Cunningstuff

A new life, for an old man.

Travel, Coffee, Manga – Simple!

 

I am borderline weaboo, I am sure of it, but… BUT I am not obsessive. I just really like certain things from Japan. Whenever I think of travel I think of two places prominently, Vienna and Tokyo. My wife dreams of Paris, and to be honest, if Vienna did not exist, it would be Paris as well, because Paris is third on this list. The only reason Paris is beaten by Vienna is my daydream perfect day in Vienna, which I am sure could be accommodated in Paris, but hey, it’s a daydream so you know, who cares. Not that this list is binding mind you, but hey, screw Dubai.

Vienna, why? Well it is a simple dream, a simple idea, that has been fueled by constant media exposure, I am sure of it. That being said, not many people have paid much attention, and so I think I can actually have this dream come true. Vienna has beautiful architecture, really beautiful places called coffee houses, and this wonderful tradition of holding dessert above the main course. I personally, do no such thing. I have spent my entire cooking life pursuing perfection in the arena of main courses. I can cook perfect breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can not make great cakes, but that is the price I pay. I much prefer and have consistent time for my dedication, and I prep and cook almost ever meal in the house. When I am working full-time not quite as much, but I still do around a third or half of them. When I cook, it is with the idea that these are the meals I eat the most, the most times, so I can really enjoy the flavors I can bring out in just normal everyday dinners. In complete contrast, and thus the most intriguing to me, The Viennese chefs concentrate on dessert. I would have to visit and have a game of chess in the famous Cafe Central, while consuming at least thee cups of coffee to wash down three desserts from their patisserie redonkulous. Oh, and just skip dinner.

Tokyo, ah Tokyo. Well, to be honest it is the whole of Japan I would be after, the southern tip of the Misaki Shrine to the northern island of Hokkaido. I would like to see it in spring, summer, winter and fall. I would like to have a shopping trip in Akihabara tech labyrinth, and then go hang out with the kids on the Harajuku Bridge. Well… if they even hang out there anymore as much. Spend the night in a karaoke bar, or perhaps just a video game arcade, slamming tables.  Get some ultra rare copies of my favorite anime or manga’s. Eat healthy awesome food, get the best seafood in the world. I dunno, go watch the drift racers in the mountains. Take the walk up Mount Fuji. I pretty much could do a lot of things there, and be pretty happy. I think perhaps it is because they have perfected the art of being distracted and just in the moment, to have fun, to live well and enjoy your friends.

I won’t let this go without Paris. To actually rent an apartment in the 7th Arrondissment and cook a wonderful dinner. To sit and have a coffee while playing bocce in the park. A gliding waltz around the Eiffel Tower with my lovely Lady, and then a dinner on the museum that over looks it. What is not to love about Paris? Everywhere you turn there are angels in the architecture, spinning into infinity. Yes, I just quoted Paul Simon. I just don’t have words for the beauty of Paris, but not just beauty, it is a hard place to, with grit in it. Vienna doesn’t seem as gritty, I would never think of seeing a punk show in Vienna, but it is indubitably the way to go in Paris. To be completely honest, Paris is number two, not Vienna. But I damn sure want to go to both.

It’s pretty much a nothing blog, I mean, I just wanted to write about some things I love, things I might want to do in the future. I don’t have a point, so awkward as it is, thanks for reading!

Mind Body Festivus

orion-nebula-space-galaxy

Public domain image woot! Courtesy of: http://www.public-domain-image.com/

 

I went to the Sydney Mind Body Spirit Festival this weekend, and actually had a good time. I tend towards skeptical and critical thinking, but there is room in there for improvement. Being born on Samhain, I have a tendency towards the Wiccan side of things, but to be honest, there is a streak in them that runs rampant at times, angry men hating goddess only worshiping women, who will put me off the whole thing. I like the Tibetan Monks and their inclusive view, but damn, why are women not at the center of things as well? I like yoga, but I have no interest in showing off my ass in tight yoga pants, with my 100% green friendly eco minded white woman bamboo mat. As matter of fact, I think as soon as you try to organize the ideas into something easily digestible, you water it down and make it unpalatable. So I went to this with a healthy hip pocket full of skepticism, and got a nice surprise at the end.

The festival ran Thurs-Sun, and we went Thursday and Saturday. Thursday was just my beautiful Queen and I, and it was a relaxing fun day. We went to a few angel seminars, and 1 was good and the other bad. The first was a lady by the name  of Michelle Newton, and she was subtly sassy and entertaining for an angel psychic. She commanded the room well and presented herself with confidence. No big push about how great she was, a little personal history, and then bam, right into reading her cards she handed out as we entered the room. She did about a third of the room, so everything went well for her. My lovely Lady was her first reading, and she spent a good bit of time with her. I am and will always be reasonably skeptic of psychics in general, but to be honest, I could have had a reading by her and not been bothered. She had a calm decent feeling, and was not hurried to get off and away to some thing else. Which is not what I can say about the next one, Debbie Malone. Although I think she can help some people out there, specifically those who are grieving it seems, she is flighty and her helper is ridiculous and not helpful. She told the room about 7 times that she had died 6 times, so that you  knew you could not possibly know what she does. Her helper was pushy and hurried, and I felt honestly that basically this room was imposition to her, and we just needed to be gotten out-of-the-way. She had a drawing at the end, and when a lady came up with her ticket for the drawing, they pushed her aside as they had already done the drawing in the 10 seconds they allotted. Yuck, what a waste of time.

Not that it was bad for the whole day, once we were done we entered the festival again, and didn’t make anymore stops for seminars. We missed one my Lovely wanted to be at, but it was us being fascinated by all the shinies around us, so well, it had to go! There were many different kind of readers there, psychics, healers ect, ect. I had but one mission and it failed miserably. I wanted to find a supplier of resins, oils, and herbs. I found tons of oil suppliers, but what I was after was a bit to hardcore for this crowd I think. I touched base with a few people, but never made any decent connections. It was much more about letting my Wonderful Baby find her feet in this world, and look where she wanted.

The second day was with friends, one who is curious but skeptical, and the other who is straight forward not going to be interested. My Dearest went to the Mind Body Spirit part, and I took off with her partners husband to the home builder and renovator show next door. I grew up building houses, so I pretty much know what is happening, and thought to enjoy myself at the second half as well. The same company owns the MBS as well as the Home show, so they throw them at the same time, and you can go to both for the price of one. There was one seminar I wanted to see though, so I took off and left my buddy to find his way around for while.

Creative writing. At a mind body spirit festival. What could go right? I was just curious honestly, because well, if you want to teach creative writing techniques, I could be at the forefront with bold new ideas inspired by the best in the biz. Not ringing my bell here, but I started this blog to teach myself how to write so normals will understand me, and temper my creative fire into something I can use, instead of constant experimentation. This was the biggest surprise of the entire event. This guy had no aspirations to teach me to talk with my inner self, or learn his automatic writing technique, or tell me my spirit guides had gathered in force with me, he told me in simple, honest, down to earth, almost farmer tactics of writing a book and producing results. No mumbo jumbo, no hoopla, no self inflation, just here is my process and it works. Then when I asked my question, his answer was honest and inspiring. I may have been the only person in that room who knew just how valuable the advice was he was giving. I think they all expected another wizard with answers. I chuckled and thanked him warmly as I left, honestly surprised at how much motivation I received from him.

The final surprise was a couple who had started a magazine together called HSS – Heart Soul and Spirit. It is in its infancy, and maybe it will work, and maybe it will not, but I enjoyed my banter with them. He took a peek at my “spirit guides” and started seeing a whole damn bunch. I laughed and decided to spend time talking with them a bit, and perhaps making the beginning of a friendship. One step at a time though, I will make my friends slowly and with calm that I never had before I met my Wife. Who was enthralled and happy about the entire ordeal, as was I. It was fun to see her let her hair down and really enjoy herself. We had fun, and if it interests you, it is worth the paltry 10 bux AU that it costs. I even had my hearing tested while I was there, so there is something for everyone, if you are open to it. If not, just go next door and check out all the Home gear that is lying around.

 

 

Banana…banana… BANANA

I had to change my life to go forward. I did so, and I have gone forward. I have one great battle, but it is one I am winning. I have dropped enough weight to get on Wii Fit, which was my goal when I got here. Now my goal is to use Wii fit to balance myself, and make a genuine approach to my exercise. Today I start using it! To start my day off, I made a simple new recipe for a lunch shake. I figure, hell, this was so super simple, I would share it with others.

Banana Berry Shake

skim milk (about 250 ml)

1 frozen banana (large)

100 g frozen berries

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

 

Now that is as simple as it gets.

Coupla tips:

1 – freezing bananas.

This is a difficult one for me until recently. Now it is again, just like the recipe, simple. Freeze the whole banana, unpeeled. When it comes time to use it, let it sit out for about 3 minutes, or run it under warm water for a few seconds. Once the peel is softened, just use a paring knife and cut the skin away, like a potato! It cuts super-duper easy, and you can see where the banana is and the skin is, so simple! They keep for months and months in freezer as well.

2 – pulse the blender, shale a little, pulse again. I had to do this about ten times before it all melted enough to blend smoothly.

3 –  Only use as much milk as it takes. If the blender is not pulling the shake down, it is too solid. Add a little more milk. To much milk however, will make the whole thing messy and inconsistent. To be honest, I want it almost to thick to drink, so adjust to your taste and texture preference.

This is a great energy booster, and it fills you up as well, so you can feel satisfied with what you are eating. No sugar, no chemicals, no complex prep, easy to buy items, easy to make. I gotta go get on my Wii now! Let me know in the comments if you like this, and if you have any variations.

 

The Break is Over

 

This pic is called “Going back to work.”

For all who would consider waiting to see this blog active again, I am stepping back up to write here a bit. I started this blog to see if I could write regularly for a year, and I did, and now, well, I miss that exercise. I got off writing for a bit, and I really feel, not just understand, I understood, but really feel, you have to write to be a writer.  I took the break for personal reasons, and I will talk a little bit about them. This will just be an introductory back into the mess blog, and this time, I am writing because I want to, not because I have some obligatory set goal. I never set WHAT I should write back then, I just set that I HAVE to write. Now I have nothing set, this will just be my personal blog.

First off, I moved to Sydney and got married.  My wife and I never had personal time together, so I didn’t want writing to be in the way while two adults in their 40’s tried to learn to live together. It was touch and go at the start, even though we had lots of love for each other, there is a reality of dealing with another human that is just going to make everything go a little pear shaped. She did not have the time alone before I got here that she thought she would, so it was a stress full event.  Also, it is one thing to tell a morbidly obese person that you can deal with their weight, it is quite another to actually live with them, no matter how much better they are when it happens. Cheers to my ever-loving Queen, she came through all of this quite happy, and I am healthier and mentally better than I have been in decades.

Secondly, her mom died of complications from bowel cancer. Everyone knew it was coming, but for a very long four months, her mom was dying. Strain, stress, and grief make for a tough road, and to boot, I had pretty much the crappiest job in Australia at the time. It took me away from my wife when she needed me most. Setting time aside to write and do a blog is not something I wanted to do.  Everyone talks about breast cancer, everyone knows about lung cancer, but bowel cancer and prostate cancer are big killers as well. Educate yourself and your family on it if you haven’t, it is one of the more preventable, treatable cancers if caught early.

Third, and probably most selfish and revealing, is that I wanted the break. I had forced myself to write a lot, after never writing at all, and I was a little burned out by it. I am not the burn out type, but I am fond of having a measured pace at which I produce things. I can pretty much stick out most everything, but yeah, I really pushed to write a lot. I wanted to prove to myself what I was capable of, and I also wanted to prove to my future wife I was no chump, and could do what it takes. I was motivated by things outside of the realm of creation and writing, so I think that is what the burnout really comes from. When those motivations simmered down, the burn out set in.

I never intended it to be a year-long break, that is the honest truth. I wanted to break, but all kinds of things conspired to keep me away longer than I wanted. All it really means is I will be doing my blogs again, and now, I dunno, I think it will be with free spirit and purpose, those giving me a different point of view.  If ANYONE is still checking, keep up just a bit more, I have a lot to write about.

The Caveman

The sun is rising for me. Dawn is come, and I got a whole day of work to do.

I quit reddit today. I really like reddit too, I mean, seriously, I really like it. I love the whole explain it like I am 5, I love the AMA’s, I love the science thread, and summoners school, but to be honest, I am getting tired of League of Legends too. Stupidity is a contagious disease I think, or at least, I am susceptible to it. I am a 44-year-old punker without much to offer the world at this point, but I have stayed true to my ideals for 30 years now, and I will continue to do so. I never really thought I would get to the point of being tired of the BS that I am, but I am definitely tired of it.

The BS of which I speak? Oh where oh where, oh where do I start? How about the constant battle of the sexes? I know there are differences between men and women, but… that really has not mattered since the invention of the train and the automobile. Maybe, and I do mean maybe, there was just enough physical strength difference in the world of horses that being a man meant you could get around good, or that you could “manhandle” a machine that was not very well-balanced in its design, but those days are at least, and I do mean at least, 100 years ago. Three full generations ago, not just yesterday.

Watching Julia Gillard lose her position in the Labor party here in Oz, after a three-year battle of the sexes, I am disturbed and feel the loss. I go on to reddit to lose my self maybe in reading on how to carry with Annie again, or perhaps some funny pics or aww pics to make my day, I come across a black kid in a water bucket holding watermelon, taken in a refugee camp. I am not necessarily hugely anti-predjudiced, but this was a line that did not really need to be crossed. Number two on the front page, and only growing. I know things come and go, I know the reddit community is a lot of different people, but when I read the comments, mostly it is people talking like we were on old 4chan, with all its over trolling to the max kind of mentality.  I am not a fan of 4chan, but I am an old internet user, going back to IRC days and before, with my earliest gleanings in the BBS era. I know what these communities are, I know what they do, and I know where most of them are going.

So I quit. I have no interest in pursuing anything like that, and I certainly do not want to be part of a community as a whole that supports it. I do not mind if you do find it funny, I do not. I am moving my bags out of that particular hotel, never to return. I want a life that is better than hanging on to old school white racism. I want to move forward, not backwards, and I certainly am not going to cling to the pier as the tide goes in and out.

I recently beat a huge bout of depression. I did it without doctors or psychiatrists, I did it alone, poor, and it damned near killed me. I find that maintaining a positive face in the 10 years that I wasted is a difficult problem, but one I take on willingly. One of the things I am not going to do anymore is compromise my personal self for anyone else’s personal self. I have a beautiful woman who loves me, and I am in a place of power that I have never had before. I go to sleep early, and I wake up early, and I feel ready to take on the world. Part of taking on the world is that you must focus what you want to do, and I find that reddit no longer gives me any focus for myself, but instead is a lot of disconnected folks in a world of disconnection.

I think this is just like a lot of the people who have been taking themselves off of facebook recently. FB is fine, in very small doses, as a communication platform for friends and family, but that is where the fun ends. Soon this will end, all of this pointless banter. I do not know how soon, but soon. Humans are social creatures by nature, and that means we support the ones we love, not destroy them. The hard part right now is, people do not know how to love themselves, and the results are disastrous. We are growing and evolving, and it is a painful and hard process, not one done overnight. We have to slowly but surely educate all those poor bastards who think it is OK to be backwards first.

Tom Robbins once spoke in one of his books (read them all, not one is a waste of time!) of how the world could be seen as a mammal at birth time, straining, pushing, red-faced and desperate. We can all see it, it is an easy thing to do, thanks to media, and I want to help push that idea out. I want to help us evolve, and I am going to use this blog to do it with.

Originally this was an exercise in writing. I needed a direction for it once that exercise was over, and now I have it. I will be focused on the positive discoveries we have made as humans. I will focus on those things that can give everyone a smile, and a bring some good cheer. We have made so many discoveries, and I want to try to help show them. The Caveman is retiring, and the New Human is coming forth.

Step One: Admit You Have a Problem

I must admit, ever since high school, I hate 12 step programs. I was sent to one because I went to school drunk. I still, at 44, do not think I had a problem then, not the one they sent me in for. I was sent to PDAP (Palmer Drug Abuse Program) because the school could not understand I got drunk at school for kicks, and in rebellion of the rat maze teaching system america calls schooling. I went on the first day of my senior year, because it did not matter, because it was unimportant, in the whole scheme of my life. I was going to a 9th grade beginners english class, and that was followed by a 12th grade gifted and talented english class. I was unimportant to my parents, the school, and to be totally honest, the entire system of america. I went drunk because it was fun, and it would let me fly my flag for the first few minutes I did not get caught. I had a very successful day. I threw up on the new tight ass vice-principal. I was outed by a friend who would later betray me again. I was picked up from school after passing out, where upon I slept for the rest of the day. I enjoyed that day, I enjoyed it to the fullest. My punishment was a suspended suspension to hang over my head, and 8 weeks in PDAP.

Based directly on AA, PDAP is a 12 step program for “young adults.” I am always directly suspicious of anything using the term young adults, and extremely suspicious of anything held in an old church. PDAP did both, and continues to this day. I don’t really care so much now, hey, if you need help, get it anyway you can, but back then, when I was into punk? I am still a punker, still thinking of how capitalism ruins us, still suspicious of governments and authority. I would not speak out against it now, but knowing what I knew and thinking how I thought, ugh, an AA program run by christians. Oh this should be MUCH better than high school.

Much to my surprise it was. The PDAP councilor was lesbian and atheist, well-trained, and she saw what I said was true. I was not an alcoholic and had never been one. She actually was extremely helpful to me, helping me understand to keep my rebellion low, stay under the radar, get past high school, then go live my own life. My grandfather was the only other person who had ever said such to me, and in a lot of ways, that councilor reaffirmed my beliefs in myself, my grandfather, and my choices in life. Well I was completely baffled and impressed, and from that day on my battles against the straight edge community and the “experimenters” was over. I still thought most of the people in the room outside of my and her conversation were nuts, and probably needed more than a 12 step program to help them, but she gave me good advice and I learned to keep my mouth shut.  Sort of…

Fast forward to now, and how that all didn’t help me gain anything. I discovered I am a compulsive eater from a sad but apparently needed exchange between my fiance and I last week. I instantly went to the 12 steps of healing as a guide, and damn, what an idiot I am. I don’t need confrontation if I have discovered it myself. I don’t need affirmation if I am doing the changes I need to do. I am not really in the room with the other compulsive eaters, except for the fact that I am one. I need to continue what I have been doing all along, and stop paying lip service to old american traditions. I do not need to yak on endlessly about my “problems.” I simply need to get on with it.

We americans have a lot of mental memes pushed on us time and time again. We are not very clear when it comes to what we understand about ourselves, and it is painfully obvious to me at times here in Australia. I tend to harp on and on about shit that doesn’t matter, and it is mostly because in america, most people had no education, and did not understand half of what I say, while here, most people are educated, and it is reflected back at me to keep my uneducated mouth shut. I have way to many opinions on way to may things that just do not matter. I do not need to fight to have my opinions known here, as a matter of fact, most people here share similar ideals and opinions. People here do care about their neighborhood, and they do say nice things about each other.  Being a backwoods idiot is frowned upon, not celebrated, and life is decent if you want to work for it.

I see other things to, being an american in Australia, but the negative here is just not as reinforced as it was in the states. I see the power grabs for the government, I see the business world shitting on it’s own workers, but it is just not as bad here as it was where I am from. I am far to negative I think, a lot of the time, and it really is just me looking up from a prone position that I am used to. I am sort of hobbling all over the place here, because there is so much more for me to say, so I will just get on with it.

I’m fat. I’m fat because I ate too much in the past, and now I am middle aged, so it is hard for me to lose the weight and get back in shape. I do not have a problem, I have a solution. I am done with the “I am so hurt” rhetoric, because I am much better than that.

It really is that easy.

 

 

Sydney Vs. Denver

The M5

The M5 into Sydney, from our outskirt situated neighborhood.

People

Very polite compared to Denver. Sydney reminds me of the old Denver, before the Californiafication of it, when people were nice to each other, and overly polite. The past two decades have been very unkind to the Capitol Hill crowd, as we are the undesirable element right near prime real estate. Sydney has its uppity side as well, but for the most part, Sydney beats Denver in courtesy and hospitality.  I am always being told to hush up, so people here are quieter than Americans. Aside from kids, no one really belts out or lets the argument go where the neighbors can hear. I am pretty much to loud all the time, as I was loud even for an american. In that respect, you might say people are uptight, but that would be the wrong impression. Sydneysiders just don’t let things unravel in public, and trust me, they do let their hair down. It makes for a really nice night out, thousands of people around, and no fighting, no harsh words, just people having fun. Denver public events, I do fear for two things,  over reactive police patrol and gangsters. They are both likely to let out the wrong reaction because you bumped into someone…at an entertainment festival… where people are expected to get distracted…, and both can cost you your life. Sydney Police are polite, and very present, but you see them smiling, not searching for something to hurt. I saw a few biker types, but no one looking to start a fight because I was looking at a display behind them.

I know I have harped on this a thousand times, but USA is in the wrong, and it is for many reasons. Having lived and traveled around the Oz for a few months now, I am most amazed and in love with the people. People are just nice. I wish americans would be as nice to each other as well. There are problems here, and being a white boy from the states I am not going to encounter them much, I understand that, but people for the most part are just nicer. Polite, and expecting the same, it feels like I am in a country full of the proverbial over-nice canadians, but the accent is wrong.

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Used daily in my house, I love this set of knives. Look at that cleaver!

Food

Well, first of all, you do not have to miss american food much. Hamburgers are big here, with the exception that they use beetroot instead of pickles. Pizza is a little dryer and smaller, I could squeeze the Pizza Hut crust and NOT get oil dripping out. Barbeque is the rule, not the exception, and being from Texas, I really enjoy that. I have had grilled cheese (on the grill grilled cheese, it is awesome, and not a sandwich,) sausages, lamb, beef, and pork. We just finished getting the grill ready to be used, I could not let it be stored unused on the back porch anymore, and she handily agreed, get it going! Chicken rules over beef here, in fast food. There is plenty of beef mind you, but there are some four major chicken fast food outlets, all busy and all good. PeriPeri, Red Rooster, Oporto, and the rather surprising on every corner damn near KFC. I love the lamb too, and it is as popular here as beef is in the US. And good… it is yummy, delicious, and perfect, so much lamb. Seafood! I can not even come close to comparing seafood in Denver. More sushi, and fish is actually eaten often here, not just by rich people shopping at Markczyks, or poor people eating tilapia. Barramundi is delicious, and I have cooked hasa at home, both great fish. In Denver I had a hard time finding good brisket, looks the same over here, but instead of me missing it, I find I am always happy with the choices I have in front of me.

In general, the food is way better, both in quality and choice.

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Music, light, art, all in one, Vivid 2013.

Music

Sydney radio is great, just great. I get to hear real artists here, not just the big 40. I hear them too, but it’s not over and over and over. Triple J is a great station that has launched many a career, and takes chances on new and local artists, everyday. I had the great concert with Temper Trap, and the great venue, so now it is looking for that much-loved smaller scene and set. I will find it, and I will listen to it. I love the music on Saturday mornings, it is called Rage, and they play music videos. Nothing but music videos, just like we used to get, way back in the day. Rage also likes new and local artists, if they have a decent video. Denver I was very much involved with the local music scene, and it rocks, I have not had the chance so much here, but I live in the sticks, and I have other goals these days. I may not have much to do with music for two or three years, but that is ok, as I had a great time in Denver.

I would not say there is a winner here. I was involved in Denver, so I know how diverse and amazing the music is there, and I stayed that way, even when I was in the middle of being a depressed shut in. Sydney has a LOT more support for local music though.

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Sydney itself as a work of art at night.

Art

The Vivid Festival is put on by the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Sydney, and the museum is a lot bigger and more involved than in Denver.  There is a constant presence of art here, not just marketing, but actual art. I see a lot more sculpture than in Denver, and in general, people seem to have more aesthetic and less consumer culture here than in Denver. Two popular shows here showcase ordinary people trying their hands at being chefs and home renovators. What ordinary people here know reflects the culture at large, which in general, does go back to a better educated population. Trash culture is not as prevalent either, most of it oriented either around sports or biker culture.

All in all, Sydney is more art oriented, and people themselves reflect the city as well.

Conclusion

I hate to say it, but Sydney is the clear winner in my book. I loved Denver for a long time, but it eventually fell apart in the tyranny of pseudo-capitalism. Friendly and educated, Sydneysiders are fun folk, quick with a smile and a hug. I am enjoying this part of the world, and feel my future lies here, under the Southern Cross.

Temper Trap at the Enmore

Among the many things that bind my dear Queen and me together, one of the most powerful is our love for music. We dance, badly, at home, and we sing along to songs, badly, and I play instruments, badly, and we just love it. We make up songs for fun, we clap at great stuff, it’s all a part of who we are. I was so happy to finally find a lover who loves music. We don’t always agree on everything, we definitely have our own tastes, and that is perfect, because it allows us to expose each other to new songs and music. She tends to not like my choices, and I tend to like hers, so it all works out. (You guys know what I mean…)

One of the most recent musical adventures is the Temper Trap show at the Enmore Theater. First of all, let me gush a bit of love for this place. One of my fears in coming to Sydney was that everything was big and modern and I would have to give up seeing great music in smaller venues. Two decades of living in the unadventurous Denver, Colorado, had allowed me to become spoiled by seeing amazing bands at tiny venues. Small venues have three amazing awesome advantages over large venues. First and foremost, the sound is always amazing. No matter how bad the venue is usually, the band has the gear to overcome any disadvantages, and the three main small venues in Denver have amazing sound anyways. Second, and uppermost next to sound, the price of small venues is ALMOST always agreeable. Last and maybe best, you are close, close enough to see the sweat fall when they are pushing it, and close enough to hear the band yell at each other between songs. Enmore Theater is all that and a biscuit. It is a pretty little theater, and as soon as you walk in, bam, there it is. No walking for thousands of miles through a tube, although you may have to walk a thousand miles from where you park.

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Security is a bit more lax than in the States as well, making for a unfrisked, un-patted down beginning, much like the old days of shows. We bought our tickets online, and printed them at home, and they just scanned a bar code off of them when we arrived. A giant angled floor awaited us when we arrived, general standing room only on the bottom floor, but there were reserved seats upstairs as well. Next time, in hind sight, I think we will take seats upstairs, so we can get a break from the floor. 20-somethings have no problems, maybe even 30 somethings, but in my 40’s and still quite overweight, standing in one spot on an angle for 2 and half hours killed me. Not a bad thing, overall, next time if we are on the floor find a better spot to stand first, or get the seats upstairs.

The two opening bands, ALPINE and MT Warning, were up and running when we arrived. I have to sadly say I only saw 10 seconds of MT Warning, but those were 10 nice seconds. We left the venue for an adult beverage, as there are several bars and whatnot steps away.  I really love Newtown, the whole area is amazing, full of sound and light and people, all in good moods having great times with friends. We are going to explore it more soon, as we have brunch lined up in a few weeks. After our drink we returned to watch ALPINE, a fun band who has two female lead singers, bouncing off of each other and the stark background music that the band plays for them.

One last good wait, and Temper Trap came out.

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Now if you are not a fan of Temper Trap, I understand. I was caught off guard by his male soprano, a rare treat in the world of rock, when such a high voice is so clean and clear. Live, the band very much delivers. Every song is played perfectly, but with those little differences that make a live show a treat. They truly have the show in a great groove.

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My personal favorites were very boring, the ones you would expect to go off well live, The Drum Song, Down the River, and the encore of  Sweet Disposition. 

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These were the best pictures of the night, but one thing they do not capture is how it feels at a Temper Trap show. No angst, no pushiness, nothing but folks having a great time, living, loving, dancing. I danced all night. I left feeling great, and I remember the whole thing as an uplifting experience. I can succinctly say, without any qualms or misgivings, that I truly love Temper Trap and would go see them again at the drop of a hat. I fell in love with them 3 years ago, and they have proven themselves to be worthy in my book. Go see them when they play near you, I am sure that anyone would at least agree that they perform well and have a great set.

Special thanks to my lovely Everstar, who shared the experience with me, and who makes everything beautiful, and covered in diamonds!

Losing the Weight

I am finally below 160 kg. I know it is not bragging time, but I just wanted to get back into touch with my healthy side today. I have a lot of blogs coming out soon, as I am behind and have some material to share, but the first and foremost one is this, how happy am I now?

I am excited and tremulous about being in Oz. After all the preparation and desire, to actually be here is every bit as good as I thought it would be, and better in many ways. I thought I would miss the ol’ USA, but I could not care less. I love this country, the people and my fair Lady, my dearest Everstar, is every bit as wonderful now that I am here, as when we met. I was worried about one thing though, one thing nagged at me, other than just being poor and old, was being fat. I have changed my life, I am now moderately active, and as my body and mind heal from all those dark years of being huge, I am working towards becoming highly active. I have changed how I eat. I have changed what I do on a daily basis. I am very truthfully, painfully aware of how out of shape I have been for the last decade.

I can not relate to you how important it is to me to have my partner with me. I need someone who is a no bullshit person, and my dearest is definitely that. She tells me how it is in no minced words, but instead is truthful and honest. I also need to be around her, to become a better person. I only hope I give her the ability to become better herself, as she is such a wonderful power for me to have.

That all brings me to the realization of how important your peer group, whoever they may be, really is. I have friends who all accepted me, but very few would tell me to my face how fat I was, or how bad my attitude could be. Ultimately, I ended up being very alone except for some very dear friends from my workplace. I think all of us who get so big have the exact same problem for this, we isolate ourselves to only the people who will not be confrontational with us, and we end up having no real support for ourselves when we start trying to change things. Those of us who fight to change in spite of this, I salute you. I am saluting myself, but not a lot. I was not in the best of shape when I got here, although I had laid the groundwork for real change, it really was my Queen who ended up making the difference in me choosing to live a healthy lifestyle.

I AM WEAK. I am weak on my own, and I needed the extra provocation of my love to really get me changing things. I think that ultimately, that is the catch-22 of all of us who are obese. Romantics at heart, we are emotional and need support to change, but we isolate ourselves from the truth that pervades our real state of mind and body. We use food as an emotional outlet, and we end up cycling into ever more destructive bad habits and obesity. One day we just give up and say, screw it, food makes me happy, and since I am alone, it is the only way I can be happy, but like all addictions, it never turns out to be true. We end up very alone, very sad, and finally, dead.

As our capitalist society seeks to ever more isolate us from each other in all its ways, always pushing for more entertainment and less exercise and getting together, I believe we are only experiencing the beginning of the obesity epidemic. Three years ago I decided I would no longer voluntarily accept any more chains from the buy buy buy orientation of American food. I first got rid of milk from my diet. Milk does NOT do the body good. There are many better sources of calcium for adults than milk. I grew up thinking milk was the healthiest drink on earth, I finally accepted that at 40 years of age, it really was killing me. Then I got rid of sugar, literally not buying the bag of sugar anymore. I kept doing this, but the hardest thing to give up, in the end, was the bad hobbits of fast food.

I did not really give them up until a month ago. Years of changing, and the best thing I could have done was eat sensibly, but nooooo, I have to be stubborn and give that up last. I have however, finally understood the pleasure of eating real meals, and healthy meals, and I am losing weight on the average of 2.5 kilos per week. Last week I measured out and nice 154.4 Kg, which is 10 Kg less than when we found a scale that would measure big enough to weigh me in.

So to compare…

fat at crawfish boil

 

To yesterday she took a pic of me.

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Do not get me wrong. I am not bragging, yet. And that is a big yet, I feel soon, maybe a year more, I can brag, and not just brag, but help others put their lives on track, and change things for all of us. I am still VERY overweight. I am still on a long painful road to recovery. I am still struggling with my issues, my depressions, my doubts, my eating and my bad habits. I am however, very proud and very happy to finally SEE the change, to be able to point to myself and say, I am no longer that person over there, the huge one. with a chip on his shoulder.

If you are in any way in need of motivation or help, leave me a comment, and I will do what I can. First and foremost, do not give up, you can always make the changes you want, if you want them.

 

Blue

 

Blue is my favorite colour.

I love the words that are associated with it, ’tis the subtleties that I enjoy about blue, and its diverse meanings.

The azure blue sky is a great sky to watch. The beryl blue of rare gems, strung along a necklace to decorate a beautiful throat. The blue-gray rock of the high alpine is always an inspiring sight, dangerous to get to, but rewarding when seen. An ocean’s blue-green tropics, filled with the fish and the coral, a bounty of food and beauty. The cerulean blue of our earth, the pale blue dot, our home, its color when viewed far away in the solar system from voyager, still inspiring us. The dark cobalt of rare blue glass, always an item I want to collect, but never do because I know its beauty is deadly. Indigo blue, rich with history and tapestry, the color of kings and queens, the beauty of blue in fabric. The navy blue of the sailor roaming the blue seas themselves. Royal blue, in its darkness lies a color most people appreciate, understanding its richness. The ever delicate sapphire who is actually one of the toughest bearings on earth, and makes watches last a lifetime. The exotic and super-science sounding ultramarine flares my imagination.

The off color of blue, the bawdy jokes told in earnest between strangers for a laugh. A dirty joke might appear dirty to those of innocence or at least pretend innocence  an  indecent appeal at our humor is one thing that can tie all humans together. If you are lewd and naughty, you can bring together humans in a way that we all understand, the battle of the sexes, or, in these days, the battle of sex. Nothing anymore is too obscene, at best it is off-color, those old blue jokes. We can be racy with blue humor, risqué in proper society if we are quiet enough, or chose to loud and salty in a shady lounge. If the joke is a smutty piece of ribald humor, we might get honored enough to be called a spicy and suggestive lout, but if they really liked our blue humor, we get the title wicked.

If my lips are blue, I am too cold. The mystical blue of anything opalescent, with it’s aqua shimmer and the rainbow of the galaxies. Nothing is more atmospheric than our sky, it’s azure wash over our entire planet. The bluish tones of a cerulean uniform connect the world famous Blue Angels to the sky. A cesious dye for an elderly lady, matching her chalybeous pistol in her purse. A cyaneous fog about a dark and gloomy castle in the night, under a twilight sky the ecchymotic color of a bruise. The sparkly bright gentian blooming in fields of grass.

I love blue.

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