Ted Cleaver

Tag: Winning

K.O.-ing mosquitos

Buzz buzz splat. Damn you, bloodsuckers. Don’t stick me, and don’t disturb my sleep. We, the human race that is, hate you. But you are elusive and sometimes resilient.

Swatting mosquitos is a violent act that expresses with unmistakable clarity who we accept in our sphere and who or what we can do without. Do not bug me, I will strike you down with a clap, kitchen towel, or a zapper.

Using the second item, it occasionally happens that the offender is out for the count, but comes back at you. I K.O.-ed several mosquitos, did not finish them off, and was surprised to watch an apparently groggy stinger swerve through the air. Easy pickings from there, and trust me, judgement was passed and executed swiftly.

Moral of the story: you have to commend these tiny creatures for their fighting spirit. Going round two against a foe that is in every way superior demands respect. Maybe I will let the next lecherous culprit live in case it survives my initial assault. Doubt it though.


Falling in Love

Living a loving life is the word. Love has many beautiful forms, each of which enrich our lives. One of the most exciting and refreshing feelings is to fall in love. It happened to me last summer while rolling sushi with this little mermaid I had met two days earlier. We hit it off from the moment we met.

I’d Pick More DaisiesJ.L. Borges D. Herold

She was sitting on a bridge that leads into the city centre. I was on my way to have biological burgers with my posse from work, an appointment I had perfect reason to be late for. Her radiant smile sparked my interest. I wanted her. There was enough attraction for me to ravage Goldilocks’ curls right then and there, but I figured self-control is sexy. So I leave with nothing but the names of her and her friend. Two days later we share our first kiss, while waiting for the train that would take our bento and us to an idyllic little park. The sensation of falling for someone is so vibrantly expressed through our sense of touch. Whether it’s holding hands or exchanging passionate kisses, there is a subtle desire that grows until it envelops you completely. Sweet temptation, flirtatious gesture, affectionate embrace, exhilarating interaction, and playful persuasion, seduction is you. Entice me, engage me; let me take you by the hand, trust me, let me love you. Being in love is a continuous surge of pleasure that transforms the way you look at the world.

“Love is a serious addiction.” – H. Fisher

Pioneering brain research offers rational explanations for the sensation. Phenylethylamine causes love-drunkenness, noradrenalin and cortisol trigger excitement, and dopamine and endorphins reward you with euphoria. We are equipped with the biological equivalent of highly potent love potions. There is a lot to be said about their supply and effects, what’s important here is that our neurochemistry allows for passion without long-term commitment. Helen Fisher conducted MRI scans, charting brain activity of people who were madly in love. One of the most surprising findings is that the immediate desire, the urge, to be with the person you fell for does not stem from your emotional core – the (meso)limbic system. Instead, the must-have-you craving is neurologically analogous to a cocaine rush. The burning desire to be with your lover naturally grows more powerful. This addiction is fuelled by the hormonal concoctions your very own love bazar peddles, quite ironically to the point of obsession in case of rejection. Finishing up on neuroscience, oxytocin is the hormone responsible for long-term commitment and monogamy. It may be an evolutionary failsafe, as it comes to dominate once the other invigorating effects have worn off.

“Love is a perfectly normal improbability.” – N. Luhman

Luhman believes that true love comes down to fulfilling each other’s expectations. This arrangement is by far less profound for lovers. Nonetheless falling in love is exactly that, improbable and yet normal. It is normal because we are social animals, but it is improbable because the likelihood of meeting someone who transcends our preferences and desires is quite small. If the magical improbability does occur it should be cherished and treasured. Last summer, I discovered the Holstee Manifesto and was getting more and more adept at Bikram (hot yoga), while my love ninja shared her fascination for contemporary interpretations of Zen teachings with me. Connecting on a spiritual level provided fertile ground for fully appreciating all our experiences. Dreaming under the clear blue sky, partying in clubs, feasting on Asian fusion cooking, learning from each other, going deep between the sheets, and laughing it up, every moment was one in augmented awareness. One of the best parts of being in love is discovering improbable similarities in the little things. For instance, this girl might be the only person I know who used to fill her cup until it nearly spilled over, something I always do with delicious drinks.

“Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas.” – B. Pascale

Our adventure was intense and uplifting but ended rather quickly. My friends called her gorgeous and pressed me for answers. They wanted to know what had gone wrong, why I no longer spoke of her. The truth is that both of us are wise enough to follow our hearts, and both our hearts stopped beating for each other. Emotions can be elusive, that is what makes them exciting. Rationality on the other hand demands a sensible explanation. Moreover, when exiting a relationship the brain’s negotiator shows increased activity, weighing pro’s and con’s of the person you are dismissing. Con’s by definition will reflect negatively on a very special experience. The arrangement between emotion and reason is functional; it does wonders for protecting your ego. There is one fundamental problem though. Blaise Pascale coined it. We all know it. Rationality can never ever explain, let alone reflect, the thrill of falling in love. Theoretical and empirical insights approximate the truth, but the experience itself is on an entirely different level. Whether our hearts tell us to keep holding on while our minds signal the red flag, or our emotions subside while all expectation points towards a shared future, the heart is the only authority in love matters. Trust it. There is no need to detract from a little bit of bliss. Because if the only legitimate decision is made from deep within all other reasons fall by the wayside. For me, nothing had gone wrong past summer. Everything went exactly the way it should. From intense crush to beautiful memory, bypassing the hangover, our affair was pure win.

Poetry may have been a better choice to reflect how I feel about this subject.
This romance was quite unique because of the parallels in how we felt at what point.
Of course this is a bit of idealization, when telling each other it was over there was a whole lot of less bliss for a week or two. The End.


You should step out of your comfort zone every day and try something new every day. Living by that creed is a recipe for frustrated expectations, trying to do so as often as possible on the other hand is quite rewarding. Today the good people of Cedo Nulli organized a free Lacrosse workshop and of course I had to join.

Archer Sterling, the womanizing secret agent extraordinaire, demonstrated his Lacrosse prowess when he became the king of a group a Malaysian pirates. To be honest, if it wasn’t for Archer, the invitation for the workshop might have slipped my attention. But following in the tracks of the alpha who puts James Bond and Johnny Bravo to shame is an honour and a privilege. To put it in Sterling vernacular, Lacrosse day was bound to be awesome.

And it was. The game is even more of a challenge than I had hoped for. To begin with, learning how to properly catch and throw the ball with your Lacrosse stick requires technique and proficient hand-eye coordination. After a couple of tries my partner and I got pretty decent at it, enough to pass the ball back and forth without missing too many. You can catapult a ball 20 to 30 metres easily. Having acquired some basic skills, it was time for the next episode: Lacrosse gear!

The team sport with a bit of a rich white kid reputation is surprisingly physical. Full-on tackles to the upper body, including shoulders, are allowed. Head, neck, back, and legs are off limits. You can tackle with either your own body weight or by flinging your stick at your victim. The most common injuries, we were told, are sprained ankles and fractured ribs. Not to worry though, injuries are rare. Protective gear that makes you feel, yes, awesome, reduces the impact of blows. You get a helmet, gloves, shoulder and elbow protectors, and armour for your torso.

The game itself is quite intense. You run a lot, throw passes, try to keep an overview of the field, and ideally score. My team won 2-1 today. The sweet taste of victory. I’ll definitely be back for at least one more round of Lacross fun. The sport has serious addictive potential; however so do dancing, running, fitness, yoga, kickboxing, and cooking good food. How to allocate your time with so many choices? A luxury problem, as the Dutch would say.