Saturday, October 30, 2010

Day 360: are we there yet?

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

Day 359: exciting movements.

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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 358: a song for y'all.

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

Day 357: an expensive exercise.

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 356: I'm going to Hawaii.

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

Day 355: music action.

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

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 354: what am I aiming for anyway?

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

Day 353: bikinis and thunderstorms.

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

Day 352: sunshine and music.

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

Day 351: happiness is...

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 350: 15 days to go.

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

Day 349: my Nanna is cool.

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

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 348: man this is cool-fun.

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

Day 347: I love my bike.

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

Day 346: and then a charming drunk.

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

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 345: am I just a judgmental bitch?

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 344: park life.

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 343: Karl is sofa king cool.

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

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

Day 342: yoga is still the bomb.

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

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 341: life is pretty radical.

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

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 340: third box lucky.

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

Day 339: like a machine.

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

Day 338: ready, fire, aim.

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

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 337: the power of a decision.

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

Day 336: bikini fever.

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

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 335: perfect timing.

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

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

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

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

Day 333: bowling not boozing.

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

Day 332: Ben lends a hand.

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

Day 331: good shopping.

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

Friday, October 1, 2010

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

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