Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 209: the coal face.

I'm at work. We're finishing some urgent concepts for an 8am meeting tomorrow, and the others are having wines. It's been a long Monday, but things seem to be sorting themselves out. Or at least, we're sorting them out, but it looks like everything will be okay. That's good. What is also good is that my favourite IT man Ben (a different Ben. I have about twelve Bens in my life, give or take.) may have given me a hot tip for solving my microphone problem. Now if only I could get home to try it out.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 208: equipment malfunction.

My freakin microphone is still refusing to communicate with Garageband. I mean how ridiculous? I embark on my exciting new attempt at a music project and am thwarted before I even manage to lay down a proper vocal take. It's pretty basic stuff, and pretty pathetic. Add to that my waking up with a squeaky and positively male pubescent sounding voice box, and the music department of my life is looking somewhat broken down. Still, I will persevere. The mic issue will certainly be solved with some tiny and either a) annoyingly obvious or b) impossibly obscure flick of a tick box or drop-down menu choice somewhere in the Garageband programme. I will find it Goddamnit! And there's not a lot I can do about a croaky throat except rest my voice and saturate my throat in nonabrasive and hydrating beverages. When I was little and I had a throat and cough like the one I do now, my Dad would always make me a hot toddy with some kind of brandy or whisky in it, honey and orange or lemon. They were small and potent brews which guaranteed a lot less raspy coughing and a decent night's sleep. I wonder if one such brew would help my little vocal cords now? I'm guessing probably not (judging by what my singing teacher has told me about the effects of alcohol on one's delicate tune tubes). Oh well, it's all academic. I can guess and wonder about hot toddies until the sun comes up, but testing their efficacy in fixing throats will have to wait until later.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 207: woa dizzy.

I went to yoga this morning. First time in a week. I'm kind of still feeling a bit coughy etcet, so I was ready for it not to be my most stomping class ever, but man how dizzy? I seriously had to sit down about five times. But you know, whatever. It was good to do it. Then after class I discovered a new organic market pretty close to my house which was very pleasing. I bought oranges and bok choy. The oranges are freakin delicious (I haven't tried the bok choy). And then I went to my niece Sylvie's 3rd birthday party where there was a surprising number of awesome vegan food options (part of the party was at a Chinese restaurant) and I had just a really cool time hangin' with the fam. What a rockin day. Everyone else was drinking the way my family and close associates usually drink (which is liberally), and as usual it didn't bother me. I don't care about alcohol. Really, just not at all. Actually wait a minute, there was one moment when I cared a tiny bit about alcohol. Last night I went with a girlfriend to a quite up-market wine bar in the city, frequented by (from what I could tell) quite a lot of handsome, beautifully suited men. In that setting, with its large gilt-framed mirrors, golden low light and glinting chandeliers, it would have been more appropriate to be sipping from a classy glass of red or white than sucking on the straw of my pineapple juice. But no worry. I have filed this pleasant establishment under "places to drink classily in future", and in the meantime I will very happily stick to drinks of the less dizzying variety.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 206: no lolly on the trolly.

Ah the tinkle of the drinks trolly. What happiness and excitement that glass-jingling melody used to inspire in me. Tinkle tinkle, time to relax now, tinkle tinkle, you will soon be released from the daily grind, tinkle tinkle, and relieved of your capacity for coherent thouuuuuuuught. As a tune it could use some work, but man I used to dig it. Now alas, that trolly's got nuthin for me. It's just a big jiggling mass of sugar and brain killer. That's cool. I am actually very happy on my new vegan and sugar-free, plus usual alcohol-free buzz. There have been times in my life when a diet as spartan as this (actually the Spartans probably ate lots of meat and drank lots of wine, but if I recall correctly they were definitely very strict with themselves) would have been unthinkable, impossible and decidedly unenjoyable. But right now it's working fine. This dolly don't need no lolly from the trolly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 205: what's the plan Stan?

I think it was John Lennon who famously said that life is what happens while you're making plans. Well maybe he would have approved of the week I've just had, and continue to have. No exercise, allowing myself to get ill, zero singing practice, microphones that don't seem to work on Garageband, incessant rain and big important jobs briefed at the last minute requiring brilliant solutions for notoriously difficult clients in record time. None of these things figured in my plans for this week. On the contrary, this week was meant to be about re-energising my early morning yoga routine, getting high on veganism, and launching a new and glittering home recording project. And maybe reading some books and doing some work and strengthening and stretching my vocal cords. What the hell happened? Life, apparently. And now it's late again and I'm still tapping away and planning to read for a while and that means no early yoga again. Well bugger it. This week decided to walk to the beat of its own drum so I'm not going to waste any more energy banging on about it. All bets are off. I am simply going to roll with the rhythm. So Stan, over to you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 204: it's raining, it's boring.

It's raining like a bastard and has been all week. So I've been doing some of my favourite indoors activities; following random paths across the internet and trying to think of cool band names. As it happens, the internet is a bit of a bugger when it comes to band names. Why? Because every time you think of a cool one, you're just one google search away from ten other bands already called the same thing. It sucks. I have been trying to name several projects for months and months now, and have come up with a tonne of cracking ones that are already taken. I've started to wonder actually, whether it matters that there's a band in Jordan with the same name as my band in Sydney (yes I know I don't actually have a band right now but let's just pretend). Anyway, on today's internet adventures I was reminded of some really cool band names I will never be using: The Runaways - teenage girl awesomeness. My Bloody Valentine - blood, love and horror movie coolness. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - sofa king cool. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - yeah man. Joan Jett and The Blackhearts - so freakin rock, and yet girly too. The Drums - I just like it. Oh yeah, and possibly the coolest band name of all time, The Who. The who? You know who.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 203: still ill.

Today I woke feeling worse than yesterday, having gotten up in the night feeling asthmatic, dry and inflated in the gland department. Sorry, illness doesn't make for the best reading (or living for that matter). I have prided myself on not getting ill for quite some time now, often skiting about how yoga keeps me well. Ah yes, but you see I didn't do yoga did I? Not at the crucial moment that would have tripped this lurgy before it got on its feet. Anyway, in an effort to get myself back into good enough shape to get back to the yoga room (and work, and recording, and the pleasantness that is life when you're healthy) I did only healthy things. Like drink lots of liquids, take copious quantities of vitamin C, eat soup loaded with garlic and green vegetables (sorry in advance to anyone who meets me and my garlic halo tomorrow), and read bits of my new book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. Which I think I might read a little more of now, then get some more of the sleep I've been enjoying such a lot of, and then, with any luck, wake tomorrow feeling ill no more.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 202: and then I had to sleep all day.

One minute you're all full of enthusiasm and ready to conquer your recording software, the next you're flat on your back. This morning when I woke to my 5.30am alarm, fully intending to go to yoga and get my week pumping, my throat felt unusually dry. I gulped down some water, and on lifting my head, registered that same dull yet somehow high-pitched headache I'd been ignoring all weekend. And the water hadn't helped; my throat was still raspy. Oh bugger, an illness. I toyed with going to yoga anyway to try and sweat the bastard out, but then the thought of standing on one leg trying to curl my head to my knee made me feel all weak and withering. I went back to sleep. And that's pretty much all I did all day; sleep, eat the odd thing and gulp down litres of herbal tea (nice and wet on the throat). So yes, another impediment to my musical progress but that's okay. Not that I'm relaxing on that front mind you. Having passed the 200 day point, it feels quite a lot like I'm on the home straight, careering rather rapidly towards my year's end. And what happens then? Judgment day. The day when I find out what I'm made of when alcohol isn't an ingredient. And I'm hoping to discover I'm made of something. So NMFA still applies (no more fucking around). Except for the odd time when I have to sleep all day.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 201: baby steps.

A very long time ago (maybe seven years), I bought a lot of expensive gear in order to set up a home recording studio. I bought the latest Mac (a G4 at the time. Woot woot.) an expensive, high quality sound card, a midi keyboard, a small mixing desk, mics, headphones etc etc. And then, to cut a long story short, I didn't use them. I've pretty much gotten over it now, but the expense of the whole ridiculous exercise, combined with my failure to use the gear to get any closer to realising my dream, was a significant sore point with me for a long time. Looking back on it now, I can see there were reasons I had to do that particular thing then (as much as I might do things differently second time around), and I am pleased to say at least some of the gear has actually since been used to record my stuff, only over at Ben's house. The problem was, I think, that I bit off more than I could chew. In an effort to push myself out of my comfort zone and learn something new, I went way too far too soon, freaked out and didn't learn anything. Actually, that's not entirely true. As painful as the lesson may have been, and as much as I certainly didn't learn how to use my freakin expensive equipment, I think I may have learned that walking comes before running when it comes to recording. Because today I started to learn how to use Garage Band (the very basic recording software on Mac). And while I encountered numerous irritating impediments to my actually being able to lay down a very simple track, I persevered (right down to trekking into the city to Allans Music for a second time, when I discovered I didn't have the right cables. Bah!). And while I still haven't managed to record a vocal, I did record a test drum track and a keyboard part, and will happily tackle the issues I hit tonight, tomorrow. Could it be you get further by putting one shaky foot in front of the other, than you do by wildly leaping at a problem then running in the opposite direction when you fall flat on your face? Well holy moly. It looks like this baby might be learning to walk all over again.

Day 200: going places.

Well, well, the big two-double-o. For some reason, reaching this point feels like some kind of enormous achievement, although it is not much different to any other day. Actually though, maybe it is not quite like all the others. Not so long ago, for example, I had come to the conclusion that going out wasn't much fun if you weren't drinking, and so I wasn't really bothering with going out. But today, having had a very fun and inspiring night out last night, and with at least two events to fill this evening, I think I might be changing my tune. I don't really know what's changed, but lately I have just kind of started going places and doing things. Instead of thinking about doing them, I've just been jumping straight in and getting amongst it. And it's been really cool. I've seen some really cool art, watched awesome bands, been on boat rides, heard famous writers speak, hung out with lots of different people. What's more, and as I've already mentioned, I have reached a point with not drinking where I really truly couldn't give a damn. Waters and juices give me all the hydration and energy I need, and make me feel good. I am feeling more and more comfortable and relaxed socially without booze, and can stay out as long as the next guy, if staying out is worth doing. Maybe most importantly, the further I get through this mission, the more I feel like I am capable of doing absolutely anything. The impossibles are disappearing. It's a pretty exciting place to have arrived at. Yes my friends, I believe we might be getting somewhere.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 199: Big Scary are fucking amazing.

I apologise if swearing isn't on your list of things you find cute, because obviously I do swear quite a lot for no good reason. But today's f-word is entirely necessary, because Big Scary - the band I just saw - are really, truly fucking amazing. I think the two words that sprang to mind mid gig were "unbridled awesomeness". Big Scary were two exceptionally talented individuals letting their raw energy soar. A girl drummer, who was a storm of happy, wild, energetic pounding and exceptionally tight drumming magic (Like fucking wow. Seriously.), and a boy with an exceptional combination of cool, rarity, and just beauty in his pure musicality. Am I going to far? Maybe, but Big Scary were exciting. You know when you experience something and you get the feeling it was a bit of a lucky thing to have seen. This was like that. It was cool. It got me thinking about the specific magic of individual human beings. Because these two were so obviously just letting their absolute selves flow; they were being, being with energy, but being unadorned. And obviously they were blessed with some really special talent. But maybe some of that talent lies in the very act of trusting their own thing enough to put it out there unedited; maybe that act of trusting yourself is actually part of what makes you good. Food for thought as I set about forging my own new little musical path. Because even working out what is the authentic you is hard, let alone learning how to pump that authenticity out of your veins and into an audience. No one exists without outside influences. How do you work out which influences are clouding your genuine self, likes and urges in a musical sense? Is there even such a thing as a genuine self? Before I bamboozle myself with any more pseudo philosophical discussion, I should also mention that I think I may have entered a new phase of non-drinking where it bothers me absolutely nil. I hardly even register that I don't drink anymore. I just really enjoy water and the odd juice if I need some energy. And I can go out and dance like a freak and have a really fun time absolutely no sweat. It's great. Social non-drinking it seems, has turned from a big scary into a harmless tiddler.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 198: no more fucking around.

If you had asked me, say, seven months ago what likelihood I saw of my really enjoying my job in advertising, I would have said "The chances are very tiny". But strangely, since moving to my new agency, I have really started to like my work. This is significant, because for quite a number of years I have wrestled continually with dissatisfaction, disappointment and general depression concerning the state and future of my career. I don't feel those things now. But what this enjoyment of my job has meant, is that I've been working harder and longer, and generally putting more energy into that whole side of things. Which is fine. But my desire to get the now quite stupendous number of songs I have written over the course of my musical life, actually out onto the airwaves and into people's ears has diminished none. In terms of dreams and lofty goals, and what constitutes my purest ambition and the creative pursuit undeniably closest to my heart, music remains my number one burning priority. To play my stuff to an appreciative crowd, to have my tunes welcomed by radio listeners, and my videos enjoyed on You Tube is what I want more than anything else. It's the thing I can't let go. So why do I spend so much time doing other stuff and not relentlessly pursuing that goal? There are many answers to that question, and honestly, I'm not in the mood to beat myself up over it this time. I haven't been doing nothing, and there are other factors in life that need negotiating too. Only it is actually, truly, really time for the bullshit to stop and the action to begin. No. More. Fucking. Around.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 197: Cabo a-go-go!

Okay, it looks like Mexico might be a goer after all (thank you Adventure Seeker for your helpful comment). I've found a really cool looking surf resort and spa in Los Cabos. So my dreams of surf, sun and sand may still become a reality. Hurrah! It's the one thing that is getting me through a rather painfully drawn out work project involving innumerable cooks (art directors actually). It's lucky I don't drink, because at this snail's pace of progress, and with our deadline hurtling towards us, I may have been forced to drink quite a lot.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 196: Mexico a no go.

For the past few weeks, oil has been spewing out of a broken underwater pipe into the gulf of Mexico. You know this, the world knows this, I know this and have known this the whole time it's been happening. But for some weird reason it has taken until now for me to decide Mexico might not be the best destination for a beach holiday. Sometimes I'm a bit slow on my two and two makes three. In fact what it actually took for the penny to drop was my flatmate, who works in the news, telling me there were turtles washing up dead on the beaches of Acapulco. Acapulco isn't in the gulf, it's on the other side. So who's up for a dip? No? Thought not. Now obviously, where I swim doesn't freaking matter. The damage being done to the environment and its animal inhabitants (including turtles) is appalling. Not to mention Mexico's tourism industry taking another hit (gang violence, swine flu, now this). But it does mean I need a new destination for the final leg of my holiday. As problems go though, and under the circumstances, it's not what I'd call a biggie. I think I can probably work it out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 195: Janeane Garofalo is a non-drinking vegan atheist.

Yip, you read it right, there is another person in the universe with the same eating and drinking bent as me, and it just so happens that it's Janeane Garofalo. I know, it's amazing. Is this a good thing? I'm not sure. Having seen her stand-up show yesterday at The Opera House, I can tell she's a clever girl. And she is funny. But she also seems a tiny bit... how do I put this, um... fucked up? Then again, who isn't and who cares? And also, just cos she said she starves herself all day then eats as much as she can physically fit in her stomach for dinner, doesn't mean she's fucked, right? Maybe just that she's a bit gross. Whatever. I liked her show, she can do what she wants. Strangely enough, Greg Behrendt, author of He's Just Not That Into You, and the other half of yesterday's stand-up double bill, said he also doesn't drink. What's going on with these people? I've heard it said before that in the states, if you turn up to work with a hangover someone will have slipped you an AA number before lunchtime. And both Janeane and Greg talked about their non-drinking as though it was because of alcoholism. It got me thinking. Is one person's alcoholic another person's social drinker? Does your alcoholic status depend on your environment? Janeane did point out that if she'd just moved to Glasgow, no one would have batted an eyelid at her drinking habits. Is it just that the USA has a lower threshold for boozing? Well I guess I'll find out when I visit. Maybe as a non-drinking vegan, in the states I'll fit right in.
P.S. Greg Behrendt was really fuckin funny. (Why am I swearing so much today? I have no fuckin idea...). Totally check him out if you can.
P.P.S. Sobriety and veganism are one thing (two things actually), but atheism is totally not my bag. I'm probably more Jedi in my approach. Use the force Luke, use the force...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 194: braving the rabble.

It is 2.26am on Sunday morning and I am having a cup of organic fennel tea. It is something I do now, when I get home from a night out. Instead of chomping down on whatever fat-laden delight my drunken eyes and hands have sought out from whichever obliging fast food vendor, as I might have done in days gone by, I have a cup of tea. Herbal usually. Lovely. But what am I actually doing up at this time of the morning? It was quite a shock when I saw my phone just now. These days I'm usually home around midnight. Admittedly, I did have two OJs. That might account for the extra energy and awakeness. (And yes, I am aware that the me that says things like that about juice, would freak the me of old right out. I am, it seems, a completely different creature.) Anyway, I had a good night, and the Chills were cool (and hilarious). But I had forgotten just how rabbly a Saturday night crowd on a main street can be. Drunken hoards clambering all over each other, slopping drinks everywhere, throwing their limbs around in big, disastrous, flailing gestures. It always makes for entertaining viewing. Until your feet get tired in their towering heels and you have to tip-toe your way through it all and then try and wrestle a cab off one of the inebriated (it's harder than you think). I actually managed it quite easily tonight, and got a very nice cab driver, which is how I came to be here with my tea. Actually though, I think I'm too sleepy now for even one more sip.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 193: chillin' in shady pines.

Last night I visited what might be the best bar for a non-drinker I've seen yet. Introducing Shady Pines. Conveniently enough, Shady Pines opened a few months back, directly under my yoga studio. It's a below ground, medium-sized cave, modeled on some kind of American hunting cabin with stuffed animals and heads all over the place, and a nice woody feel. Now apart from the dead animals (which doesn't really compute with my newfound veganism), this cosy and welcoming hideaway caters really well for my current sober bent. Firstly, the appropriately cute and friendly waiter brought water for the table within seconds of us finding one, and a bowl of complimentary peanuts in their shells (healthier and more hygienic than regular bar nuts, and prettier too in a rustic sort of way). Secondly, when I ordered a juice and soda, they hand juiced me one on the spot. Wow! I also discovered that if you get a tall soda water with enough fresh lime, you totally look like you're drinking alcohol, which is sometimes important in bar situations. (This isn't actually a discovery - it's ridiculously obvious - only I haven't really gotten into soda water while out much, due to it seeming somewhat boring. Now that I'm not eating sugar (yes that too) fizzy water is kind of where it's at. Last night was one of the first times I've ordered it and actually enjoyed it.). So with two types of water (still and fizzy) and free nuts at my disposal, I was obviously in heaven (what insane self-depriving health nut wouldn't be?). I also had very good company in my new friend Beth, a fellow yoga-head and music maker. Actually we discovered that these weren't the only things we have in common. In addition we: both come from four kid families, both have older sisters called Anna, both try and attempt a million projects at once, and both have dreams of living in crazy big cities on the other side of the world. Go figure. Chicks of a feather I guess?? Anyway, among numerous other things, we talked music projects. And it definitely helped chip away at my general confusion about what to do next. Oh yeah, and speaking of music, and of doing things, tonight I'm going to see The Chills play, an old school band from NZ responsible for this legendary little tune.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 192: Champagne celebrations.

Remember that pitch I was working on about a week ago? Well we won it, and today the creatives who worked on it were thanked with bottles of Moet & Chandon. So now I have a pretty bottle of champagne on my desk. And naturally, that's where it will stay until November when I am officially allowed to pop the cork. In my experience, advertising has a real thing for rewarding hard work with booze. I remember at my last agency, when everyone had been working their arses off for weeks, one of senior management called a meeting to announce an agency party and she said something to the effect of "I know you've all been working really hard, and you're all worn out, so to say thanks we're having a big party with loads of drinks and you can all get really pissed and have a great time on us.". Yeah that'll help. I'm tired already, why not add dehydrated and vomity on top? Anyway, in this latest case of reward by alcohol, I'm definitely not complaining. French champagne is awesome stuff. It's bubbly and delicious and classy to boot. I will look forward to celebrating in style with it, a little further down the track.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Day 191: today I am very happy.

Today I have felt really really good. I am feeling very happy with my new vegan hyper healthiness (I am a freak), I have been exercising regularly so that's got me feeling good too, I've been enjoying my work, I'm excited about my holiday, and I have been LOVING this song (talk about two beautiful boys). In short, today I am very happy with my life. I have ideas for how I will address the music sitch too so all is good. And as usual, I am perfectly happy not drinking. It's funny, some days life is just awesome. Today is one of them.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 190: $50 million to stop drinking.

The Australian government has allocated $50 million of its latest budget to build on their current campaign to stop people binge drinking. Wow man, I feel so 'of the moment'. I wonder if they would consider sending any of it in my direction? Not that I'm trying to stop other people from binge drinking, but I have managed to stop myself. Even a tiny sliver of 50 mil would help out beautifully with my upcoming holiday jaunt. Speaking of which, does anyone have any ideas on where I should go in Mexico? I found a rad looking hotel in Acapulco, but people keep saying Acapulco's crap. Cancun sounds way too touristy, but maybe Playa del Carmen might be alright? I want some cultural cool stuff and a serious chunk of beach and pool time. Thoughts? (Hmm. The government's doing something constructive to stop our national drinking problem, and all I can talk about is holidays. Well, what can I say? Stop drinking and life's a beach? Or maybe, catch-up slow coaches. Being freaked about binge-drinking is so 190 days ago.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 189: getting preoccupied.

I read an article a week or so back about Naomi Wolf and her theory that women's preoccupation with the pursuit of beauty keeps them from achieving greatness in other fields. Sitting here watching Tracy Anderson's latest exercise DVD (titled the Perfect Design Series - she's Gwyneth Paltrow's and formerly Madonna's trainer just fyi) and quietly doing calculations in my head about how many hours I could actually manage to spend exercising a day, while also contemplating the prospect of veganism mainly for the purposes of skinniness, I think Ms Wolf might just be right. What am I meant to be doing right now? Not drinking, yes, but what else am I meant to be doing? Trying to become a rock star. Not trying to become a bean-munching, exercise-obsessed skinny bitch. Admittedly I will go home tonight and do my singing exercises, which is part of my music plan. And being hot bodied can't hurt the mission. And I've recently experienced a bit of a collapse on the music side of things, which will require a regroup before I can start moving forward again. But if I put as much energy into doing music stuff as I do into researching and carrying out food and exercise regimens, I would be a million times closer to touring North America with my totally cool band (as opposed to touring North America with my totally cool self. Wait a minute, maybe there's a message in that. Maybe my totally cool band is my totally cool self. Oh God I'm so confused...). Anyway, I'm kind of too mentally exhausted at this point to work out what it all means. I obviously place a lot of importance on physical appearances, and there's obviously something slightly freaking me out about actually getting my music out there, because otherwise why wouldn't I have done it by now? Or maybe I'm actually destined to be some superstar's personal trainer? Heaven forbid. Seriously heaven, forbid it, now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 188: I think I have to be a vegan.

You may have noticed by now that I'm a tiny bit susceptible to diet and health fads. I remember when I was a kid, my Dad was always going through different crazes - usually around sports or exercise, like the marathon phase, the cycling phase, the windsurfing phase, the canoeing phase, the camping phase etc. - and it's kind of like I do that too, only with things like pilates, different types of yoga, running, gyming, and diets. I have before, found myself in the situation of having read so many different and conflicting reports on what constitutes the optimum diet, that I have felt unable to eat a single thing in case I break one of the myriad rules swimming about in my overstuffed mind. I got over that by dropping rules altogether and eating whatever I felt like, until the next latest awesome thing came along. Now, of late, because I've felt restricted enough with the not drinking, I have been eating pretty much freestyle. And much to my horror (but not exactly surprise) I have found that allowing myself ice creams and lollies and chocolate whenever I goshdarn feel like it has seen the glorious kgs I shed in the first stage of not drinking, slowly creeping back on. This will not do. Apart from the fast approaching North American bikini season I am about to embrace, there's the fact that if I get fat when I'm not drinking, getting back on the piss could be truly diabolical. Now I know I'm an appalling fat-bore. And I really do apologise for going on about stupid crap like this with such alarming regularity, but please humour me one more time. To kick myself into healthy gear, I went and purchased another book. (I know...) It's called Skinny Bitch and has been around for ages. Anyway, it's quite a fun read in the most part, except for the bit where they tell you about how the animals we eat are treated in the slaughterhouses. That bit, or the things it described, was absolutely, devastatingly awful and completely and utterly wrong. It really affected me. And now I think I might have to be a vegan. It also helps that the book says being vegan will make you skinny, but it can't hurt not to torture and brutalise a whole bunch of perfectly peaceful and defenseless animals along the way. Can I do it along with everything else? I have no freakin idea. But the least I can do is give it a bloody good try.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Nanna, who turns 92 today, and to my flatmate James who turned 27? 28? He's a pipsqueak anyway (although rather tall).

Day 187: a portrait of the artist as a hottie.

About two weeks ago I found a photo of me aged around 27. I look hot. I'm allowed to say that because it's not of me now, it's of me then. It was during a phase when I miraculously managed to get all my shit happening at once. Cool outfit, tanned lean bod, happy, young confidence. Man. Back then I was partying quite a lot, definitely drinking quite a lot, probably doing a decent amount of exercise (dancing at clubs a lot too). And it was all working. Seeing that photo reminded me that it is not impossible for me to like my body and feel like a hottie. I did then. And while I had pre-thirties youth on my side too (and youth is powerful stuff), I don't see why I can't make a little of the hot magic happen again. But it will take some commitment, and consistent work. It's one thing not to drink, but to substitute alcohol with sugary "treats" is a false reward, not to mention plain dumb. So no more peanut M&Ms or lazy sleep-in mornings. It's time to mobilise, and turn into the shining picture of health and hotness that my non-drinking self should be.

P.S. I don't think I'm looking particularly unhealthy right now, maybe just a little less skinny than I'd like to. And there's every chance this is just me being a body psycho again, but that's normal. And there's nothing wrong with being healthy blah blah blah....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 186: ladies' day at the Harlequin rugby club.

When you don't drink, it seems the opportunities for free alcohol multiply. Or perhaps it's just that you notice how much free booze gets offered and how often, because you can't partake yourself. It's kind of like, "Oo, me in 179 days time would probably be really happy about all this free piss. What a pity for future me that now me can't get in there and guzzle some.". Then of course, you realise you're thinking very stupid nonsense thoughts and you shut up. Today was an opportunity for basically free piss (20 bucks for bottomless bubbly and barbie food), and I was not worried that I was missing out. Firstly, the bubbles were not Veuve or Moet or anything close. At my age I feel within my rights to be a Champagne snob; I am not 22 anymore and I simply cannot stomach the instant headache that is cheap fizzy wine (especially right now when I'm not stomaching wine full stop.). Secondly, the event was so extremely pleasing to me that I couldn't give a hoot about wine, free or otherwise. Picture this: a suburban footy oval, edged with large, leafy trees, bathed in Autumnal sun, and dotted with athletic (and some not so athletic) lads aged in their twenties and thirties, all wearing the most darling red, blue and yellow striped socks. I've always had a thing for a boy in a good rugby outfit, but these outfits were just the best. It kind of made me want some of those rugby socks for myself. And maybe a nice rugby playing male to go with them. As it happens, I'm not sure I'm the type of girl rugby playing boys go for, at least judging by the looks of a large proportion of the other ladies in attendance. Well never mind. Whether I'm their cup of tea or not, ladies' day at the Harlequin rugby club was certainly mine.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Day 185: vacuous dreams.

No, I'm not talking about my dreams of being famous (as vacuous as they may be). I just remembered what my pillowy head put together last night for its dream assignment; Jonah Lomu, accidentally drinking a glass of wine, and Coco Chanel's perfect nail polish. Full points for random shallowness brain, well done. Jonah, for those who don't know, was a famous New Zealand All Black rugby player. Nothing was going on with him, he was just standing on the field and I was on the sideline freaking out that it was him (which is weird cos he was never really a favourite of mine. Not like Tana Umaga or Richie McCaw.). And then I hung out briefly with the whole team at a girl's house who is one of the business managers from my old work, and for some weird reason she was wearing a nanna nightie the whole time. And then I saw Coco Chanel's perfect nail polish and accidentally drank a glass of wine. Oh my God am I actually blogging about a dream? And a very stupid one at that. Never mind, the important thing is that I didn't drink a glass of wine. And I won't either, because if my vacuous dream-self's reaction is anything to go by, drinking before the cut-off date would totally freak me out.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day 184: six weeks 'til summer.

It occurred to me today that in six weeks I won't just be saying "hey USA", I will also be stepping straight into bikini weather. One more time for the people at the back, bikini. Bikini, bikini, bikini. This is obviously, completely and utterly fucking great. I love summer. I also have about eight bikinis and will no doubt add to the collection while I'm over there. However. It also means my bod needs to be bikini ready, which it usually isn't in the middle of winter. Oh well, nothing a six-week bout of exercise psycho-mania and hyper healthy eating can't fix. Oh God, here we go again...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 183: half way.

Today marks the halfway point in my year off the piss. So where do I find myself? Now let me see. From a non-drinking standpoint I am absolutely fine. I have experienced some patches of wanting to drink, mainly I think because the novelty of not drinking has worn off, but I am not in one of those patches at this particular moment. Being sober is okay with me. On the rock & roll front, the last vestiges of my former band have now disintegrated before my eyes. This is an interesting position to be in, considering the rock star orientated half of my mission, and is something which I find quietly distressing. But let's take a look at things honestly. Honestly, I have been trying to get something cool and musical off the ground, and putting in a pretty solid effort, for the last at least three years (not counting the 17 years of playing in bands etc that happened before that). But during that time it has been consistently difficult to get any momentum. It is as if something has been pushing back on me every time I try to push things forward. It has been hard. And there's a part of me that believes that when something's meant to be, it happens kind of effortlessly (or is that just wishful bullshit?). You have to put the work in obviously, but when you do, things start to happen. I expended a lot of energy on my last band, and went through a tonne of frustration (I also absolutely loved that band let's not forget, and completely stand by our creative output. We were a good band. We just fell apart before we got anything properly across the line.). Maybe it's time to try a new approach. Maybe because I seem to have found myself on my own, a solo project is what I should be doing. Maybe? Also, Ben playing in another band doesn't take away the work we've already done. We've got songs sitting pretty much ready to go. I just might need to rethink how we get them out there. Anyway. Singing wise, my vocals are getting stronger thanks to many an insane sounding exercise, so I'm making some progress. Work wise, I just completed a pitch full of work of which I am duly proud. That's positive. I am also soon to head off on a jaunt to the states, which should be a mental adventure. I am still single, but that's cool. And I have started to notice a few more hot boys around the traps. So really, I guess at this halfway point, I find myself (not surprisingly) in the middle of it all, getting somewhere but not yet arriving there, surrounded by swirling possibilities but not yet having pinned any of them down. Will I ever manage to grab one? Will I ever actually arrive? Right now I can't tell. Maybe ask me later.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 182: working late.

Today I ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at work. And I'm still here. But that's okay. In actual fact, as pitch missions go, this one isn't so bad. It could be 3am right now. Or it could be 9am and I could be heading home to have a shower before presenting at 10. These are things advertisers regularly do. They also have a decent sized piss up once the whole thing is in the bag; a well earned sigh of relief after cramming a year's worth of work into the space of two weeks. Naturally, I will not be joining in. But that's fine too. Because today I rewarded myself in another way: by booking some more of my US trip, my ticket from LA to NYC. I also realised that the whole thing happens in only six weeks! So with holidays in sight, and the pitch almost delivered, I am more than happy to be working late.

Day 181: coffee is good, coffee is bad.

Thus far, over the course of my sober adventures, I have found a friend in coffee. It is the one unsweet beverage I have been allowed that also affords some kind of kick. It has helped me stay awake of a late evening out, and has given me something to look forward to of a walk to work, or a Saturday morning. Unfortunately, my singing teacher recently informed me that coffee is cactus for vocal cords. Bugger. I had been complaining of a croaky voice in patches, and it turns out coffee may have had a little of it to answer for. Coffee dehydrates you see, and therefore makes the voice box and throat less smoothly lubricated. It makes it dry and crackly. So is coffee of the menu now too? Well… no. I simply have too much other crap to contend with right now, without adding coffee withdrawal symptoms to the list.

Day 180: no time for anything.

It has to be one of capitalism and evolution’s biggest jokes that contemporary humans are such slaves to the dollar. To think that once upon a time, our caveman selves worked only to find food, keep warm and procreate, when now we slave day, night and beautiful sunny Sundays to make yet more bucks for whomever we work, in order that we may in turn have dollars enough to pay for numerous unessential things. Ironic too, that a system claiming to be all about the freedom of the masses, mostly keeps us chained to our desks. For my own part, I have had very little time for anything except work over the last few days, as we are in the thick of a pitch. I have managed to exercise, to grab bits of time with my Dad, to attend a fifth birthday party and to sleep. Which is probably doing better than some. In fact I need to sleep now. For blog writing too it seems, I just don’t have enough time.

Day 179: Georgia's fifth.

My (rather dazzlingly) beautiful niece Georgia had her fifth birthday party today. The family was in attendance, including Dad over from NZ (known as Gran-ad to the little-uns), and a very pleasant group of Georgia’s friends and their parents. Now to many, the prospect of a party peopled largely by five-year-olds probably isn’t the greatest. But this party was. Great that is. It was a party that flowed, it was a party that worked, it was a party where the parents had just as much fun as the kids. And while quite a lot of the adults’ enjoyment did derive from the serving of alcohol, the real success of the party came from great execution, and a top group of people. The parents were relaxed but all pretty switched on and interesting. And their kids, probably not surprisingly, were really cool too. No brat attacks. Zero tantrums. Just cute kids going ape over lollies, pressies and cake (and taking their sugar out on a defenseless piƱata – a particularly entertaining highlight). It was a very enjoyable day. And now I am tired, even without the energy sap of booze, and must sleep before another day of work tomorrow (yes, working on a Sunday. Give me a kids’ party over that any day.).

Day 178: weirdness is goodness?

I think the general state of things in my little and immediately surrounding world, could quite safely be described as not normal. That makes things sound weirder than they probably are but let's persevere along this line and see where we end up. Tonight I went to see The Cameras play. They're the band my drummer is going to play with. From what I saw and heard, they are nothing short of completely rad. I absolutely loved them, and with absolutely no reservations; they were fucking cool. This on its own has left me feeling strange. As the extent of their awesomeness first dawned on me, I did feel a sort of sick sorrow descend (what would become of me? Was it really, truly all over? Was it time to hang up my hat, curl up and die?). But then, perhaps perversely, the more awesome I realised they were, the more happy I became for my good friend Ben. Maybe it's not actually perverse, but it is weird. Surely the prospect of my long-time drummer and friend pulling up stumps and camping out with another band would be made even worse by that band being astoundingly cool and talented and great. But that was not what happened. By the end of the gig I was so vicariously excited for my mate that he had to tell me to calm down. Now, there’s a possibility this early enthusiasm is a knee-jerk reaction, delivered quickly to mask the foul loathing lurching heavily behind. I don’t think this is what’s happening though. What’s happening is that the stars have aligned for my friend, some pretty cool shit is happening for him, and there is no reason to stand in its way; what’s happening will happen whether I like it or not, so it’s probably better to be liking it. And very, very weirdly, I kind of am. I say kind of, because as a normal jealous human being there are bits I find not so comfortable. Like why, when we’ve both been slogging our hearts out making music together all these years, is he the one who gets the break? And what, now that I am a band of one, am I actually going to do with my musical self? However, I also feel that because of the serendipitous way this new state of affairs came into being, there must be something in it all that is meant to be. There is absolutely no doubt that this move by Ben will shift everything related into a completely new place. It pushes his orientation in a new direction, and accordingly nudges my compass onto a different course. Where will this take me? I am interested to find out. And in the strange way that these things sometimes happen, it does feel a little like the Universe is steadily whittling away options for me, creating a smooth path towards one clearly defined point. I am happy to flow with the current and see where I end up. And while it all definitely feels like weirdness right now, I am hoping that quite a lot of goodness is soon to follow.