About Me

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I am a dedicated and ambitious aspiring freelance journalist, blogger, and writer. My main asset is my international background - I was born in Germany, then moved to France, and proceeded to grow up in China - and the cultural open-mindedness inherent to such a life story. I specialize in opinion pieces, but am also well-versed in travel/event reporting, and writing general news stories. I blog regularly on my two pages, and have contributed to multiple online publications, including Gonzo Today, a web page dedicated to Hunter S. Thompson's "gonzo" journalism and his legacy. If you have any writing needs, I am the right person to talk to! I will be able to match the tone and style you desire, will work overtime to make you happy, and will deliver high quality content. You can find me on Facebook and LinkedIn as "Mark Linnhoefer", and on Twitter as "@markalinnhoefer". For work proposals please feel free to use the contact form on either of my blogs!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New Layout and poll

So, after having put it off for what feels like forever, I decided to play around with the Blogger-internal "Template Designer", and, of course, directly attacked the "advanced" settings, and am actually kind of pleased with the outcome, but in my current condition that does not mean a lot, I find lots of things pleasing to look at right now.

Anyways, here's a list of the changes that have been made, although they're pretty obviously visible:

  • The blog title has been changed to be green and in a font called "Rock Salt"
  • The title for each post is now in red and in another font of which I can't for the life of me remember the name
  • The background was changed to a cosmic kind of picture
...and that's already it!

The point of this post is to find out if you guys like the new layout, I'll furthermore add a poll to the right side once again in a desperate try to create author-reader interaction of some kind.

So, please vote, and let me know what you think :)

...and here are a few songs as usually:

AWE - Crystals
-> I am not sure if this can be classified as Dubstep, I highly doubt it to be honest, but nevertheless this is an epically melodic song that also happens to be quite trippy in my opinion... Enjoy!

Astronaut - Quantum
-> although the song itself has a bit too much of a "pop-ish" sound for my taste, it is pretty cool, and the video is great in my opinion, nicely animated and somehow fitting to the songs melodic theme, although I can't quite put my finger on why that is....

Don DaDa - Sittin' Sideways
-> "You can catch me sittin' sideways in something pretty with the ratchet on me, I stay strapped 'cause I always got a package on me..." Now this is real rap. A guy sitting on a porch and rapping. And quite awesomely at that. Kudos to Don DaDa, hope he gets signed sometime soon!

Bobby McFerrin - Don't worry, be happy
-> once again a song that is falsely being attributed to Bob Marley, but it was sung by Bobby McFerrin, whom I am not really familiar with, but this song is just such a cliche-stoner-hippie-peace tune that I had to include it at some point, and, honestly, I am smiling right now because it is on :)

Don't forget to vote regarding the new layout!! The poll closing date is set to the 8th of February!


Love it or leave it

Well, it has once again been a week since I posted. I could have figured that out beforehand though to be honest, I mean, you know me and my chronic laziness syndrome.

For this entry I have chosen to discuss the statement that can be read in this posts' title. "Love it or leave it", which is pretty much a word by word translation of the title of a German rap song, but it's the message I will discuss and not the song itself, although it is pretty great, I might include it in the usual list of songs at the end of the post.

So, what do I mean by "love it or leave it"? It's quite simple actually, the message is to either be entirely and whole-heartily involved in whatever it is you happen to be doing, or to completely let it be and concentrate on something else. The message is essentially not to do anything in a half assed fashion.
That coming from me may seem weird to those that know me personally, seeing as I am exactly the kind of person that does only the required minimum to get by, and not more. But I do that whole-heartily. I have spent my lifetime perfecting the art of comfortable mediocrity that gets me through life with the least amount of effort possible. While some might find this achievement to be questionable considering the definition of "achieving something", I beg to differ. I don't think that the term "achievement" should have a general definition, seeing as it is highly subjective. For me, an achievement is to comfortably drift through life whilst giving people the impression that I am actual valuable and contribute to whatever is going on around me. For someone else, an achievement might be to reach the very top of whatever field he happens to be in. Now, ask yourself, is one "achievement" really more of that than the other one? I don't think so.

But I am getting lost in my ramblings again. Back to the topic.

The issue with doing something "just a little" (and for once I am not talking about psychoactive substances although this sentence might elicit that impression...) is that it either crumbles under outside pressures that set expectations higher than achievable by half assing, or that it becomes too boring and dull to be bearable at some point, but at that point the opportunity to actually get completely implicated in the action in order to make it interesting has usually already been missed.
"But is that not totally contradictory to what you said about your own way of drifting through life?" Nope. You didn't listen. Go and re-read the previous paragraph. I am completely involved in staying at just the same level as the bar for having mediocre success is set, which is enough for me. I don't get my personal feelings of success from getting the perfect job with great pay, or from getting high grades. My personal feeling of success kicks in when all that bullshit is done and I can finally relax and just devote my time to leisure. And everything else are just means to achieve exactly that - being able to chill without having to worry about some fucking shit that I don't even want to think about but am constantly compelled to by the usual forces.

The point I am trying to get across is probably that you should define for yourself what you really want, what your personal feeling of achievement consists of, and work towards that. With everything you got. But don't stumble around life not even remotely knowing what you're trying attain by doing what you're doing. I used to do that. I went to school, heck, even when applying for university I was just doing it because "that's how it it is - you go to school, get your diploma, and then go on to study". That had been drilled into my head by every person of authority that ever "guided" me. You have to work to pay your bills, and in order to work you need to be educated, and in order to be educated you need to go to university, etc. But all this dull, bullshit routine should not be the goal in itself. It should be a mean to give you the financial and social stability to get utterly fucked up into another dimension on weekends. It should be the norm that you defy by working within, but living without. It should not be the reason you get up in the morning. The reason to get up should be the fact that once the work is done you can come home and finally do what humans do - escape this dreaded reality of conforming we have created for ourselves, our own personal little matrix.

Damn me and my racing thoughts, went off-topic again at some point there.

Anyways, I think I managed to convey the general outline of what my thoughts are on this subject. I mean in the end, you're all going to do whatever you want, and, as you know me, I fully endorse that. But if you're going to do whatever it is you're going to do - at least really do it. Get completely immersed in your actions. Love what it is you want to do. Love it. Or leave it, but then find something - we all need something that we love, something that gives us the strength to face the painfully fake world out there. Everyday.
And don't forget that leaving it is the option for actions you can't get fully involved in, but bear in mind that in order to be entirely entangled in what you love you have to create the means for doing so, sometimes by dull, relentless tasks you loathe. But as long as it serves the cause of leading to something that you pursue out of sheer enthusiasm you can endure it.

So, if you're going to take action - love it or leave it. That's all there is to it.

And with this, and some music, I'll leave you be for now.

Genetikk - Liebs oder lass es (feat. Sido)
-> this is the aforementioned German rap song that inspired today's entry, and the crew that made this gem is one of the few German rap artists that seriously care about rap and Hip-Hop as a culture, and they have lots of talent and skills, and albeit having lots of comedic texts, do practice the apparently lost art of social criticism and sarcasm within their music, which is great!

Kid Ink - Hell and back
-> I have very close to zero knowledge about Kid Ink himself, but I know that this song is fucking awesome, and I figured since this is a blog to promote good music anyway... Enjoy :)

Hopsin - Sag My Pants
-> Oh god, did I post this already? If so please smite me in the comment section, I am soo unsure about this at the moment... Anyway, Hopsin is fucking amazing, raw and pure talent concentrated in one MC, real, good ol' fashioned Hip-Hop music with great and funny lyrics, check out some of his other stuff, too!

Ice Cube & Snoop Dogg - Go To Church (feat. Lil' Jon)
-> Awesome song, two of the best MCs out there together yields great results! And Lil' Jon gets paid millions for screaming a few words... I mean seriously, his "part" consists of "You scared, you scared, you scared, motherfucker, you scared" and he assists in the hook. And that's it. But I'm not here to bash Lil' Jon or this song! I like this song! A lot!

Metallica - Master Of Puppets
-> maybe the most cliche metal song I could come up with, but definitely one of the finest pieces of music ever recorded, the solos, the riffs, the singing, the baseline, the drums, all perfectly joint in a melodic, yet wild, paradise of musical excellence! Awesome!

Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze
-> why, yes, this song exists! And it is a great, very trippy song about the most psychedelic ganja in existence, and elicits exactly that kind of feeling! And, well, musically, I can only say that this is Jimi Hendrix - THE Jimi Hendrix. I think that speaks for itself.

Bon Jovi - You give love a bad name
-> yeah I know, I know... But this song is fucking great, and anyone telling me their head doesn't automatically start moving rhythmically when this starts playing is lying, simple as that! Great tune!

Cypress Hill - Insane in the brain
-> "Insane in the membrane.... Insane in the brain, yo! Insane in the membrane... Left insane, got no brain!" Such an awesome song! I love Cypress Hill and everything about them, and this song is by no means an exception!

Well, I hope you enjoyed today's entry. It was a bit on the lighter side compared to other things I've posted, don't you think?


Monday, January 20, 2014

Food For Thought #3

Well, I can not seem to get around to posting as often as I would like to, which at the moment is mostly due to the fact that I am writing exams and, seeing as I did not do so earlier, am spending everyday studying so that I can at least manage to pass them and won't have to do retakes, because doing a retake would require me to actually continue studying for a module for which I don't have lectures anymore, which I am not really willing to do if at all avoidable, making studying between the various exams a necessity.

But then again, I usually manage to somehow pass exams with just the required amount of points, so I'm hoping to be fine.

Anyway, I was thinking of doing a new "Food For Thought" segment today, simply because I haven't done so in quite some time, and have had some positive responses to said segments, meaning that there seems to be some sort of interest present within my reading community in regard to my opinion on various topics.

So, have you ever thought about the concept of equality and tolerance and its actual meaning for the general public, but also for you as an individual?
I, as you will know by know, solemnly believe in these concepts, but I do also see how it can be a double-edged sword at times, seeing as some groups preach intolerance and inequality, but also have the constitutional right to freely express their opinions, meaning that although their beliefs are founded on intolerance, they apparently need to be tolerated.
Well, I don't really think so. I think that the freedom of an individual should be paramount, but only so far as no other people are being restricted thereby, meaning that everyone can express themselves freely, but can not do so in a way that tries to suppress any people, which I know to be contradictory to what I am doing right now, seeing as I want to restrict certain groups in what they do, but only because what they are doing is trying to restrict yet another group. Hence the double-edginess of aforementioned sword.

This certainly is a dilemma.
On the one hand, I would happily die to protect the intellectual freedom of the people and the freedom to express ones opinion without persecution, but on the other hand I would happily kill any right-wing nut job that protests against democracy, freedom and human dignity.
My personal way of reasoning in that case is that if someone does not want tolerance and equality to be values to uphold, than why the fuck should I uphold these values when dealing with such an individual? Why do I have to take the higher moral ground and say "Okay, I disagree with what you're trying to do and the acts of violence your actions are indirectly leading to, but seeing as I believe in and understand the concepts of tolerance and equality, I'm going to let you continue doing what you do"? That would of course be the wise thing to do, and in most cases that would be my reaction, but when it comes to racism I can not for the life of me control my urge to act just as intolerantly as they do and shoot those fucking assholes. I mean, seriously, we live in the globalized 21st century, all arguments you could possibly have to hate those different than you have been scientifically disproved by now!
And of course it happens that you get robbed in "your" country by a foreigner, yeah, it happens, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the guy is not originally from the same country as you are, it's either a result of poor circumstances or the robber was just a prick doing it for thrills. Either way, projecting your own shortcomings on an entire group of people and therefore hating them is just pathetic.
It's the same thing with homophobia - it has been proven that homophobes are actually just closet homosexuals! What you don't believe it and think I'm just saying that to sound "edgy"? Nope!

Anyway, I think what I'm getting it is that although being tolerant is mostly a two-way street, I don't think it has to be in all cases - such as xeno- and homophobia, meaning that I'll tolerate your beliefs as long as you tolerate those of others, that's as simple as it gets: You want to be tolerated, you have to start by tolerating others first, or as Nelson Mandela put it: "To be free is not to merely cast off one's own chains, but to live in a way to promotes and enhances the freedom of others" (I did not google the exact quote, but the message is the same)!

I furthermore have to say that the views expressed above are meant absolutely as they are stated, but should in no way endorse any violence towards any human being; you know that I'm a man of peace and mutual respect, and I do believe that a lot of the aforementioned individuals can be reached and "converted" if personal one-on-one talks were to take place. What I am stating above is merely that I believe that those who can not tolerate others for what they are should not expect to be tolerated themselves due to the nature of their ideology.

Finally, I think that everybody has a very different approach on these delicate matters, and a lot of people will label me a hypocrite after reading this entry, and I have to agree to some extent, but I also think that one can see why I choose to stray from my usual path of absolute tolerance in this instance.

And concluding this entry, here is some music to relax your mind:

Afroman - Because I got High
-> "I was gonna clean my room before I got high... I was gonna get up and find a broom, but then I got high... Now my room's still messed up, and I know why... Why men? Yeah, yeeeeaaah, because I got high, because I got high, because I got hiiigh...." 'nuff said :D

Sublime - Smoke Two Joints
-> many many people mistake this for a Bob Marley Song, but it was written two years after his death (may he rest in peace!) by The Toyes, and then re-recorded and made famous by Sublime... Enjoy!

Bob Marley - Buffalo Soldier
-> here is an actual Bob Marley song, somewhat fitting into the general topic of tolerance as well, and has a great chill feeling to it, making it an overall awesome song!

Black Sabbath - Sweet Leaf
-> this song had to appear on this blog at some point, and seeing as I am showcasing a lot of smoking songs today anyways, I thought that this would be as good a time as ever, so... enjoy!

Rhymin Simon feat. King Orgasmus One - Lasst Uns Chillen Schlampen (Part 2)
-> this is a great German song that  is really chill, and they mostly talk about sex and getting high which are not necessarily bad topics for a relaxing song ;)

Guns'n'Roses - Paradise City
-> Oh my god, I can not believe that I have not put this on here yet, the first time I smoked my favorite plant was to this song, it is just such a great piece of music, Axl Rose as vocalist and Slash on the guitar are just an unbeatable combo!

Mt Eden - Sierra Leone
-> Mt Eden is great at creating tunes that have the heaviest of bass while still remaining extremely calm and relaxing at the same time, which is an art in itself if you ask me, and this song is the epitome of said art...Enjoy! :)

This was it for today, I hope you guys (and gals of course) enjoyed reading this entry, and please feel free to use the comment section to voice your opinion on the post itself or the contents it concerned itself with! ;)


Sunday, January 12, 2014

2014, eh?

In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.                                                                                                                                                                              - Hunter S. Thompson

Well, in a month and a few days it will be nine years since the genius Hunter S. Thompson shot himself.

Most of you will, if at all, only have heard of him due to the movie "Fear And Loathing in Las Vegas", which is nothing to be ashamed of, but I personally was so fascinated by this character's depiction in said cinematic masterpiece that I had to start digging into his real-life counterpart, Hunter S. Thompson. And I was amazed by my findings to say the least. This guy was the living epitome of all I have ever wanted - a crazy, uncontrolled lifestyle only held together by an underlying genius expressed in his works that will remain for eternity.

And he left the way all the good ones leave us - Cobain-style if you will. But the thing that sets Thompson aside is that he did not finally work up the guts to end his life because he was wallowing in misery and depression like Kurt, but rather because he had serious health problems that would have impaired him in his abilities to function on his own, which is something he wanted to avoid. I believe he said that he always wanted to retain the ability to kill himself if he wanted to, but you'd have to google that if you want a reliable source confirming it.

Point being that he valued his free will more than anything, even more than life itself, ready to die when it was compromised.

And god damn it, this guy is fucking inspiring. He speaks the language of liberty, formulates the fabric of freedom and shows the significance of self-determination in a world dominated by pseudo-freedom and oppression, all while remaining genuinely entertaining and not getting all preachy on his audience.

I am seriously starting to think about writing something "real" in the future, maybe even pursue a career in writing of sorts, not that I have any aspiration of every making any money doing so, but I'd consider it a win if I could get my thoughts on real paper, as opposed to contributing to the deterioration of the English language and proper communication by blogging, as my favorite fictional author Hank Moody would say. But I am loosing my train of thought here and getting off-topic, if there ever was a topic to begin with.

Hm, seeing as I have already dipped into the whole freedom and self-determination thing once again, I might as well use that as a starting point, which also relates to the Hunter S. Thompson introduction, simply due to the fact that he had quite similar views as myself on these topics from what I have read. 
Beware that I am right now only really getting into the guy, I have just ordered the "Gonzo Papers" on Amazon and am currently waiting to discover more of his works, so I am by no means an expert in this field and all information here is subject to errors in research, ergo, if you want to find out more details about him, do some research yourself and don't rely on my ramblings here.
Hunter believed, as I do, that people looking to expand their consciousness using psychoactive substances should not criminalized by any governmental entity, but a controlled and regulated market should be made accessible to adults, because "[l]ook at Prohibition: all it did was make a lot of criminals rich. Should be legalized for a matter of sanity." (Thompson, 1997)

Of course, he is also a man that was referred to as a "walking chemical laboratory" so this statement may not seem surprising or convincing to some, but if you have ever read any of his more political works you would quickly come to the conclusion that this man was not a mere drug-addict that happened to have a way with words, no, this man was pure genius infused into a drug-crazed journalist that did not feel like writing journalistic texts the way everyone else did but rather founded a new style of journalistic writing.
And how could a person judge or even just talk about something without having experienced it? How can people that have merely read about possible specters of the effects that something may have on certain individuals decide that said thing should not be made available to the public by their governments, but rather by criminals? Yes I know, I am essentially just paraphrasing a Food For Thought from earlier, but this topic apparently needs to be revisited again and again in order to slowly make people understand that other people have the right to decide what they put in their bodies for themselves. It's not like they're doing anything else as I type. The people that have never touched drugs now would also not have touched them if they were legal and vice versa, meaning the legal status of a substance does not affect demand or supply, making prohibition a fallacious way of reasoning - forcing abstinence on people has never worked, does not work, and is not ever going to work. Period.

And the sooner the people in power realize this simple fact and allow us to free our minds the better - for the development of humanity away from oppression and chains to liberation and freedom - for psyche and body alike.

Hunter S. Thompson had realized this. And he was on the board of NORML in the earliest days of the movement, and dedicated many hours and pages to drugs, their use and legalization alike. He showed us that albeit taking many many drugs and not showing any limitations, he managed to be one of the greatest authors/journalists I have ever had the pleasure of reading and retained his independence even in death, which is actually quite beautiful if you ask me.

I see in the man an iconic figure, for his generation and many to come, including mine. We need people like H.S. Thompson to show us that the status quo is not the dull, never-ending, relentless pursuit of the bourgeois life, but rather an exciting, empowering and simply weird journey that will only end when the body can no longer support the mind and collapses in a final, norm-defying grin that echoes in history.

The very idea of going out like that gives me superhuman chills running up my spine like Olympic sprinters defying the concept of speed and instantly arriving at the finish line that is the release of various molecular substances in my brain, making the mere thought a sensational experience in itself. Don't get me wrong, I have never seriously contemplated suicide, but if I had the choice I would rather burn out than fade away, as aforementioned musical legend Kurt Cobain once rightly said.

Anyway, I think what I am getting at is that how you think and how you live or even act is not what you'll judged by in the long run - your words however, are. They will live on even after the last person to remember you being a complete asshole to those around you has died, they will carry on your legacy, and they will define your worth to future generations. If H.S. Thompson and K. Cobain had not written, in one case books and articles and in the other one lyrics, they would, if at all, only have been remembered for being drug-users that ended up killing themselves, yet another fantastic fairytale for the prohibitionists to exploit, but seeing as both of them did write, we can today remember them as the geniuses they were, a piece of their minds is and always will be within those that have been touched by their words, and that is true immortality.
These words will also have an effect on the future itself, seeing as words formulate ideas, ideas create thoughts, thoughts lead to actions, and actions ultimately bring change, maybe just for one person, maybe for all of mankind, but the effect is present, making above-mentioned immortality even more graspable due to the fact that one can change lives even in death.

So, if you "buy the ticket, take the ride" my readers, and live your life to its fullest extent, whether it is within societal norms or not, be yourself and indulge whenever possible, restraint is for the dead.

....and to conclude this entry, no more words are needed, just music:

Flux Pavilion feat. Major Lazer - Jah No Partial
-> two great artists came together and made a great song, 'nuff said!

Tupac feat. Jah Cure - All By Myself
-> I didn't know this song until I heard it in a Coffeeshop one day tbh, it is a great song with a great message that definitely needs to be here!

You think this will link to a song...
...NOPE! Just Chuck Testa :D I have to admit that it's pretty stupid, but rib-crushingly funny non the less, so if you don't know, now you know, biatch!

Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger
-> whether you first heard it in the Rocky Movies, referenced by some cartoon, or elsewhere - everybody has heard this song, and everybody enjoys it, I really wonder why I didn't put it here earlier (if I did please let me know, I don't cross-check these things)...

Dead Prez - Hip Hop
-> 'nuff said.

The Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love?
-> I know that this song is not necessarily what you'd expect from me, but it's a beautiful song from a time when music was about more than just partying and sounding 'cool', a time when music was used to show social inequalities, bring injustices to a large audience and stick it to the man...

...and in the spirit of sticking it to the the man , and of course in the spirit of Hunter S. Thompson, I wish all of my readers and everyone who wants to hear it a great year 2014 and lots of personal fulfillment!


P.S.: I might update more regularly from now on, and then again I might not, we'll see :D