Saturday, November 6, 2010

P.S. This is what I look like.

And then?

I made another rash decision. I decided to start my new blog immediately. It's called No more pissing around. (I went off the other name.) To find out how my first night back on the piss went, and how all my hairbrained schemes and adventures work out (I know it's meant to be harebrained by the way, but I prefer the vision of a brain being replaced by an airy ball of hair instead of with the tiny offerings of a small animal's skull), please (pleeeeeease) follow me at
Farewell my favourite humans,
Love, as always,
(Why am I being so dramatic? I'm totally gonna see you on the other blog.)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 365: time to celebrate.

Are we where I think we are? Can this really be my 365th day off the piss coming to a close? As I left work this evening I couldn't help feeling a little bit ridiculously excited - not for the ensuing alcohol, but for the fact that for once in my life I'd stuck to my guns and finished something. Can you remember what I was like way back at the very beginning? A pitiful, dehydrated and angry little thing, scared shitless of the prospect of going without wine. Now here I am, 365 days out, and I've bloody well done it. But before we get too carried away with self-congratulation, maybe we should examine a couple of the other things I said way back when; like my hypothesis for example. On Day 2, I hypothesised thus: "by not drinking for 365 days, I will remove many of the obstructions that get in the way of me achieving my dreams. By removing the distraction of alcohol and the fallout that goes with it, my mind and waking hours will be free to be used productively. This new clarity of mind and ability to focus will see me achieve amazing things." Then a few days later, I got specific about what I meant by amazing things: "1. Some tracks on the radio, shop-able on iTunes. 2. A video on youtube and maybe even TV (!) 3. Being in a band that plays great, packed-out live shows and may soon embark on a tour." Woa Mamma, let's break this down. Most of the hypothesis turned out to be completely true. I know I've said I'm incapable of focusing on one thing at a time, but in fact what I've done over the last 365 days is focus pretty solidly on keeping off alcohol, writing this blog, and using my free time productively. And in terms of achieving amazing things, I think that qualifies. Now let's look at the specifics. Do I have tracks on the radio? No. But I do have a heap of demos, a number of which are very close to being radio ready. I also know people who work at radio stations who might help me get them played. So I don't feel like a complete failure on point 1. Now, do I have a video on youtube or TV? Definitely not. But let's take things one step at a time. If the music keeps progressing in the right direction, a music video will come. They're not so hard to make these days. I have every confidence that if I just keep putting one musical foot in front of the other, I will get the video thing across the line. So to point 3. Am I in a band that plays great, packed-out live shows and may soon embark on a tour. No, I don't have a band at all. I just have me. But finally, I think I have reached a point where me might be enough, provided I have a little help from my friends. And now for the big doozy: am I, after My Year Off The Piss, a rock star? Well no, not strictly. But do I feel like one? Hell yes! Have my whole life. I was born believing I had a God-given right to rock. Whether I'm delusional in believing that is beside the point. It's my own happy little reality, and I ain't giving it up. What's more, in completing My Year Off The Piss, I have proven something I suspected for a while: impossible is bullshit. Impossible is the psychobabble we feed ourselves as an excuse for not attempting something we're scared of. To the vast majority of habitual drinkers, taking a year off alcohol seems entirely impossible. It's not. And being a rock star? I hate to disappoint the doubters among us, but no, that's not impossible either. Of course though, life has a habit of not fitting into neat little boxes, so I haven't managed rock stardom in time for the end of this blog. That's okay. I'll be keeping at it. And now I suppose it's time I wrapped this up. To you, for reading, I am eternally grateful. Along this crazy journey, you have been my ethereal force of energy and support, and without you I doubt I would have seen this day. Thank you. Tonight, fittingly, I celebrated with a yoga class. Tomorrow night (a Friday) I celebrate with friends and family over a bubble or two. And so we're done. Do yoga, try sober, and as my Dad always says, love everyone and everything. Peace out.

P.S. If by some miracle you're interested in knowing what happens next, I will be writing another blog (because a love of blog writing was another happy discovery along the way). It won't be exactly like this one (because that would be boring. And ridiculous.). I think it will be called The Next Thing (or TNT for short! Ha ha. Boom!). Tune in here some time soon, and I'll let you know what's up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Day 364: God has one hell of a sense of humour.

Okay. So I have been trying to remain positive about this, which has been difficult considering I'm actually kind of mortified and totally pissed off. I went to the doctor again today to discuss my annoying liver results. It turns out the liver level that would have been affected by alcohol is way down - which makes sense - but my other liver levels (there are several) that were previously totally fine are now up. I apologise for the boringness and perhaps overly revealing nature of this information, but I thought it was relevant. Why? Because it means that while I thought I was doing everything in my power to be hyper healthy (teetotalism, regular exercise, veganism/vegetarianism), I have somehow done something to bugger things up. Not enormously mind you - my levels are only slightly raised - but something I've been doing has been taxing my liver in a brand new way. You do something to be kind to your liver and unwittingly find a new way to be cruel. Bloody fucking hell. My doctor suggested I could try losing some weight. Yes, good idea. Except that I already exercise pretty much every day, eat weirdly healthy food just about all the time and eat pretty moderate amounts when I do. And let's get something straight: I am not a skinny girl, but I am not a fat girl either. My build is athletic, I move my ass, and I am an extremely health-conscious eater. I could definitely be thinner, I'm just not sure exactly how. Maybe my next blog should be My Year Eating From An Egg Cup, or 365 Tasty Ways With Air. Of course, all this is absolutely brilliant punishment for the anally retentive perfectionist that I am. A year of perfecty, goody-two-shoes behaviour, rewarded with a not quite perfect bill of health. So yeah, I'm pretty pissed. And God's laughing his arse off I imagine, while tucking into his third cream bun.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 363: the race that stops a nation.

Every year, on the first Tuesday in November, there is a horse race held in Melbourne, Australia. It lasts about four minutes. But they’re not just any four minutes. They are four minutes of Melbourne Cup magic. For all the palaver that surrounds it, you’d think that cup was full of the elixir of eternal youth or something. Actually it’s overflowing with money, but that’s another story. Anyway, for the Melbourne Cup, Australia stops. It downs tools, puts on suits, frocks and outrageous hats, bets its hard earned cash, and sinks a bucketload of piss. Oh yeah, and enjoys four minutes of heady, racing excitement. It’s all pretty fun actually. The race is definitely my favourite part. And why am I writing about it? Well it’s all happening today for one thing. For another, it was this day last year, and all the truly drunken madness that came with it, that necessitated my taking a year off alcohol. It was the mother of a hangover the next day that finally saw me say, now what was it? “Fuck you alcohol” I believe it might have been. And here I am one year later (give or take a couple of days), the most free from alcohol I have probably ever been in my adult life. It’s worth a moment. (Pause.) As I approach the very end of my self-enforced sobriety stint, I must admit I am a little scared. How will alcohol sit with me after all this time? How will my body and brain react? Will I make a complete cock of myself? Will I just slip back into habitual drinking like everybody else? Or am I just building the whole thing up way too much? Maybe I’ll like it, maybe I won’t. I’ll find out in a couple of days, and whatever happens, I’m pretty sure I can handle it.

Day 362: and then my liver fucks out?

Well this was unexpected. Back in my drinking days I had a blood test for something or rather that came back with slightly elevated liver levels. Considering the quantities of alcohol I used to sink of a weekend, I wasn't surprised, but I made a note to myself to consider cutting back. Then I took a year off alcohol, as you know, and the other day went to get another blood test done, mainly just to see what difference the whole thing had made to my health. And today I found out my liver levels are still slightly elevated. Apparently it's nothing to be alarmed about, and we will do more tests just to make sure, but are you freaking kidding? The one thing I thought I could be sure of after a year off booze was a healthy liver. Does this mean that my past drinking habits have permanently damaged my liver? Or do I have some kind of non-alcohol-related liver issues? Or is it just that I've drunk too much green tea (I just this minute googled a study that suggested green tea polyphenols in highly concentrated doses could damage your liver - who knew? And I do drink a lot of tea.). Well, no doubt my doctor will be able to shed some light on the sitch. But way to wipe the smug sober smile off my face. Blah blah blah I'm so happy, blah blah blah I feel so healthy. Pride, as always, comes before a fall (although, admittedly, "slightly elevated" doesn't exactly constitute a fall from Everest).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 361: I am very happy.

If there's one thing that has been an overriding theme of my year off the piss, it is happiness. Happiness of a Monday morning, happiness waking clear-eyed and headed of a Saturday or Sunday morning, happiness even in the face of not completely happy things happening - just happiness in general. And I think there are only really two things to which I can attribute this convincing and enduring swing to the sunny side: yoga and sobriety. Yoga (the Bikram kind in particular) is a magic tonic and curer of multitudinous ills. It has served to level my mind, teach me unwavering resolve, tone and stretch my body, and drastically improve my cardiovascular health and fitness (I no longer get asthma, I can jog pretty easily up a steep hill with next to no training, and I can sing a long phrase without needing to take a breath.). I think if everyone did Bikram even just twice a week, the world would be a distinctly better, happier and healthier place. Alcohol, on the other hand, is a liquid that, while potentially fun, brings with it a wagonload of trouble. For an evening of heady giggles and rubber limbs, we trade stomach trouble, dehydration, bad skin, weight gain, memory loss, brain damage, depression, significant money, and usually some kind of embarrassment stemming from our loose behaviour, not to mention whole sunny days that we miss while sleeping our evenings off. Put like that, surely no one in their right mind would touch alcohol. But we humans aren't always in our right minds. At some point in all our lives we need to blow off steam and do some crazy shit. Which is cool. But having gone from being one helluva crazy bitch on the alcohol front, to being as clean as a fresh fall of snow, and having felt the profound difference it has made to my mental state, body, skin, and general outlook on life, I can tell you I will be picking my moments for craziness very, very carefully in future. People write whole books on happiness and how illusive it is. I can (happily) say I am living happy pretty much every single day (and I sure as hell wasn't before). So if I'm going to mess with that, all I can say is, it had better be bloody worth it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 360: are we there yet?

Last night, while hanging out listening to music with my big brother Nic and my friend Kate, I had a thought. This is what it was: when we humans drink alcohol or take drugs, we do it to take a little holiday from ourselves. We do it to quieten down a nagging list of to-dos, or to soften our abrasive social edges, or to forget about some trouble or stress, or to release ourselves from shyness/boredom/anything we happen not to like; basically to escape from the uncompromising realities that are our unadorned, indelible selves and the brutal little lives we lead. When we are sober, we are forced to face up to the real stuff again; the facts. But often we don't like the facts, and so after a short while of living with them, we feel the need to take another little break. Which makes us feel better - while we're on the break. The trouble though with taking these little alcoholidays, is that they don't do anything to make the real life any better. In fact, they do the opposite - in a kind of double whammy. First, they distract you from doing anything to improve your real life by drugging and debilitating you. Second, they tend to make you feel even worse about your real life when you come crashing back down into it. So you start to hate your real life more and more, which makes you want to escape it more and more. And on it goes. I think they call it "a rut". Now if you're me, eventually you get so sick of life-hating and rut-dwelling, that one magical day you decide to bust yourself out. No more fuzzing out the bad bits anymore with whatever medicating substance, just hanging with the hard bastard that is real life, every minute of every freakin day. And hard bastards tend to punch you in the face from time to time. But once you've taken a few punches, you kind of learn to handle them. Okay so enough with the extended (kind of lame) metaphors. What I've realised is, not drinking forces you to face up to yourself. It forces you to look clearly at the things in yourself and your life that you don't like. And that can be a bit foul. But the beautiful reward that comes with the ugliness, is that by not drinking you also give yourself the chance to do something about it. You are not stuck in some stupor. You can pull your shit together and work on getting yourself somewhere better. And once you realise this, and start to feel the amazing satisfaction that is seeing your life actually improve because of action you have taken, you start wanting to be present in your real life all the time. Why take a break when you've got so much cool shit to get done? Why waste time getting wasted (getting wasted? It's no coincidence we use these words.) when you could be getting somewhere? It's a complete cliche, but at this point in my year off the piss, I feel like I've looked my demons square in the face and, believe it or not, I've made friends with the little fuckers. I know they're there, and I don't need to run away from them anymore. So that leaves me free to get on with doing the things I really want and need to do. Why on earth would I fuck with my own shit at this point, when I have finally freed myself enough to get somewhere, by throwing benders and hangovers in my own way? Okay, now wait a minute, don't freak out. I'm not saying I will never touch another drop of alcohol. But here's how it works: everyone needs a holiday once in a while - a little letting off steam. But you don't get holidays without earning them first. So this coming Friday, I will indeed raise a glass, or two, or as many as is fun and feels good. I'll do it as a celebration of a year of pretty bloody hard work (so much typing!) and the achievement of a goal. And once that's done, I will get the fuck back to work. Because no, my friends, we are not there yet. This part of the journey has only just begun.

Day 359: exciting movements.

Crazy coolness. Remember how I sent my tracks to my record company friend the other day? Well today he got back to me. He thinks they're really good! And he suggested a cool producer I could potentially work with. And then the producer's manager got in touch and asked me to send tracks to him, and now I've sent them. Wahoo! Again, it's a case of will the dude like them, will he want to work with me, and if so, will the whole exercise cost me my unborn child's college fund (I doubt that actually). But it's all good. That's the cool thing about action. You take a tiny step and it starts sprouting other possibilities. You set the movement in motion and the world starts moving with you. It's radical. I love it. It's what makes life so frickin exciting.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 358: a song for y'all.

Well, I thought that after all my ranting and blah blah about recording etc, I probably owed you all a tune. This one isn't my own home-recording effort (that one's still in the works), it's one Ben helped me with. I still have to record the vocal again in a proper studio, mix it and master it, but as a demo I think it's pretty ace. But that's just me. Feel free to tell me what you think, if you feel so inclined. Boys and girls, this is Take the ride.

Day 357: an expensive exercise.

I was chatting with my mate Ben the other day about the various trials and tribulations of bandom. One of the things that came up is how frickin' expensive it is to be in one. First there's gear, then there's practice space, transport to and from practices and gigs (which can involve aeroplanes), studio recording, mixing, mastering, pressing CDs/vinyl (if that's the way you're going), design and printing of cover art/posters, photo shoots, not to mention the cost of maintaining your rock 'n' roll image (cigarettes and alcohol alone are enough to suck you dry, and then there are haircuts, shades and black jeans to think about). We're all familiar with the concept of the struggling musician, but these days it's a fair call to expect your local, dedicated band member to be loaded. Not because they're selling shitloads of records or getting paid a lot to play, but simply because these days rich kids are the only ones who can actually afford to devote their time exclusively to being in a band. Without cash support from Mummy & Daddy/Grandma/trust fund, little rock poppet would be having to somehow outlay thousands of dollars on their musical endeavours while only receiving the occasional share of say $100 for a gig. A share of $100 once in a while. Try flying across the country on your own means, putting yourself up in a hotel and taking two days out of your week for a pay cheque of $33.33. Nice maths right? And people wonder why musicians get shirty about them downloading their music for free. Because that's the problem. While it costs you a heap to get any music out there, these days people don't think they should pay anything to listen to it. Naturally there's touring, which can help. People still have to pay for a ticket to enter a venue. But then there's the story of a well known Sydney band landing the coveted Coldplay support slot for part of their North American tour, and returning home afterwards, not richer, but $5K down. Fabulous. The only decent money bands seem to make these days comes from licensing their music to ads, TV shows, movies etc. And that's fine. It's all fine really I suppose. I'm only thinking about it again now because I need to get one of my tracks mixed and mastered. Never mind. I'll find a deal I can stomach, fork out my hard-earned, and happily embrace this labour of love.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 356: I'm going to Hawaii.

Yep, today I put my dosh where my moush is and booked a ticket. So it looks like I'm going. But wait a minute, I hear you thinking, I thought she wanted to go to New York? And you're right. But my cousin Charlotte (whom I adore) is marrying her equally adorable Texan boy Ryan in Hawaii. So I'm going there first. I still need to book my flight from Honolulu to NYC of course, but that's a minor technicality. The marble is now in motion. Whee.

Day 355: music action.

Today I sent a number of rough-ish demos to the head A&R guy of one of the world's more famous and enormous record companies. He's also kind of a mate, which helps, maybe. It was mainly with a view to finding some producers to work with. He said he might be able to help on that front. But naturally, being in the line of work he is, he's also going to have opinions on the quality and salability of the material. Scary. It would be a little gutting to find out, in the blink of an email, the tunes I have been slaving over for however long are actually C.R.A.P. But then again, that would only be one opinion (if quite an informed one). Oh well, better to have done something than nothing at all. Now I suppose I'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 354: what am I aiming for anyway?

My good friend Ben came around today, just to hang and catch up. He's been pretty busy lately with his band, jetting across the country and the like. In fact it seems that certain aspects of the whole thing have been a bit stressful, which is all part of the territory with bands, as I well know. Anyway, it was good to hang out, chat etc, and he gave me some recording tips which should be useful for my recording endeavours. More good times etc. But it got me thinking (really? Surely not again...). I have always had this rock 'n' roll dream, and with it there has always been a kind of moving, living, breathing picture of the life that is the dream. And it seems that no matter how much it is evidenced in my experience, that being a working musician is hard, unrefined slog and that fame is an empty and disillusioning prize, I maintain this idea that somewhere there is a place where everything becomes magically fabulous and the key to getting there is having a hit single (or a hit anything). It occurred to me today that that is a very silly idea. The realities of things are seldom what we imagine they will be (especially when what we have imagined is some kind of unreal fantasyland). Not that stepping onto a stage having thousands of fans screaming your name wouldn't be great. But what the fuck's that about anyway? Some warped ego trip. I guess it just occurred to me that whatever I'm doing musically had better be about the enjoyment of what I'm doing right now, and satisfying my own preferences for musical coolness, rather than trying to get to some make-believe destination, or making choices based on what I think other people will like. Whoa kids, watch out. If this is the kind of mental territory my brain's playing in today, it may not be long until I'm bending spoons.

Day 353: bikinis and thunderstorms.

I'm a little bit obsessed with bikinis. Did you notice? If I remember rightly, quite a long time ago (somewhere close-ish to a year) I wrote an entry on here that was all about torrential rain and my brand new bikini. Did I just spot a weather trend? Could it be that just as we come into almost summer (the time to buy new bikinis), Sydney pisses down with rain? Maybe, whatever. What on earth was I talking about? Oh yeah, today. Today me and my mate Kristie did yoga (ace), got coffees (rad), donned our bikinis (new ones) and lay in the sun on the grass in front of her house (which is right next to some of that sparkly Sydney water I love so much) eating grapes (big, fat juicy ones). And then we went inside and gave ourself facials, and then jumped in the car to head back to mine, at which point the heavens opened and dropped a mega-bucket of rain, thunder and lightening all over the shop. It was frickin cool. (I totally love Sydney's electrical storms.) And now, again, I'm about to do more musical, computerly tinkytonking. I know man, like what's with my life right now? Radical weather, bikinis galore and daily musical love? Living the dream muthaflipper, living the dream.

Day 352: sunshine and music.

Today the sun came to the party and Sydney lit up like the gleaming green-parked and sparkly-watered jewel we all know and love. Now you can knock Sydney for a lot of things, but when it comes to pretty views and an abundance of pleasant outdoor spots, this town is hard to beat. So to celebrate the first convincingly summery day so far this season, and in an unprecedented move, the boys from my pod and I went to the park for a lunchtime picnic. It was just frickin lovely. And then after work, because the day was still out in force (thank you daylight saving) I went to another park with two of my best girlfriends and their totally cute offspring (one of whom is my nephew). And that was frickin lovely too. And now I'm about to do a nice little evening sesh on my music. Does it get better than this? Well probably, but not very much.

Day 351: happiness is...

A warm gun. Just kidding. I can't say my happy place is quite like John Lennon's, although I think he was being ironic... or something. But then again, the thing that is making me happy lately could be described as equally as sick. For me, right now, happiness is being tucked up in bed with my laptop (oo snuggly) watching episode after episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. If you haven't seen this awesome piece of extreme hilarity then I suggest you sort that out kind of now-ish. It's probably not for everyone, but personally I am completely in love. The humour (which is every shade of wrong) produces in me a kind of evil grumbling laughter the likes of which I have never heard come out of me before. It's like somewhere in the pit of my stomach I've been habouring a dark, growly monster that has finally found something uproariously funny. And it's laughing, hard. So what does any of this have to do with My Year Off The Piss? Well, hmmm. LA boy Reuben introduced me to the show (you've met him before). And the characters all run a bar, and spend most of their time half pissed. Is that enough? Oh just go and watch it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 350: 15 days to go.

Holy guacamole. Can I really be only 15 days off a full year off alcohol? I sent out my invite to my first celebratory clink of glasses today. Just a little do with my nearest and dearest to mark the achievement. A bigger party will follow. But it's weird. I'm excited about finishing what once seemed like an impossible mission, but I'm not that excited about the booze. Maybe I'll change my tune when I taste my first sip of Champers. I dunno. It just feels like by going back to alcohol, I'm stepping back into normality, kind of falling back into line with the general guidelines of life on the straight and narrow. That's kind of ironic, considering alcohol's the stuff that gets you twisted. I know a lot of people will be kind of relieved to have me back in the zone, and not doing this weird thing anymore. But maybe I won't feel at home in the zone. Who knows? Maybe I'll just relax about it all, and see how I go, one day, or drink, at a time.

Day 349: my Nanna is cool.

Tonight at yoga I did an exceptionally deep and awesome standing backbend. I freakin love backbends. In other headlines, there was another big earthquake in my hometown of Christchurch (the shakes haven't really stopped since the first big one way back on September 4), which is not good news for the nerves of my family and friends living there. On the bright side though, it did mean I had another nice chat to my Dad and to both my Nanna and my Nod. Both quite impressively in their 90s, they seemed remarkably calm. As Nanna said "You see Claire, we've seen things like this before". I quite liked that. Massive earthquake? Seen it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 348: man this is cool-fun.

Cool-fun. A word from my childhood reserved only for the activities whose pure fun you believed in with the most fluid, natural and unthinking energy; a word reserved, today, for making tunes. I have just finished (reluctantly) another evening of tune tinkering. I literally could have gone on for as long as my eyelids would carry me, but alas I have a job to get up for tomorrow morning (actually, having a job is in most ways a good thing, so I'll retract my alas). Anyway, this is starting to get seriously fun. Making music has never, ever, in any way seemed like a chore to me. Sometimes it's seemed like hard work, sometimes an emotionally and physically exhausting exercise, but I have always actually loved the doing of it. I remember when a friend came down to the studio one time when my last band was recording, late in the evening of an all day session, and wondered at how we could stand having been in the underground, windowless cave for so long. All I could think was that I never wanted to leave, and was there any way I could manoeuvre things so I could be somewhere like this all day, every day. I absolutely love the sensation of layering things up and discovering magic pockets of total coolness as you create and jam stuff out and fiddle around. It's writing, but a very serendipitous kind; the combinations of sounds and notes come together apparently quite by chance. A different mood on a different night could bring out entirely different combinations, so the sounds you happen to get down on any one occasion are really kind of miraculous. So tonight I laid some new parts down and learned a few new things as I twiddled different levels and opened unfamiliar windows and menus. And I think it's starting to sound okay. Little by little I am learning how to smooth out rumply parts and sand down the shrill edges. I'm inching towards birthing something aurally pleasing from this crazy-arse technology. And with any luck I'll have that something ready to play for y'all before my time here is up. I will keep on working. But right now I really must go to sleep.

Day 347: I love my bike.

It's a really beautiful day today, blue skies, sunshine, leafy niceness, and it's weather like this that makes me love having a bike. Already today I've been on a jog with my bros and been on several pedals here and there. Biking is just such a happy way to travel. I've even had races with my tiny nephew Rex on his baby trike (aided by his Mummy Kate running along behind pushing) but was at a somewhat unfair advantage with my much larger wheels. Still, what fun. Sydney's kind of gone a bit mad for biking recently, despite its many hills, because of a series of new bike lanes and tracks the council has put in. They make getting around on two wheels a lot less stressful and seriously fun. So if you haven't taken the plunge into pedal land yet, and your city or town is in any way conducive to a spot of cycling, I would humbly suggest you get on yer bike. Ever since I did, I've been loving mine.

Day 346: and then a charming drunk.

Last night I went to a party (sorry, I'm writing today the day after, but I'm sure you understand). Actually I went to two parties. And they were both fun. But now to the point: my friend Ryan who was at both, was drinking, which is normal, and was being absolutely fabulous. At both dos he was flitting around being witty and entertaining and meeting new people and just genuinely being charming. He wasn't messy, but on the ride home in the cab he revealed he was feeling decidedly pissy. And I'm pretty sure his life's in a really good place right now (he's about to get the coolest puppy!). So maybe I wasn't 100% right yesterday. But then again, drinking at parties, which are designed for a bit of let-loose excess, isn't out-of-the-ordinary drinking behaviour. It's not alarm bell stuff. So yes, whatever. More contradictory gobbledegook from me, and some charming (actually) drunken behaviour from Ryan.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 345: am I just a judgmental bitch?

I would really love to be one of those nice, contented souls who genuinely react in a happy, open-minded way to other human beings on most occasions. It is not, however, my natural tendency. I battle often with my lightening-speed impulse to judge others, usually having to stop post-judgment, think again and retract whatever I've decided a certain person's actions have told me about who they are and what they stand for. As I said, I kind of wish I was naturally a little more forgiving of my fellow humans. It seems though, that in the most part I'm not. Aware as I am that being judgmental isn't the most celebrated of traits, I'm under no illusions that what I'm about to say is going to win me any popularity contests. But in the interests of "science", or at least of the truthful reporting of how I feel about alcohol exactly 20 days out from the end of my year off, I will say it anyway. In fact it's not such a shocking discovery. Having observed recently the drinking habits of people around me, I am of the opinion that drinking alcohol in any way other than occasionally and moderately is a definite sign of distress in the individual. If someone begins drinking a lot, or drinking at times when it's not usually acceptable, or is often drunk in situations when other people aren't, it is a clanging alarm bell that somewhere in their life the wheels are falling off. And don't think I exclude myself from this losing the plot classification. Some of my worst times of drinking, my most unthinking and unbridled obliterations of my body and mind, occurred in the time directly after my Mum's death. When I was deeply unhappy in my job, with my achievements, my body, or my place in the world, when I felt disconnected, different to, and isolated from every person on the planet, I would drink my way out of coherent thought so I didn't have to acknowledge how I felt for a while. And brilliantly, that drinking would just exacerbate those exact problems further. So I've been there, believe me. And at the time, I kidded myself that everyone else drank the way I did, and if they didn't, they were squares who didn't know how to have fun. But now I just see alcohol as a badge of disfunction. I see its consumption as an acknowledgment of weakness in the face of outer pressures, kind of like putting up a little sign that says "Sorry guys, I can't handle this.". Not that that's such a bad thing. A little acknowledgment of our fallibility and a little more asking for help once in a while probably wouldn't hurt us as a species. And it's not a bad thing to have a tonic that eases your angst and takes the pressure off you for a bit. But I suppose what gets me, is that because our society's self-medication with alcohol is so widespread and so taken for granted, it's when you don't drink that people start asking what's wrong with you. Funny that. For me at least, and from what I've experienced this year, the not drinking is the first sign that things are coming right.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 344: park life.

It's been pretty rainy and wintry in Sydney over the last little while, despite it being spring, but today the sun decided to come out. And like starved creatures (we're all quite used to being dosed up on sunshine in these parts), everyone (in my vicinity anyway) reacted by packing up shop early and racing out into the evening light. My stroll home goes through Sydney's Hyde Park (it's very pleasant) and at the moment they're holding night noodle markets there. And of course, tonight being clear and light and dry and warm, everyone decided noodles would be a good idea. Including me. As I wandered about looking for exactly the right noodle, I did notice that lots of people were enjoying bottles of Sauv B or cups of cold beer, and the thought of milling about in the night air having an alcoholic beverage, in this setting seemed like a pretty good idea. But these days such thoughts can occur to me without bothering me, which is good. So I bought noodles, ate noodles in my leafy surrounds, and then even managed to stroll home, change and get out on my bike for a ride without it getting dark. And on my bike ride I visited another of Sydney's parks, the big one we call Centennial. And this park too was a hub of healthy activity (tending more towards jogging than wine drinking). It was just a very cool thing to be whizzing along under the trees and the big sky, out in the air and sunlight as the evening started to set on the park. Two parks in one evening, and then a happy return home for more adventures in music making. Good times my friends, good times.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 343: Karl is sofa king cool.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, so I would usually apologise. Except that I'm about to show you Karl Lagerfeld's latest runway creation for Chanel which is wicked. Except that it might induce in you (as it did in me) a desire to own every single item in the show, which has the potential to make one feel a little sick (envy, jealousy, the cruel slap of reality as you realise one little jacket costs around eight grand). Oh well, enjoy the visual feast of it all. Because when it comes to fashion shows, Karl really is King.

And actually, while we're on the subject of anything that occurs to me, take a look at this (hilarious garbage, the polar opposite to Chanel's royalty).

Day 342: yoga is still the bomb.

I haven't talked about yoga for a while, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing it. At the end of a somewhat uneventful day, and having just completed another class of sweaty awesomeness, I would like to point out that there is nothing (well just about nothing) that feels quite so great as a well executed standing backbend, or one's pleasantly elongated spine at the end of class. And if you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing these things, I would highly recommend your giving them a whirl. Sooner rather than later too. Go on, do it now.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 341: life is pretty radical.

Radical as in awesome - a not strictly correct usage of the word. But anyway. Life just feels great right now. I feel energised and focused and like I am powering towards the attainment of several dreams all rolled in together. What I am loving too is that by doing the things I need to do to get to where I want to be, my right now is made satisfying and great too. I'm exercising, working efficiently, making music, thinking clearly and feeling fucking fabulous. I know where I'm going and I'm feeling fine. I think it was Ian Brown (of the Stone Roses) who said "It's not where you are, it's where you're at.". Where I'm at right now is exactly where I want to be.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 340: third box lucky.

If you've been paying very close attention (I will not be offended if you haven't), you will know that so far in my home recording efforts I have unsuccessfully tried using two different recording interface boxes with my computer. On Friday I went to the music shop and bought a third box. And halle-fucking-lujah the little bugger works. It is late now because I have been fiddling around recording stuff for many hours, locked in a kind of awesome dreamland of easy techno-operation and miraculous layering and rendering of sound. Everything I plugged in worked. Every attempt to put something down yielded a result. And while the "end product" (more of a beginning product really) is undeniably crude, it is also absolutely beautiful. Beautiful because after an unutterably long period (I first started trying to master home-recording software about six years ago) of thinking I would never be able to commit music ideas to technology all on my own, I have just done it. And the doing of it was a timeless bubble of pure creative fun and freedom and happiness. And this too, just after Darren my yoga teacher was saying yesterday how the things we find the most difficult are the things we find the most satisfying to achieve. Well little MBox, I love you. And Darren, you're absolutely right.

Day 339: like a machine.

Who am I? What weirdness is this? I simply do not recognise myself. Is Mars passing through my sign or something? Whatever's causing it, I have turned into a frickin action machine. Today I went and saw Niccola about setting up a website on which to display my advertising work. Putting together this kind of thing is a laborious, confronting and time consuming task, made more laborious and time-consuming by the fact that I have put off doing it for so long. But there I was this morning, cycling along (like a complete hipster cliche) with my Macbook slung across my back, going to sort the bastard out. And then once we'd done the first bit, I cycled back home and kept on bloody going. And now I've finished sorting out what needs to go where, what needs writing and what needs gathering, and I'm about to go to an afternoon yoga class. See, I told you. My name is Claire. I am a robot.

Day 338: ready, fire, aim.

It's funny when you get all focused and obsessed with something, how other appropriate stuff starts magnetising to you. Today at our Friday morning meeting, for example, just after I'd been yabbering on about decision-making and action-taking yesterday, one of the dudes at work did a very cool presentation on procrastination, and instant gratification versus long term gain. In the presentation he quoted Geoff Ross, founder of 42 Below vodka (also appropriate), and a former advertising creative, who in his book recommended the ready, fire, aim approach to doing stuff. He said: "Strategy is fine. But doing stuff is better. So whatever you do don't wait till [sic] you think you have everything perfectly set, because you never will. Just start." Wise words indeed. When it comes to the sin of all planning and no action, I am the ultimate offender. At least I have been up until now. But with my recent decision to hit the states whether everything is set or not, I have taken a brave and foreign step into action land. And I have a funny feeling everything is going to be different from here on in.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 337: the power of a decision.

It's quite miraculous the difference just deciding on something can make. For example, since I decided I'm going to New York in six months, everything in my life seems to have fallen into a sort of marching order. It's like now I have a defined point to work around, I kind of know where everything belongs in relation to that point. The simple act of making a decision has brought perfect clarity to my vision, and that clarity has made it a million times easier to take action. In fact over the last little while, since I committed to my NY plan, I have speedily done all sorts of things I'd been putting off for ages. And it's not like anything really happened to spur the decision-making. I didn't get a job or a visa or anything. I just decided the thing, and believed in the decision. Kind of like I did with this year off the piss (although I wasn't 100% sure I'd make it - and let's not forget, I haven't made it yet). Why then, don't I just make the decision to be a rock star, and then follow through? Maybe it all just seems to be too big or cool a thing for me to fully believe in. Or maybe it's just I haven't worked out what the actual steps to take towards rock stardom really are. I heard a saying today, "a goal without a plan is just a dream". If I really want the music to happen, I need to stop treating it like a dream and turn it into a step-by-step. (Which, incidentally, I think we established the other day. I'm just a bit slow on the uptake.)

Day 336: bikini fever.

Summer is on the way in this part of the world (even though Sydney just had the coldest September in five years), and that means hot, steamy weather (hopefully) - and bikinis. This fact has triggered a kind of hysteria in the office. Suddenly everyone is running, pilatesing, yogaing, biking, body attacking and FREAKING OUT about what they're eating left, right and centre. Some people are exercising three times a day, and no one's touching the jube snakes. I am of course enjoying every minute of it (I LOVE this stuff) and engaging in the activities and freak-outs wholeheartedly. What's funny though, is that the boys who sit in my pod are totally into it too. They've taken to emailing each other the calorie counts of chocolate bars and items they might have for lunch. And tonight when I told one of them I might have fruit salad for dinner (in a moment of impulse madness I bought a fruit salad with my regular salad at lunch time and then had no idea when to eat it! It was a disaster! See, FREAKING OUT), his whole face lit up and he suggested I have it with some yoghurt! Well I guess it just goes to show boys care about how they look in their bikinis too - and the boys in my pod are on track for looking great.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 335: perfect timing.

I just found out that my best girlfriend (probably in the whole world) Jane, who lives in NZ, is going to be arriving in Sydney for a visit on my very last day off the piss. What timing! This means she'll be in town to clink a glass of the finest French bubbly to celebrate my achieving the unbelievable. And not only that. Since we last saw each other, Jane has produced and popped out one of the cutest human beings imaginable - her baby boy Arlo - so we'll be toasting that herculean effort too. Hooray, so happy. Good times ahead.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 334: what it means to move halfway around the world.

It's been close to ten years since I last moved countries. I remember when I did it then, I was pretty gung ho about it, only realising afterwards what an enormous, life-changing and challenging undertaking it actually is. Even moving from New Zealand to Australia revealed lifestyle differences on just about every level, and this from two seemingly very similar cultures. Everything from the TV shows people watched as kids, to the name for the blanket you sleep under, to making yourself understood over the phone, presented some opportunity for alienness. And now I'm readying myself to go and do it all again, but this time in a place much further away and in a culture much less close to home. There will be shit to pack up, get rid of, maybe even ship. There will be accounts to close and open, rules, regulations and laws to know about and abide by, jobs to get, insurance to acquire. But as daunting as all of this seems, I feel completely ready to take it on, and excited as all hell about it. What's more, I have a good six months to get my head around the general concept, and its finer details. So bring it on baby. Here I frickin come.

Day 333: bowling not boozing.

It really is interesting with this non-drinking malarky, just how little you care about alcohol after a certain point. You will have noticed that these days I hardly have a thing to say about booze. I know I was getting pretty excited about getting back on it a little while ago, but now I can genuinely say I never find myself wishing I could be drinking like the other kids. More of the time I just find myself feeling very happy it's not me stinking of wine or slurring my words (white wine in particular is quite smelly). And it no longer matters what activity I am doing, or if it's something that once upon a time I would have had to have drunk my way through. I just don't need or want the piss. What's cool about it is that you can go out for an epic day - exercising, ten-pin bowling, lunching, watching a rugby game, dinnering - and arrive home 100% together, happy, unashamed, and ready to have a good sleep and another great day tomorrow. I know I sound like a nerd. But I'm a frickin happy nerd.

Day 332: Ben lends a hand.

You remember Ben, my best mate and former drummer? Well apart from drumming, there's another thing he's quite good at: getting stuff done. Unlike me, Ben has a habit of breaking tasks down into manageable bits, putting them in a line and working through them one by one. I prefer to leap forward in my mind to the enormous glittering prize I imagine will be at the finish line, freak out because it seems too enormous to bring into being, then scamper away and do nothing. Anyway, today I dropped in to see Ben regarding my music project. I figured some of his style of approach could come in handy, seeing as getting stuff done is a necessary component of my getting anywhere. And sure enough, I walked out of there with some little, decidedly achievable tasks to carry out, that should see me with at least one and maybe two more songs recorded and ready to go. Radical. So off to work I go (hi ho, hi ho).

Day 331: good shopping.

My online shopping arrived today, packaged up beautifully in a black box with black tissue paper and tied up with a black and white bow. Nice. And having now done a try-on of all items, I am happy to say that it must have been a charmed shopping day because they are all decidedly ace. Which is good, because there will be NO MORE SHOPPING now until NYC. Or at least, there will be DECIDEDLY LESS shopping until NYC (we might as well be realistic about it).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 330: here's what I'm going to do.

One of the good things about being single, without mortgage, without child, and employed in advertising is that you tend to have a fair amount of disposable income to work with. Now, I'm not smart with money. If I was, I'd be in a far better financial position right now than I am. However, just because I haven't used my income to full effect in the past, doesn't mean I can't start using it now. So here's what I'm going to do. Instead of frittering my money away willy nilly (no more bikes, bikinis or espadrilles!), I am going to save like a maniac for six months. And then I'm going to fly to New York (via a family shindig in Hawaii) and live in New York for three months. Whether I come home after that three months depends entirely on what I do with my time there. But whatever happens, that is what I'm doing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 329: how does one get Mark Ronson to produce one's song?

I was listening to Mark Ronson's latest album Record Collection today, and it occurred to me that it would be kind of rad to have him produce one of my songs. Yeah, no dir dipshit, everyone in the music universe right now would be up for a bit of Ronson action on one of their tracks. But you know, in the spirit of not giving a shit about what other people think is impossible, I am going to investigate further exactly what one might do to get one's tunes in the ears of said Ronson. Whether he digs them or not is another matter entirely, but you just never know.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 328: bikini, espadrilles, silk dress, bubbles, bike.

As sometimes happens in the world of an advertising creative, I've had a bit of a quiet day today. And that tends to spell danger. Within the first 15 minutes of arriving at work I had spent over 300 british pounds on summer fashion. To be specific, on a bikini, a pair of espadrilles and a really cool silk dress. Oh, and a cardi. It's moments like these that stop me from ever achieving a fully clear credit card. But never mind. On other internet exploratory adventures, I also discovered a delectable sounding beverage called Pommac (thanks Kirsty). Apparently it's been around since 1919 (who knew? Quite a lot of people actually.), and it's a non-alcoholic, fizzy fruit drink aged in Champagne barrels. How delightful. Oh and where does the bike come in? Well I think in the spirit of randomness, I'll go for a bike ride this evening instead of sweating it out at yoga. Wheeeeeeee.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 327: happy about being healthy.

So Bill Clinton's gone vegan. Well well. People have a way of listening to ol' Bill, so maybe there's hope for the animal munching masses yet. A friend at work sent me this link this morning, and it refired my healthy eating engines. I have recently relaxed my militant veganism to include some dairy, some eggs and some fish. And while I don't think I'll go immediately back to the hyper vegan straight and narrow, I'll definitely try and keep my straying moments on the less frequent side. Because another thing I've noticed is that since getting back on the dairy etcet. my magic vegan skin has been unmagic-ed a bit by the odd zit. Whaa? Me not used to this. Not really looking forward to what the odd hit of alcohol might do on that front either. What I've been realising the last couple of days though, is that not drinking makes you feel great. Eating healthy vegan/vegetarian food also makes you feel great. And being a nice, healthy, happy human machine is the best ever. I am just so pleased that having been a person who truly believed they could not function for any real length of time without the help of booze, I have become a person who can. I have become a person who never ever has to weather the foulness that is waking up with a hangover. My experiences over the last few days of socialising completely happily without alcohol too, signal to me that I may have reached a new state of okay with this whole state of affairs. And when being healthy is making me feel so happy, why on earth would I stop now?

Day 326: I bought a bike.

Rash decision, yes. But so far I've found rash decisions tend to lead to good places (like a year in soberland). So yes, I am now the proud owner of a very pretty, white, hybrid road bike. And so far, I've felt really happy and confident riding it, and it's given me an awesome sense of freedom. You can go a lot further in less time on a bike than you can on foot. And now I can utilise some of the sparkling new bike lanes that have been sprouting up all over Sydney. Happiness, healthiness, freedom and toned thighs. Woot.

Day 325: cool-fun times.

I know I am the master of all mood swings, but today I felt really positive and excited about the world, the future, and my place in both. I started the day by having good chats with both of my flatmates over breakfast and coffee, and generally feeling the sunshine and mild air on my skin. Sunshine always has a magical effect on me. It is crazy though. My mood only yesterday was deeply dark. It felt like I was a dead-end loser with no ability to get anywhere ever. Today I feel hopeful and happy and optimistic and excited. I think the thing is, in order to feel good about life, I only need tiny glimmers of new interest and excitement - just a hint that my day might go somewhere different to yesterday, or that something crazy and fun and exhilarating might happen. But if I have a day where not even the smallest thread appears, where not even the tiniest possibility of some step in a new direction arises, I feel trapped and bored and depressed. I need new stimulus and the potential for charting the unexplored, even if the actual exploring never eventuates. If there is not even the possibility, I feel dead. Anyway, today I could sense those possibilities floating on the breeze. And I went to a fun party - my friend Cathy's 35th - and had a good time with great people in a place I don't usually frequent. New possibilities you see. And fun times.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 324: a drinking partner.

Today I really was in the worst mood. Not so much angry but super dead-ended. I just felt like there were no routes out of the boring day-to-day, like the realisation of all my dreams was a million impossible miles away. I get like this. By now you know. It's a weird thing because it happens really quite regularly. Anyway, I didn't feel like anything was going to get me out of the zero zone today, but in a very last-minute turn of events, something did. I was about to go to a special screening of Wall Street, Money Never Sleeps with my flatmate Tanya, when my mate Kristie called inviting me to dinner afterwards at a cool restaurant in a nice part of town. Apparently she and Marty (her partner) were meeting their friend Damien and needed a fourth person to make up the group. Cue me. So I went to the movie (it was fine) and then went to dinner. But guess what. It turned out that Damien was on his own little non-drinking mission and had been a sober warrior for six months. Was it a set up, or just a coincidence? Whatever it was, we all had a truly radical time. And it was a really nice feeling to be having a cool time not drinking, and to not be the only one on my planet. It was also really awesome to be getting on swimmingly with a cool, new boy, feeling entirely at ease and happy, completely unaided by alcohol. You see, it can be done. It's all about the calibre of your company.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 323: internet as escape route.

This is totally off topic, so forgive me, but I have just had a weird experience. I left my laptop at work tonight, so don't have internet access here at home (I'm writing this on paper, you're reading it later, more weirdness, whatever...). Having done various activities (singing practice, dinner making) and having discovered TV to be the debilitatingly boring void it so often is, I actually felt claustrophobic. Not in any medical sense, but psychologically I felt trapped in my own home because I couldn't get on the net and go exploring. I couldn't reach out to other worlds, immerse myself in other places, seek out new information. In fact I'm still sitting here feeling a little out of sorts because of it. Better occupy myself with something else. A book perhaps.

Day 322: there must be more than this.

Life really is pretty fine at the moment, and I'm really not miserable or sad. But I am feeling a tiny bit bored with the state of things. It also occurred to me that I spend a good chunk of my time (and draw a certain amount of my hope and contentment from) imagining my future, rather than really, truly engaging with the right now. It's like I see the life I'm living right now as a phase I need to tolerate and pass through before the real thing fires into action. This is a vaguely alarming realisation. Firstly, it kind of means I'm living in dreamland half the time. Secondly, it probably means that while I say things like "Life really is pretty fine at the moment" (pretty fine?! Don't get too excited now, you might burst a vein.) what I really feel is that my life is not at all where I want it to be. Now, out of this come some questions. 1. Am I being ungrateful for the wonderful things in my life by thinking there must be some better reality I could be living? 2 Do I have completely unrealistic expectations of what life should be like? 3. Or am I actually locked into a boring holding pattern that I desperately need to break out of? It's true that I have an awesome family that I wouldn't trade with anyone for anything ever. In that I am extremely lucky, and for that I am eternally grateful. I am also very grateful for my health, my freedom, my living conditions, surroundings, opportunities, abilities, fun times etc. But there is something missing. Maybe it's as simple as another person - a partner. Or maybe it's that I haven't yet realised my creative ambitions. It's like there's still a connection I need to make, a slotting into place that needs to happen, some breakthrough that makes life less of a surface scramble and more of a fulfilling experience. Oh, who knows? It just feels like there's got to be more to life than this.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 321: pining for NY.

I'm pathetic when it comes to New York city, I know. If I would just shut up and go there already, you wouldn't have to sit through my whining pinings. But I haven't gone there yet, so here's another one (sorry). I bought a book on the weekend by David Byrne (of Talking Heads) called Bicycle Diaries. It's about his explorations around the world and in his home town of New York on his bike, and the things that have occurred to him while pedaling. So far it's pretty cool. And it's got my little New York tap gushing all over again (my head's frickin flooded). I also just saw a video interview with a past Creative Director of mine who is just about to wing his way to NYC to take up a mega-job at an enormous agency. So jealous (sort of). Anyway, believe it or not, I actually took a tiny bit of action. I emailed that consultant exchange place I mentioned the other day. And whaddayaknow, their reply just popped into my inbox this minute. Better go read it aye.

Day 320: running around in the dark.

Tonight I did a group training session with some people from work. We did boxing, medicine ball stuff, resistance bands stuff and generally ran around. It was really quite fun and a good way to spend part of a Monday evening. It made me realise that I very often opt for solo options (like yoga and jogging) but that it's actually very enjoyable to get out and do stuff with people. No duh. Maybe it's these kinds of social activities I should have been focusing on this whole time, instead of just trying to have a good time in publand sans alcohol (and often failing). Oh well. I have 45 days (and actually the rest of my life) to engage in wholesome, alcohol-free, group activities that also tone my butt. Awesome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 319: music advice.

My good friend Kristie's son Max turned one a couple of days ago, and today was his birthday party. It was an impressive achievement of a party, with heaps of kids, parents, a great spread of party food and drinks and these awesome animal balloons that had paper legs and actually looked like they were walking around (you probably had to be there). Anyway, among the guests were a gal I know and her friend, both of whom work in the music biz. And they gave me some advice that clarified the next focus of the action I need to take for my solo project. It was very helpful. So, on to the next thing.

Day 318: fun party, more plans for NY.

Today my sister Anna and brother-in-law Dean threw a burger and ribs party to celebrate my big brother Nic's birthday. It was really cool. Apart from my not being able to eat Dean's famous burger patties or ribs (which definitely looked delicious), everything was awesome (and anyway, I brought a vegie burger along so all was well). In fact the daytime party soon turned into a nighttime party and eventually rolled around to my big bro's house (but that's another story). I really like parties like these at Anna and Dean's because they have a relaxed and pleasant rambling quality. There's always one group of adults chatting on stools around the bench in the kitchen, another group lolling around on the big sofas in the living room, and kids scampering up and down the stairs and everywhere in between. It's a nice atmos. Anyway, on this occasion, being the chatters in the kitchen, we got to chatting about how I might get to New York. And not only did my sister-in-law Kate come up with a very clever idea (save up enough to go check it out for three months and talk to people while I'm there), I also remembered a contractor exchange programme I'd totally forgotten about. So good results all round, and a very enjoyable time, and now I need to sleep.

Day 317: sometimes all I want to do is dance.

Some days when I listen to certain songs I just wish that all that was required of me from this life was to find a space on a dance floor and dance. It would have to be in a club where only the fattest, most awesome tracks were played and where everyone pulled the coolest moves ever in their own free bubble of space, but yes, sometimes just to dance with like-minded individuals to radical music seems like the real reason I was put on the planet. Or maybe I have just defined a facet of my idea of heaven. Well there you go.
Oh, and while it's pretty old, here's my song of the moment. (Check out the Cut Copy remix for, in my opinion, a more satisfying treatment of the chorus.)
And here's another one I like. (She's a kiwi.)
That's all.

Day 316: we are powerless.

Tonight, after a very pleasant dinner (at a cool vego joint) with my friend Niccola (who is awesome by the way), I sat down and watched a bit of Inside The Actors' Studio. Tonight's episode featured Anthony Hopkins, and at the end he said an interesting thing. He told the acting students he was talking to, to let go and relax because none of us has any control over what happens to us (and what a relief that is). As I think I've mentioned before, most of the really good things that have happened in my life, have kind of happened magically and effortlessly. I've just been doing what I've been doing and the forces of nature (or whatever) have conspired or aligned in a way that fits perfectly and results in happy events. Forcing things hasn't tended to work. In fact, the more I've tried to force things, the less those things have gone the way I wanted. Maybe just relaxing and rolling with things actually opens you up a little more to the opportunities around you. If you're too busy focusing doggedly on one narrow path, you don't notice the flowering magnolia on the side of the road. Well at least that theory would sit nicely with my little scatterbrain disorder. Screw focusing on stuff. Scatter seeds all over the place and see things burst into life as they come into season. La la la la laaaaaa.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 315: planning a piss-up.

Over the past few days it has occurred to me that once I complete my 365 days, I should probably throw a bit of a party to celebrate. And it has also occurred to me that a lot of the people I know would quite like it if that celebration were to take the form of a massive piss-up. Now that's fine. A big party involving alcohol is something I don't mind being involved with. But the massive piss-up bit does pose a bit of a problem. Firstly, unaccustomed as my system now is to alcohol, I just don't think my poor little body will be able to hack a major onslaught of booze. Secondly, I simply am not inclined to subject myself to anywhere near such an onslaught. I have noticed recently a look come into the eyes of other drinking folk when they hear my sobriety is nearing its end. It's a kind of awe-filled, crazy possibilities look - like they are planning alcohol saturated afternoons designed to unleash my caged wild child once more. I have a feeling that every person who hears I'm about to be allowed back on the piss has their own little idea of what they might do with me, and that every little idea has something to do with obliteration. But I'm afraid I am now a changed girl. If nothing else whatsoever, what I have gained over the course of this exercise is an awareness of drinking and its effects (and of not drinking and its effects). It's a knowledge I can't unlearn. If I choose to obliterate myself with booze again, it will not be through complacent over-consumption, or just because everyone else wants me to. I now reserve the right to drink or not drink as I see fit. I also know that I am strong enough to exert that right. And from where I'm standing right now, getting absolutely hammered on alcohol just isn't an attractive option anymore. Loosening up and having a bit of fun, yes. But a major piss-up? No.

Day 314: limited thinking.

Today I read something annoying in the news. It said that 1.4 million Australians drink just to feel normal, either socially or mentally. But that wasn't the annoying bit. What was annoying were some of the comments from readers. While some readers shared the fact that they weren't drinkers, and some of the good reasons why, others were quick to respond with derogatory judgements of "part-pooper" and "buzz-killer" and accusations of sober people leading boring lives. I've commented on this before, but I am still very much of the opinion that if your life is boring without alcohol then the fact of the matter is you are, quite simply, leading a boring life. The alcohol so many people feel the need to imbibe so often isn't an interestingness elixir. It simply fuzzies the brain so you don't notice so acutely how boring your life actually is. Alcohol is a great relaxant and mood enhancer, but it doesn't magically make your life something it isn't. And frankly, if alcohol is all you're bringing to the table as your offering of entertainment or a good time, I'd rather dine alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 313: I wonder what Rueben's up to?

Today the boy I met in LA flitted through my mind. He was really cool. It's funny these people we encounter under weird circumstances, spend truly quality time with and then most likely never see again. Oh well, I hope he's having a good time all the way over there. Sorry, yes, randomness. Not the focused mind I'm meant to be exhibiting here. Oh yeah, I did contact my mate Ben to see if he can help me out with my recording issues. We'll see what he says. And I thought somewhat about my solo brand, imagined what my photos might look like and designed a jacket I might wear. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 312: more words.

Jamie commented the other day that a little less blah blah and a little more just do it might be in order where my music project is concerned. Point taken. But as my equipment was still in limbo-land today I had no option but to throw more words at the problem - lyrics again. Not the most satisfying of progressive steps but a necessary one nevertheless. I will try to do better tomorrow.

Day 311: more hiccups.

Today I actually sat down to record. And the box that does work on my computer over at Ben's house, doesn't work on my computer at mine. It might be a usb cable thing, it might be a driver thing. Whatever it is it's more of the same frickin recording crap I keep encountering. Doesn't matter. I laid down a drum track (didn't need the box for that), began investigating reasons why the box might not be working, and worked on the lyrics for the new song I want to record. It was a little bit of progress. I am trying not to feel discouraged again at this early stage. My conversations with other home-recording old schoolers have revealed that technical glitches are part of the territory. I will continue to persevere.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 310: eternal youth.

I spent most of today kind of feeling bored and loserish. Bored because I have felt a little bit lately like I've given up on my dreams (music, New York, an amazing hot boy, an extraordinary life) and exchanged them for an acceptance of the same old shit, and loserish because I'm not the mega popular superstar I want to be, and because I currently feel completely unappreciated by the opposite sex. But then I went to a movie with my housemate Tanya (The Kids Are All Right starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo) and my mood completely turned around. It was a really cool movie in itself, but it also reminded me of a few things. 1) Mark Ruffalo is really hot when he plays slightly rebellious guys. 2) Annette Bening is a total legend. 3) My life can be as magical and amazing as I want it to be. I am not restricted by other people's ideas of what is possible or is not. 4) I really think I should be living in the states (don't know why, it's just a strong feeling I have). 5) I have some fucking music to make. There's a weird feeling I've had lately, that I kind of need a second youth in which to get my shit together, reset my direction and get my life where it needs to go. It also occurred to me just a minute ago, that until I achieve something musically I will be stuck in the same first-phase pattern - kind of like being trapped in an eternal teenage mode, unable to grow up and progress until I perform my rock 'n' roll right of passage. Better get on with it then aye? Recording begins tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 309: when will I find my love?

A few days ago my big brother told me one of his friends, a boy called Andy, had met a girl and she had moved in with him. Andy is a beautiful boy, in every sense, so this is great news. He deserves it. Except that, unbeknownst to him, Andy was my secret fantasy back-up husband. As with most fantasies, this scenario probably wouldn't actually have worked in real life. But I liked having the thought that one day I might go back home to Christchurch, marry Andy and live happily every after. Now even the fantasy cannot be. This of course is me being really silly and does not actually represent a tragedy or a problem in any way. But when I reflect on my history of fizzled love affairs, and my disappointing efforts at online dating, and my current unrelenting singleness, it's hard not to wonder if there might be something deeply flawed about me. Am I just not an attractive girl? Do I live too much in fantasy land (cue fantasy back-up husband), not engaging enough with the realities of the world? Is there something obviously repellent about me that I'm just not seeing? Or am I just too sober and straight to reel anyone in? Could getting back on the piss actually be the first step to finding my love?

Day 308: funny boys.

At work I sit in a group of tables occupied by five boys. I'm sure our surrounding colleagues find our constant yabbering mildly infuriating, but of a working day we do have a hilarious time. All the boys are good at flipping funny bull around and we tend to spend a lot of time laughing. It makes work so much nicer. What I particularly like about my pod lads though, is their fine manners. They may be capable of dishing many a funny slight or taunt, but they would never disrespect the "lady" in their midst. They are fine examples of the kind of males the world needs more of. Boys, I applaud you.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 307: facing the music.

I'm guessing I might be the most frustrating person in the world to read about when it comes to achieving goals. I rant on about how much I want to do a thing, only to fill my life with every other activity I can that is not the thing. And then I come up with ideas for even more projects to add on top that are also not the thing. If it's frustrating to read, try living it. I think maybe as some way of processing the recent rejections and shut-downs I have stomached on the band front, I have turned away from my music. I have two remaining singing lessons that I keep postponing. I have fully functional recording equipment that I keep ignoring. And I have focused my creative energies on coming up with other extremely time-consuming projects to try and fool myself into thinking I might be okay with forgetting about music altogether. The truth is, I feel like I might not actually be able to do a music project on my own, but that if I want my true musical vision to come alive, alone is how I need to do it. Hmm. Time to stop being a whus. I have 58 days to make something happen.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 306: happy birthday to me.

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me-ee, happy birthday to me. It's my birthday. I just got back from a beautiful dinner at Toko with a selection of my friends and family. Those who couldn't make it were missed, but those who were there were quality. It was great. And I really did have a very enjoyable day. I guess at this point I just feel like a lucky human being and I am very grateful for all the good people and great opportunities in my life, for my good health and the freedom I have to do what I wish. I am very happy. And I am very healthy. Oh yeah, and I didn't feel the slightest flutter of a desire for an alcoholic drink. My mocktail (on their extensive list of "cleansers") was quite specially delicious (it had Jasmine in it), and my green tea was oh so refreshing. Good friends, great food, (an awesome book on the Velvet Underground!) and hot green tea. What more could a girl want?

Day 305: yellow-haired warrior.

Being as much of a Tarantino devotee as I am, you'd think I would have seen Kill Bill by now. Well I have. I watched it last night with my flatmate Tanya. And it made me love Tarantino all the more. He has such a brilliantly unadulterated approach to his subject and genre. He sets those two things and then goes mental in the purity of his drive to do them justice. Whatever his movies are about, they are all about; pure, simple, and fucking wickedly executed. Anyway, in Kill Bill, Uma's character is referred to as the yellow-haired warrior at one point. I liked that. It was inspiring. She is so freakin' hot and hardcore and kick-arse and single-minded and unrelenting (and yet with a forgotten softness somewhere behind her eyes) in that movie. It made me feel strong in my resolve and happy to be fighting my own little yellow-haired warrior battle (although I pride myself on keeping my hair rather more white blonde than yellow). So yeah alcohol, you can send as many kung fu fighters as you like to challenge me. You don't stand a chance.

Day 304: earthquake!

This morning I was woken at 7.45am by my little brother. As he is a firm Friday night drinker, hearing from him at this kind of time on a Saturday is not just a pleasant surprise, it also usually means something's up. This was the news. At 4.30am this morning New Zealand time, a massive earthquake (7.1 on the richter scale) shook our home town of Christchurch. So far there were no fatalities but the fronts of buildings had fallen off, huge cracks had formed in roads, sewerage pipes had burst (yuck!) and the water and power was off. Naturally all of us kids were extremely concerned for the safety of our Dad, living as he does on a farm pretty much at the epicentre of the seismic action. He is fine. After many a failed phone call, we managed to get through, and discovered the main damage at the farm was crockery, book shelves toppling and two chimneys reduced to piles of bricks. Dad was shaken (literally!) but safe, and in the very good company of his good friend Jacqui. Our grandparents (both in their 90s), aunties and uncles were fine too, and the cats had appeared but were keeping to the paddocks. Funnily enough while I was watching a news report on the whole thing, one of the shots they showed was a supermarket isle full of smashed wine bottles. Tragic stuff that, wasting all that wine.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 303: admitting defeat.

Last night a large team of people from work, including myself, worked long and late to produce a mountain of pitch work. Then today, when it was all safely delivered, a group of us went to the pub. Now don't be alarmed by today's entry title. I certainly didn't drink. But being around everyone as they slipped speedily down the sloppy slide to sozzled, brought up a few things for me (and no I'm not talking about my lunch). It's no secret that over the last little while I've been tiring of being Miss Straight and Sober, and looking forward somewhat to returning to the ways of the drinking masses. But therein lies the problem I now find front of mind. The masses. I don't know if it's my stupid "third child" wanting to stand out excuse coming to the fore again, but I have an issue with just going back to what everyone else does if it's only because everyone else does it. Lately, I have definitely been feeling some of the lonely side of sobriety. I have been toughing out the singling out that seems to come with the territory, and it has made me want to be more in an accepted zone again. But I take issue with returning to an accepted zone if it is only for the reason that it is accepted. I don't mind returning to an old habit if I find the old habit is better than the new one. But just returning to it because everyone else does it? It just feels like in a way I have clambered out of a hole by not drinking. It feels like I have made a certain amount of progress in myself. But it seems that in order to have a really good time socially and be included by my peers, I am required to crawl back into the hole. I have said there are things I like about the effects of alcohol. A little looseness here and there is fun and most definitely a good thing. But there's something that kind of depresses me about how much everyone is hanging out for me to get back on the booze. I get really turned off by people who are closed to new ideas or possibilities. When people refuse to even allow themselves to think something is possible, or shut down other people when they suggest something a little bit out of the ordinary or a little bit hard, they kill the possibility simply with their limited thinking. A lot of people can't even begin to fathom that not drinking might a) be an option at all and b) actually be a better option than what they're doing now. Their behaviour and thinking is so entrenched that it becomes a concrete wall. And if people are thinking that way, it kind of doesn't even matter if I've discovered a beautiful Utopia on the other side of the concrete. They don't believe it exists, so they won't come and see it with me. And how good can a Utopia really be when you're in it all alone? So do you see my problem? I almost feel as if I will return to drinking, not because it's bad being alcohol free, but because it's lonely. It's like getting out of jail and going straight back to bank robbing, just because the only friends you have are robbing banks. It feels somehow like defeat. But if being alone or admitting defeat were your only options, which way would you go?

Day 302: I might write a movie.

At the risk of sounding like an A.D.D. suffering creative flake, I think I want to write a screenplay. Please bear with me. Before I studied advertising, I did half of an MA in screenwriting for film and tv. I didn't finish it because, being 22 or something at the time, I didn't have a story to tell worthy of 128 pages. And 128 pages (or thereabouts) of screenplay was what I had to write in place of a thesis. Now I reckon I might have a tale or two to tell. And what about writing the soundtrack as well? Why the hell not. Or is this just me losing the frickin plot? Giving myself another creative distraction so I have something to blame the failure of my other creative pursuits on? Maybe it is. Or maybe I just feel like writing a movie.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 301: Spring is sprung.

It is a beautifully warm evening. When I stepped out into it after a crazy bejesus day at work, I felt instantly soothed by its soft air. And I felt excited too. How perfect of Spring to welcome us all with a pretty breath of the warmer days to come. She could have refused to arrive on time. She could have stayed in bed and let us grumble and freeze a little longer. But she didn't. Spring is my season, the one into which I was born, and I always feel a certain aligning of ducks, or planets or something around this time. It's like my cogs finally click together and things start working again. So yes, I feel lovely, calm and happy today, regardless of the chaos clambering noisily around me. And I may have had another idea. A frickin cool one. I know, I know. I should probably try to stop having new ideas and work more on making some of the old ones actually happen. But it's the first day of Spring. New ideas are bound to start bouncing. I think I'll let this one bounce about a bit more though, before I bore you with the details. Meanwhile I suggest you enjoy this lovely weather.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 300: time to relax?

With only 65 days left in which to become a rock star, I'll forgive you if you don't recommend relaxing as my best course of action. I'll forgive you, ignore your recommendation and continue as I am. Why? Because it has occurred to me, not for the first time, that relaxing is just about always a good idea. In fact, relaxing may well be the point to every perplexing problem. Or not. It doesn't matter. At Day 300, I have been through quite a lot. And here's how I feel right now about a few things. Firstly, the road to perfection is hard, long and lonely. So long in fact that you'll be on it forever, because the destination it's meant to lead to doesn't actually exist. You can experience pure beauty, pure magic, pure genius, pure love, but these things aren't about perfection. More often than not these experiences are wonderful precisely because of some unique imperfection they possess; something that makes them beautifully individual. This year (my whole life?) I have been on some kind of perfection pursuit. I have tried to achieve a perfect record of sobriety, a perfect diet, the perfect exercise routine. I have tried to be good at my work, dedicated to my dreams, hardworking and focused, successful in everything that I do. I am here to tell you it's too much for one person to achieve all those things. And it's also perfectly okay not to achieve them. Sometimes you just can't change who you are. A lot of the time you shouldn't try or want to either. For example, I now know about myself that I am almost incapable of focusing on one project for any extended period of time. I get bored. I need to move on. If I view this as a simple fact, rather than a negative, maybe I can evolve the way I work on things so I can spend shorter amounts of time on different projects, rather than force myself through a long stint on one thing. I also know that I love the idea of a strict routine, but tend in reality to operate in a much more random way. If I can just relax and accept that's how I am, maybe I can use my time learning how to work with it rather than against it. Now to some other things. Not drinking: I feel like my sobriety has taken me into territory unsuitably pious. When I began this journey, I sorely needed to dry out, check my behaviour, straighten my head out and give my liver a break. My priorities needed reordering. This far in I've had a good sized space in which to get myself sorted. Not that I've sorted everything out. But my head is clearer (so's my skin), my body cleaner and my life in better shape than back then. However, while I have definitely always had my - how shall I put this - goody two shoes, perfecty, ticking boxes side, stay-at-home nerd has never been part of my brand. For 300 days now my wilder side has been neatly put away in storage. It feels like the time is approaching to bring it back out. And veganism: I started being a vegan, let's be honest, in a bid to get skinnier. Then I read some more about the issues around eating animals and felt like not eating them was a good way to go. Now, however many months out, I am starting to wonder about my decision. Has it really made me skinnier? Maybe a tiny bit. My skin is definitely the best it's probably ever been, so that's something. But might there be other ways to eat responsibly (organic, humanely farmed and slaughtered meat in moderation, the odd organic, free range egg) that might make me less of a freaky dinner guest? It's extremely shallow, but if my bod was looking like Jennifer Anniston's right now thanks to my new vegan diet, I would happily freak my way through every eating situation from now until eternity with a delightful smug little smile dancing across my tight little face. But if I'm going to be alienating any number of dining pals for a few barely detectable differences, maybe it's not really worth the effort. It's like I was saying, right now I just feel like relaxing a bit on a few things. Not being so ridiculously strict with myself. I'm not talking eating cheese and bacon burgers every night, just not freaking out if I want to eat a piece of fish or lamb once in a while. Likewise with all my music and writing and work goals; if it takes me longer than the next 65 days to get a song on the radio or get a book deal or produce an award-winning campaign then fine. I just want to enjoy my life and stop chastising myself all the time when I don't achieve a million things at once. Is that a cop out? You think? Dude, take a chill pill.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 299: bad vegan.

Over the last few days I've been a bit bad. I have sullied my vegan purity with: some peanut M&Ms, some butter on the toast I got at the cafe (not my fault but I still ate it), some buffalo mozzarella on a pizza, and a quarter of a choc chip muffin. Woa-a. Reign it in crazy lady. What can I say? It's just the mood I've been in. And one cannot be perfect all of the time. Also, as badness goes, it's hardly of the beelzebub variety. So I'm not freakin. I've got other bigger fish to fry. Or vegetables to steam. Or something. (You know what I mean.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 298: here we go again.

You may remember I tried to start a home recording demo-ing thing a while ago, and had a little trouble with my equipment. It has taken until today to get anywhere near sorting it out. Today I went round to Ben's and borrowed the piece of equipment I have needed all this time and which so far the stupid frickin shop has not managed to deliver in working order. This box works. Who knows what might happen next?

Day 297: sticking it out.

It is a weird little thing this non-drinking experience. Firstly, there are innumerable benefits to being alcohol free. You feel and look better in so many ways. Things don't get on top of you so much. You wake up feeling clear and fine. Etcetera, etcetera. And then there are the tough bits. But here's the weirdness: the tough bits, as far as I can tell, only actually stem from other people's dependence on alcohol. The tough bits are when you feel like the odd one out at a party because not another single soul is anywhere near sober. The tough bits are when you find yourself having to do things alone because no-one else can fathom going a Friday evening with any less alcohol than they would usually sink (note I'm not saying zero alcohol here, just forgoing the extended 14+ drinks boozing session once in a while to do something less mind-obliterating). The tough bits are when you feel unbelievably alone because the entire frickin world runs on turps, and no-one can even contemplate socialising without filling up first. The very interesting thing too is to be in a position to see that the world is addicted to what is largely a bad thing, but to start readying yourself to re-enter the badness quite a lot because the world's addiction is so overpowering. Adult humans don't know how to have fun without alcohol anymore. If you give it a try, the force of the drinking masses singles you out and muscles you out of normal society. They make you a loner. They tell you they feel sorry for you because you're doing it so tough. They constantly point out through their actions and words how awkward you are in their liquored zone. And they do it enough that if you do want to be an accepted citizen of humanity, you learn that you had bloody well better front up to the bar. And so I find myself wishing myself back in to the easier zone that is getting casually pissed, but not really wishing to revert to the mass ways that are so obviously flawed. Surely people, there must be something more we have to offer than this?

Day 296: Fridays are for drinking.

I just realised something a little bit crazy. I've mentioned it many a time before that for me, as a non-drinker, Fridays have lost a bit of their shine. They're another day, happily sitting next to two days off, which is good, but they don't promise the same dizzy excitement to me that I know they do to others. The crazy bit is that, as I have also pointed out on occasion, since not drinking, Mondays have lost their sense of doom. It's like Monday's borrowed a bit of Friday's mojo, leaving Friday at just fine and Monday at a-okay too. Weird. Anyway. While I sometimes go along to the pub on a Friday, other times I just don't fancy spending hours watching people sink piss and get wasted. At times like these I usually go to the movies. But I generally have to go on my own. Because sadly when it comes to Fridays most people, when given the choice, will choose their best friend the bottle every time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 295: staring you in the face.

An upside to publicly (or privately) analysing your life and feelings on a daily basis, especially in the bright, honest light of unadulterated sobriety, is that you start to realise things about yourself. Now, there are things that come up that are kind of expected. They're not really surprising because you pretty much knew they were there all along. The discoveries I'm finding interesting right now though, are the ones where you realise that the answers you have been searching so diligently for in the vast universe and the depths of your soul, might just have been sitting in your top pocket the whole time. Very very recently (kind of like in the last ten minutes) something has become extremely clear to me, that before has only revealed itself in intermittent droplets. Let me try and explain. My whole musical endeavour over the last however long has been a mission of creative fulfillment. It has been my quest to find my purpose, and the people who share my view of the world. In a band you have a group of like-minded people working together towards a common creative goal. In its best form, a band is a very communal, supportive and comforting thing. You are a gang fighting against the forces together. In the process, if you're lucky, you produce music you're proud of that other people recognise as being great. The whole experience is creative and communicative, and brings with it a real sense of connection with others. I used to think that being in a band was my only gateway to this kind of satisfaction. But now I think I may have been missing a trick. The work idea I have been yabbering on about in recent days, is quite simply a group of like-minded and similarly motivated individuals working together towards a common goal. The goal is to produce shit hot advertising communications through projects that are genuinely fun to be involved in. It's not an earth-shattering concept in itself. But what is rather earth-shaking for me is the idea that my work may now be capable of delivering the same satisfaction I have sought from rock 'n' roll. And unlike the rock 'n' roll in my life right now, this project actually has the like-minded individuals on board. We've got our gang. Now all that's left to do is go forth together and conquer.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 294: magic socks.

Today I arrived home to find a parcel waiting for me from New Zealand. Parcels are always awesome, but even more so when they are surprises and not just your latest delivery of internet shopping (although those parcels are pretty ace too). This one came from Helen, a very good friend of my Mum and Dad's, and also (rather flatteringly) an avid reader of My Year off The Piss. And do you know what was in it? An amazing pair of socks! They are beautifully hand knitted (they put any of my wonky adventures with knitting needles to extreme shame) in a very pretty and frickin cool combination of colours and patterned stripes (they're the kind of thing that could easily hold their own coming out of a high and chunky Miu Miu heel), and they fit me absolutely perfectly. Add delicious coziness to their charm parade and you have socks nothing short of magic. So thank you Helen. I love them. Embodiment of truly caring thoughtfulness, thy name is knitted socks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 293: seven steps more.

Buoyed up by yesterday's good reception to my idea, today I took it to a few more people. And they all liked it too. It helped that two of those people were my Executive Creative Director and my Head of Planning. With them on board, what was an idea has now become something to be put into action. Wahoo! If only my company were in the business of forming bands and making them famous, maybe I would have got all of my music stuff happening a lot sooner too. Never mind. A cool creative project is a cool creative project. It's the stuff I love. And this time, I might just have the help I need to get something really cool across the line.

Day 292: one step closer.

Today I floated my special work idea past a respected gal work pal. She really liked it. In fact she's totally on board too. This was a relief because in the cold light of Monday morning my idea, which basically involves a group of people doing extra work in their own time, felt like it might have been a great heady hallucination conceived in the midst of post inspirational speech drunkenness (not the alcoholic kind mind you, just idea drunkenness), but maybe not such an attractive prospect to your sober and already hard-working co-worker. Anyway, thankfully my misgivings were misplaced. That's one cool, clever and creatively-minded person on board, and as many more as it takes to go. We will pave the road to awesomeness, one brick at a time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 291: pleasantness all round.

Today I fell asleep in my hammock in the sun with my book in my lap. It was just one of many very pleasant things I did during what turned out to be an extremely relaxing weekend. Other activities included doing yoga and going jogging, buying amazing dusky pink coloured roses at the organic market, getting my nails done, having coffee with one of my favourite girlfriends Kristie and her unbelievably cute baby boy Max, watching an amazing All Blacks rugby game at 1am with my brothers and mate Ben (so much fun!), and going out with some other gal pals to a nice bar and actually chatting to some very pleasant men. So life is sweet. My relationship with alcohol is slightly peculiar in that I feel no deep desire to drink and no envy of others who do, and yet am still really looking forward to re-entering the realms of normal drinking folk. I think at this stage I really don't fear alcohol anymore. I know that when I return to drinking I will be far more aware of my behaviour and more conscious of when and how much I imbibe. I am looking forward to being able to make the decision to go out and get a little bit tiddly knowing that (hopefully) overdoing it is less likely to be the outcome. Anyway, I really did have a fun, relaxed and entertaining time this weekend even without the aid of tiddliness. Hurrah. Good times all round.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 290: a crystal vision.

Holy shit, I think I've seen the light. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and I know exactly what lies ahead of me and what I need to do. Now I'm not claiming an ability to predict the future. I'm sure there will be many unexpecteds along the way. But today I feel like I have truly stepped out of the cloudy fog and into clear vision. If you've been reading closely over the past 290 days, or if you have a knack for themes, you might have noticed I have a pattern. It goes something like this: new idea, great enthusiasm, excited extra ideas flying all over the place, attempts at execution (of idea), some set-backs, further attempts, further set-backs, despondence, pouting, frustration, depressed fog, yoga, regaining of hope, dawning of new idea... and we're off again. I repeat this over and over and over again. It's how I roll. Being aware of the pattern makes it bearable, because when you're in the less fun bits of it, you know it's only a matter of time before you'll be back in the zingy, exciting ideas bit again. And I guess the hope is that at some point one of the ideas will actually take off and the despondence, pouting, frustration stage won't get a chance to happen. Anyway, the vision as of today. The music: a solo recording project utilising existing material and co-produced by me and others (I have people in mind). Work: pursue new ideas project with a team of like-minded individuals to produce truly cool shit in the "advertising" space. New York: the work project will help me produce the work I need to get a job in the big smoke. Yah! And now I'm excited. And I have to go do stuff.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 289: excited about... work?

Yes this is me talking, and I know it sounds insane, but today I got truly, genuinely excited about my job. Working in advertising for me has always been a bit of a tug of war. It's a creative industry so that's good, but a lot of the time you're working on churn and burn bullcrap that doesn't make the world a better place. I guess I've mainly viewed my job as a good option for a creative person while one works on other creative projects designed to one day catapult you out of the industry. But today I think I had a little epiphany. A new guy has started at our place - the head of planning. Planners are usually a very smart and interesting bunch. This guy is all that but cool too (he wears the best threads), and inspiring. Now if you've been in advertising a while, you will necessarily have sat through your fair share of seriously bullshitty inspiring speeches. Whether it's the new agency direction, the new Creative Director, or just an attempt at bolstering morale, at various points in time people will get up and talk at you in an impassioned fervour, usually spouting a string of the latest buzzwords from the industry magazines. Sometimes it does actually gee you up for a while, sometimes it's just depressing. But this guy didn't sound like a bullshitter. He felt like the real deal. Whether this is true or not, his little speech (notable because it wasn't full of buzzwords and was full of understated coolness, as opposed to uncool, bawdy posturing, which you get a lot of in advertising agencies) triggered something in me. I had an idea. It might be an idea that comes to nothing, but it's one I want to pursue. It was an idea that could see my work actually become a true creative outlet. You see, if I'm really honest, all these years I've been focusing my creative powers on finding ways to get out of advertising. Maybe what I should have been doing is working out ways I could really get in to it. I've always wanted to be someone truly inspired by my work. Maybe instead of waiting for my work to inspire me, what I really needed to do was take my inspiration to the work. I'm sure this latest revelation of mine is something other advertisers have probably known all along (the ones who love their jobs that is). Oh well, never mind. Better late than never.