize to Wouter, who provided me with an opportunity to do an I Never, but I didn’t realize cactus figs couldn’t be kept in the fridge for a week, which made me completely waste them :/

But, a few days ago I realized, I did do something that I’d never done before and had wanted to do for a long time: the Nuzlocke challenge. Most people probably have never heard of it, so I’ll give a brief explanation: the Nuzlocke challenge is a run through a Pokémon game with two additional rules. 1: you can only catch the first Pokémon you encounter on each route. 2: any Pokémon that faints is dead and must be released or boxed forever.

If the previous paragraph bored you to death, it’s probably best to stop reading now.

I don’t know how I first got to know of the challenge, but I liked the sound of it and wanted to do it on Pokémon Moon. However, starting this run requires a reset of the game, which meant I could no longer play the Battle Tree with Lena. So I was waiting for Ultra Sun/Moon to be released, so we can move to that Battle Tree and I could reset the game.

But at my birthday last month, I got a surprise: Alexander got me Pokémon Sun, which meant I could start my challenge! Now, I originally wanted to record my adventure in comic-form, but figuring that would take more time, skill and dedication than I have available, here’s my progress so far:

I started off with my favorite spherical bird: Rowlet! Unfortunately for my derp-head, I made a mistake in determining the areas and missed one opportunity for catching a Slowpoke. Still, my team was soon expanded by a Pikipek and  Yungoos. Full of confidence, I made my way through Hau’oli City, defeated Team Skull in the harbor and managed to get my entire team wiped by Ilima. So much for my first attempt. Turns out I have much to learn still. But, I got some practice in Pokémon Gold and am ready to make my second attempt in the world of Pokémon Sun!

Alola!

I have never visited Valkenburg and Antwerp

It has been a long while since Lena and I took a vacation with just the two of us. Actually, the last time we did was back in 2015, when we went to Hamburg. Lena also told me of the times she went to Valkenburg and how much she liked that, so we decided to take a long weekend to the South.

We went to Valkenburg on Friday, where we stayed for one night. After that, we traveled to Antwerp on Saturday, stayed there for two nights and headed back on Monday.

We definitely enjoyed our time together, and away from our daily lives for a bit. Oddly enough, even though Valkenburg is actually in the Netherlands, our time there felt more like a vacation abroad than our visit to Antwerp. Valkenburg has a lot to do and to see, the scenery is very mountain-like and is obviously designed to attract tourists. Antwerp on the other felt more like we were in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, with big buildings and lots of construction.

But in both places we walked around a lot and saw many things. Valkenburg is known for its man-made caves, of which we toured two. In Antwerp, we spent our first day in the Antwerp Zoo, and some shopping before traveling back on the second day.

But, enough yammering, time for some pictures!

No Medley = cocktails!

Nom nom, heavenly mud!

The entrance to the caves. I’d never been in these kind of caves. I liked it a lot. The temperature was nice and cool with the heat outside. It was pretty creepy at some points too, especially after the second tour, when Lena and I walked to the entrance by ourselves. If we stood still, we would be in total silence. And you’d walk past a lot of “rooms”. The realization that something could be hiding in the dark, just right in front of you, was pretty haunting.

We had a lot of fun at the Valkenburg castle ruins.

It really was quite something to see.

Quite the view too.

Limburgse vlaai!

Coming back from the Wilhelmina tower by cable cart.

Not sure what to say here. It just was a nice photo-op ^^

We found these fakies on the Antwerp Saturday market. Funnily enough, there were also about 4 stalls selling bunnies, guinea pigs and all kinds of birds, which is unheard of for Dutch markets.

Antwerp Zoo fun.

They had a birds of prey show, which was very enjoyable. One cheeky bird just kept coming back for treats while they tried to get it into its cage.

Did you know that the people in Antwerp are insanely irresponsible when it comes to zoos? You could get really close to these penguins, which some people saw as an opportunity to pet them. At another part, we saw someone getting within petting distance of a bird that looked ready to strike, and one parent let their child drink out of a fish pond…

That’s it for this month! I’ve been promising to do something tasty for some time now, and hopefully September can give me that opportunity!

I have never DM’ed a game

Just a quick update today. For a long time, Lena and I have been trying to get a tabletop group together, but without much success because of difficult schedules. However, we found one of my colleagues interested, and two of our friends got more time available, so we just went for it!

We did some character preparation and last week, we finally kicked it off with our first session. In this group, I got the role of Dungeon Master, which is both awesome and scary, because it comes with a lot of responsibility. Luckily, the first session was received very well, which makes me hopeful for the next session.

That next session is tomorrow, so I should get back to preparing for it!

I have never dyed my hair

Two “I Never”s on one day? What is it, vacation or something?

Yes, I didn’t just create an animated GIF today; Lena also dyed my hair. We were thinking of doing something like it some time ago, and I even hinted at it before, but we never got around to doing it. Lena got her hair dyed at the hair dresser’s a few weeks ago, and I recently had my hair cut, so now seemed like a good time to do it. Unfortunately, the hair dressers ran out of blue. Also, having them do your hair is very expensive and time-consuming, while doing it at home provides a lot more comfort while waiting.

Since I’m a completely layman when it comes to dying hair, I had Lena take care of everything. It took a few hours, but we came to a pretty good result.

This would seem like a pretty good place to put pictures, but I figured it would be more interesting to keep the result for a real-life meeting. Don’t worry, there are pictures (including progress pictures), which I think I’ll post in a week or so, perhaps with some of the responses I get.

Stay tuned!

I have never created an animated GIF

In the most recent team shuffle at work, a set of seven development teams were spawned, following the naming convention X It. For example, there’s Pay It, Sell It and Ship It. The team I was assigned to supports my colleagues on the Customer Service department and was therefore named Care It. However, the team quickly received the unofficial name of Team Carrot, due to the similarity in the way they sound.

At first, I found it kind of a dumb name, but, as nicknames tend to do, it grew on me. This then went the opposite direction, leading to our team adding carrots to pretty much everything.

Now, for our internal direct communication, our company uses Slack. For those who don’t know Slack, I’ve heard it’s pretty similar to Discord, though I haven’t used Discord to compare functionality. Anyway, one of the fun features of Slack is the ability to very easily add custom emoticons, including animated GIFs.

Last week, one of my colleagues found The Cult of the Party Parrot, and added a whole bunch of those parrots to our Slack. I couldn’t resist converting the parrot into a carrot, so I used my morning off to fiddle around and edit the GIF.

It’s not the greatest GIF around, but I do have some ideas on how I could have done it differently, so I guess I learned something, which is what I Never is really about. I don’t know if I’ll ever be in a situation where I can apply this new knowledge, but it was fun nevertheless!

I have never replaced a car headlight

Though I would describe myself as a technical person, my technical skills are mostly related to theoretical areas, such as math and computer science. When it gets to more practical fields, I’m not quite as useful. Furniture assembly, in-house repairs and even handling PC hardware quickly become difficult tasks. Basically, if it doesn’t have Ctrl + Z, I get nervous I mess something up and cause irreparable damage.

For a long time, this has been a major bane when anything about my bike didn’t operate properly. There’s this social standard that one should be able to fix their own bicycle, which has caused me endless hours of just screwing about in hopes of getting some usable result. Which usually worked in the end, by the way, but still took a lot of time and effort.

“At least I won’t have this problem once I get a car,” I thought optimistically. “Cars are so complicated, nobody will think strange of me when I bring it out for repairs.”

In the real world, however, it turns out to be perfectly doable to do some small fixes on a car.

For example, replacing a headlight.

Not too long ago, someone pointed out that our right headlight didn’t work. That wasn’t hard to validate. Fixing it however, seemed like a high-level task. Before I knew it, I was reading Wikihow articles and an online Skoda manual on replacing a headlight. We already had some spare bulbs in our possession, but I had to make sure they were also of the right type.

After meticulous research, I concluded that our bulb was in fact the right one, and I set to work.

I was done within 5 minutes.

It turns out replacing the light was actually pretty easy to do. Perhaps there’s some lesson here to not ward off anything that could, if extremely unlucky, could go wrong. Anyway: mission accomplished, fine avoided!