Guess who’s back

Guess who’s back, back again! It’s been over six months since I’ve last written something for one of my own sites – I’ve blogged over at uncanny.ch (Book Club), at sczollikon.ch (Football Club) and at webrepublic.com (Work… Club?!), but not on one of my various properties around the internet. But today, I really felt like I wanted to write, even though I don’t really know about what.

What better time to resurrect my old personal blog, on which my last post describes my budding infatuation for Doctor Who, which has blossomed into a steady relationship with the twelfth incarnation of its titular character. The BBC show has become one of only three series where I feel the need to catch up with every episode immediately (Sherlock and Game of Thrones being the other two). I can only recommend anyone to watch the fantastic 9th season of Doctor Who, which has to be my favorite in years thanks to the stellar acting by Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and their guest stars like the incredible Maisie Williams. If you like Fantasy, Sci-Fi and good television, you should start watching this show.

Another show to watch? Master of None, the new Netflix show by Aziz Ansari – one of the funniest and realest shows I know. It’s fast-paced, smart, diverse and really captures the “zeitgeist” of modern day life for us spoiled twenty-somethings. It’s also made me want to start watching Parks & Recreation to see more of the great Mr. Ansari.

Well, my urge for writing has been stilled for the time being, but there is one more thing for you to watch – this aftermovie of Sziget 2015, one of the best music festivals in the world, gives you a glimpse of how I spent one incredible week this summer.

Until I write again (which may or may not be in 2015), as always, I remain

sincerely yours,

Albert

The Doctor is in

When I was in my first year at university, every evening of the week was characterized by the different series I followed: Entourage, Chuck, White Collar, Californication, One Tree Hill (when it still involved Basketball), Psych, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and many more (including a few guilty pleasues) were a mainstay in my weekly routine. However, as I got older, my interest in TV shows waned and nowadays, the only two shows I follow regularly are the magnificent Sherlock and the brilliant “Game of Thrones”. But on August 23, when Peter Capaldi officially takes over the reigns as the Doctor, a new show will have firmly landed on my weekly schedule: “Doctor Who”.

Since the final of the football World Cup last Sunday, I’ve finished almost three seasons of the BBC series and these are some of my impressions thus far.

Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant are fantastic.

Both of them bring different attitudes and characteristics to their titular character who has a history stretching back to 1963 and including 8 previous incarnations. Their charisma is palpable and their acting fantastic. A more in-depth looks at the different doctors and their stories (including Matt Smith whom I haven’t reached yet) can be found on uncanny.ch (Doctor Who for Dummies by Viola).

There are a lot of filler episodes, but the good ones are absolutely brilliant.

In both seasons, I found myself wanting to skip episodes or finding them somewhat unsatisfactory after finishing them.  The story arcs spanning the whole season were interestingly done, full of hints and allusions that clear up in the season finales, but still felt somewhat weak and irrelevant. This in turn led to the presence of filler episodes. However, thanks to its unique blend of humor, action and drama, the strong episodes will stay with me for a very long time. When the show is at its best, you really feel that the whole world or at least a personal destiny is in grave danger. My favorite episodes include a visit to Renaissance age France (an era I adored growing up thanks to Alexandre Dumas), an epic Battle in modern-day London including two menacing alien races and a little visit to the Moon.

It’s a great time capsule.

The first thing I thought when watching the pilot episode “Rose” was: this looks old. But with every passing episodes, the production design improved and it’s great to see the evolution of time throughout the long-running show. Seeing Rose, the wonderful companion of both Doctor number 9 (Eccleston) and 10 (Tennant), use the Samsung flip-up phone I owned back then, definitely wrapped me in a blanket of nostalgia for a moment.

Now I’m halfway through the third series (the British word for season) and I can’t see myself stopping again. I’m especially looking forward to the time Steven Moffat takes over as showrunner to see if the season-long arcs and connectors get stronger.

Check back here for more posts on Doctor Who as I progress with my marathon sessions, and until then, I remain

Sincerely yours,

Albert

Vlog #2: It’s Complicated

This week I finally recorded and uploaded my second Youtube video!

I talk about It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by danah boyd, which is a fantastic book on social media and youth culture.  Check out my commentary down below!

I’m still learning this whole video business, so if you have any kind of feedback, please let me know!

Have a great start to the week and Happy Easter!

Sincerely yours,

Albert

On Building a Mind Palace

Last week I wrote in length about my favorite show on TV: Sherlock. My obsession with the detective is not quite over, as today’s article looks at what I learned from the detective. I also have a Youtube video on the Arthur Conan Doyle stories planned before I finally accept the fact that Sherlock is back on a hiatus of undetermined length.

What I learned about on Sherlock and what I found endlessly fascinating is a memory technique Sherlock Holmes uses when he tries to remember something crucially important hidden somewhere in the depths of his mind. On the show, it is called “Mind Palace”, while the term used on Wikipedia is “Method of Loci”. The word Loci does not have anything to do with the tumblr/Internet icon Loki played by Tom Hiddleston in the Marvel universe movies, who coincendentally shares a lot of the fans of Benedict Cumberbatch. Instead, it derives from the Latin word for location. The method is not only used on the show, but also by various memory contest champions.

I would love to show you show how Mr. Holmes uses his Mind Palace as I find them the most interesting and visually stunning scenes on the show, but I can’t do it without spoiling the show for anyone. Feel free to search for them at your own risk.

So, how exactly does the method of loci work? In short, you memorize the setting of a specific location. When you’re clear on how your mind palace (or whatever you choose your location to be) looks like, you can start associating things you want to commit to your long-term memory with these locations. Should you need to retrieve the information, you can visualize walking through your mind palace to the specific spot and memory.

Obviously, I’m not a trained specialist. Thankfully, I’m not a hyperintelligent detective with possession of state secrets, so I can share a bit of the process I’ve been going through the last days to design my memory palace.

I started out with imagining a forest. First, I tried to bind memories, names and faces to branches of trees, which would then have been interwoven with each other. Soon enough I discovered that my knowledge of trees was limited and I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. As a device for remembering things, it would have failed almost immediately.

The second idea I had worked a lot better and serves as the basis for my mind palace (even though the palace is more of a shack right now). I started out with imagining a classroom with an infinite amount of rows. Then I started placing acquaintances at the desks. People I meet on a regular basis are in the first few rows, as I need access to that information regularly. People I see once in a while are seated a bit further back. Then I stuff their desks with information I’d like to know about them such as maybe their favorite book or movie.

After I starting filling up the classroom (which will probably take the longest to fill), I decided to expand the school by imagining different areas. Since I love movies, I thought of the cinema Metropol in Zurich and started placing movie posters at the walls. For instance, right next to the entrance is the poster of Gravity and some of the key info I remembered from seeing it and its IMDB page. Alfonso Cuaron directs and writes, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star, Ed Harris provides the voice and as a fun fact that the movie is exactly as long as the ISS takes to circle the Earth.

I did a similar thing formy sports interests, even though I’m not as far with that yet. For sports, I go back to the football pitch of my old high school and picture the sports stars sitting on the bleachers. It hasn’t worked perfectly yet, but I’m working on refining the details and on expanding my capacity for memories.

Obviously, I’ve just started to use this technique and have filled my locations with superficial knowledge that I’ve read or heard fairly recently. In the future however I’m sure I’ll be able to commit more experiences and facts to my long-term memory in a clearer and more efficient way.

If you have any comments or questions, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter! As always, please like, share and subscribe. See you on Thursday.

Sincerely yours,
Albert

 

Sherlock is the best Show on TV

This Sunday, BBC One aired the third season finale of their excellent series Sherlock. I was lucky to catch the episode live. And I’m very glad I did. I am not going to spoil the third season for anyone and will instead talk about why I think everyone should watch the show.

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An Elusive Hero in 2013 (Recap)

As 2013 ends tomorrow, I’d like to wrap up the year with a short review of my posts this year.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has followed and read my posts since I started writing on “An Elusive Hero” in March. The feedback and support I’ve received has been invaluable for me to improve. Wednesday will look forward to the plans for 2014. But until then, let’s recap some of the most interesting posts from this year.

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Vlog #1: The Beginning of Everything

This week I don’t have the usual post about Switzerland. Sorry about that! Instead, I’ve finished working on my first ever Vlog entry. The title has two meanings, after all it is my first video ever and also, my favorite book of the year.

As this the first time I’ve made a video, I’m very grateful for any kind of feedback, so I can improve my video logs in the near future. It was a lot of fun to plan, film and edit the vlog. I hope you enjoy it!

Have a great start to the week and a merry Christmas to you all!

Sincerely yours,

Albert