Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 148: Dalmation mice.

My flatmates and I are having a party. Our theme is Wes Anderson movies (you come as your favourite character) and we have decided to go to town on house decorations. In addition to other top secret items, I need to source around maybe fifty white mice, probably not living ones (or dead ones either). Let me rephrase: I need to source fifty fake white mice (pretend ones, you dig? Cool. Moving on.). Anyone got any ideas on where one might find said items? I suppose a Google search wouldn't be the silliest idea in the world. But being an exceptionally lazy humanoid, I have reverted to type and asked the question before doing even a smidgen of hunting on my own. Forget about it. I'll take care of the mice. What's interesting from an alcohol perspective is that the last party we had at our house was insanely boozy. The scene at the end of it was dominated by seas of empty bottles (that people kept systematically sorting through to try and locate any remaining alcohol - a stray botsa that hadn't yet been guzzled? At 3am? Yeah right.) and punctuated by one bathroom covered (like totally) in vomit. Whee. Will this party be any different? Well for one, I should look a little less cross-eyed in this batch of photos, and for another I won't wake up with a hangover (unless I get one from overexposure to the alcohol fumes coming off everyone else). But a very large proportion of the guests will be going about their party business as usual... Well, it should be entertaining anyway. I will also be doing one tray of sweet lime without alcohol, for me and whichever kiddywinks decide to attend. Oo damn, there goes another classified party prop secret.

Day 147: being productive.

Today I had a very good day. It turned out to be quite a long day in the end, with a lot of jobs on at work including a pitch, but it was pretty much entirely satisfying. It started with jogging, which always makes me happy, but basically contained much productiveness, including getting through a lot of work and even making a bit of band progress (the guy I've had my eye on to play guitar with us has agreed to a jam). I just felt really happy and satisfied and stimulated by a lot of the elements, nay all the elements, in my life today. I felt alive, active and useful, occupied and entertained. And none of it had anything to do with not drinking. Or maybe it did. Because since not drinking, I have had to fill my time and entertain my ever whirring brain with activities - things to do. And through not drinking I have been better physically and mentally equipped to perform those activities, which has made them more fun and more satisfying. So in a sense, yet again, it is directly because of not drinking that I felt so happy today. Happy to be alive, happy to be able-bodied, able-minded and surrounded with creative outlets, happy simply to be getting things done.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 146: an Arms encounter!

It was a Monday, much like any Monday. But little did I know that this particular Monday would be special. This Monday would contain... an encounter with Arms. If you've been reading for a week or few, you will have in fact encountered Arms before. He is our, not friendly so much (he's usually quite aloof), neighbourhood barista, known as Arms because he's got great ones. And today we had a conversation with him. It went something like this: Us: "Oh no, are you still doing coffee?" (it was four o'clock and they looked like they were packing up.) Arms (in an Italian-ish accent):"in one minute, you're lucky. What can I get for you?" Us: "Two regular long blacks and one large long black" Arms: "Where do you work? Are you new? I've seen you around" Us: " ! " ................ "Over the road/yes quite new/no not really/splutter splutter/faint". And then he gave us our coffees and we scuttled away light and jittery at the magnitude of our Arms encounter (and because we hadn't had our coffee yet and needed to). All of this is quite ridiculous, seeing as neither Ryan nor I actually find Arms properly attractive except for his arms (or maybe we do? Do we? Do we?). Anyway what we think we established today was that Arms is not gay but straight. We know this because Ryan has been getting coffee there for about six months, but Arms thought we were new (i.e. he started noticing us around the time I started coming for coffees too, a few weeks ago). Not that the noticing means anything necessarily. He might have noticed us in an isn't it nice that that gay man is helping out that slightly sub-normal girl by hanging out with her kind of way. Or he might just have been being friendly. You know, like making conversation. It's possible. (But I doubt it.)

Day 145: step forward, step back.

On Saturday at my singing lesson I made an understanding breakthrough. It had to do with feeling and using my chest voice in my lower register, and the penny finally dropping was quite exciting. Naturally I was keen to do more today to test out my newfound knowledge and skills. And I did, only I sounded and felt awful. My lower notes felt difficult and croaky and the feeling of naturalness from the day before was completely lost to me. My high notes felt fine but then I started questioning my technique on those too. Feeling bamboozled by my exercises, I stopped doing those and tried singing one of my old songs, a tune I usually find easy. And that felt and sounded crap too! So I stopped altogether, served myself some of last night's golden syrup pudding from the fridge (mmm, cold cakey pudding), and read my new book in my hammock on the balcony in the sun (and now I am reminded of the blog thisiswhyyou' Correction: this is why I'm not really skinny. And anyway, the book/pudding/hammock combo also made me deliciously happy.).

Day 144: I bought wine.

A bottle of Shiraz Cabernet. It was weird going into the bottle shop, I haven't been in so long, and I had no idea what to buy. But I did buy something and I took it home and poured two cups... into my Boeuf Bourguignon. I must admit, on opening the bottle I did take a whiff and let the vision of a glass with dinner flutter through my mind. But that was it. Then it was back to cooking and vacuuming and showering and dressing and make-upping and perfuming in preparation for my dinner guests. The dinner was a triumph, with my boeuf being really quite delicious and my brother Nic's orange golden syrup pudding being just awesome. It was a delightful evening, and despite eating some quite decadent fodder, I didn't feel porked out by the end of it. I did, however, the other day see a photo of me with drink in hand at the very Melbourne Cup celebrations that effectively triggered this whole sobriety kick. Talk about an oinker! Why didn't anyone tell me I was such a chubster? Maybe my wine goggles were telling me I looked gorgeous/okay. In any case, who would have thought that simply not drinking for 144 days would have such a dramatic effect fat-wise? And thank Christ I'm here and not there in that bloated and sodden state. So yep, cheers to not drinking, and to a very pleasant night.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Day 143: a new experience.

Last night I hung out with one of my favourite girlfriends, and as I sometimes do of a strange moment, I had a cigarette. And this morning I felt absolutely revolting because of it. I felt mildly dehydrated (which could have been for other reasons too I suppose), wheezy and tight-chested. It was gross. And the closest thing I've had to a hangover in 143 days. It's a feature of being teetotally pure that any contamination of your sacred temple of bod registers quite immediately and profoundly. And the difference between waking pure as the driven snow and waking a little bit polluted is large and foul. (I'm just sayin.) Anyway, this feeling of grossness led to an experience I have not noted before. Some colleagues and I went to the pub at lunch, as one does on a Friday in Sydneytown, and with every drink I sank I felt a little better. It's not exactly surprising considering I was drinking lemonades and then fizzy waters, but noticing my body and head feeling noticeably better and clearer with each hydrating glass was a new experience, especially when sitting in a bar. Speaking of new experiences, I just got a call from my little brother who has recently embarked on an eight-week liver cleanse (yes, the same one I failed to complete). Last night he went to a gig with some of his most unrelenting drinking pals, and managed to get through the whole thing without touching a drop of alcohol. He said it was hard, but that miraculously he'd had a really amazing time. It must have been a good gig. And I'm proud of him (but that's normal). I bet too that when he woke up today he enjoyed the darling new experience of feeling perfectly fine after a fun night out. It might even be the kind of experience that he could (like I have) happily get used to.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 142: thinking too much.

After yesterday's meandering criticism of western society's use of alcohol as entertainment, I had some more thoughts. Ironically though, they centred around the fact that maybe I have lately been thinking too much. When you write a blog about not drinking, and the not drinking gets really easy, you run into fewer and fewer challenging drink-related incidents about which to write. This means you turn to everyday events for subject matter, and naturally you want to keep things interesting. What this effectively means for the daily blog writer is that you are assessing the interestingness and entertainment value of your life every single day. You should try it some time. What I have discovered is that one, my life isn't interesting and entertaining every single day and two, thinking about it all the time is producing in me an unreasonable disgruntlement at the relative lack of daily newsworthy events taking place in my world. Hence little outbursts about the boringness of routine, drinking and the status quo. If I hadn't had to write something interesting about it, I wouldn't have lost a blink of sleep over the fact that two days in a row were mainly about work, exercise, cooking dinner and hitting the hay, or that the Entourage season finale represented a genuine high point in my week. (Oh God, now I'm going to depress myself all over again.) Sometimes the same old shit is the stuff of life, and a glass of wine helps it go down a little better, or help you forget that you did exactly the same thing yesterday. As a teetote, I have no spoonful of sugar (except an actual spoonful of sugar) with which to assist my stomaching of the mundane, and no sedative with which to obscure the facts. My daily bull sits happily in the stark light of my consciousness in all its stinking glory. So I apologise if a) my posts aren't always the night before Christmas for excitingness b) I sometimes come off as criticising the bejesus out of what are perfectly normal and enjoyable human habits, and c) I examine the odd aspect of life that doesn't really need examining. I'm sober and aware every minute of every day, the only time I zone out is when I sleep, and I'm facing every moment of my uneventful little life without a single drop from the reality-fuzzing clouds. Think about it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 141: what are we doing?

Today various people have been agitated, stressed, bothered, whatever. I have been feeling fine as usual, with pockets of standout happiness, appreciation of life, satisfaction with various things that have been going on. Blerk. Yip. That seems to be my reality right now. I am regularly feeling contentment with many aspects of my life. But I also hit a patch of boredom. Not of the I'm having a slow day variety but more of the what on earth are these little routine lives we're all living actually about kind. It's like, here I am happily doing my job, exercising of a morning or evening, doing my singing practice, going to parties, shopping for clothes, writing my blog, going to movies, planning holidays, but where's it all heading? A lot of the things I've just listed do give me plenty of satisfaction, but... sometimes I just feel like I am living in a bubble that is just below the surface of the amazing reality of what life has to offer. In my mind's eye (and on TV and in movies etc) life promises huge, exhilarating possibilities and experiences. But who's living them? Are you? Or am I missing the point? It's true I haven't experienced what it's like to become a parent, and I've heard that's pretty perspective-altering. But is life about big amazing moments, or is it about the tiny pleasures of just being? What started me thinking about all this, was that I calculated my remaining days off the piss. From today I have 224 days to go. And then I will be allowed to drink again. But what difference does that make? Am I supposed to sing from the rooftops because I can reacquaint myself with western society's favourite passtime/distraction/sorry excuse for entertainment? Whether I drink or not has absolutely no bearing on what my life contains. At its core, my life will be equally as interesting or as boring with or without a drink in my hand. And the vision of everyone running to their nearest pub, wine bar or bottle-o every time they want to have fun just kind of depresses me. Are we so boring that that's all we can think of to do? Could it be that the reason we all drink so much is because we're leading lives that are largely empty? That we use alcohol not just to fill the holes but to block them out as well? But then, not everyone does drink a lot. Could there be a correlation between fullness of life and emptiness of bottle? (Anyone know an idle scientist looking for something to study?) Hmm, lots of questions, none too many answers. And while I'd love to stick around and work some out, I'm afraid I must dash. Pondering life is indeed entertaining, but sometimes a little getting on with it is also required.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 140: working and singing.

Last week I did a pretty crap job of doing any singing practice, so this week I'm really trying to work on my vocal exercises every day. Only on evenings like this, where a mildly baffling job has kept me at my other kind of work a little later than usual, the prospect of going home and belting out my arpeggios and scales in nays, naws, mums and hmms seems even more of a chore than it usually does. You'd think that doing something that could bring me closer to achieving my rock 'n' roll dreams would be something I would jump at. But as my singing teacher pointed out, these exercises are the sweaty workouts that come before the hot bod (actually I added the bit about the bod), i.e. it's the hard bit. The work you put in before you get the reward. So if I'm interested in getting the reward ever in this lifetime, maybe I should stop wasting valuable minutes writing about doing the hard work, and just go and do it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 139: another happy Monday.

Sorry for all the happiness, but I thought this was worth a mention. My sister is taking her own mini-break off the piss (three weeks) and reported this morning, a Monday, feeling unnaturally happy on arriving at work. Another non-drinking Monday happy camper. Also interesting was some information imparted to me by my hair cutter (extraordinaire) Julianne: that in chinese medicine the liver is credited with keeping our emotions in balance (or sending them violently out of whack as the case may be). After some (admittedly quite shallow) digging on my part, it seems she is entirely right. Who would have thought? Not ignorant little me, but it certainly adds up. One of the most obvious outcomes of my not drinking so far has been consistent happiness, where before there was pretty much consistent frustration and disappointment and a gloomy outlook on my future prospects. To think giving my liver a chance to sort it's shit out would result in such a profound about turn in emotional okayness (which, by the way, is not a word). So, the liver as governor of the emotions. I'm happy with that (and basically everything else).

Day 138: happiness is simple.

Jogging, writing, singing, communing with friends and family, sitting in the sunshine, reading, putting up my hammock, strolling, eating, drinking (not drinking), talking, playing board games with my nieces, pottering and sleeping; these are the things that made me happy today.

Day 137: do or not do.

I seem to remember sometime in my early youth, reading a quote from man of the moment Keanu Reeves (I think it was in Dolly magazine) that he'd rather regret something he had done than something he hadn't. To borrow from his then vernacular, I think that's kind of bogus; regrets whether for doing or not doing a thing are regrets just the same. I'm of the opinion it's best to try and avoid them altogether. So you did something uncool, or didn't do something awesome. So what? Freak out for a minute, by all means apologise, then move the fuck on. Anyway, bogus or not (can people's personal preferences even be right or wrong?), last night I had cause to remember and applaud Keanu's call to action. Firstly, because I'd been invited to a 90s party (Keanu's first era of reigning teen hunkdom), and secondly because I was teetering on the to go or not to go line. As I've indicated before, Friday nights can be a difficult energy challenge for a non-drinker. I'd had quite an exhausting week and the prospect of a shower followed by ugg boots and sofa time was seeming pretty enticing. But what with all the complaining I've been doing lately about there being no boys anywhere, I felt it was really my duty to go and check out the scene. In the end it was out of respect for the hostess Jo that I elected to go. And I'm so glad I did. Not only were there tables full of M&Ms, Burger Rings and fairy bread to help me replenish my energy stores, there was a top bunch of people with whom to hang, some of my absolute favourite people in the world. It was just one of those really natural fun times, the kind of fun I always have when this particular crowd are around. And it reminded me of how many great boys and girls I know and what a lucky girl I am to be living my particular life. The genuine quality of the lads too reminded me that there are plenty of funny, cool and lovely boys in the world and that not freaking out is probably the best policy for finding one of my own. So yes Keanu, I agree. At least when it comes to parties, the doing of the thing is an infinitely better idea than doing nothing at all.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 136: evidence of industry.

The other day while I was blithering about frickin cheese et al, one reader quite rightly suggested I might be procrastinating on the music front by fretting over edibles (thanks Jamie). While I am definitely an A grade procrastinator, Ben and I actually have been busying ourselves quite consistently with our music project and producing quite a body of work. Of course, as we prefer not to look like complete amateurs and dorks, I haven't been posting every half finished thing we've done. But I thought it was about time I shared a little more of what we've been up to with you. So today I present to you Never Never, a little ditty that began as a message to a very frustrating boy but ended up being more of a message to myself about not wasting time pissing around. Hey! Proving I haven't been procrastinating with a song about not procrastinating. Miraculous. Amazing. This song just FYI was one that came out unexpectedly in an instant one evening when I sat down to record something else entirely at Ben's place. Weird how that happens. Sometimes songs just seem to fall out fully formed, taking no notice of whether you want to write them or not. Crazy. Whatever. Happy Friday. And hopefully enjoy.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 135: reflecting on boys (again).

The debate over my "I deserve a boyfriend" post has been such, that I have had cause for further reflection. Some very valid points have been raised by representatives of both sexes. One, that maybe modern women have unrealistic expectations when it comes to what they're looking for in a man, and that they may be over-looking perfectly wonderful men by focusing on the wrong attributes. Two, that if you are a confident and capable woman, many men may be afraid to approach, thinking they don't have a chance, which means the approach is, alas, up to the gal. And three, that it's a lot harder to meet anyone unaided by a little dutch courage. So where does all this leave me? Firstly, I will admit that sometimes I rule boys out based on ridiculous things (a stripe on a sock, a bad glasses frame, eyes just a hint too close together). This is me being shallow and making the task of finding a quality lad that much harder (who knows why he's wearing those socks? Maybe he borrowed some off his flatmate cos the washing machine broke down. Do his socks really matter in any capacity whatsoever?). Secondly, I have always had trouble with people thinking I'm scary (like a monster? I'm hoping not.), and with boys being intimidated by me. I have a certain kind of energy that just seems to freak people out a little. What can I say? I am what I am. But I might have to reconcile myself to the fact that it might have to be me who makes the first move occasionally. And of course first moves are way easier to make when you've got the free-flowing feeling that comes with wines flowing freely. Which means I'm going to have to muster some herculean confidence in my current sober predicament to get my pluck up enough to approach a hotty. That's presuming of course that I see anyone I like. Because even coming across anyone who flicks the switch for me lately has been a difficult one. But are my switch-flicking criteria unrealistic and impossibly exclusive? Oh look, I've come full circle. Let's just say I will keep in mind that inclusiveness is a virtue, try to open my eyes and my mind a little wider, and start preparing for the distinct possibility of a me-instigated boy approach. That and pray for an Adonis, an intervention from Cupid, or another bright idea.

Day 134: sugar is shit.

Since relaxing my grip on liver purity the other day, today I ate lollies and some potato chips. This had the almost instant affect of making me feel awful, not just kind of queasy but also agitated and sort of unhappy. A down-ish brain fug. Mental right? Actually though, I'm not meant to be talking about food at all. So: sugar is shit. That's all I'm going to say.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 133: I love you.

A little while ago I installed a handy little device on this blog that tells me how many of you folk are reading each day, and where approximately in the world you are. Over the last week I have been astounded to discover that some of you are popping in to read from as far away as Thailand, Belgium, Germany, New Caledonia, French Polynesia and even Turkey. While I knew I had readers in the US, I had no idea that there were people reading in Dearborn Michigan and Denver Colorado, rather than just Houston Texas where my cousin Charlotte lives. Likewise, I knew I had plenty of readers in Sydney, but not about the people tuning in from Darwin, Chullora, Melbourne, Belmont, Flinders and Perth. If this is you, I am so excited that you are remotely interested in my tiny life and my mental-case mission. In fact, I absolutely freakin love every you in the world kind and interested enough to spend some of your valuable spare time here with me. You are ace. Was that too much love? Sorry. Let's reign it in with a simple (and heartfelt) thanks. I will do my best to give you good reasons to keep coming back, from wherever in the world you happen to be.

Day 132: Massive Attack.

I did a bit of a stupid thing and bought tickets to two concerts for the same night. One was The Pixies, the other was Massive Attack. After much flickering indecision, I elected to attend Massive Attack on account of the fact that it was at the Sydney Opera House and that I saw The Pixies last time they were in town. And it was a rad show. Peopled mainly with thirty to even forty somethings, it was in one sense a vivid musical jolt into the days of my youth (you know you're getting on when you first heard a band's song 18 years ago), but in another it was an awesome comment on right now. For one thing, their latest offering of tunes are just as cool as some of their more legendary tracks of old. But in addition, they managed to use a dazzling display of light and technology to send a potent brew of messages to the crowd; Massive Attack have grown political in their old age. Or were they always, and was I just too young and dumb to notice? Anyway, using a totally cool light board at the back of the stage, they displayed a far reaching array of statements, facts and visuals that both entertained and educated their fans. And it made the music more meaningful. Finding out how much it costs to fund a kids' HIV clinic in Ghana versus how much a UK MP spends in a week on towels brought new meaning to songs like Karma Coma for example. Clever lads. The general vibe of the whole gig was really cool too. Probably owing to the older demographic, there was no moshing, or sloshing of beer for that matter, which was great. Just appreciative group laughs at 3D's topical jokes, clapping, and a bit of embarrassingly old school hippy raver dancing. And the setting was kind of amazing, with the stage sitting under a sheer cliff of rock, facing the crowd perched on the steps of the Opera House with its impressive peaked curves looming above. Wow right? Oh, and there were probably crowds of eligible males there in about the right age group for a girl like me. Only no-one was interested in eyeing anyone up, we were all too busy gazing at the stage.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 131: I deserve a boyfriend.

I don't want to come across as obsessed or unduly pathetic, but my state of boyfriendlessness has gotten beyond a joke. At the risk of sounding conceited, I am not an abhorrent woman. I'm not perfect, but there isn't a living soul who is, so perfect can piss off as any kind of excuse for a reason. Based on my observation of other girls who do have boyfriends, and on my own estimation of my general merits, I have come to the conclusion that I am entirely worthy of the amorous affection of a decent grade of boy. And yet no boy presents himself. Why? Here, as far as I can tell (is my perception monstrously skewed? It's entirely possible.), is what I have to offer: a presentable face (eyes probably best feature), generally good skin (helped by non-drinking glow!), a healthy and fit body with quite good boobs, an in-proportion bottom and shapely legs (helped by running and yoga). I'm gainfully employed in a creative field, university educated, I read, see good movies, wear cool clothes, get good haircuts, like jokes, parties, dancing, skiing, seeing bands, even going to the rugby, and I can cook. Apart from sounding like a complete wanker, what am I doing wrong? My intention here is not to try and trumpet myself as being some beaming example of awesomeness. I'm acutely aware that I do not present every man's cup of tea, and that I'm not one of those easy, long-haired, girl-next-door girlfriend types that boys seem to flock to. However, for the girl that I am, I don't know how much more I can do to make myself more attractive. Not to say there isn't room for improvement, but there's only so much a girl can do before she loses the plot. If I'm going to remain an easygoing and friendly individual, I think the me you see right now is about as good as it's gonna get. If boys aren't liking it now, there's not much more I can do. And why should I be contemplating doing anything else at all in fact? Whatever happened to boys being the active ones in seeking out females? It might just be this town, but dudes just don't seem to be interested anymore. There's no red-blooded pursuit of a dame. It's all roll another joint and wait for her to pay for all your drinks and drop you home in the expensive car that she paid for with cash from her high earning job. Excuse my French, but what the fuck? I don't care what feminism has taught us: it is actually unacceptable for boys to back down from their roles as men. Women cannot be expected to look pretty, have babies, make the home a warm and welcoming haven, be lovely and earn all the money and be the instigator in relationships. It's not freaking fair. And it's just going to lead to a whole lot of early deaths for females worn out from doing every fucking thing. Do boys want this? What happened to boys just really loving girls for their girlhood? Where are those men who simply love women? And I'm sorry, but I'm not accepting the idea that this is just a me problem and there's something wrong with me that keeps cool men away. Either Sydney is a dead zone for single females and I have to get out. Or the world has lost the plot when it comes to men courting women. I don't know the answer. But as I have now ranted myself into a state of exhaustion, maybe you could help me out with your opinions on the matter.

Day 130: progress.

After some turbulent and quite telling dreams (involving ballet exams and not being prepared in any way for them) I had a very productive and satisfying day. Apart from taking care of a number of tasks that had been bugging me, I had my second voice training lesson and then went to Ben's house to record some backing vocals for one of our newer tracks. The voice sessions are proving to be extremely enlightening. It seems that although I've been singing away for years in kiddy choirs and bands, I have had absolutely no clue how to use my voice properly. It's a wonder I've managed to choke anything out at all using my non-technique. Even just knowing how to breathe is making an enormous difference (although I'm a little afraid of what diaphragm breathing will do for my tummy tone. It seems to involve quite a lot of sticking it out.) Anyway, I have a fresh set of breathing and vocal exercises which I will avidly do, because it excites me to think of where my voice might end up. The session at Ben's went really well too. We did a bunch of different vocal options and put down some new keyboard parts in the break, and it was all working well and sounding good. My new breathing techniques really helped me to sing what I needed to sing with significantly more ease. So yippeeyiyay and a head voice hey! (Sorry. That last bit was me being an extreme nerd and employing some of my newly learnt singing jargon. What. A. Cock.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 129: becoming a bore.

So I know I've said before that drinking a shit-load and waking up with hangovers all the time is boring. And it is. But I am also aware that turning into a no fun, no treats, purity and mega-health bore isn't any cooler. You may have noticed of late (or maybe it's just been happening in my head) that I have been obsessing more and more over ridiculous food issues. The addition of the liver cleanse to my already restrictive lifestyle has muscled me into a corner where there is decidedly no party happening. I have progressed (regressed? totally freaked?) from thinking that alcohol is an absolute no-no, to putting lemonade, tonic water, chocolate, steak, cheese, eggs and even milk in the same category. Since when has skim milk on your organic muesli been evil? For a completely lactose tolerant individual, since never. It's almost like because avoiding alcohol has become second nature to me, I need a new restrictive challenge. Why don't I lighten the fuck up and stop being so wizened in my approach to my consumables? When there's no Friday night glass of red, surely there's got to be the leeway for chocolate gelato after dinner, or a freakin latte after your morning run that isn't derived from soybeans. I mean what kind of perfect weirdo am I actually trying to be? I am fit, looking leaner and better than I have in ages and feeling chipper pretty much every day. What do I gain from being purer, thinner, lighter, more virtuous? In fact, I think being ever more stringent in my healthy ways is actually detrimental. Is anyone else I know behaving like me right now? Absolutely frickin not. Do people like loony health nuts? Hell no! Is any of this helping me meet a nice boy? Enough said. And here I've gone and wasted another whole blog entry, ranting about healthy freaking whatever. I apologise. The boringness of it all freaks me out. Is this really what I have become (is it what I've always been?)? This needs a solution of the now variety. First, I'm not talking about food anymore. Second, I'm going to stick to basic principles of healthiness without being ridiculous on details (except for the detail of not drinking alcohol. That stays.). Third I'm going to remind myself that I'm meant to be focusing on music and not peripherals. And right now? I'm going to shut the fuck up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 128: The Falconer.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

- exerpt from The Second Coming by WB Yeats.

Have I mentioned this poem before? It's one of my all-time favourites (mainly for "its slow thighs" - what an image!). These words in particular feel appropriate for certain happenings in my world, or just the sense of what might happen. I'm being dramatic of course. There will be no actual blood shed. Not literal blood anyway. Never mind. What will be will be. In any case, they are also rather shallowly appropriate because today Ryan and I spent a good chunk of our day working at one of my latest favourite joints, The Falconer. It has old, green, completely unpretentious booths to sit in, pleasing food that is both gourmet and healthy (except for their chocolate self-saucing pudding which I spied in another booth on the other side of the room, and which looked decidedly evil (and fucking awesome)), and a record player on which they spin really cool music pretty much all the time. I am all about record players right now. I don't own one but I want to (add it to the list). Anyway, The Falconer is a very good place to work. We feel happy and at home there. And the staff don't mind if you hog a booth for ages (especially when you hog on snacks, coffees and lemonades the way me and Ryan do - well not actually lemonades for me but, oh whatever). Come to think of it, if the shit did hit a la The Second Coming, The Falconer might be a good place to hole up in. Good tunes, cosy booths and chocolate pudding: a happy place in which to weather the storm.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 127: a taste for mulch.

I've been liver cleansing for two and a half weeks now, and while I've had the odd slip up on the sugar front, you'd still think I'd be feeling something a little different. I'm not. No withdrawal symptoms or headaches. No obvious weight loss. Skin's pretty much the same. I've taken myself completely off dairy and red meat without mishap. I've been diligently drinking my juices in the morning. Only eating special bread, avoiding sugar most of the time, eating bucketloads of fruit, veges and organic oats. Where's the freaky energy I was promised? Why haven't I lost 10 kgs? I think the answer is my liver was already in pretty good shape, and doing a liver cleanse on top of teetotal is overkill. Anyway, I will continue to eat the mulch that is liver cleansing food because it doesn't bother me that much to do it. I have, over the years, been weening myself onto healthier and healthier foods and now can quite happily stomach my wheatgrass and carrot beverages, my psyllium husk and linseed scattered breakfast soaked in rice milk, my quinoa, millet balls, tofu fritters etcetera etcetera. But for your average Joe, food like this would taste like compost. Such earthy goodness takes time for your pallet to adjust to. It's a potentially vomit inducing shock to the unaccustomed taste bud (I literally gagged on trying my first wheatgrass shot). I worry about this only because my younger brother is about to enter into the liver cleanse himself, and doesn't have a history of being a psycho-healthy eater like me. It might be hard. It also raises questions about the future health of all of the western world, given our current addiction to sugar (alcohol), meat, white bread and saturated fat. If my nutrition books are to be believed, these things are freakin evil. But with hyper-healthy food tasting like it does, I don't see too many people easily giving up their Big Macs. Weirdly enough, I actually really like the taste of a lot of the super healthy food I eat, and when I think about it, it's probably only that I feel so good pretty much all the time anyway these days that the liver cleanse isn't revolutionising my world. Anyway enough yabber. Time to head home, swing by the supermarket for some fresh mulch fodder, and cook up something tasty.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 126: all about Arms.

Of a busy working day in an advertising creative department, it's good to have the odd distraction to help rest your brain, give you a little fresh stimulus and keep you from dozing off. In my current department we have one of these: a man called Arms. Arms makes coffee at a cafe stand in a sort of indoor/outdoor atrium down the road from our office. He makes a very good long black, and, as his name suggests, sports a fetching set of upper limbs. My art director Ryan and I cannot decide whether Arms is gay or straight. His attention to bicep upkeep and tightness of tee would suggest gayness to me, but Ryan assures me he has caught Arms looking at me and at other accompanying females in a mildly appreciative fashion. Seeing as Ryan is a gay man himself, I should probably trust his gaydar. Either way it doesn't matter. Whenever we get a window, or need some "refreshment", we pay Arms a visit and spend a moment or two doing some appreciation of our own. And every time we skip away happier and lighter for our brush with this pretty man. Does Arms know he has this affect on us? If he does he's not giving anything away. In fact he's not even actually my type (Lord knows what is). But sometimes just enjoying the good bits of the people you encounter - like a good set of arms - is what life's all about.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 125: getting vocal.

Blah blah blah. That's one of the little techniques I learnt on Saturday at my first vocal coaching session. The spoken blahs are designed to remind you what your mouth and throat are meant to feel like while you're singing. Anyway, last night I tried my first lot of breathing and vocal exercises, followed by trying the new techniques in some of my existing songs: I am freaking excited. The difference in control, quality of sound, volume and strength across my range was profound, and this is only after some very piffling and rudimentary work. I mean, at this point I still basically know nothing and I'm already sounding distinctly better. Imagine what might be to come! Anyway, I am very pleased so far with this foray into actually knowing how to sing, and am looking forward to doing more practice tonight. (Singing nerdism! Add it to the list...)

Day 124: party two.

Parties are fun. I like them. Especially when they're thrown by your best mates and everyone attending is awesome. Last night's party was Ben and Alicia's housewarming (and Flo, if you're reading this, you were invited too but I forgot to pass it on - apologies!). Their house is really cool with good indoor outdoor aspects and great concrete floors which, as we discovered, make sensational noises when you smash glasses on them. The music was totally freakin cool without exception, thanks to Ben's finely tuned ear for stomping party tracks, and they'd made a heap of delicious nibbles. My kind of party! With such quality stimulus, I found it very easy to bop right on through to around 2.30am, with only the balls of my high-heeled feet registering any real tiredness. My only disappointment was that there were no new and unknown boy prospects to see my quite special outfit (bouffant leopard print shorts and blinding red lipstick! And other necessary items of course, like a top for instance.). In any case, a fun time was had by all, an ocean liner of alcohol was sunk (not by me!) and a healthy amount of interest was shown in my piss-free mission (funny conversation fodder for people steadily sipping their way towards motherships of hangovers.). Bizarrely enough, when I woke this morning for my 8am jog, I did have a little headache. Too may ginger beers, not enough sleep. Ahh, what would my former self say to such a display of wimpery? Nothing probably. I'd still be dead to the world at this early hour (2pm), and far too brain dead on waking to gather any collection of words into a decent derogatory slur.

Day 123: party one.

Last night, after mustering some energy, I went to a leaving party for two friends from my last agency. They are a great couple, and are heading to Tanzania to volunteer in some helpful capacity for a few months, then will wander the globe for the rest of the year (as far as I could gather). Anyway, as I said they are both lovely people and attending was a must. By now I am pretty cool with parties, in a non-drinking sense. I am not bothered anymore by the initial slowness/hint of awkward that is the beginning of most parties. I am quite happy to ride it out over a ginger ale or bottled water and wait for everyone else to loosen up. As it was an agency party anyway, I knew just about everyone turning up (a few being arrogant advertising cockheads I have zero time for, but most being quality people I adore) so the awkwards were limited.It was a good event and there were lots of fun people to catch up with, and I didn't have any alcohol pangs except one flicker of thirst as my gaze fell momentarily on the cool line up of chilled green bottles in the beer fridge behind the bar. No biggie, moving on. Indeed, the party had the potential to have been quite a fun and raucous one, peopled as it was with so many pleasing folk. Only there was one person there who was not so pleasing. A male from my past whom I would be more than happy never to see in my life again. It wasn't so much that he ever behaved badly towards me, more that he was just a touch peculiar. It was a peculiarity that I first mistook for interestingness, but soon identified as weirdness. I'm all for people being cool and different, but this guy had qualities that were quietly alarming and made me want to put many miles between me and him. Seeing him in the same room was a shock that literally made my face and body contort, shiver and cringe all at once. After that I could relax so little that my only option was to leave. Once I'd hit the pavement and fresh air outside I felt happy and at one with the world again, safely able to slip away into the Friday night noisily crowding Oxford Street. And my good time with my old work mates wasn't sullied either, just cut a little short. But as I have another party to attend any minute now, an earlier night probably wasn't the worst idea in the world.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 122: Friday not so fun.

Don't get me wrong. Fridays are great days. And really mine has been fine. But there's a point on a Friday afternoon when it's not fun to be a non-drinker. In olden times, the four o'clock-ish crack open of wine or beer would signal the end of toil and the beginning of freedom. Even if you were still working, the fizzy-bubbly would make it all a little looser and more fun. When you're teetotal, there is no freedom-signaling treat. All of the drinks and snacks the world has to offer you are kind of tired by Friday afternoon. And sugary drinks tend to add to tiredness rather than help get your groove on. So while others open the floodgates to weekend oblivion and get pumped for the parties and bars they're soon to hit, I have to wrestle my energy levels into a state where I can face the same parties and bars already full of drunken people. It's tiring enough in itself, let alone doing the actual partying. But you can't hermit your life away, so I will slick on some fresh lippy and get the freak on the party trail. One tonight, one tomorrow and plenty of other freaky activities in between. Time to bring it. So let's go baby.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 121: perfect ain't pretty.

By now you may be aware that I have a thing for perfectness. My entire life can at times seem like a never ending tick list of perfections; ways to eat, number of times to exercise, vitamins to take, tightness of hair cut, colour and neatness of nail polish (and level of unbitteness of nail), zitlessness of skin, bass practice done, diligentness of pursuing one's creative dreams etc. etc. Unlike just about all of the time, lately I have actually been managing to achieve an almost perfect perfectness report card. And while it 1. gives me nerd-like satisfaction and 2. has actually been making me feel pretty awesome (due to lots of the tick boxes being about healthiness), I have discovered that it's not in fact that cute to other people, or even to me particularly. Nobody likes a person who does everything right. Quite a lot of the time people like people who do things wrong. Wrongdoing by others tends to make you feel better about your own crappy elements, and it has an attractive who gives a fuck aspect to it. Rebels are always more hankered after than the well-behaved and law abiding. And as much as not drinking is rebellious, it's not the kind of rebellious that turns people on. All of this though, gives me a problem. I know that hyper perfect behaviour isn't attractive, but at the moment it is making me feel really good (to the extent of feeling brain highs after eating my meticulously balanced meals - see, even that made me sound like an abominable human being). What's more, while the perfectness of the behaviour tends to make people puke, it is, I think, serving to make me physically prettier (clearer skin and eyes, thinner all over, better muscle tone, convincingly smug(ly) smile). Then again, ironically, even that grosses people out - "Look at how revoltingly glowing you're looking this morning!". And I certainly haven't got a train of suitors fighting to get a piece of my shiny, healthy halo. Of course, stinking of booze and sporting dark eye circles and grey, zit marked skin probably wouldn't help much in that department either. So whatever. If being a perfect nerd is what makes me happy then so be it. Who gives a shit about pretty anyway.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day: 120: oh wow!

So can I please go and hang out with Phoenix et al now for the rest of my life? They were freakin awesome. I was particularly mesmerised by their drummer, an amazing powerhouse of rollicking, fat, pumping rhythm, and the loose hints of jam offered up by their lead guitarist were also satisfying. For some inexplicable reason too (apart from the fact that they're totally cool), Australia seems to have gone mad for this happy band of Frenchies. Somehow, the land famous for the squawks of Jimmy Barnes and the no-nonsense rock of ACDC, has fallen in love with the delicate and arty trillings of a gang of Parisian boys. The crowd was going off. Jumping, screaming, shouting every lyric, even singing sweetly like an enormous children's choir to a pared back version of "Everything". It was quite a thing to be caught up in. And a highly enjoyable show. So enjoyable in fact that I didn't even really think about my own music making at all; I just soaked up the extremely positive vibe. On second thought though, it does inspire me to keep plugging along the musical dream vein, even if only to try and one day score a support slot for Phoenix. Because regardless of how fashionable their support band Miami Horror might currently be, I am quite certain we could blow them out of the water.

P.S. Being a non-drinker at the gig was also rewarding, inasmuch as I avoided being slathered in drink stickiness and pong when the crowd started bouncing. Boing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 119: Phoenix gig.

Tonight I'm going to see my favourite French alt rockers Phoenix at The Hordern. I'm a bit over the Hordern but that's okay. It will be interesting to see how this gig affects my perspective on my own music aspirations. Gigs always have some affect, whether it is producing jealous vibrations, I could do better than that murmurings, oh my God I have no talent whatsoever whimperings, or WOW where the FRICK is my guitar LET'S GO convulsions. Oh, I booked in my first vocal training session too, which kind of freaked me out. What if I get there and can't sing a thing or am outed as a complete musical fraud? I guess these are fears I will simply have to face. Now, to the gig!

Day 118: tired of dicks.

There's a guy at work who has been being a real dick, kind of making sexist comments, or just doing things to cast very competent and quite senior females in a subordinate or junior light. It's totally outdated. Then at yoga tonight, the guy next to me felt the need to rearrange his bits after every posture. It was gross. I know lots of men and boys who are not dicks at all, but today I just seemed to be confronted by quite a lot of the ones who are. Never mind. I will leave them to live with their dickishness. Meanwhile my exercise step-up is going swimmingly. I jogged in the morning and yoga'd at night and then ate a nauseatingly healthy dinner. Jeez I'm even starting to gross myself out with all this mega-piety. Maybe the real dick around here right now is me.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 117: long way to go.

At yoga today my teacher asked me how the non-drinking was going, and how many more months I had to go. She was just about to complete FebFast, a month off of her own, and said she'd found it pretty hard. As you know, over the last few days I've had the odd pang. It's okay. Today was pang free and I felt fine. But it did occur to me that at just under a third of the way in, I've still got some miles to cover. It also registered in my pea-like brain, that to keep things interesting maybe I should try a bit of a different emphasis on things. So far, I've pretty much been trying to just do the normal stuff I do minus the alcohol; a sort of casual approach. But why not get a little more rigorous with things? Or am I being a freak? Yes, maybe I am. But if I'm sober and have no excuse to be not doing things, then why don't I start using my time a little better? I am going to start by stepping up the exercise. Moderate exercise is fine if you're hung over half the time, but if you're a clean machine I think it's reasonable to expect more. Jogging in the mornings is what I'm thinking, with yoga of an evening to keep me sane (or push me over the edge as the case may be - kidding. Yoga is my mental superhero rescuer, and can always be relied upon to make me feel good.). I am also going to book in my vocal training sessions and start using at least one of my weeknights or weekend days more productively. And, and, and everything. No, that will do. My constant mistake is overloading myself with expectations and responsibilities. It's a recipe for failure. Exercise and vocal training (and liver cleansing and working) is all I need to worry about this week. And if I concentrate on that, maybe it won't bother me so much that I have over eight months to go. (It's actually not bothering me right now, so what's the big deal?)

Day 116: Mardi Gras.

Ah thank Christ. I am now safely barricaded in my happy tower away from the slather on the streets outside. It is Mardi Gras tonight, Sydney's biggest, gayest party of the year. But what I just fought my way through was not some throng of camp, drag and androgynous merriment. Rather a sketchy mob of hetero youth vomiting their way along piss spattered streets lined with stalls selling chicken skewers and dodgy asian pork balls. Tasty. Never mind. As the parade had passed by hours before, I'm presuming these were the underage dregs left behind the more spectacular revelers, since moved on to any number of after parties. For my own part, and as some small gesture towards the theme of the night, I went to a screening of A Single Man (Tom Ford's visual love affair, heavily dosed in homosexual male gaze - not a bad thing. It was a beautiful film.) with friends, then went to my favourite place in the entire universe right now, The Big Rig. This last part of the evening had nothing whatsoever to do with celebrating gayness, and more to do with pleasing our ears (best music ever, all the time and loud), our eyes (hot wait staff, the chef is a spunk) and our taste buds (chilli fries, guacamole, macaroni and cheese). Oh, and I should probably fess up about a couple of things: 1. Having consumed the aforementioned chilli fries and some corn chips and two Cokes, I kind of fell off the liver cleanse wagon. 2. I really wished I could have had a beer or a glass of red. I didn't of course. But it's been a bit of a theme the last couple of days. I have just been wanting to be able to relax and enjoy an alcoholic drink in a nice moderate and adult way. But as stupid as it seems to not be allowed to, not drinking is the only rule and it's one I'm going to stick to. I think probably adding the liver cleanse on top has been maybe one step too far. After all, when you're beating yourself up over the damage two cokes and some corn chips are going to do to your liver, you're kind of losing the plot. I will get back on the path to purity tomorrow, with liver-friendly eating and some yoga. And meanwhile I will quite happily go to sleep, far from the rat-faced crowds stumbling around on the streets below.