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!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The damned brakes

were not working anymore, and had not been working for quite a while. 
Still, we were three people huddled together on a small electric scooter doing about 28 miles per hour on a freeway in the middle of the night, all heavily tripping -- including myself, and I was driving -- on some over-the-counter medicine and a variety of uppers. I was fully dissociated and could not make out any differences between reality and hallucinations anymore, and neither could any of my friends for that matter. I was constantly ducking so as to avoid probably fictional branches whilst dodging imaginary obstacles, causing other travelers to honk and curse at us excessively. "Fuck, does anyone know where we are or where we're going?", I screamed at the two zombies sitting behind me, not really expecting an answer. "To the club" said one of them, his mouth almost falling off of his chin. "To your place" said the other, whose innards were showing through a gaping hole where his stomach would have supposed to be. Fucking hell, this was going to be a bitch of a ride - from nowhere to nowhere with the plague of the twenty-first-century riding on the back of my scooter. But this was not the time to deal with this geegaw. A monstrously large truck was stopping way too close to the beam barrier a few hundred yards in front of us, and the damned brakes were still not even remotely functional. So I jammed my feet onto the asphalt -- lacerating my shoes and blowing the protective plastic of my soles to smithereens -- in order not to drive into said beast of a vehicle. Which did of course not create a big enough force to fully stop the scooter in time, but fortunately reduced our speed significantly enough to leave us harm-free after impact. "Impact" - we actually just rammed the truck a little, shattering the headlights and the protective wheel-cover of my electric bike to tiny pieces, but not causing damage to any third party. And albeit not having caused an accident per se, we were quite anxious due to our mutually heavy intake of psychoactive substances that day, so we decided to flee the scene rather abruptly, meaning that I hastily turned the electric pile of garbage that served as our vehicle around, drove wrong-way for a while, and then swirled over the median and ascended to the highway. My erratic patterns of thought and sporadic bodily spasms that fittingly came into being whilst doing so made driving straightly not only a challenge, but a downright impossibility, which, on a highway, was turning our trip into a dire health hazard, and slowly beginning to make me feel queasy. But I was nevertheless - even more actually - in need of focusing on the road, seeing as all our lives depended on my largely impaired driving skills. 
But hot damn, the velocity felt good! I pushed the electric bike all the way up to about 33 mph and drove maniacally on the median, laughing into the winds of destiny whilst smirking at the sheer weirdness and danger we were finding ourselves in. We were on our way to the edge, and would probably not even notice when we'd reach it and be propelled into a dark oblivion of death, injury, and misery. But we had not gotten there yet, and I felt that we needed to go further; and since sobriety was still far away, and my friends were still zombies, I was free to do whatever the hell I pleased anyway. I would not hold back anymore I decided, and roared down the highway, still almost losing control of the bike every couple of minutes due to either muscular spasms or wet spots on the road. Actually, the bike was not the only thing I was losing control of: my mind was going rogue as well, and all sorts of weird monomaniac obsessions took hold of my thoughts every few seconds, making decision-making utterly impossible. "I need to go faster and harder on the curves to clear my mind" I shouted back at the two silent zombies. I did not know why these fucking decaying cadaver assholes were not talking, but I did not concern myself with it all too much either, and boomed on along the highway until I saw a serpentine exit route, and, wanting to push my luck, decided to take it. Zoom, zoom, zoom! I rushed downhill, barely making the curves and now even less in charge of the scooter's movements, but exhilarated and cranked up, hungry for more action. When we finally descended from the highway, I suddenly did not have any passengers anymore, which enticed me to stop and find out where those damned zombies from earlier had gone to. I got off the scooter and looked around  a bit, when all of a sudden my friends materialized behind me out of thin air, no longer being zombies. "You rotten bastards, what kind of sorcery is this?" I shouted. "What the fuck are you talking about? We need to head back to your place, man!" and "Where the hell are we anyway?" were their answers. I did not know about any of that, so I lit a cigarette and pondered the issue at hand. We were in the middle of nowhere, the bike's battery was running low, and any of us could fall back into a drug-induced craze that might lead us into the next disaster at any point. We were somewhat fucked. But I didn't want to think about that for the time being. I remembered that we had some high-percentage whiskey and a lot of cheap grass stowed in the storage compartment of the scooter, so I decided to get both, and whilst I struggled to roll an awful-looking joint my friends opened the bottle of scotch. We finished the bottle and almost an eighth of the weed, and decided to just drive back in the direction we came from in order to try finding my place. We crammed ourselves back on the scooter, and, due to the lack of battery, drove down the road at about 15 mph. After what felt like at least ten hours of slow-mo crawling through the swamp of outskirt-roads we finally got back to somewhat familiar surroundings. So we decided to hunker down at a cheap internet café -- they charged about 5 cents per hour -- that was near the crossroads we had just gotten to in order to come back to reality a bit using the remainder of the grass whilst playing Counterstrike 1.6. As we were all still insanely on edge from the journey, we decided not to play a game that consisted of us shooting each other after all, and rather put on extremely loud Rock'n'Roll music and smoked a couple of blunts. A few hours went by, and when we were high enough to be calm again, we got back on the death-trap scooter without brakes, and headed on to my place. 
Alas, our feeling of sobriety was a falsity. As soon as we hit the road again, I sensed a diziness slowly building up in my subconscious and quickly drifiting towards the conscious part of my cerebrum, instantly deluding the differences between the both of them and thereby catapulting me back into a daredevil speeding-frenzy: I needed to go west. I did not know why, but west was the way to go. So I looked at the road sign which had the cardinal directions inscribed into its plastic surface, discovered the small W on the left-hand side, and turned the run-down electric scooter in that very direction. Whilst driving down the avenue I needed to avoid weird flickers of light that were scattered across my vision and sometimes randomly materialized into other drivers. Upon arriving at a crossroads, I checked the road sign to see whether or not we were still going west. To my suprise, it was the same road sign again; it was the same fucking crossroads! 
This had to be a question of mere focus I thought, and so I pedantically re-examined the sign, found the small W once more on the left-hand side, and once again turned the scooter into that very direction. I pushed the electric vehicle to its remaining maximum velocity, hurrying down the avenue until we got to yet another crossroads. Which, after examining the road sign for a while, turned out to be the exact same spot again. I was getting desperate, and my friends' faces had completely melted for some reason, so they would not be very helpful either. I repeated the same steps as earlier: I made sure I was driving in the proper direction, took off, and arrived at the same place. Over and over again. After the fifth or sixth time, I was coming close to a nervous break-down. My friends' status had deteriorated even further, they had by now melted down to mushy globs of skin-colored mud, so still no help there. I decided to just say Fuck It and drive east this time. And just as I managed to slowly rotate the steering wheel to the right - I blacked out. When my brain reattached itself to my central nervous system and consciousness, we were already nearing my place. Or rather - I was. No-one else was there. But what the hell, I reckoned that they must have taken a taxi or something like that.
A few more minutes of unstable driving ensued, and I finally pulled into the driveway of my place, happy to be home at last. I locked the scooter, plugged its charger into it, and entered the house through the door that was located inside of the garage. I went straight to the kitchen without switching on a single light, opened the fridge, went blind for a minute upon seeing the brightly-lit white inside of this temple of cool freshness shine through the darkness surrounding it, got a large bottle of water, closed the fridge again and went downstairs. When I entered my room, I sat down and instantly took a five-minute-long gulp of the water bottle, almost draining the entirety of its content. "Ah!" I breathed out, feeling replenished and freed of thirst. Afterwards, I rolled another small J, smoked it, and proceeded to sleep for almost eleven hours...

Hm. I have never posted a story like this on here before, and I was thinking I'd try that format out for a change. It is probably of interest to you how much truth there is in that story, and well, all elements presented in it are true. These things did not necessarily happen in that chronological order, or even on the same day or in the same month, but they all happened. I just combined them here for your reading pleasure, and I hope I was successful at doing so. Please let me know what you think about this kind of post, and if you would like to see something like this again on here at some point. I hope that it goes without saying that none of the above should ever be tried at home, I am still baffled that I survived all of the brake-less scooter-trips I have had the displeasure of partaking in in my time, and do not want anyone trying their luck with that kind of shit because they read it here. 
And well, in this light I'll leave you be, and, as always, give you a few musical gems to enjoy:

Ol' Dirty Bastard - Baby I Got Your Money
-> Oh yeah, here's some good ol' dirty bastard for y'all! I don't think this classic track needs any kind of introduction to be honest, you should all know this tune, and well, the guy was a freaky but awesome musician who died way too young because of a bad mixture of cocaine and tramadol. Which is maybe why he had such a unique, never-seen-before style of rapping. Anyway, this song definitely needed featuring on here, so... Enjoy!

Eazy-E - Eazy Duz It 
-> "Well, I'm Eazy-E, I got bitches galore. You may have a lot of bitches, but I got much more". Another timeless classic, this time out of Dre's camp, the infamous, notorious Eazy-E! I can not for the life of me figure out how I could have forgotten to post this tune until now, and am somewhat disappointed with myself to be honest. But well, here it is, so... Enjoy!

Warren Zevon - Lawyers, Guns, and Money
-> I know, Warren Zevon again, but I keep finding great songs of his, plus this one is being referenced in one of Hunter S. Thompson's works somewhere, although I can't for the life of me remember where and don't have the book nearby to check, but I'll update regarding that. Anyway, great song sung by a great artist, so... Enjoy!

Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone 
-> Well, here goes another Bob Dylan song, and well, this one's a beauty, with truthful and deep lyrics underlined by awesome music. Dylan truly is a living legend, and this song shows just why that is, so... Enjoy!

Alpha Noize & Bass System - Infected (Spag Heddy Remix) 
-> Wow. I am speechless. I have featured Spag Heddy on here before, and he doesn't cease to amaze me: This is one raw fucking track! Amazing bass, a goosebumps-inducing underlying melody, coupled with outer-worldly drops, producing a sheer mind-blowing awesomeness that will remain lingering in your every thought for a few days, so... Enjoy!

Music Predators - Adventure Time (Condukta Remix) 
-> Well, I have to admit that this isn't one of the best songs I have posted on here so far. But it still elicits a feeling in me I cannot quite put into words, plus it is a pretty cool song with a nice melody and an awesome use of bass. By the way, you may have noticed that this and the previous song were both featured on the "MA Dubstep" Channel, which I would like to recommend not as an alternative but as an addition to the UKF channel, seeing as they have some great amazingly raw tracks as well. Anyway, I do like this song, so... Enjoy!

So, I have finished this post in about 10 days, which is actually prior to my newly-set deadline of two weeks, but well, the sooner the better, ain't it? Anyhow. I hope you have enjoyed this largely different post, and of course today's selection of songs.


Friday, September 5, 2014

The Zeitgeist of our age

is basically non-existent. The hippies defined the zeitgeist of the sixties as a peaceful, drug-fueled revolt against the forces of Old and Evil. The seventies were defined by Disco, the eighties by Rock, the nineties by Rap. But what is the zeitgeist, the spirit, heck, the meaning of the millennial years? Is there even any? Or are we slowly drifting away from a unified sense in our period and approaching a highly-individualized era of senselessness? I mean, what is today's literature made up of? Thrillers, cheap romance novels, investigative pieces on the NSA scandal that came into being way too late, and well, science-fiction and fantasy novels. But is there really a trend in this seemingly random arrangement of themes prevalent in this languish mass of essentially wasted paper? I am by no means a literary expert of any kind, so I cannot know with any certainty, but to me it seems that there is no trend, no meaning, no spirit, nothing at all in the accumulated piles of words that are being thrown at the unsuspecting reader in any and all bookstores around the world.

But that's not fair to say vis-à-vis some grand literary productions that have seen the light of day in the current time and age we so selfishly call 'ours'. There are a myriad great books filled with a plethora of valuable and interesting content-matter out there, I am by no means trying to deny that. But I am missing a golden thread throughout this period that would tie everything together in a unifying thriving to achieve a certain meaningful message in each and every little piece of literature being created. Which is actually not that weird; I'm fairly certain that when literary critics of future years examine the culture we're exhibiting in writing today they'll see a sense in that jumbled mess we're currently finding ourselves in. Albeit having to cede the possible fallacy of that assumption solely because we, and therefore also our writing is getting dumber by the minute, I am still optimistic in our generation succeeding in defining a movement, even if it is the kind that is only apparent in retrospect. Maybe everything written, recorded, and filmed is just a small molecular structure playing its role in a far larger system that it could not even begin to visualize. Maybe all publications have their meaning, but only in a chain of events that has not yet been set into motion and will only be visible once that it has run its course and gone down in history. And maybe not. Perhaps we are after all but players performing on a run-down stage for a non-existent audience merely thinking that we contribute to an equally fictional literary pedigree defined by an undefinable zeitgeist. But I don't really know about any of that to be honest, and actually cannot possibly know. Because if I could, I would be writing about just that - the soul of today's literature, the spirit of our generation, the zeitgeist of our time. And I know I've overused these words in this post already, and it's not that my vocabulary has suddenly devolved to a level far below par, but much rather that I lack synonyms/similar words describing the idea I am trying to convey as fittingly as the ones I have used. So I'll just stick to those.
Anyway. Since I have started writing, I have always tried to maintain a certain standard not only in regard to quality but especially in regard to the message and sense in my words; I have personally always been eager to learn a little something when reading a book, blog, or basically anything, and am therefore trying to incorporate just that in my writing, so that my readers may be inspired to change a few things in themselves, or be enticed to rethink a few points prevalent in their lives, or even just be craving to criticize what I wrote and therefore deal with the topics I have approached. Any and all of these things make me happy. Having an impact on people is a great feeling in itself, and if it is positive it is even more so. I am of course in no position to be claiming to have great truths to offer to mankind that would alter one's perception of things drastically, but I do think that I know a couple of things and have a few opinions that might at least help shape people's own opinion of certain topic. But I have said pretty much that at the end of basically every entry so far. So, what am I getting at with this seemingly random tangent about my intentions when composing these posts for you? Well, if you remember, we were talking about the unified sense in the literary era we currently find ourselves in, and, well, I figured that if everyone has at least similarly high ambitions when it comes to creating meaningful content as I have, this unifying meaning might just be present in today's literature and media after all. Or at least I hope so. Because otherwise, all authors and entertainers would merely be defined by their own legacy, and not be perceived as contributors to a certain significant value that defined their period. Which in one sense would be great, simply because no-one would be able to just ride along on the wave that is the zeitgeist of their period without himself being an even almost-decent author, but on the other hand it would be a horrid perversion of any literary creation, because any author whose work actually holds value is adding that value to society, so just focusing on the work itself would actually be demeaning to said creation.
Although I have to admit that when watching national TV I am rather ambivalent about aforementioned hope of today's media and literature having more meaning than the sum of their parts. Because the bullshit that is pandering to the lowest common denominator in society is being called great television nowadays, and the irrelevant "news stories" that are essentially just the mad illusions of some paparazzi are being treated as quality journalism. And that alone is such a gargantuan sign of foulness and decay in the media world that I cannot actually stand behind my own aforementioned thoughts about everybody else putting as big an emphasis on quality and meaning within their content as it would be appropriate to do. I mean, art, music, and writing were always supposed to be a means to convey a message or at least an emotion to an audience. But nowadays it only seems like a means to make ends meet and enriching oneself beyond any reasonable need. Which is fine. I love to see people in the entertainment business actually being able to live from their art, but the focus of said work should be to actually create something of value to others that goes beyond entertainment in itself. Something that might actually have a positive impact on people's life. Something that might elevate their dull and languish status quo to a meta-sphere of understanding and excitement. Or at least something that elicits some kind of feeling in audiences that causes them to ponder the addressed topics over and over in order to form an opinion on them. But I am just reiterating my previous points here. The main essence has hopefully already been understood by you guys: entertainment should always strive to hold some deeper meaning than the sum of its parts and thereby enrich your life in some way. At least in my opinion that is. But apparently, that opinion is slowly becoming threatened with extinction in the great pool of opinion sharks looking to devour smaller but more intelligent fish by the dozen.

Anyway. This is not only applicable to literature, arts, and media, but also to a business environment. A businesses' main purpose besides making profit should be to create some sort of value for the customer that goes beyond the product being sold in itself. A practice that has by now become commonplace in most industries actually, but for some reason flew by the entertainment sector without leaving its marks. Which is sad, because why should we expect more from some slimy-ass corporate plug than from those having dedicated their lives to bringing enjoyable media to others?
I mean for Fuck's sake, it's supposed to be the other way round isn't it? The business guys are supposed to be those doing their best to not deliver any additional value because that would mean additional costs for them, and the entertainment people are those supposed to be working their asses off to deliver as much value in their "products" as they possibly can! But somewhere along the way some wires seem to have gotten crossed, and suddenly up is down, right is wrong, and the entertainment sector is less ethically and socially responsible than most large corporations. Ha. This is essentially the exact same conclusion I came up with one paragraph prior to this one, but well, I think I've highlighted another aspect here that might seem downright weird to some. I mean, it is of course not true that all multinationals are suddenly acting as saints or anything like that. All I am saying is that it is less surprising by now to see a company act ethically and socially responsible than seeing a music label and its artists doing so. Which is another huge indicator of the foulness and decay within the entertainment industry in this day and age. And it saddens me to see how fucking low we have stooped, to what primal level we have receded. 
Hm. For some reason most of my posts boil down to this, don't they? In the end, it's always about the inner decay within humanity that ruins so many great things. Whether or not that is universally applicable is something I am quite ambivalent about though. On one hand it is true that those things most prevalent in media are obviously those the masses choose to watch, because otherwise they would not have big enough of an audience to allow them to stay on the air, so signs of decay in the media landscape can be treated as a mere outlet of the decay happening in the society producing it. On the other hand, most mainstream media are in the tight grip of large corporations and therefore only strive to produce short-term profits for share- and stakeholders, so the decay in the media world might just be a projection of the greedy ways of those in power. Whichever way you decide to look at it though, I can think we can all agree that entertainment nowadays is not what it used to be. Or at least not the way it' supposed to be, if it ever was. And well, as I have said so many times at the end of so many paragraphs, that is just fucking sad. 

But I am really just paraphrasing myself to some extent here. You have understood the main point I am trying to convey by now, and if you haven't then all the writing I could produce wouldn't help you anymore, so going on would be a futile effort on my part. And therefore I am not going to take it. I am in delay enough as it is anyway without making this post any longer, so I am going to stop. Apropos the delay though, I have decided to change my personal deadline to every two weeks seeing as I have not even been close to making the weekly deadline for, like, ever, so I am just being honest to you and to myself by changing this deadline to posting twice a month. I hope you don't mind all too much and have enjoyed this post. In this light I'll as always leave you be with some great music:

Funxion - Something Different
-> Well this is indeed something different. Great melodic beginning, than a really unexpected drop with these shadowy snare hits in the background that make this great tune such an epically melodic yet energetic piece of music. And well the MA Dubstep logo looks fucking cool, so... Enjoy!

Bakermat - One Day (Vandaag)
-> The video to this track is somewhat confusing to me, but I do love the song nevertheless. The saxophone combined with the awesome deep house beat and the inspirational speech that Martin Luther King gave during that fateful march in Washington all those years ago. It's goosebumps-inducing to say the least. Amazing tune, and a fucking enthralling saxophone melody, so... Enjoy!

Wu-Tang Clan - Killer Bees 
-> "Let's take it back to '79!!" Wu-Tang in their prime, insane beat, great rap, just an amazing, classic track that definitely needed featuring here, so... Enjoy!

Method Man - Bring The Pain 
-> Well, here's what always happens when I listen to Wu-Tang: I hear Meth's part and I get reminded of some great song of his, and immediately switch to listening to it. Which in this case is good for you guys, because I can now share this classic gem with you. Great video, amazing lyrics, legendary MC, and an overall awesome track, so... Enjoy!

Bob Dylan - Mr. Tambourine Man (5/4/65) Bootleg 
-> For lack of the "original" version on YouTube (fuckers...), here is a bootlegged version of the great Dylan tune that was played at Hunter S. Thompson's funeral, and is just a beautiful and timelessly classic song that has a deeper meaning to it, so... Enjoy!

Warren Zevon - The French Inhaler
-> Here is possibly the greatest "fuck you, ex" song ever composed to this day, and asides the obvious benefits of venting by listening to it, it is just a fucking amazing piece of music. Warren Zevon's music is just so great, and I cannot say that I have found a song of him that I actually dislike so far, so... Enjoy!

Well. This post took an eternity to complete once again and I can now with certainty say that my next one will also take about the same amount of time, seeing as I am stuck with university tasks and projects, and also as of lately with community service, which is just fucking annoying and has no rehabilitative effects whatsoever. But well. Shit happens, and I'll just get through with it as quickly as I can and then never ever let the thought of it interfere with any electrical impulses between my neurons ever again.
Anyhow. I hope that this post was enjoyable to you, and well, as always, that you learned something or were enticed to rethink things, but you know the deal.