Week One

It’s the first week for everyone which is partly the reason for the title as it’s also the first week of Goldblacks recording.

And my first time off in about eighteen years, which naturally, I used to work on something.

As I’m writing this, the protest here in Victoria is marching up Fort Street in solidarity with the BC First Nations who are, long story short, being put through the same crap that they did in Standing Rock. Really unfortunate this still needs to be sorted out but great to see such a large crowd of support on a rainy January day.

For those who we should be building bridges with we are quarreling with, pulling Elders (First Nations seniors) out in the snow.

Here’s a link to more about their first week.

For me the first cuts of each song are recorded and now it’s going over, fine tuning, remixing and some rerecording. Just did a live version of Take Me Higher, a song that’s been around for just decades, it being requested many times including at work and on a #4 bus

I also have some plans for a music video for She Lives There and maybe two more. I did that Such a Drag one to kick the year off but Ill have to see. The main thing is to finish the CD in time for this Summer.

First Cookeilidh rehearsal is this week so getting ready for that, with the focus being on Robbie Burns as his day comes up on January 25th.

There is a few shows this year that we’re doing including Craigdarroch Castle with the address to the Haggis. The castle has been a wonderful partnership with us all these years and we are very lucky to play such a beautiful Scottish castle for this date. If you are in Victoria at any point check it out, and especially during Robbie Burns or Christmas season.

Inside Craigdarroch, the last being us two years back!

It has been a politically busy first week, but I think that’s because we are finding more and more that we can’t take things for granted.

We should be all able to enjoy life at it’s fullest or as Freddie Mercury sang

“this could be heaven for everyone!”

Cheers,

Tom

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Kindness is Magic

It has been now (just 2 days over in fact) five years since this little video was published on YouTube, as a mix of a song of the same name and people all over the world saying Kindness is Magic in different languages.

Click here to see Kindness is Magic

Kindness maybe little things but they make such a difference. When you feel for a moment that you aren’t alone, that we look out for each other, or that things won’t go too far wrong…well, it is magic.

Click the link today. I just want to let it speak for itself. I think we need it.

Cheers,

Tom

5 Ways to Cool Down this Summer

Well, the girls do have it right (and it’s an extra bonus one.)

One thing you can immediately do is make decisions as to what passes your lips. While proteins are still great the last thing you want is anything heavy or involving cranking your oven block to 450 degrees. Salad, fruit and smaller light meals are definitely the way to go when the temperature goes up. They are also water based, fruits and vegetables, so you’re up one straight away.

But as summer has already kicked in here, and I imagine elsewhere, let’s get to what I would call…

one

Keep the motor cool

Now this comes from just years and years of working outdoors in summer heat, the wackiest being when I tried doing roofing on a crazy custom house when I (no joke) had to leap part to part like being atop a castle. But, I digress.

Caffeine and alcohol (sorry but true…) are diuretics which essentially means they will take moisture out of you. Now both of these have their place but, and you probably know this is coming, but fundamentals are key.

You should be drinking 8 glasses of water when it’s cool out. I’m talking winter. As such you want, just like making sure your car has it’s coolants, enough water to keep you internally cool. I have two easy to clean steel water bottles and those are way easier to use, and remember to use, than cup after cup. If you do use plastic have a look at the bottom just for fun. There will probably be a little recycling symbol with a number. The higher number you can get, the better, as it means it will be easier to keep clean.

If you want to really geek out and be sure that you are hydrated (and maybe don’t bring this up with the gang buuuut…) Keep an eye on your, well, pee. If it is solid yellow you definitely need to drink water. Like now. Like lots. If it is clear then you are good to go.

One thing of course is you will want to ease back in the last 30 minutes before a road trip, or next thing you know, you’ll be looking for gas stations.

two

airflow

In the morning the sun rises on our east facing windows (hard to believe, right?) so what we’ve come to do is darken those just a little more will an extra sheet, allowing still for any breeze to blow around there. This helps to keep the greenhouse thing from happening.

Later they can come down and the focus is on allowing any cross breeze from to occur. It’s a little crazy if you’re in an apartment, but if you find the hallway warmer, well, open your front door for at least 30 minutes to allow for the air to flow through the building.

Then there’s your fans. In the case of a house you can do the thing where you point it facing out as you are blowing wind straight across from one side to the other. For apartments aim it in so you’re pulling the cooler outdoor air in and keep another window open for the rest to escape. There is the classic of putting ice behind a fan. You can try it but in truth, it’s a boat load of work for very light results. Unless you’re got like a big slab of ice. In which case, I’ll be right over.

three

Silent running

Honestly, the whole trick is to keep it all as simple and minimal as possible. My mom on holiday in Tuscany said she was getting warm so she had it recommended that she chill under the trees with a mineral water and white wine mix. I know what I said before, but it was an instant cool off. Turn off any extra stuff running, including excess lights as every one of them gives off heat. Get low as heat rises and chill, both in style and also physically. If you have one of those raised beds, make a little place to sleep in your lowest place. Think of it as summer camp. This is actually a classic First Nations thing, moving from the Winter Village to the Summer Village. The Summer Village near here was an small island out in the Salish Sea. They knew what they were doing.

four

baths, big and small

You should absolutely keep clean as much as you can of course, as sweat and body oils will help you warm up when you aren’t really looking for that. But, if you are home, feel free to indulge in extra cool baths and (holding your nose) get your whole head under there. In the same way you would lose heat through your hair and head in winter, this is a spot that also keeps you warm. You might even consider keeping your hair on the shorter side in summer, but that’s your thing.

five

clothing thoughts

Obviously keep this as minimum as possible. Most restaurants will be ok with dressing lighter in summer, but check if you’re not sure.

But the principal points here are to stick to nice, breathable cottons and to keep the palette on the lighter side of life. Keep the black clothes hung up until night time, as black absorbs sunlight and heats you up while white repels it. It’s not Labour Day for a while yet so you’re good to go.

Hope these help and I’ll see you tomorrow for more blogging fun.

To add to staying cool, you can’t lose with the classic Groove Armada vibe.

Groove Armada – Back to Mine (full album)

Cheers!

🏝️🍻

Tom

😊

I’ll admit it

I had definitely a time back in my twenties when I was much more angry. I don’t know if it was a mix of disillusion with some other stuff going on. I know I wasn’t happy and was perfectly prepared to burn any bridge, do anything.

I wasn’t happy. I was Mr. Confrontation.

I’m not now, and this is what I will admit. Is it bad? Oh, possibly. I don’t come on here or anywhere saying that I have the best answer to all things, I just know what has worked for me.

There is a lot of everything out there to confront and a large portion of that will be not only unavoidable but part of how you make your money. Why seek that out in daily life? It’s rhetorical by the way. Not actually asking.

You should protect what is yours and so on, but I have no interest in creating wackiness where it didn’t need to be. I guess that’s my thing with so much I see going on. Life can be fun and pleasant and a paradise for everyone so why do we have to fight, squabbling over who gets what…where the borders are marked…how unfair it all is.

I know people who were born with so many ticks against them that it’s crazy. In lots of cases it certainly is unfair. But we can be there for people and be empathetic in those cases.

I guess I’ve just seen too much of the no end in sight, escalating side of confrontation to want to be part of it, especially intentionally. In every one of those situations I’ve only ever had the same thought…I’d right now rather be far away, be someone else, be where it’s quiet and this is not.

I mean, so much of the most growth and most beauty in life comes quietly and simply. When studying music, or geography, or history or doing most things of value, you don’t aggressive. If you started an argument in the middle of making love you would ruin it. It’s like putting a hole in her dress at a party. It’s just a path to upset.

It also reminds me of what happened, or where I was after my turbulent twenties. I’ve always called it by the slightly lame title of the Back of Bay Street because, well, it was on Bay Street, in the bottom back of the same house I had first moved to when I first left home. This location was so quiet that I responded to that and that became a great time of study, writing, and even the earliest days of Cookeilidh for me. Only challenge has ever since because it’s so tempting to go back there, which is impossible as you are only 30 once.

But it was perfect. You could sit in stillness and watch the movement of the sun through the room. I had a night light at one end, in the kitchen, and two different colored blankets covering the windows, so from the chair in the bedroom the effect was a magical pink and blue with a white star at the end.

Happiest places I’ve been have always been like that.

You can never run out of things that can upset you for some reason if you really dig far enough. You can be the wealthiest person alive with a flawless everything and still be a miserable person because something will always disappoint. You have to pick your battles but also enjoy just leaving the warfare alone.

“It’s no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.”

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Thanks for reading! Today’s ambient music for reading is mum – Finally We Are No One (full album) which is the 2017 release (Couldn’t get the symbol over the u) and is just one of many of their great lush works!

Enjoy

Cheers 😊

Tom

Anyone can learn anything

Wanted to kick off by saying happy father’s day since I don’t blog Sundays. I remember learning stuff from my dad from math to stuff to do with the car, but of course lots of what I learned is more about who I became.

I’m an ADHD person who has been told by some that he can’t learn fast. I had doctors suggest I had a special typewriter as a kid because of my handwriting.

And yet I spend most my time these days playing my guitar, keyboard and guitar, and when I’m not here, learning as much as I can through audiobooks.

Different people learn differently. An interesting one came from my study of First Nations in Standing on the Edge of Yesterday where the writer talks about how for Native children it is (to her mind) more effective to communicate orally and have the student work on something physical than use pen and paper. Why? Because it has only been a few hundred years (not even) since all information was transferred from Elder to young person by oral traditions and learning. In fact it’s a reason why there would be multiple nuances in spoken language because there was hardly a public school system back then, so language was learned quite literally “in house”.

For myself I had two interesting experiences, one at school and one with boy scouts.

At school I absolutely failed my first year of typing. It was like I just couldn’t bother and was bored of it. For some bizarre reason that I can’t remember (hey, this was 1990…kind of a while back!) I took the course again. I was not distracted by the usual people of my grade and low and beyold…I utterly aced it. I got so fast that people would stare annoyed when my typewriter (like I say, 1990) would sound like a machine gun compared to other kids who were still pecking along slowly.

The other was to do with knots. In scouts they wanted you to learn the different knots such as bowline, reef knot, and so on. Just like in school I was a picked on nerd, so I didn’t want to be there at all. And as the whole thing was already not fun and now I was being talked at about these knots, I couldn’t do one to save my life.

I think that’s the thing too. I’m not Native but I don’t think the school classic system and me ever worked. I get this funny feeling that for me it’s about self directed study because years later I decided I wanted to learn everything about boating. My dad had, and still has, a little sport boat in the garage. Well I thought this thing was amazing and so on my own I learned, and could repeat like Forrest Gump showing his firearm, every single knot in existence…no sweat.

I sucked at music education back then. On my ukelele I just liked strumming, because picking and learning to pick notes in class was boring to me.

Uh…

⬆️Not to brag but, same kid.⬆️

Listening to The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner last night reminded me of this when it talked about grades. The idea behind grades was to assess how the learning method was working on the child and not to identify the “wheat” and the “chaff”. He talked about the source of cheating where, because of this same all or nothing mentality, kids would cheat because it was the grade that was important and not the knowing of the material.

Now some kids do learn perfectly in the normal method. Some are more kinesthetic and others like myself are prone to self directed study. This latter gets more interesting when you apply the idea that ADHD tends to promote deep dives into singular subjects (which I experienced with knots, bike mechanics, and then after the age of nineteen, bass guitar)

Gonna wrap up as, ironically, I have to practice and I got up late. Hope this helps annnnnd…

Today’s music choice is another classic, especially with the upcoming Queen biopic which looks amazing. John Deacon is where my curiosity peaked about the bass, and even though he’s not in this, it’s just great.

Bijou – Queen

Enjoy!

Cheers 😎

Tom

Let’s Talk

Just got paid this morning and I’m actually avoiding looking. I wonder how many other people do that.

There’s something wierd about when you just got paid. Bills and things haven’t gone through yet, like an animal released or a bunch of pacmans sent shooting across a field of marbles. It’s like you really could go any direction, like you’re at the crossroads.

I miss that kind of conversation, don’t you? Now some divides have been around for ages, to be fair. I’ve always, always thought of those as stupid. Little kids, with their wide open wisdom, never see that. They go straight in. They play with that other kid, no matter who they are. They don’t decide that they and theirs are from Heaven (or wherever) and anyone from the other side, or who doesn’t agree with every thing they believe, is from somewhere below.

I am really considering getting rid of two social media platforms, which I know won’t help me, but I get frustrated too. This one and Instagram are fun places to connect and be creative. It’s those other two, Twitter and Facebook, where you go on only to wish you hadn’t.

It isn’t sticking your face in the sand. I don’t know how you could because news comes at you from all over, and most of these are not news (and what is gets questioned) so what do you believe?

I made a point of trying to keep both “sides” visible, but this just leads to waking up to anger.

There is too much anger and too little listening. I can only hope that this burns out as it can only keep going for so long. Neither side is discussing anything from what I see. He and her are certainly the most polarizing force we have seen and it has fueled it seems every division we have ever had. It made all the cracks glow. Now the question is can we turn our situation into an actual positive force?

I wish I had an actual answer or the thing that finally brought everyone together like some big party in Zion from Matrix.

Apparently one day we will all rave and be in amazing shape..

Or even to make things calm down, but the thing is, I think it could actually get better if we hold the rigging through the storm. This could break us with the pent up anger that has been there all along. I just saw today that they found writings by Einstein that were not racially good, and I’m not surprised. The most forward thinking explorer of First Nations people here on the west coast was Franz Boas, back hundreds of years ago. He wrote books that are actually in the Friendship Center and they refer to Coast Salish people as “savages”. Let make this clear, he was considered one of the “good guys”.

I always have problems with that phrase straight away. I haven’t always been a good person. I can’t be alone in this. Good and bad guys are for cartoons. I remember a woman talking about living in a mob family, where 90% of the time she was respected and saw nothing but a loving Catholic-Italian family. But, every now and again “business” would be conducted and, as she put it, it was like seeing these iron masks come down.

Another powerful scene involves the most evil man in history, and the one who gets too often used to compare people, Hitler. Where am I going? Well, there is an interesting movie called Downfall and we have all seen that clip of him ripping into his Generals in the bunker office, but there was that other scene with his dogs and his family where he is lucid and acting like any other German older man. And I mean, that’s him. I am of course by no means condoning what he and his did and I am not a denier, but it is interesting to see humanization of that most iconic evil.

My point is that we should not apply Occam’s Razor to how we interact with each other.

Don’t judge me, you could be me in another life, in another set of circumstances” from “Tommorow We’ll See” by Sting.

Going back to before, what’s great is that we are going through all these things that have been buried. It’s crazy because these days at work I listen to comedy shows of the early 2000s and you really would think by how they talk that discrimination was eradicated.

But it wasn’t, was it? And there are so many forms that it has taken.

Ways to divide people into groups.

Maybe one day we’ll stop.

One day.

We’ll learn we can stop and listen.

Reach out.

Talk.

—–

Today’s music was me finally listening to the soundscapes of Sigur Ros, an Icelandic avant-rock band from ReykjavΓ­k.

Here is their album Sigur Ros – Valtari

Cheers,

Tom

😊

So near great distances

I always like those shows that talk about a character that is suddenly bumped out of their life into another reality. In truth, most movies are about that, the crossing of the threshold, but how often do we do that?

I genuinely believe that the human frames we inhabit are capable of more than we realize. You could be so many different people in one lifetime. This idea is sort of a mix of marrying the last few blogs plus how on Saturday I was going for a run and ended up at Gonzales Bay, soaking up sun and jumping in the water.

My run was going this way and then I saw this one road and was thinking how I never went that specific way. Ran up to the top of the observatory and down the other side which finished my 35 minute run.

It’s metaphoric to me about how little choices can suddenly put you a life you never would have expected, and then again. I didn’t have my bus pass so had to walk with my socks in my wet jogging shorts all through the sun of Fairfield’s streets. Walking always brings this thought to me, how you can take different roads on a whim and give you entirely different days.

Also kind of reminds me of how I mentioned that “Once you’re out there you will like it”. You can get swept up in the energy of a situation and you’re physical self is capable of either being worn out or springing to the most life.

Consider the story of Scott Rogers who had his leg horribly amputated in a shotgun accident. I mean, when it comes to reasons to just give up and watch tv with some nachos, hey that’s a good reason. He may have done that too (homemade nachos and actually watching Netflix all the way. Was laughing last night watching The Disaster Artist) but what he did do was become the first above-the-knee amputee to complete the 2,174 mile Appalachian Trail.

If you spent all the money in the world you would never obtain a vehicle as intricate, fine tuned and powerful as the thing below your nose. You do what you can to keep it running as smooth as any GTO Judge

Thing of beauty, but nothing on you.

but then just know, that like that great car, it can truly surprise you when you “get out on the highway”.

From the quiet of a library where you read the thoughts of those who have made incredible distinctions, or found beauty in their artistic adventures to being in the shared energy of a live event

the living complexity of the world is there to explore and you’re most incredible machine is your portal to a million different realities, from five thousand miles away to a single inch.

Raise your hands and feel it.

You’re alive.

Today’s special for music is Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way

click here to listen πŸ˜‰πŸ˜„

Groove on and talk to you later!

Tom