Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

With Christmas quickly approaching, and family gatherings only days away, I felt that I should make a post.

I didn’t want to post all about the stereotypical stuff, but instead, I wanted to remind people who not everyone in our society has the luxury of a family to be with, or even food to eat.

For many, Christmas time is not a happy time. This could be for many reasons. Perhaps it serves as a reminder to them that their own family or friends circle has disowned them, has lost contact or simply wants nothing to do with them anymore. It could be a reminder of bad life-choices they have made, perhaps with alcohol or drug abuse, causing children and family to actively disassociate themselves.
For others, it could be a reminder of a less than ideal childhood. Christmas is often a time when domestic violence, child abuse and family disagreements flare up, showing themselves in their full, ugly glory. For these families, Christmas is almost dreaded as it nears, with family members bracing themselves for the upcoming explosion of negativity in their homes.

There are people in Australia who are spending their first (or indeed their 5th or 6th) Christmas alone. They have no family here with them, perhaps living on their own with few friends around them. Some may not even be able to speak English, and are experiencing complete isolation from others in ways that many of us cannot even fathom.

Other people reflect on this time as a reminder of what the ‘average family’, or what is portrayed on television and in films should be, and how different their own family gathers are. They see the cracks in their family, the negativity and the hatred between certain members, and this can bring on sadness and even depression for many. No amount of “But it’s Christmas!” or “Fa-la-la-la-laa’ing” will change these thoughts, no matter how hard people try.

I myself have come from an abusive home growing up. This is no secret, and I have posted about this in the past on this blog. Mostly, it was verbal abuse or at least emotional abuse. There was some physical abuse as well, but it was not as bad as many others have received, and the physical was definitely a distant second to the emotional and verbal abuses. All of these things have forever tarnished my christmas experience, as my most vivid memories of christmas involve the christmas tree being thrown across the room and broken, presents beings stomped on before they could be unwrapped or on one occasion, opened before us and then destroyed. As a child, my memories of christmas should be of happy times with small gifts from loved ones, and not of these things. Now, even the sound of christmas music brings these terrible memories back into my mind.

Of course, my story is hardly the worst, and I am not trying to win any awards for this. I only mention it here to point out that people who may seem happy and strong on the outside may not always be the same on the inside. Christmas can amplify these emotions and memories for many.

The point I was hoping to make with this post is, if you see someone who is seeming down, or know of someone who may be spending christmas alone this year, perhaps offer them a seat at your table, or even a hot cup of coffee and a chat. Sometimes its the smallest of gestures that can change someone’s perspective on a situation. This is the season for giving, and respect for our fellow persons. Do not do this out of pity, but do it out of kindness and love. Everyone should be able to have at least one happy christmas memory, and it is never too late to start creating them.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

well I know this post is well overdue, however its better late than never, I suppose! 🙂

Our honeymoon began on June 1st, with an early morning, rain-filled journey to Melbourne International Airport, bags in tow, and spirits undampened, regardless of the standard Melbourne wet season.

Once at the airport, tickets in hand, bags checked and dried off, we cleared customs and made our way onto our plane.
20 hours later, we landed flew in through the clouds at Los Angeles, seeing the far side of the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and coming in for a textbook landing at LAX.

Unfortunately there was not enough time to leave the terminal before our next flight, so it was a few hours of Starbucks drinking and people-watching before boarding our next flight direct to NYC.

After a very scenic flight through an almost clear sky, we came over New York, with amazing views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, before landing at JFK.

After check-in at the hotel, we headed around the corner to Times Square for dinner, and to take in some of the sights of Midtown Manhattan.

New York City is a place that is constantly changing, yet strangely familiar. Although it has been more than 3 years since we were last there, we were able to navigate the streets and subway system with ease, and rarely needed to consult with a map.

With a total of 2 weeks in NYC, we had plans of things to do, yet plenty of time to simply relax and enjoy the city, and all it has to offer.

During our time in New York, we did a mixture of typical tourist things, as well as some not-so touristy things… cycling around Manhattan, riding a train in torrential rain to see a movie at a downtown cinema, having lunch on a floating restaurant in the Manhattan River…

Amongst the many things we did in New York, (of which there are too many to mention!) We did some new things that have definitely made it to our highlights list.

Firstly, we headed to the 9/11 Memorial, which I must say, is rather eerie in that it is probably the quietest place in Manhattan. Nothing above a whisper could be heard beyond the tranquil sound of the flowing water into the footprints of the twin towers. The entire area seemed smaller than it did on television all those years ago, but with so many names and so much sadness attached to it. Security here is greater than we experienced at any airport. 2 metal detectors, an air particle scanner, police and security everywhere, sniffer dogs and long, daunting walks through narrow corridors, being watched on CCTV by what I would assume to be behavioural specialists.

We headed to the Court district to view some cases. I never really thought that this would be as entertaining as it turned out to be! We first went to the Surrogates Court and heard small matters like petty theft and minor assaults etc. Then we went to the Arraignment Court to hear people being granted or denied bail. Then, over to the Supreme Court, where the lawyers were having a rather large party in the foyer area for National Lawyer Day, which meant free food for all (how could I refuse?).

We walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, which was a rewarding experience, if only to say we had done it. Such a wonderful, old bridge, and still going strong! Once on the other side in Brooklyn, we wandered about a bit, checked out a gorgeous Ferris Wheel in Dumbo, got a bite to eat at a very small local deli, and then discovered one of the Pianos in Public Places on the waterfront. As we got there, a classical dup were performing for a photographer, so we had a free concert just for two. Once we walked back over the bridge we parted ways. I was eager to walk the 60 blocks to the hotel, and take in the city, but Catherine decided to ride the subway and get back to relax a bit. So, 45 minutes later, I caught up with her at the hotel and we headed out for Lunch and a Museum.

We hired bicycles and rode the length and width of Central Park. The park is full of bike trails, and during the day on weekdays, most roads are closed to traffic, meaning pedestrians and bikes have the reign. The park is simply huge on a massive scale! Even with minimal stops, and no traffic, it took us about 90 minutes to return to the starting point. We saw 4 lakes, 3 cliff faces, a reservoir, a castle (Smurfs Movie), a boathouse, fountains, bridges (Home Alone 2), and so much green! This park is indeed the heartbeat of the city, sustaining the sanity of so many residents who spend their lunches with their shoes off, sunning on any available surface.

We had the bikes for 6 hours, so instead of returning them and losing our money, I suggested we ride down and around the financial district. There are bike tracks everywhere, so we only needed about 5 minutes of road cycling in the entire journey. We headed through Hells Kitchen and down along the banks of the Manhattan River, passing a retired aircraft carrier that is moored as a museum ship, before reaching the financial district, where we lost the bike trail. After a little confusion we found the track again, and with a few more corners, we arrived at Clinton Park, looking across to the Statue of Liberty (Closed, due to damage sustained from Hurricane Sandy). After a small break and an ice-cream, we headed along the trail and up along the East River, heading back to the hotel area on 49th Street. Once we got to around 38th-40th Street, the bike trail ended and became a bike lane on the busy Manhattan roads in afternoon peak hour. Onwards we went, passing the UN Building and turning left along 50th Street (Most streets are one way, so each opposing street goes in the opposite direction). Crossing Lexington Ave and 5th Ave, we eventually got to Broadway. We turned left, then back onto 49th Street, returning the bikes with 20 minutes to spare. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but Catherine seemed a bit shaken from the craziness of the traffic.

We dressed to the nines, suit and tie for myself, gorgeous dress for Catherine, and headed through Times Square to a small, underground Jazz Club to see Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks perform. Vince and the Nighthawks are responsible for the music heard in Boardwalk Empire, as well as a few other productions whose names escape me. After a lovely meal and a few drinks, we were up and dancing to Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade; a slow song, but an amazing experience to dance to this in New York, with a live band playing right beside you. Vince was lovely, we had a bit of a chat with him, and as soon as he realised we were on our Honeymoon, he gifted us two of his albums, which have been getting plenty of play back here in Australia.

We saw Paul McCartney perform at Barclay’s Stadium in Brooklyn!
What can be said? The man is 72 years old, and still pitch perfect. He puts live performance at a whole new level, and its a level that I don’t think anyone could match. Seeing an ex-Beatle perform has long been a dream of mine, so having seats in the nosebleed section didn’t faze me in the slightest. Neither did singing along like a music geek to around 3 hours of hit after hit after hit. With such a huge catalog of music to draw from, there was not a single song that left the crowd in their seats.

SET LIST

    1. Eight Days a Week
    2. Junior’s Farm
    3. All My Loving
    4. Listen to What the Man Said
    5. Let Me Roll It (“Foxy Lady” snippet)
    6. Paperback Writer
    7. My Valentine
    8. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
    9. The Long and Winding Road
    10. Maybe I’m Amazed
    11. I’ve Just Seen a Face
    12. We Can Work It Out
    13. Another Day
    14. And I Love Her
    15. Blackbird
    16. Here Today
    17. Your Mother Should Know
    18. Lady Madonna
    19. All Together Now
    20. Lovely Rita
    21. Mrs. Vandebilt
    22. Eleanor Rigby
    23. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
    24. Something
    25. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    26. Band on the Run
    27. Back in the U.S.S.R.
    28. Let It Be
    29. Live and Let Die
    30. Hey Jude

      Encore:

    31. Day Tripper
    32. Hi, Hi, Hi
    33. Get Back

      Encore 2:

    34. Yesterday
      Helter Skelter
    35. Golden Slumbers
    36. Carry That Weight
    37. The End

The next morning, we headed up into Harlem to experience one of their church services. After a bit of shuffling between churches, we found a service that had some room for visitors, and we headed in. Everyone was simply lovely, saying hello, shaking our hand and making us feel welcome. Some of the parish children performed a few songs which blew us away. Amazing talent! Vocals and violins were all sounding simply spectacular.

We decided one evening to go and watch The Great Gatsby in New York City, as it was based here, so would be fun to see it here! Well, after much confusion on the location of the Cinema (most are independent, and hard to really work out what is playing where), and of course the downpour of more NYC Rain (Seriously, the raindrops here don’t fall, they punch you in the head, repeatedly!) we found the Cinema near Union Square. we were saturated and cold, but after buying a not-so-small inventory at the candy bar, we headed into the film. Seats as big as a couch (American sized!) we watched the film… Not as “Great” as people were saying, but I have seen worse… Afterwards, another rain-punched dash for the subway and back to the hotel to change.

Catherine wine two tickets in the ballot system to see “The Book of Mormon”,  which was written by Matt & Trey: creators of South Park. Imagine a 2 hour episode of South Park, focussed on delivering the smack down to the Mormons, add in many songs that do the same, and you can get an idea of this show. It was rather funny, and from our position (Front row, dead centre!) we definitely saw the show! This show has been booked out for up to a year in advance, so getting tickets was simply unbelievable! The fact it was playing next door to our hotel was also rather handy. 😉

After our two weeks in New York City (My self-proclaimed home away from home – I simply love it there!) we headed to Hawaii for 5 days. Not even close to long enough!

We had hired a car, so once we had that in our possession, we braved the highways (and the “Interstate” – think about that for a moment!!) and headed up the coast for some sightseeing. We visited one mountainside that has been in about 15 movies, ranging from Godzilla and Jurassic Park, to Pearl Harbor and episodes of Lost. It is simply amazing that these places still exist, looking almost untouched by humans, yet surrounded by farms and houses!

Snorkelling was on the list of things we must do, so we headed to a tourist snorkelling beach (Pay $1 and access all day). We had our own gear with us, so didn’t get stung by the hire costs. I have NEVER seen so many brightly coloured fish outside of a tropical fish store! All were rather tame, some even coming right up to investigate my camera! of course there was also a wide variety of corals and seaweeds, brightening up the ocean floor, and becoming the perfect backdrop for the occasion. The highlight of course was when we came across a Green Sea Turtle! He decided to swim next to us for a while, then slowly moved along and out to Sea. I later saw him diving for his lunch, getting many photos as I swam alongside him. Such amazing creatures!

Of course, we had to attend a Luau, and arranged a pickup from the hotel (which was free and gave us free drink cards!) we headed out to the site. It was rather touristy (as expected) but was an amazing experience. The staff at Germaine’s Luau were lovely, and the food put out was simply perfect! The meat was so tender, you could almost drink it, and all were encouraged to “Eat until it hurts!” The show itself was rather interesting, as they did a dance from each Polynesian island, from New Zealand and Fiji, to of course Hawaii. We met some friendly Texans on our table who were asking us a million questions about Australia, which was fun, and we ended up getting rather tipsy on the cocktails as we chatted with them.

Another bus ride, and off to Pearl Harbor. As this is an active Military base, the whole procedure was rather complicated. Stand here, No bags allowed, No Camera Bags allowed, No photography in this area, etc. We headed to the memorial, which involved a boat ride, escorted by Marines, and no more than 10 minutes at the memorial before returning to land. The memorial is positioned directly over the USS Arizona, with sections of the ship still visible. The ship, although sunk in 1941, is still leaking oil into the water, with small slicks still visible.
As part of the tour, we were also escorted across the base to the USS Missouri, which is the ship that the World War 2 Cease Fire was signed upon. This ship served in WW2, Korean, Vietnam and even Gulf War 1 before being decommissioned in the mid 1990s. We were allowed to explore many areas of the ship unescorted, but other areas were obviously off-limits.

Our last night in Hawaii was spent on the beach in Honolulu, near the hotel. We had dinner and watched the sunset across from the Volcanic Crater, lighting up the Pacific Ocean.

Hawaii is such a lovely place, but needs more time to fully experience it. I hope we can return to both locations some day soon.

 

So, out of pure luck and circumstance, we saw Paul McCartney perform live in Brooklyn, NY…!!!
By pure chance, in the small window of time we spent in New York City for our honeymoon in June, it so happened that Paul was performing on his “Out There!” World Tour. So, as if our honeymoon in New York and Hawaii was not going to be memorable enough, we saw a Beatle perform some of his best compositions in a 3 hour set, including 2 encores.

The set list performed was as follows:

  1. Eight Days a Week (Beatles song)
  2. Junior’s Farm (Wings song)
  3. All My Loving (Beatles song)
  4. Listen to What the Man Said (Wings song)
  5. Let Me Roll It (Wings song) (“Foxy Lady” snippet)
  6. Paperback Writer (Beatles song)
  7. My Valentine Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
  8. The Long and Winding Road (Beatles song)
  9. Maybe I’m Amazed
  10. I’ve Just Seen a Face (Beatles song)
  11. We Can Work It Out (Beatles song)
  12. Another Day
  13. And I Love Her (Beatles song)
  14. Blackbird (Beatles song)
  15. Here Today
  16. Your Mother Should Know (Beatles song)
  17. Lady Madonna (Beatles song)
  18. All Together Now (Beatles song)
  19. Lovely Rita (Beatles song)
  20. Mrs. Vandebilt (Wings song)
  21. Eleanor Rigby (Beatles song)
  22. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (Beatles song)
  23. Something (Beatles song)
  24. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Beatles song)
  25. Band on the Run (Wings song)
  26. Back in the U.S.S.R. (Beatles song)
  27. Let It Be (Beatles song)
  28. Live and Let Die (Wings song)
  29. Hey Jude (Beatles song)
    Encore 1:
  30. Day Tripper (The Beatles song)
  31. Hi, Hi, Hi (Wings song)
  32. Get Back (The Beatles song)
    Encore 2:
  33. Yesterday (The Beatles song)
  34. Helter Skelter (The Beatles song)
  35. Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)
  36. Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)
  37. The End (The Beatles song)

Not only did Paul not break a sweat, he was flawless… not a single note played incorrectly or sang flat or sharp. Paul was faultless and pitch perfect. All of this was only a few days before his 70th birthday, so performing in front of large audiences is clearly in his veins.
This was an event that will remain with me for the rest of my days.

Feb Photo 25 – Green

We are very lucky in Australia. We have cities, houses, low unemployment, a dollar that is trading very well, we don’t have any wars, widespread famine, dictatorships, or much of what we see each night on the news.

What we do have are wide open plains, bushland, forests, rainforests, deserts, beaches and many species of flora, fauna and animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the entire world. Australia is unique in this respect, as it discovered later in the grand scheme of things, and therefore it was able to preserve much of what many other countries took for granted for food, or simply to clear land for vegetation. Of course, we have done our fair share of land clearing, and we have caused devastation to many areas of our land, however compared to other countries, we are rather sensible.

I was reading today that an Amazonian tribe are being forced to move from their land; land where they have lived and their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. They are being moved to make way for a controversial dam, that will cause flooding to large areas of the Amazon, and completely destroy the way of life for many tribes, and of course the silent victims; the animals.

Read Article Here and Video Here

To do something like this on the same scale in Australia would be virtually unheard of these days, although in the past, the Snowy River Hydroelectric Project did ruin a lot of vegetation and who knows what else.

I am glad that in today’s day and age, in Australia at least, we have learnt from our mistakes, and tend not to do anything like this anymore. Our unique flora and fauna remain for future generations to enjoy, our animals remain in the wild, where they belong, and we can possibly learn from them all.

Recently I was reading that the venom of a Funnel Web Spider (I think?) was being extracted and used to fight certain forms of heart disease, and potentially Alzheimer’s. The venom, when administered in a diluted form, was able to kill of the sick cells, and leave the healthy cells virtually unharmed. Nature holds many secrets, most of which we still have not even began to imagine. Many can benefit the human race in one form or another, and I don’t mean solely in the medical field.

A bullet-proof vest, for example, is made of Kevlar. Kevlar is made from spider silk; spun from a spider, and collected for manufacturing. Spider’s webs can withstand a beating, when the size and scale of objects that are trapped by it, versus the size of the individual strand of silk are considered. Scientists have said that if scaled up, a spider’s web could stop a jetliner in mid-flight, and support its entire weight. The faster an object is travelling, the better it can stop the object. After much thinking, someone decided to test this theory, and constructed a vest out of silk, and fired a gun. It stopped the bullet, and we now have bullet-proof vests that save the lives of police and army personnel on a daily basis. However, these vests cannot prevent a knife, as the blade is travelling much slower than a bullet.

The above photo was taken in the Cape Otway National Park, in Victoria, Australia. Pay attention to the Eucalypt trees growing in harmony with the rainforest ferns in the foreground. This particular area is only about a 15 minute walk to the beach, where the Pacific Ocean laps at the sand. A 20 minute drive will find you in a bustling little country town called Lorne, and another 30 minutes, a fairly major city called Geelong. Australia has many of these forests, national parks and bushlands right on our doorstep, and I think the best part is, not many people bother to visit and appreciate them.

The less people who bother to visit, the longer they will remain untouched, and available for future generations.

 

Tragedy in Japan

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Holidays, Memories, Our World, Personal, Rant

Over the past few weeks, we have all seen the terrible natural disasters to hit the Japanese East Coast, one after the other.

First, there was a category 9.0 earthquake which hit only a short distance off the coast of Tokyo. Even though the buildings and structures of Tokyo and it’s surrounds are ‘earthquake resistant’ and built with shock-absorbing foundations to minimise the damage in such a densely populated city, some buildings fell. A 9.0 quake is unheard of in modern times. Tokyo has seen it’s share of quakes over the years, but nothing this big has hit, since the introduction of skyscrapers.

Once the quake had passed, and people had wandered out into the streets to assess the damage, and also to document any injuries that had been obtained, the tragedy continued.

Only a few minutes later, a tsunami hit the coast, with reports that the wall of water reached eight metres high. The tsunami travelled from the earthquake’s epicentre at a speed of ~800km/h, slowing as it approached land. The tsunami hit the coast with such force and ferocity, that it moved 10km inland (6miles) at Sendai.

Tens of thousands of people were reported missing, one village, with a population of 16,000 reported that up to 10,000 people were missing, presumed dead.

The death toll continues to rise, people are still searching for family and loved ones. Entire schools of children have been told that their parents are reported missing, as they were washed away in the tsunami, but as the schools are built on higher ground, the children were spared.

On top of all the natural disaster that has struck, the nuclear power plant at Fukushima has had 3 reactors come close to nuclear meltdown, and these are still in doubt. this would be far more disastrous than Chernobyl.

Japan

Tokyo – A five minute train journey from the Narita airport near Tokyo.

One part of all of this that I find unbearable, and simply a disgusting sign of human nature, is the way people are making jokes about this tragedy! I have been told several jokes in horrible taste, and even after saying “I don’t want to hear them” I am still told, presuming that once I hear them, I will forget about all the tragedy, all of the nice, lovely and generous people I met whilst in Japan in 2010, and simply laugh along with them. After the first joke, I told the person that they were disgusting, yet this person simply laughed and told me another.

Why do people find such amusement at the misfortune of others?

This is not a joking matter! Thousands of people, Women and Children, Infants, Elderly and sick people are still missing, presumed dead. Yet, the jokes still roll on, as if this was a bad ‘reality’ TV show that deserves our attention only for amusement.

Other people have been so heartless as to say “Remember WW2? they deserve what they get” and similar statements. WW2 ended 65 years ago! The majority of the people affected by these events were not even born at the time of WW2, let alone responsible. They did, however grow up in the aftermath of the only two Atomic bomb exploded over civilian areas. Yes, some things that the Imperial Army did at the time were atrocities, terrible horrors, however, The western side also have their cross to bear.

A famous saying by Bertrand Russell (English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970) is “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” War should never be the answer to any dispute. Nothing done during war is the ‘right thing to do’

The Japanese people I met in Hiroshima were very humble, peaceful and lovely people. Their “Peace Museum” shows the aftermath of the bombings, tells the stories of tens of thousands of children who were obliterated and civilians who had their skin burned from their bodies in the most painful of deaths.

Japan

Hiroshima – Peace Dome. The only surviving building for a 2km radius due to the Atomic Bomb.

Japan

Hiroshima – Sunset over the skyline from my hotel room.

NONE of these people ‘had it coming’ they were prisoners of a regime that disallowed them to step out of place, to escape the bloodshed or to simply say ‘no’. The American forces actually declared a ‘no bombing zone’ around Hiroshima and four other cities that had been shortlisted for the bomb, so as to determine the overall destruction the bomb had on a built up area. People rebuilt what had already been bombed repeatedly, families from all over Japan sent their young children to these cities, as they believed them to be safe areas for the children during the war.

Japan

Hiroshima – A tricycle belonging to a 3 year-old boy who was killed when the bomb struck. His father couldn’t afford to bury him in the cemetery, so the child was buried with his favourite tricycle and helmet in the backyard of the families home.

Japan

Hiroshima – A Pocket watch, stopped at the exact time of the Atomic Bombing.

So yes, I see that both sides have done their bad deeds, but that makes neither ‘right’ and should not be a joking matter when one of these countries faces the worlds most costly natural disaster on record.

If anyone else has any ‘jokes’ for me, simply PM them to my inbox so I can swiftly remove you from my friends list, as anyone who makes these jokes around me, or indeed at all, shoudl not be a friend of mine.

my life

Posted: January 8, 2011 in Art, Catherine, Holidays, Memories, Personal, Rant, Work

as my life slowly, but surely approaches the dreaded 30th, I have been doing some thinking… I need to start sorting my life out. I am technically an adult, however I don’t feel like it. I still think of myself as a kid.

Perhaps that is where the problem lies…
So, rather than post my “New Years resolutions, I am going to post my future goals and ambitions. At the very least, it will serve as a wake-up call to my future-self when he reads it in 5 years time.

1. Lose weight.
I am currently at 108kg, and that is simply not good enough. My aim is to get to 90-95kg by july. I need people who know me to help me with this. Don’t offer me the extra serving, don’t assume I will want to eat lots… Generally I don’t eat lots, anyway.

2. Get a full-time job
ahhh yes, the elusive “full-timer”. I have been searching for you since graduation, but never seem to find you… If anyone sees it, please inform me, so I can give it an owner… Of course, failing that…

3. Start my own business
I have had a few business ideas, but they usually get stuck on one small and tiny detail… And lack of funds… Mostly they are art business ideas, but a few have been music plans, and a few, only pipedreams… But this year, I want to start something on the side, for a little extra cash…

4. Start a band
I always enjoyed being in a band, but I haven’t been in a band now for 11 years. It’s time to get back out there… However I am very picky, and can be very serious. I enjoy jamming, and mucking about, but to make any kind of money, you have to be a serious musician. That means practice and discipline.
I would consider a cover-band doing 80s & 90s covers, a beratles band, a blues brothers band, or simply a blues band, doing original songs.

5. Get married
yes, contrary to what a lot of people may think, I do want to get married some day. In my mind though, it comes down to money. No money doesn’t just mean limited ceremony, but a tough future. Before this happens, I need to have a steady income. Hopefully, if I can start a business, or get a full-time job, it would speed up the process… Of course, this is how my mind sees it, and a few people would probably disagree. That is your opinion, this is mine.

6. Do more art
Yes, I make a living as an artist… But I want to do more art for me. I have been working on a project that will be launched soon, but this has become more of a chore than fun. More art, more guitars and more creative output.

7. Travel more
I want to go back to NYC, I am hooked!! I want to see Japan again, as well as see London, Ireland, Paris, Germany, Rome, Antarctica and even Central Australia and the Great Barrier Reef for the first times.

8. Finish my projects
I have started a lot of things, however I don’t always finish them. Guitars, canvasses, furniture, etc. i need to STOP starting new things, and finish some old ones, first.

9. Write a novel
since school, I have enjoyed writing to varying degrees, and have always planned to write a novel or a book of short stories, or even a childrens book, with illustrations. I am currently working on a plotline for a novel, and have a few short stories in the works… Will keep you posted on this one! 🙂

I am sure this list will be seeing some ongoing additions and changes, but at this point in my life, this is how I want it to be.

Christmas is over for another year… FINALLY!

Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with loved ones, relaxing after a long year, and simply enjoying the warmth of Summer (that’s right, Northern Hemisphere people, we have a lovely warm Summer for Christmas!) but one thing I DO NOT look forward to each year is the crazy obsession that is Christmas shopping!

Somehow every year it gets worse, and I vow never to go near a shopping centre in the month of December, and yet more and more people are leaving it until the day before Christmas to do the shopping. To get the perfect little something that apparently says so much about the person they are buying it for.

Even though for the past 4 years now I have made my own presents, I still get roped into going shopping, and have the misfortune of circling for 45 minutes to park (or walk over 4 blocks and across endless car parks to get into the bedlam.

It seems so many more people each year are forgetting the true meaning of Christmas, and simply helping the Chinese economy in the process… Christmas is about being with your loved ones. About sharing, doing good for your fellow man (or woman!) and of course, to share gifts with each other. These gifts do not have to be extravagant, or over the top. I do not expect any gifts like this, or any at all, to be honest… and I rarely give expensive presents to anyone (no, not because I am cheap…) but because I prefer to make my presents.

For the past 3 years (excluding this year) I have recorded my own CD, mostly consisting of covers of famous songs, and given copies to my close friends and family. I play the guitar, percussion, bass, vocals and keyboards on them. Now I know they are not perfect, and I usually type this on the cover somewhere that “this CD should not be taken seriously”, and whilst the do not cost me a lot of money to make, they do take a long time. usually all year (including a mad dash in November to complete them on time, as I usually slack off in July)

This year, I decided (as I had only recorded 5 new songs for the CD) that I would give framed photographs to people. I only made up a few, unlike the CDs, as they do cost a fair bit more, however each photo was taken by myself, chosen specifically for the person, edited and enhanced in Photoshop, before printing and framing for them. As I have been overseas this year for the first time, there were literally thousands to choose from! Although it was a simple gift to give, the people who have received them so far have been very impressed, and a few were even emotional.

A photo can be a very emotional item to give as a gift. One person received a photo of them with their first grandchild, on the child’s 1st birthday. It was a candid shot, and he had no idea that I had taken it, but was very proud to have received it, showing it to everyone who walked in the door that day, and will most-likely be taking it to work for his desk when he returns. Another received a photo from my trip to Japan. The photo was of a row of stone lanterns, lined against the shores of Miyajima, overlooking the Otorii Gate. The photo reminded her of her trip there in the 1970s, to the exact same place, which has remained unchanged by modern standards. She was very grateful for the shot, as it brought back all the happy memories of her trip, all those years ago. It shows what photos and slides of that era cannot show anymore. clarity, vibrance and colours that could not be reproduced in 1970.

So now, Christmas is over, I am thinking of what to do for next years presents. Most likely I will do another CD, as quite a few people have asked me for this years one, not realising that I am not doing it this year… who knew I had created a mini-fan base?

Oh well, I guess recordings will have to begin in February! 🙂