Money money money…

In trying to decide what to do with your life, one thing generally rears it’s ugly head; money.

day 3 - this is your life

“How are you going to live?”, “What will you do for cash?”, “How will you pay for it all?”, these are the types of questions you hear from people whenever you talk about doing something new, about “…making the choice between liberty and security.” And with good reason.

For example, last week I was idly contemplating pay day, making a list of what I was going to buy with this month’s cash (which included a tri-monthly bonus), when suddenly I chipped a tooth, and I discovered my car hadn’t had a proper service in over a year, and there’s a friend’s birthday coming up, and… well, you get the picture. I went from buying a new stereo to dipping into my savings in a matter of days. Such is the way of things.

But should this be a reason not to try? Hell no! You can live in fear or take risks and have fun, and either way there’ll still be unexpected things to deal with along the way. For example, I used to share a house with this lad who never worried about what he spent his money on. If he saw something he liked, he bought it. Every time he came home he had something new and interesting to show us.

I, on the other hand, was eternally frugal. I was digging my way out of debt and so was counting every penny. I bought shop brand goods (ie: non-Heinz baked beans), thought hard about any major purchase, and never did anything on the spur of the moment.

And you know what, at the end of the month we were both skint, but he’d had a lot more fun than I had. It was a revelation the day I figured that one out. That was when I stopped worrying about money, and started using it to my own advantage.

I still budget, and I still save, but once the bills are paid I allow myself free reign to quite simply spank the remainder on whatever the hell I want, and I have a lot more fun doing it than I ever did feeling guilty for enjoying myself now and then.

Don’t ever be too hard on yourself; there’s plenty of people out there who’ll try and do that for you.

Speaking of fun, meet Thumb Face. πŸ™‚

thumb face

I’d explain him, but I think he’s pretty self explanatory. You’ve got amuse yourself somehow, eh? I’ve got a feeling Thumb Face will make a few more appearances in the future. He has a tenacious curiosity.

Doing and Trying

There is a world of difference between doing and trying (and indeed not trying), and you should always know which is which.

It’s been a difficult week for me, though I didn’t realise it until I started telling someone else about it. Not that anything major has gone on really, it’s just work is full of so much bullshit at the moment, then I come home and have to deal with my neighbours and their machinations, that it feels like I have no place to rest. That’s why I’m often down the local coffee shop for hours with a good book, in an attempt to ‘hide’ from the world for a few hours.

At times like this you have to take pride in your accomplishments. To this end I offer you the following photo.

gleaming

“It’s just a cooker?” you say. Well how right you are. What it is though, is a damn clean cooker, in point of fact. Two hours and two brillo pads it took me to get off the inch of burnt on crap that had accumulated around the rings over the years. I’d been saying for months that I was going to sort it out, but until you actually do something to sort it out then it’s all just words. Now I keep going into the kitchen just to admire my handiwork. In fact, even though I just recently finished writing my second ever full length feature film script, I’m far more proud of this at the moment than anything else.

day 21 - peace

I’ve decided to start going to yoga twice a week. If I want to start teaching then the sooner I’m able to actually get my head on my knees the better. That’s what I was thinking anyway, but then I realised I’m trying so hard to relax that I never will. If you’re all tense and trying to force your muscles and tendons to stretch it’s like driving with the brake on; it feels like your doing something, but really you’re not getting anywhere.

Been thinking so much about teaching, and being able to quit work, that I’ve actually gotten in the way of my own progression. Like trying to meditate, or trying to calm a lake with your hands, the more you try the worse it gets. You just have to relax and let it happen. Or more to the point, you have to learn to not try. I’ve learnt that with meditation; I need to learn it with yoga. Don’t try and relax, just relax.

afternoon tea

It occurred to me today for the first time, as I looked at the stats for my blog and saw someone had been looking at some of the recipes, that there might actually be people out there making food from my ideas/recommendations. I mean that was always the idea, but for some reason I only just realised that it might be happening. That tickled me a bit. I’d love to know how they got on.

Chocolate Cinnamon Almonds

A quick little sweet that is surprisingly tasty. I came up with this one for Christmas but it’s taken me a wee while to get the amounts right. I’ve been eating chocolate almonds for weeks!

chocolate cinnamon almonds

125g blanched almonds
60g dark chocolate (2/3 of a bar)
1/2 cup of raisins
40g poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (you only need a little water in the pan – keep it from touching the bottom of the bowl). Once melted take it off the heat.

Add the almonds and raisins and stir until completely covered.

Put a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Mix the poppy seeds and cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle a layer of seed mix on the paper, then spread the almonds and raisins evenly on top.

Sprinkle generously with remaining seeds. Put in the fridge to cool.

Once cooled break up into individual pieces (they’ll probably be all stuck together), eat, and enjoy.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dramas not withstanding, this could be my last post of the year, so I wanted to take the chance to wish you all a very merry christmas.

snowy globes

Just got back from visiting my family for an early christmas (I’m working 24th to 26th again this year :(). Took the train as I bought my new car a bit too late to drive up, and I already had the train tickets. Probably a wise move considering the amount of snow we’re getting at the moment. Anyone who says we’re not experiencing climate change I offer you exhibit A: the weather outside.

Mum made some lovely date cake using the egg replacer I’d left there last year, and I knocked up a nut roast on Sunday which mum and dad both had a go at, so there was plenty to eat. I also got to have a few fry-ups as well as a chick pea stew thing that mum and I concocted.

Came back first class again, but properly this time, not like last year where it was a weekend upgrade. This time I got free tea, a free hot meal, and a peaceful carriage with a big comfy chair. It was bliss. I tell you, I don’t want to get all elitist, but first class is the way to go.

Looking forward to 2011: A new year, and a new beginning. A new way of making money is definitely called for, and to facilitate that I’ll probably need a new place to live for a while too (somewhere cheaper, probably outside of London). I know what I want in my life, and what I need to move away from. And someone to share it all with would be lovely too, but that kind of thing seems to happen when you’re not looking, so what can you do? πŸ˜‰

Expect big things from me next year, I know I do! ‘Til then, have a marvelous christmas and a fantastic new year.

Cheers y’awl! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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 Β£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 Β£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! πŸ™‚

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 Β£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.Β 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”. πŸ˜‰