…and a Happy New Year

Start as you mean to go on they say. I started 2012 by sleeping til gone noon, then lazing about the flat playing online games and watching movies. So, a lot like 2011 then, lol. 😉

Ok, technically I started 2012 at the Sivananda Yoga Centre enjoying their new years eve celebrations. I went along early, did some cooking, some cleaning, a yoga class, then stayed for the puja, meal, and chanting for world peace into the new year.

It was a lovely evening, made all the more lovely by the company of good friends, the fine food, and just the all round happiness and positivity of the occasion. I’m really glad I went as it was an excellent start to the year, a year that hopefully holds a great deal of change for little ol’ me.

If all goes as planned, by this time next year I’ll be a trained yoga teacher with some experience, I’ll have visited Austria, Canada and Australia, and I’ll be contemplating a trip to Thailand to ride an elephant before heading back to Europe to see the northern lights. Then… well, who knows?

Of course, as they say, if you want to make God laugh tell her your plans. But still, you’ve got to give it a go because the alternative (same ol’ same ol’, day in, day out) just doesn’t bear thinking about does it.

last bit of christmas cake

I’ve made just 2 resolutions to kick off the new year. First is to meditate every day. That is the one area where I need most work. I want to do just half an hour a day. If I can manage to do that for 366 days (it’s a leap year this year, remember) I will consider it a significant victory.

My second is just for a month, but it’s to cook everything from scratch, and to not eat ready made overly processed foods all the time. I mean I don’t do too badly, but every day there’s a hash brown or Linda McCartney sausage in there somewhere (usually at the same time – oh Full English, how I love thee!). I’m going to make all my food myself for a while, thereby avoiding nasty stuff, convenience eating, and taking sandwiches to work every day.

Apart from all that my ongoing plans still revolve around writing, vegan cooking, and going out and having fun. Expect some developments on each one of these very soon!

And so there you go, that’s it from me for now. Actually, I think that’s enough to be going on with, don’t you? Happy New Year everyone. I hope you have a great and wonderful 2012!

Om Namah Shivaya. 🙂

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An all round update

Ok, so where is everything at the moment?

First off, I’ve decided not to do the food blog idea (for the moment). I mean I’m hardly keeping this one up to date, so if I started another one that’d just be two blogs I’m not doing. But I am still cooking and I am still posting recipes, so it’s not like I’ve moved away from the cooking idea completely. I’m just putting it on hold until I can give it my full attention.

ohmmm...

What I have been doing though, which is a bit unexpected, is meditating every day for over a week now. Ok, so ‘every day’ is a bit of an exaggeration (as is ‘meditating’ probably ;)), but I have managed to sit for eight out of the last nine days, which is still a win as far as I’m concerned. If I can keep this up I’ll be enlightened by the end of the year, lol.

The day I missed was all down to work. I’ve been meditating in the morning you see, after doing my yoga (I am still doing the yoga every day since I started, which is a good few months now!), but that day I had to get up at 5:30 to go to work, so there wasn’t time, and I just plain forgot to do it in the evening when I got home. Of course this only goes to underline the fact that I need a new job. Plus I’ve been reading Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness, by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, which quite simply states that if you believe your job is interfering with your spiritual development then you probably need a change in career. So that’s my main priority for the moment, finding something else to do for cash. I know what I’d like to do, which is write, but I’m also looking at other possibilities too.

That being said the writing is going well. I’m on the second round of rewrites on the script I finished before Christmas. Once that’s done I’ll give it to a friend to proof read, then I can go back to the book I started working on recently. I’ve also got a few other script ideas I’m playing with, so hopefully come the summer I’ll be ready to start chasing down agents and production deals. And no holding back this time. I’m not going to get bogged down with the ‘reality’ of what’s possible. I’m aiming for Hollywood, and ain’t nobody gonna stop me!

Report 10 – Cool kicks and crap pasta

Well, last week was pretty solid in the Brand New Life. I did some interesting cooking, a small selection of new stuff, and some screen writing, which in many ways is most important of all. I also did my back in which means this week could go either way, but we’ll deal with that tomorrow. For now…

Recipes Done:

Kiki’s scrambled tofu & Butternut squash and mixed bean stew

New Thing Done:

My trainers and cowboy boots arrived from AlternativeStores.com and they are brilliant. Check out my new kicks.
new shoes
How good do they look? I’m well chuffed with them. The laces are a bit cheap and nasty but they are easily replaced. I’m telling you, a bargain at £30. I’ll be buying from them again.

Unfortunately the cowboy boots were a bit big, but I’ve returned them and so hopefully I’ll be getting a smaller size in a week or two. Can’t wait. I’ve bought a blue pin-stripe suit jacket and white shirt, and I reckon them with a pair of raggy jeans and some cowboy boots will look excellent. Looking forward to unleashing it on the world, hahaha.

Also, I tried gluten free pasta for the first time. Can’t say I was impressed. It’s made of corn, and when cooked it became kind of mushy and fell apart in the pan, especially when I mixed the sauce in. Seriously, I made enough to take some to work the next day, but it tasted so rank I binned what I had and made some stew instead; a pain in the arse to do late at night but it beat the hell out of eating that crap again: Trust me.

Writing Done:

Did five and a bit pages this week. It was well easy. I told you having a proper outline was essential. It makes the whole process a hell of a lot easier. In fact, it was embarrassingly easy, so much so I don’t know why I haven’t done more in the past. No excuses really.

You know why Prince is one of the most prolific recording artists of all time? Because when he has an idea he just can’t let it go. He’ll stay up all night if he has to, writing, recording, mixing, until he gets it just right. That’s why he has literally hundreds upon hundreds of unreleased tunes; and why I work for a Swedish TV company with chairs that give you back ache. Seriously, the difference between success and failure is ‘satisfaction’. Like it or not, if you’re satisfied with your life, satisfied with your situation, satisfied with what you’ve, got you’ll never achieve anything truly amazing in life. That’s just the way it is.

Me, I’m in the middle ground; kinda satisfied but not quite enough. There’s just some stuff I need to get out of my head – like the film scripts, an invention or two, and some strange ideas that need unleashing on the world – and ’til that’s done I won’t feel like I’ve done everything I was put here to do. That’s all. And I’m thankful for that, because it keeps life interesting, know what I mean?

Here’s to an “interesting life”. 😉

Report 6

Ok, a quick summation:

New Things Done: Had a go in a floatation tank. Went to see a musical.

Recipes Done: Spaghetti Bolognese and Hash Browns

Script Writing Done: 4 pages.

Yes, that’s right, I did it; I finally wrote some pages!!!!! In fact it’s even more impressive than that. I sketched out a map of the story (if I explained the story this would make sense to you), I re-wrote the first 16 pages, and I wrote a rough outline of the remaining script, all in about 5 hours. Seriously, that was one session, and in fact I’m a little embarrassed that it was so damn easy to do. Honestly, seat of the pants in the seat of the chair is what it’s all about. How much could I have got done in life if I just made myself do it! Well I’ve learnt my lesson. I’m going to do something every week now, even if it’s only a few pages or some re-writes. I’ve no reason not to.

Report 2 – Short but sweet (pilau rice and potato subji)

Not a lot to cover this week. Been one of my busy weeks in work – on shift 5 days out of 7, out the house from 10am to 9:30pm – so hasn’t been a lot going on. Managed to do some cooking though, which is pretty good, but no script writing, which is piss poor.

As you can probably tell by now, the script writing thing is a bit of a dream that I am somewhat unmotivated to follow. But! and it’s an important but, I can’t let it go. I have the ideas, I see the ideas, I work out the ideas. It’s something that interests me, and something that I enjoy doing. The boring part is sitting down and writing the bloody things. Unfortunately that’s the nuts and bolts of the whole process. 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration. And I lack the discipline to pursue it. However, I’m hoping that by not letting it go, by constantly bringing it up in this blog, that I’ll eventually shame myself into actually doing something. I hope so anyway, coz it’s got to beat all this perpetual vacillating I keep doing.

As for the food, check this out:

Pilau rice

Olive oil, splash of (for frying)

2 Cardamom pods, crushed

3/4 tsp Cumin Seeds

1 tsp Coriander, chopped

1/2 tsp Turmeric

1 Cinnamon stick

1 Bay leaf

1/2 cup Basmati rice

1 1/4 cups boiling water

Fry the crushed cardamom pods, cumin seeds, chopped coriander and turmeric in a saucepan for a minute or so. Add the rice and mix until all grains are covered with spices. Add the boiling water, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, then simmer until all the water has gone. Remove bay leaf, cinnamon stick and big bits of cardamon pods, then let it rest in pan off heat for a minute or so before serving. Can also add some fried mushrooms at the beginning (before spices) if you like it that way.

Potato subji

2-3 Potatoes

2 tbsp Oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1/4 tsp Turmeric

a pinch of Cayenne

2 tbsp Coriander, chopped

1/2 tsp Salt

Dice the potatoes and par boil them in a saucepan for about 8-10 minutes.

Heat a frying pan on medium heat then add the mustard and cumin seeds to hot oil and fry until they start to pop (have a big pan lid handy to stop them going all over the place). Add the turmeric, coriander and cayenne. Mix, then add the drained potatoes and salt. Stir together until all the potatoes are covered in the spicy oil, then cook for a few more minutes until done.

The potatoes are an excellent side to go with any curry meal, and the rice is a great bed for whatever you’re making. I’ve put a bit more water in this recipe than I normally would for cooking basmati as the usual 1 cup of water to 1/2 cup of rice ratio came out a bit nutty. Could be something to do with coating the rice in oil first. Experiment and see what happens in your kitchen. I will get around to doing curry sauces soon. For the moment I just had to go with something simple.

So, in final summation

Recipes done:  Pilau rice and Potato subji

Writing done:  Nothing, again!, but this is the last time, I swear.

New thing done:  Bought myself a proper chef’s knife. Now this might not sound like much, but first of all let me tell you that this thing is gorgeous! It’s one of those posh Sabatier blades, should last me about 10 years, and cost over £50, which for someone as ‘frugal’ as I am is a significant step. The purpose however is the most important thing. I’m going to teach myself how to do that cool, whizzy, choppy thing the proper chefs do when they’re chopping onions and that. You know the one I mean. I know it’s a but showy offy but I don’t care, I think it’s very impressive and I want to know how to do it!

TTFN

Report B

This has not been my most impressive week.

I can’t honestly say I’ve achieved very much. Mostly I’ve just been getting up at 5am, going to work in the freezing cold, then getting back and plonking myself down in front of my computer with some beer and a DVD. I was going to figure out how to make vegan naan bread – did the research, bought the ingredients, got everything ready to go – then just didn’t. Opted for roast veg and a store bought nut cutlet instead. How poor is that. Seriously, it’s been so damn cold out there all I’ve wanted to do is stay home and hibernate all week.

But that’s just an excuse. I told you, I’m trying to break a long standing cycle of lethargy, so it’s going to take a while. I have been doing new things, talking to strangers (an unexpected side effect of starting this blog) and accepting new opportunities when they come along (like getting my posture checked for one thing. Result, a little twisty, and nothing some expensive chiropractic sessions couldn’t fix – surprise surprise – but ultimately not bad). My plan to read the first book someone recommended to me hasn’t worked, as no one has recommended anything to me all week, so I’ve opted instead to read the book mentioned on a poster in a local coffee shop that catches my eye every time I’m in there; Tess of the D’Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy. I’m still going to read the next book someone recommends, whenever that is, but at least I’ve got something to read now (so that’s this week covered) And for next week I’ve got an excellent new thing to do. I’m going to have a go in a floatation tank! No idea what it’ll be like but I’m looking forward to it. I’m hoping for a mystical experience, though I do wonder how mystical half an hour in salty water listening to whale song can be. I guess I’ll know by next Sunday eh.

I also have other plans for next week. I’m going to meditate every day, I’m going to take black and white photographs every day, and I’m not going to drink any beer (as I’m starting to get a bit of a belly of me after a rather indulgent week): Wine maybe, but no beer. I’m also going to get a start on the script writing.

I’ve figured out if I write a minimum of just 5 pages on each day I’m not working I can do 6 scripts by the end of next year easily (5 pages x 15 days a month x 12 = 6 x 120 page scripts, at least). That’s just a guideline of course, if I’m on a roll I’ll do more, but I need at least that many to complete my quota. This is seat-of-the-pants writing; seat of the pants on the seat of the chair!

So in summation:

Exercise : Bugger all.

New Thing : Book to read.

Cooking : Nowt (though I’m going to catch up this week for sure!)

Script Writing : None.

Like I said, not a very impressive week, but there’s no point sulking about it. What’s done is done, and so this is my new starting point. How could it be anything else? 🙂