Drums in the deep…

My two year old daughter likes the Pixies.

Specifically Vamos off the Surfer Rosa Album. Which is probably the most ‘insane’ song off any Pixies Album. I used the word probably quite loosely.

To be fair she also likes the Muppet show.

Actually so do I. They don’t make ’em like that anymore. Spectacularly creative titles like, ‘The Great Gonzo eats a rubber tire to The Flight of the Bumble Bee’, and ‘I’m in love with a big, blue frog’.

In any event I’ve been wondering if should buy her a (tiny) bass guitar, à la Kim Deal, in an attempt to head off the inevitable progression towards becoming a drummer (like her mother)

I have this reoccurring nightmare where all my progeny are girls and all of them want to be drummers and I live out the rest of my days in this estrogen infused haze, driven slowly mad by the rhythmic thumping of the tom and snare.

My wife used to have an acoustic kit set up.  The down side to this is that everyone* within a quarter mile radius knows when you’re practicing.

*What do you mean everyone? EVERYONE!!!!!

Its difficult to express in words how much I love Gary Oldman.

Weirdly the German Shepherd loves the drums. She’s used to come in and lie on the sofa. In fact she was super upset (in so far as I can read doggy emotions) when my wife swapped to headphones and electric. The lying-on-the-sofa-playing-PlayStation version of me was very glad. (difficult to hear the sound of my gunfire over the crash of the hi-hat)

My libertarianism suggests that I shouldn’t try influence the musical instrument proclivity or disposition of my daughter… and if she wants to play the Tuba… or the drums… so be it.

 

 

 

*opens browser*

Second Hand bass guitars

GO!

Getting your thing wet.

Every year this event polarizes more people than religion, gender or politics ever could. Either you’re the sort of person that makes New year’s resolutions. Or you’re the sort of person that maligns the concept and slanders those who take up the challenge.

I try to be dichotomous about New Year’s resolutions, insofar as, I sometimes make some resolutions, but I also try to be incredibly disparaging about others that do the same. That way I can straddle the divide, dexterously dipping my junk into the strait that flows between us. The great unifier.

To coincide with this rather arbitrary date, denoting a passing of 365.25 rotations that our insignificant planet has made around a 4.6 billion year old yellow dwarf, I have decided on the following resolutions.

One. Stop drinking coffee.

I briefly considered this. But then thought that I have genuinely altruistic motives for NOT curtailing my consumption of coffee beans, born of real concern for the GDP of Kenya, which as I understand it, might be severely compromised if I were to slack off. Don’t worry minimum slave guys, I got your back. Also I really like coffee… and I’m not a masochist (besides having children I mean)

Two. Stop with the news.

I’ve tried and failed at this one before. I found it very easy to slip back into compulsively checking my news-feeds. This one has always been problematic for me, because bereft of information overload I am genuinely more cheerful, but eventually I develop this angst that I’m becoming insular and uninformed. There doesn’t seem to be happy balance for me and so I see-saw between extremes. Not sure how this one will go for me.

Three. No more social media.

This one should be pretty easy, since I long ago weaned myself off of Facebook. I am finally off Twitter. I still have an Instagram account that I have been nostalgically clinging to, but I think the time has come (the Walrus said*) for that to go.

*’to talk of many things, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings’.

Otherwise a couple of tweaks here and there. Possibly maybe.

The truth is that I am constantly putting ‘new’ resolutions into play, be they New years or any other day of the year… and constantly failing at them. I fail much more than I succeed.

Four. Listen to more jazz.

I’m listening to Sonny Stitt in the background. It’s really good. I should do that more often.

Rage!

I don’t get incensed by a lot of things. Okay… I don’t get VERY incensed by a lot of things. But this sign outside the only decent coffee place in town makes me want to put a Molotov cocktail through your window!

Burn it down! Burn it ALL down.

8:30 and you’re still not open! I curse you Daily coffee!

More holiday stuff

I imagined my holidays going differently. Not that I’m complaining. I just imagined I’d have all this time to sit and do nothing. Maybe watch some cricket. The almost two year old obliterated that notion fairly early on with her tempest motion and general sense of defiance.

She’s having her afternoon nap. Which means I can read, blog and affect a supine position not unlike Homer Simpson for somewhere between 30 minutes and two hours. (Depending on the fickle nature of the sleep gods)

I’m attempting to multitask. (Blog and listen to music) I retrieved my Apple headphones from the washing machine earlier… amazingly they still work, I’m listening to ‘And justice for all’. How very old school. (Incidentally I got my wife the James Hetfield autobiography for Christmas)

Earlier I tried to swim in my rock pool. But it was an hour before high tide and the waves were coming in over the sea wall and churning up the water. Visibility was zero and I was getting smashed about, so after five minutes I called it quits.

We’ve done some touristy stuff the last couple of days.

Went to go visit the Penguins.

And we’ve been to the aquarium

Which the ‘hurricane’ loved. Eventually had to drag her out while she clawed at the linoleum with her fingernails. Okay, it wasn’t quite that bad… but I saw some big heavy set interventionist types getting ready to tackle me because it looked like I was kidnapping this little blonde girl. Nothing like wrestling your child in public. (I briefly considered pulling guard)

Then we drank wine (and ate a metric-fuck-tonne of cheese) at Peter Falke’s wine farm. The sock guy. It’s very pretty there.

Wine farms aren’t really my thing, but I really enjoyed it. (Possibly because I was drunk tipsy) Bought some Sauvignon Blanc to take home. I’m usually quite dismissive of white wine. But this was really good.

The last couple of days will hopefully be spent in relative seclusion and away from people. The aquarium especially stoked my misanthropy to dangerously high levels. Need to come back down to a gentle simmer before engaging with the proletariat again.

More holidayness

For Christmas I ate my body weight in roast lamb and homemade custard ice cream. Then went for a swim in my freezing cold rock pool with my brother-in-law.

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The tiny blob on the left is me.

Was struggling to dive below two meters without a weight belt (considering how much food I’d eaten I should have theoretically sunk  quicker than the Lusitania)

Still, I managed to salvage some sea urchin shells off the bottom.

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I actually got eight. But broke two before I got home.

The first time did any free diving (in an abandoned water filled open cast mine) my instructor asked me how long I could hold my breath for. ‘Thirty seconds maybe’ I mumbled. He proceeded to prove me wrong by getting me in a headlock holding me underwater for more than a minute before my body started going limp.

Shallow water blackout kills free divers. His approach to teaching free diving was that you should learn this immediately through experience. This formative engagement was meant to demonstrate that you can push past your limitations… my take away was more that you pass out before you start taking on water. Which was both comforting and traumatic.

I like free diving in warm water where I can see coral and brightly colored fish. Eerie Kelp forests and dark murky water scares the hell out of me. Mostly because I’m scared of sharks. And leviathans. And kraken. And drowning. And accidentally getting shot by my dive buddy. I’m also claustrophobic which is kinda limiting.

Still… I like the concept. And so I try an attempt the ‘lite’ version of free diving whenever possible.

Otherwise I’ve just been relaxing.

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The view from my kitchen window.

Didn’t beach run. Will try again tomorrow. The soft sand murdered me. I feel like a noob. So I’ve been consulting a tide chart to make sure I have compact sand to jog on before I commit myself again. There is one particular muscle in each of my calves that clearly doesn’t get used when you road run. Definitely know all about it now.

Been reading on and off, alternating between Musashi (which I’m quite enjoying even if it is a 1000 page tome) and Ikigai (which so far feels like a mash up ‘Japanese’ stoicism and Victor Frankl Logotherapy). I like it!

I must admit generally I’m feeling quite good. I clearly needed a holiday and some separation from my other life. It’s given me something to think about.

 

 

Holiday stuff

So as it turns out I have LTE pretty much everywhere I go here. Progress I guess. (No uber eats yet though)

I didn’t set my alarm, but I was awake and making a ruckus before 5am. My wife was trying to sleep in and suggested I go take my vociferous self somewhere else.

So I chalked up my first run of the holidays. It was high tide so finding decent terra firma underfoot was tough. I’d forgotten how tiring barefoot beach running was.

Ran in one direction for 20 minutes until my calves started protesting and then turned around and ran back. Just over 5km in total.

Got chased by a vicious Pomeranian called Poppy who tried to ankle gouge me. But besides the questionable canis lupus familiaris and its elderly patron, the beach was spooky and deserted.

After breakfast I did laps in a rock pool. It’s at the base of a steep cliff and the stairs down are off the beaten track so not a lot of people know about it. Today we were the only ones. Its probably the size of an Olympic swimming pool ranging in depth from a couple of inches around the innermost edge to about three meters at its lowest point at the sea wall. I have to equalize to touch the bottom.

Shark cage diving is a big thing near here so they chum the water which means there are a lot of Great whites around, which makes me weary of open water swimming. Also in the next bay over the Great whites are world renowned for their breaching and airborne acrobatics. Which makes me even wearier. I’m not particularly brave when it comes to sharks.

ALSO… look what I found while rummaging around the old homestead.

to be combined later with this…

Exciting stuff.

Holiday-ness.

I’m leaving on jet-plane. Heading off to the Atlantic ocean for nine days, to a place where if you hold you cellphone up in the air at just the right angle, while balancing on one leg… you might… get signal. Then again you might not.

I have plans.

I plan on not wearing shoes (other than flip-flops). I plan to live in board-shorts and let my junk hang free. I plan on running (barefoot) on the beach and swimming in the ocean. I plan on eating prawns straight off the grill and drinking at least half a bottle of red wine* per day. I plan on kicking back on a reclining chair and catching up on my reading. But beyond that… I have no plans.

*possibly chased with a muscat or a Speyside and some non-tobacco plant variant.

In so far as I have these modest goals I am planning on taking almost nothing with me. No shoes. No socks. No button up shirts. No jeans. No Macbook.

I have made some allowances for technology in so far as I’m taking my iPad (Kindle app) with my digital library, although I may take some real books along too (if I have space in my backpack). I’m also taking some standard Apple headphones along for the ride. Oh and my phone, which will be able to take pictures… but not much else.

For the Yuletide feast I am cooking a leg of lamb in a Moroccan style with thyme and apricots. I find traditional Christmas faire to be quite grim and heavy. Unless there’s 30 inches of snow outside and you plan on hibernating afterwards.

I hope you have an awesome time, whatever it is that you’re up to. Be good.

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Peace out.

An ode to Bjorn

Things I know (or believe to be true about Scandinavians)

1. They wear knitted sweaters and at one point they either played bass in a Heavy-metal band or they aspired to.

2. In the unlikely event that you are murdered in Denmark, Sweden or Norway your bloated, waterlogged corpse will be dragged out of a half frozen lake…

3. … your murder will then be investigated (and solved) by a deeply flawed detective with some sort of substance abuse issue (usually alcohol).

4. They have a fascinating political system. Which is either Utopian and aspirant (if you’re human) or a dystopian hell (if you’re American)

5. Their religion is free love, modular furniture and meatballs.

6. At some point everyone has chugged beer out of a cheap plastic Viking helmet. And then potentially chased it with aquavit. (And then thrown up on the train home)

Basically what’s not to like? Unless they’re attacking your monastery and dragging your prized possessions back towards their longships I mean.

I generally don’t like book reviews, reading lists or book blogs (Including my my own). Its generally too much blah, blah, blah and you find yourself having to go through it with a machete (and/or flamethrower) to discover anything of real value.

Broadly speaking I follow about two… and a half reading lists with any real sense of gusto and enthusiasm.

The half belongs to Ryan Holiday who manages to churn through books at an unprecedented rate. While our Venn diagrams overlap somewhat, especially on strategy and stoicism, I’ve REALLY struggled through some of his recommends. Possibly because I am really stupid.

Persons however, that I have come to trust are…

Derek Sivers. Who is awesome. If he likes a book, I will generally read it.

And Poor Bjorns Notes to Self (the website) or Poor Bjorns Notes to Self (on instagram) 

Whom I found quite randomly and now heartily recommend.

His tag line is the fantastic, Read Books – Conduct Experiments – Grow, which echoes my own modus operandi and approach to life. So in this, we are simpatico and I feel inclined to draw attention to his journey.

He also has a sense of humor, which I find refreshing.

Check him out.

Gah!

God. Twitter sucked me right back in.

And then I tweeted something mean. In response to this shitty self absorbed article. But still. I should have been a better person and let it slide.

Sorry. I am filled with self loathing.

I plan to go off and flagellate myself now.

Bad Joey. No biscuit.