Bang Goes The Yogi

Hi Folks, I’m back! 🙂

After all my gallivanting around the world I’m back in the UK now for a while. And what does that mean for my faithful Brand New Life followers? Why more of the best the internet has to offer, that’s what!

Whilst traveling, I bought myself a smart phone, and like everyone does, I’ve been downloading all kinds of random, useless apps ever since. But this is one app that quickly made it’s way into my top ten.

If you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory (and if you’re not, you should be!) you’ll love this TBBT Sound Quote App. Audio quotes of all your favourite characters, and many of the more obscure ones, which you can have a good laugh at and even install onto your phone as ringtones or message alerts (some of them anyway). Honestly, it keeps me amused, and that’s saying something with my gnat-like attention spa… Ooh look! Wrestling!

For anyone who hasn’t got a clue what I’m on about, here’s a few clips of my favourite character, Sheldon, doing what he does best; be Sheldon! 😉


 
NB: If you haven’t seen the classic comedy Spaced either, the episode I’ve linked to in the text above is, in my humble opinion, the best one they ever did.

“Are you ready Mike?”

“I was born ready Timmy!”

“Yeah, but are you ready now?”

“Umm, yeah.”

Brilliant! 😉

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Some General Reflections

What a weird week it’s been.

morning reflections

Back to work after the week of meditation. That was a bit of a shock. But, they did agree in principal to a sabbatical, which is good. I just need to decide when I want it (and ergo, what I want to do) and we can sort it out (hopefully).

Then I got ill, which was/is dry as a bone. I hate being stuck indoors not being able to go do stuff. I’m watching back to back Big Bang Theory but still… BORED! Thankfully my ears are sorting themselves out slowly. I’m still a bit trippy on my feet, but at least it’s to a lesser extent than it was when it started.

I had high hopes for the coming week. I’d finally cleared my To Do list, and I fully intended on spending as much time as possible writing as I haven’t done any work on my book in ages. But now I don’t feel up to it, which sucks, so I’m just trying not to go crazy in the meantime.

And I’m not doing any meditation for the same reasons. I’m just drained, lethargic, and utterly unmotivated. The change in weather (ie: less daylight hours) doesn’t help either. Winter and me don’t get on.

Anyway, in the meantime, I’ve done a wee playlist for you guys to download if you fancy. It’s called Dustbowl Americana, and I think the title speaks for itself. Hope you enjoy these slightly countrified haunting melodies. Makes me dream of faraway lands where the horizon goes on for miles and there ain’t no rush to go nowhere. 🙂

Buddhafield @ the Green Man

Well, it’s been just over a week since I worked the Buddhafield Cafe at the Green Man Festival. Ample time for me to reflect and come to some conclusions. If only that’s what I’ve been doing. Truth is I’ve just been faffing about, doing some yoga, writing intermittently, watch DVDs, and suffering work (but more on that in my next post, entitled “You’re all going to die!”) 😉

Rather than have one big lump of text I’m going to divide it up into categories, a la Wikipedia, with a few sub headings here and there and the odd picture or two (taken with my phone, so my apologies for their shoddy appearance).

NB: my camera is officially muerte! Had the call today. It’d cost more to repair it than it’s worth, so it’s time for me to move on to camera’s new.

Anyway, enough of that…

 

The Buddhafield Cafe

I got to the Brecon Beacons on the Monday afternoon. The festival wasn’t due to start until the Thursday/Friday, but I was there to help set up. When I arrived there were a couple of domes set up and they were working on the cafe bit, so in true workman style I grabbed myself a cup of tea and a sandwich.

jammin'

Actually I got there a bit late. I had planned to arrive earlier. But still it gave me a chance to meet everyone, do a bit of work, familiarise myself with the set up, and just settle in ready for the whole experience.

The Buddhafield lot were really nice. All very friendly, very open, and I felt most welcomed by them all. I was just there for the one festival but some of these guys do it for the whole season, hence the van living (as above).

signage

This wasn’t a usual set up for them though. They have a big cafe, but it was away at another festival. The one we had was smaller, but we also had hot showers, hot tubs, and a sauna built as well; kind of a Buddhafield Spa if you like. I think it was the first time they’d done that, outside of their own festival, but it worked really well. People got into it, and I think they sold quite a few weekend passes.

come and relax

When the festival started I was on the early shift, 7am to 1pm. Man it was cold at 6:30 in the morning! Seriously, I had blankets round my sleeping bag and still I was well chilly. That made getting up difficulty, though sometimes just the thought of a warm cup of tea was motivation enough to get you up and moving about (one morning it was so cold, when I poured hot water into the mug, the mug just cracked and spilled tea everywhere! that was weird).

I did lots of little bits and bobs during my shifts, but for the most part I was on washing up duty. I liked that, because it suited my methodical mind. Stuff comes it, I scrape, scrub and scald it, and it goes out clean. Nice, easy, no brain required. Very meditative, if you do it right. 🙂

It was funny at one point on Saturday morning. The washing up station was just outside the cafe, with nothing but a wall of doubled over hessian between me and the ‘spa’. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on behind me, too busy doing the dishes, when I turned round to collect a pile of plates and just saw a sea of naked people all laying out in the sun, drying out after there sauna/shower experience. “Well,” I thought, “there’s something you don’t see every day!” And then back to the scrubbing I went.

our set-up, from a treehouse

All in all it was a very positive experience. Not only for the opportunity to practice some good karma yoga, and all the fabulous vegan food I got to eat, but for all the really lovely people I got to meet, and who I look forward to seeing again some time in the future. And it seems my efforts were appreciated, as it was suggested I might like to do the Buddhafield festival itself, maybe as site crew. It’s certainly something I’m going to think about; just depends on what I’m doing next July, and indeed which country I’m in!

 

The Green Man Festival

Green Man was a new one for me. A fairly small festival, only about 20,000 people, it’s not one I’d come across before. I volunteered for that one as there was a lot of folky bands playing. Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling, Iron and Wine, I was very keen to see them all.

the green man

The festival itself was very well run, very clean, very polite, and very family friendly. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to take their kids to something like that. All the people working there (with the exception of one asshole parking attendant) were nice and helpful, as were the festival goers themselves.

As for the music, it was a great line up. Here are my quick capsule reviews of the acts I saw.

James Vincent McMorrow

Heard him before on the Morning Becomes Eclectic podcast. He was good on that but I wasn’t bowled over by him at the time. I certainly was when I saw him live. Just brilliant. Haunting melodies and excellent guitar work, I’d recommend his album to anyone (I bought it as soon as I got back).

Laura Marling

As expected, a great performance, nicely done, very pleasing to watch. I just sat there and enjoyed everything she did. Such a great singer and very smiley, which is nice. 🙂

Fleet Foxes

Oh my God, so boring! I’m sorry, but every one of their songs sounded the same. I was bored to death. I really wish I’d skipped these lot. An hour of my life I won’t get back.

Iron and Wine

As expected, brilliant. Everyone had said he’d be quite quiet and standoffish with the crowd, not much of a stage act, but not at all! He was funny, engaging, very warm and up for having a good time. The crowd loved it. So much they got him to come do an encore even though the green man was about to be set on fire. Then they messed with his head by swaying out of rhythm, but he saw the funny side of it. It was a great show, and another great album if you’re looking for one.

Holy Fuck!

Find of the festival! There’s always one band/group you stumble across by accident and they totally blow you away, so it was with Holy Fuck. Not a great show, two blokes hunched over keyboards nodding away to the music, but what a massive, all encompassing sound. It’s hard to describe, so I’ll let these two videos paint a picture for you.

 

Imagine that but louder, and bassier, and bouncier, and you’re about half way there. Me likey, and another album I bought when I got back home.

And finally an honorable mention to Noah and the Whale. Nice tunes, but more importantly nice suits fellas. I’m loving the look. We need more sartorial excellence in music these days

If anyone’s interested I’ve done a wee playlist download which you can get by clicking here. Just a few tunes from some of the bands mentioned, as well as some tunes from bands that could have been playing if they’d been playing (if you know what I mean). Anyway, enjoy! 🙂

And finally, a public service announcement:

If you climb on your boyfriend’s shoulders in the middle of a gig and wave your arms in the air shouting ‘Woo!’ blocking the view of the people behind you, be in no doubt, you are a twat. Go and get twat tattooed on your forehead so that everyone you meet will know you are a twat. Then try and convince everyone that you did it ironically, and that really twat tattoos are cool. Because that’s the sort of thing you’d do. Because you are a twat.
(twat: see Morrissey)

 

Words I learnt

I added three new words to the old lexicon from my week in the Brecon Beacons. They are as follows:

Brash; a pile of chopped logs found in a forest.

Tatting; going through the stuff people have left behind to see what you can find.

Nesh; what I’ve become after living darn sarf for so long, apparently.

 

Quote of the week

When asked what kind of girl he went for Steve replied

“I dunno. She’d have to be pretty deformed for me not to go for her, if I’m honest.”

Brilliant! 😉

 

Conclusions

In short, meditate more, do more, live more, love more, and life’s too short to work in an office.

Vegan MoFo : Unthanksgiving Tofurkey Hunt

Much has been written in the blogosphere this past week about the elusive Tofurky, a mythical bird with meatless body and ricey giblets oft seen this time of year, so I thought it was about time I hunted one down and gave it a try.

Now I ain’t American (hence the ‘Un’ in Unthanksgiving) so I couldn’t be sure that any tofurkeys would have migrated their way over this way. But I do live in London, home to many a rich and fertile hunting ground, so if they had chances are I would find them.

I briefly toyed with the idea of staking out the Whole Foods Plains in the hope of a bite, but if I’d learnt anything from the Great Daiya Cheese Expediton of ’09, it was that the Whole Foods Plains were not the font of all things vegan. Instead a quick internet search brought up the possibility of a sighting at the fabled land of Planet Organic.

the tofurkey hunting ground

Armed with my Tofurkey Hunter Playlist (a nice bit of bluegrass to keep me going) I quickly boarded the 27 ‘express’ and soon found myself at the edge of a veritable cornucopia. Upon entry a cacophony of sights and smells wafted over me – mostly lentil soup and middle-class rah’s wielding over-priced veg – but I was not to be distracted. My mind was set firmly on the tofurkey! Making my way to the frozen wastelands at the back I came across my first piece of bird sign.

bird sign

I could tell right away that a tofurkey had passed this way recently; quite possibly a mother with it’s giblets. I carried on and sure enough there it was, nesting on it’s wire perch, the elusive tofurkey bird!

a nesting tofurkey

Larger than I had expected, with a heftier hunting tax upon it too (£26:99!), and being the last one remaining in the wild, I paused for a moment to consider the ramifications. But, faint heart ne’er won fair lady, so I snatched up the wily bird and made my escape.

Preparation of your tofurkey is simple enough. 24 hours in a refrigerator is enough time for the heavily frozen meat to ‘cure’ sufficiently for cooking. Then it is a simple matter of preparing it with vegetables and roasting it in an oven for 1 hour 25 minutes to bring out all the subtle flavours.

ready for carving

I tried putting the veggies in with the tofurkey as recommended by the game wardens, but if I go for it again I’ll probably do them separately so that they roast properly. I’d also be very tempted to do without the dumplings, as they didn’t really add anything to the whole experience.

my first tofurkey

All in all not a bad bit of grub. A little over priced maybe, but still very tasty and a good substitute for it’s elder brother the turkey bird if you’re craving in that direction.

That being said I think I’ll stick with the old nut roast this Christmas. Its a lot easier to find, a lot easier to prepare, and you can spend all the time you save watching movies and chilling out at home, rather than sitting on a smelly bus traveling at 5 miles an hour through Saturday morning traffic. 😉

Hello My Beautiful Lovelies

It’s true y’know, the only constant thing in life is change. A couple weeks ago I had no idea what I was doing. Now, all of a sudden, clarity has come. First some thoughts:

1. Inventing recipes and blogging about them in no way means that I should write a cookery book. Why not just have fun?

2. There’s no point moaning about work, they’re gonna get as much out of you for as little as they can. It’s just the nature of business.

3. Changing jobs will not solve the problem of work. However, if you do something you love you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life.

4. If you don’t enjoy the journey you won’t have any fun when you get there.

5. Always know what you want when you go get your hair cut, otherwise you’ll end up with something… weird.

So, you can see where my heads been at for the past week or so. Work has taken a decidedly ‘interesting’ turn recently, with changes in procedures, hours, and working practices, meaning it’s gonna be a lot less fun to be there from now on. I’ve been looking at finding a new job elsewhere doing the same thing, but why bother since I don’t want to be doing this anyway? So I might just chuck out the odd application, see what happens, but really I’m going to spend my free time writing, see if I can’t make a go of that somehow. Because that’s what I’d rather be doing if I’m honest, spending my days doing something creative, not this TV drivel. It would also be a flexible enough job that I could fit it in around all the rest of the stuff I want to do.

Still on with the yoga. Had lesson two a couple of days ago. She worked us harder this time. More stretching, and holding, and grunting and groaning here and there. I’m still doing my sun salutations in the morning but it was a bit of a struggle today. Had to force myself a bit. Still, I felt much better after doing it than I would have if I hadn’t, so there’s that to think about.

Keep an eye out for a new recipe from me shortly, as well as another film recommendation. It’s been a while since I’ve done either of them. For now I’d like to leave you with a wee link to a mini playlist I’ve done called “In The Land Of Kiki”. It’s just a random selection of the last 10 songs I added to my iTunes (where there was an album I chose one as representative). I hope you like it. Should give you an idea of what’s going on in my head space at any given time. 😉

30 Days of Kiki : day 10

day 10- songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad

This is in no way a definitive list. I’ve got 2596 tunes on my iTunes, and dozens of CDs. For me to pick just five is downright ludicrous! That being said, here’s what came out my mind first:

Happy
This was the toughest one to do, oddly enough, as it’s such a blanket emotion where do you start? In the end I plumped for tunes that you’d listen to whilst driving on a hot summers day with the top down.

The Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo

Len – Steal My Sunshine

Sad
So many to choose from, as my ‘sad’ tunes coincide pretty well with my ‘chill out’ tunes, but in the end I picked two that I consider truly melancholy (and hauntingly beautiful).

Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah

Tom Waits – I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You

Bored
Bored? What does that mean? I listen to tunes that enhance my moods. Who listens to music to perpetuate their boredness? When I’m bored I do stuff, so I picked two tunes that inspire me when I’m writing.

Fever Ray – When I Grow Up

Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

Hyped
Now you’re talking! This I can do. This box I can tick. No lack of hyper here. The question is how to pare it down? Right now, two tunes leap to mind. One, an absolute classic of old, the other a classic of now.

Underworld – Born Slippy

Florence and the Machine – Dog Days

Mad
I’ve got a special playlist for when I’m on the buses, to drown out all the fools and the mumblies. It’s called Go F*ck Yourself, and every tune on there qualifies for this category. My first is the tune of choice for oh-so many X Factor haters here in the UK, and it’s partner has what I consider one of the best guitar solos of all time on it.

Rage Against The Machine – Killing In The Name Of

Pearl Jam – Alive

Well, them’s me tunes. Hope you enjoyed the embeds. For those of you who are into their ownership I’ve complied them all into a cheeky little download for you to enjoy, but get in there quick as it’ll disappear if no one downloads it for a week!

Week 25: In which our hero lists some stuff, does some stuff, and wins something

Ok, so what have I been up to this week? Well, after my lack lustre performance last week I’ve had my nose to the grindstone… a bit. So here goes;

First, I made a big list of “Every Idea I’ve Ever Had”. This didn’t take long, I’m sorry to say. Actually it took longer than I expected. Put down on paper it seems I’ve done quite a bit of thinking over the years. Most of it was rubbish like, as is always the way, but the good stuff is pretty good.

It was fun to revisit some old ideas, but many of them had to be discarded as they’re just not interesting any more, or technology had left them behind. Like ‘End of the roll’ for example – a collection of photos that people have taken to finish off a roll of film just so they can get it processed. Everyone uses digital these days, so there are no end of the roll photos anymore! A loss, I think.

However, many of the ideas still have great potential, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t list them here. You will be apprised of any progress as and when it happens. For now let me summarise my lisitng efforts thus: 4 product design ideas, 3 business ideas, 2 video ideas, 6 book ideas (including 1 potential series) and feature length 7 movie ideas.

The purpose of making the list is so I can select the best ideas, the ones with legs, and really start to run with them. I realised last week that, if I really want a Brand New Life, I need to be doing something new every week, not just every now and then. I need to be creating something, or writing something, or coming up with a recipe; something tangible that advances me forward in my attempts to do something new! To that end…

satan soundtrack cover

I did a couple of things this week. First was the artwork for my as yet unwritten horror comedy Fuck You, Satan! Don’t worry, this isn’t my thing for the week, this I just did to amuse myself. Actually I think it came out kinda nice. I also did a disc design which makes me smile too. 🙂

If you’re interested, here’s a download of the playlist.

My thing this week was writing a step outline for Apogee/Perigee, a script idea I have about a boy who never talks. It opens with someone getting killed, and there’s a wolf in it, and that’s all I’m saying about it right now. This will be my art-house movie, my usual stuff being very commercial (and that’s how I like it). I won’t be coming up with a soundtrack for this one, as Fever Ray’s first album is all the soundtrack I need. If you want to see what I mean check out the video (incidentally, one of the most mesmerising videos I’ve ever seen!).

It will be a beautiful movie when it’s done. Hopefully I’ll get to direct it myself, once I’ve made a few quid selling scripts, and have a bit of a reputation. It’ll take me off in a new direction; the thoughtful, compassionate, critically acclaimed part of my career.

Remember all those competitions I was entering? Well, I finally won something! Just a tenner, but it’s the first time I’ve ever won anything on the National Lottery ever! Seriously. I once won £3 on some scratch-cards once, but that was when I bought 20 in a row thinking buying a batch would give me a better chance of winning. Technically it did I suppose, but the return on the investment wasn’t up to much, so I abandoned that strategy and never bought scratch-cards again.

But this time I won a tenner, after playing the same numbers both Wednesday and Saturday for 4 weeks. Collected the winnings today and immediately reinvested £8 in some more numbers for 4 weeks. If this keeps up I’ll be rich by the time I’m 40, hahaha.

And to finish this week, here’s a video that really made me laugh. Enjoy! 🙂