Creators, Welcome to Why.

I for one dont have a problem with Bill Maher. I’m also a big fan of Ricky Gervais as my friends have been known to bemoan that I do him. Now what joke am I setting up here?

Anyway, he still never calls.

If a joke is offensive or a song upsets you or someone’s writing made you frustrated, that’s fine. I still believe in a higher power is my point about Bill and Ricky. Just because I dont agree doesn’t mean I can’t laugh. Like one priest my mom knows, he said he like Davinci Code, saying it was fun.

Our job as entertainers, content creators and artists is to get people away from themselves.

People are freaked out as hell right now. Even if you think of yourself as the most level headed there is nothing like seeing those empty shelves for that first time. This is crowd effect. Our species thinks as a unit when the chips are down. Sometimes this can be good and of course it can be bad, but it still is there. I mean, empathy is how we work. As musicians and writers I can tell you we work people’s expectations and things for the most dramatic results.

“People hate this in real life but love it in fiction” Sol Stein on Writing.

Here’s a piece of music I did on the experience of seeing those shelves for the first time. I wrote the lyrics literally on the walk home on a notepad app. It was a bitterly cold day with high wind here in Victoria on the Canadian west coast and my hands were actually cracking from how much I’ve been washing my hands more than usual coupled with work and with performance in my Celtic band during the blur that is St Patrick’s month.

I knew I wanted to keep it simple with two chords back and forth like a heartbeat. I’ve also been glued to the late Mark Hollis’s debut album which probably influenced my choices.

Did the song work? No idea but it takes the viewer away from themselves for a moment.

With my band Cookeilidh I have certainly experienced this. We will play a seniors home and there will be a person singing and tapping her feet, or clapping her hands. Afterwards we will find out that is the first time that person has even spoken in months.

No matter what art form you do this is true. No matter what form of entertainment. We are all these gentlemen…

Or as you may know them…

Interesting being a bassist and seeing the bassist’s “White Star” tie. It immediately makes me think of the prep I’ve done before shows. Instagram girls and adult entertainers I’m bringing you in here too. Now some might say I’ve gone too far or revealed something but screw that. Actors, singers, musicians, painters, dancers, writers, poets, adult performers, filmmakers, artisans, songwriters, producers we are all doing the same thing in our way. We put on the best show we can. Sure, we have our hopes thrown into the ring as well, but without what I’m saying we’re not doing the job.

“There’s a job, there’s a gig here” Billy Joel

“Sometimes a fantasy is all you need…” Just a Fantasy – Billy Joel

“Be the sweetest five minutes you ever had…” Tomorrow We’ll See – Sting

Ariana Grande isn’t so into me our most of us out there but when she sings that against Max Martin’s brilliant production you could almost close you eyes and swear you are in some cool hip club and she is actually hitting on you.

Not that I’ve thought of that.

But especially now when there’s self-quarantining on the horizon or in effect for many of us, the need for escapism is stronger than ever. We need you.

I think of how Sting just about cried when he heard some window cleaner whistling one of his songs. He mentioned this in an interview and I think it was about the Police song “Walking on the Moon”

My music was getting him through the day. It became part of his life that helped him even in a small way

And of course this is just one example. One of the reasons I emulate Ricky Gervais so much is because of my day job which is as a cleaner. While I love music of course it can get a bit background-on-background so years ago I added the complete radio shows and podcasts plus Adam and Joe, a comedy team also from the same XFM radio in London between 2000-2006

And now I’m listening to the Adam and Joe sample… Haven’t heard this specific video so…yeah, I’m wrapping this up and checking my spelling.

Might take a while.

Kind of the point.

Get out there and do your thing.

😉

Cheers,

Tom

But seriously, Meditation

It’s totally fine if you think I’ve gone the full hippy. Even looking for an image that wasn’t embarrassing wasn’t easy. They do end up being a bit “and you’ll find yourself floating somewhere near Tolkien’s Houses of Healing

I started because my health was crap and I was lucky enough to be a self employed writer at the time so I could blast through research on how to deal with the chronic nauseated feeling that I had then. It got so bad i was on the couch and playing candy crush made me feel gross too.

I promise this is not a commercial for them by i used the calm app. It worked for me but from experiencing some of the others the idea is basically the same. There is no religion involved and you can do it alone, or in a group (I haven’t but they have that at some fitness groups). Its not so much zoning out as it is having a relaxed complete awareness of yourself and the world around you. The other part is breathing which sounds obvious but focusing on breath is both calming and always available no matter where you are – something that can come in very helpful when you are on a road trip or what have you.

Try one of the apps and give it a chance. Treat it like a ten minute daily exercise at what ever time you wont be disturbed or distracted. You will feel more clearheaded afterwards and all kinds of health results soon enough if you stick with it.

Plus taking care of yourself is infectious, but in a good way. Here’s one you try sitting where you on looking at this very device.

So go over to PlayStore or you iPhone equivalent and look up a Meditation app you like the look of.

Give yourself your best!

Cheers

Tom

After two years it’s a little like blowing off a leg.

Poor Poe.

Had that image around since Halloween and never got around to using it. But almost two weeks before that I’ve been half tempted to return to smoking.

I was orginally using them to deal with constipation and insomnia and really they were just there and I did, sorry but, enjoy them. It was due to the cost, social pressure and having not tried everything yet that I finally quit two years ago.

I have tried to eat better to make up the difference but primarily I would run, a lot. This was both in the gym and outside. I was getting so good at it I was genuinely looking into doing marathons. This was until arthritis suddenly kicked over the ball of my left large toe. Surgery for this with my work would be impossible. On recommendation I’ve used large doses of Tumeric and now run exclusively on either chip trails or a treadmill less than 15 min per day but still I’m inevitably sore and barely able to walk at work.

I tried returning to cycling which I once did across Canada back in 1994 but that did not help matters. In the first place it was the jogging and exercise that took away the feeling of constant nausea and unwellness.

A day does not go by when I feel well. This has not changed for 2 years since I quit smoking. I’ve been trying a low thc cannabis product in a dry vaporizer and it has helped a little with the pain but sure enough the thought of returning to the more normal smoked product has come back. Maybe because weed is 5 times the tar of a cigarette, perhaps because current rules impose on you to act the same way, or even perhaps because after all this time you are inhaling, waiting for that feeling that only a smoker knows.

Could you describe the feeling of swimming to someone who had not, or sex, or becoming a parent. Writer’s are supposed to but truth is no one can. It is one of life’s one way doors. Only those on the other side can know.

Clearly I get addicted easily, so it’s a good job I never went for anything harder that these two.

Presently I’m charging my vaporizer as it died with weed in it and I’m in my usual Tim’s after a day off’s worth of frustration. To start again I know exactly what I would get:

Smokes of a decent quality first time around

Lighter

Nicotine gum for times like the ferry’s where you now cant for absurd periods of time.

Gatorade as your body probably wont like the first “halfy” you try and draw (a clue by itself)

I literally just walked up to the first one on the list (which was the necessary last item, the Gatorade, thinking just do it. My mood has been crap recently so one thought was to try for a month and then if things dont change then use the gum to quit again.

Only, as stated in the title I couldn’t do it. You also cant not know what a feat it was two years ago to quit, let alone get all the way to here now. But even with that, and walking away, here I sit feeling like I should have started and shouldn’t have at the same time.

Creatively outside of writing this I did also funnel this frustration into a play called Vivacity set inside the head of a woman who is trying to make a simple decision whether to go out or not. I might develop in more. Meanwhile my device is charging in the seat mounted power outlet using the charger I just bought for it.

I’m not sure if I’m asking advice as most will naturally say to not start again but there it is.

🙄😂

Cheers,

Tom

Update.. as possibly expected I did try a little, literally 3 drags of one and put them away. I didn’t throw them out immediately the last time and wont immediately either as I want to not force the choice. Immediately it was like, oh no I didn’t want this…it was probably just romanticizing the idea of them. I want to stay dry and stick with weed.

Gut Wars, A New (leave the house) Hope

“It’s not very rock and roll…”

Andrew Fletcher Depeche Mode

(talking about his depression)

If you feel unwell all the time and feel the need to be near a washroom when you don’t actually need it then know right now that you are not alone.

Three years ago I got to the point that I felt gross and nauseated no matter what, especially if I ate something which being someone who performs regularly was just unbearable.

It had started a few months before that, with me going home sick frequently from both work (luckily for me I soon when self employed for a year so I could focus on it) and at least one rehearsal where I had to leave half way (only to feel better before I even got back home. Ugh.)

I had been to my doctor, walk in clinics and the emergency thing to see what was wrong. They started with tests and then prescriptions that didn’t work. I did that test you do at home that nobody wants to have to do involving saran wrap…yeah, that one. I won’t go there, but it didn’t help either.

Anyway cut to beginning of the year and I tried some anti anxiety meds that not only didn’t work but had the warning of “may cause nausea.” Yeah, right. More like “You’ll pray for the end.”

I was lying on the couch not wanting to move, not wanting to not move…playing Angry Birds made me feel gross.

“Oh, for fu.$@$ sakes!”

I don’t remember the exact moment, but (after quitting those horrible pills) I got my things and went out.

I walked.

I felt like hell doing it but I couldn’t stand not being able to walk around Victoria’s Inner Harbor so I just went there, guts whinging the whole damn way.

They subsided a bit, long enough for me to do this shot…

Yeah, I’m a dork. Anyways…

I wanted more of this and less of the other so I kept going with this, researching my absolute ass off.

I had gained weight after 30 as my usual red hot adhd metabolism had left town so that was a first port of call. I used the Calm meditation app and actually subscribed (I promise I don’t work for them, that’s not what this is about) and did a ten minute meditation practice each day.

I started with a 10 minute walk, 10 min jog, 10 minute jog daily, which eventually I supplemented with the gym membership (Goodlife and the fit fix program. General health training at the Y would be as good)

I discove1red ginger everything. Ginger mint or ginger turmeric teas are my favourite. I quit smoking eventually and tried to cut out pop as it only adds air to your gut (even ginger ale which I was bringing to gigs) Also fennel seeds in tea is ace. Do that. They do that at Indian restaurants for a reason. I have a fennel seed shaker. It is, as Fatboy Slim would say…the Weapon of Choice…

I used the Alkaline app to try and lessen the amount of acidic food. I know this is difficult but one gain was the wonder of steel cut oats with frozen blueberries which are great for digestion, alkaline and a superfood.

And then back to that difficult subject to discuss, but I’ll just say regularity. I cut down cheese consumption and started drinking four of my water bottles a day minimum. I am still working on all this to this day, as I want to keep the weight down and find the best exercise for my gut. I’m not a muscle bound type but at the gym my best machine is now the ab-crunch one. My longest jog is now over an hour but the war ain’t over.

I have noticed how I can be constipated before a run, ran anyways, and my body just puts it aside to bug me later. Just wacky.

So my next thing?

I’m gonna blog about and it’s gonna be this… The Celery Juice craze. I’ve done the cleanse drinks with cinnamon and apple cider vinegar. Now it’s this…

Cheers 🍻,

Tom

Not all who wander are lost

One of the best things I have discovered is literally one of the absolute simplest, walking.

It’s strolling in the city or hiking in the woodland but it’s really that same thing. It’s the way you discover the world around you the way nature meant us to.

It is a great simple way to burn calories as well, with a brisk walk bringing your heart rate close to a target rate. If you don’t feel like jogging or don’t have the equipment for cycling or cross country skiing it’s always there. It is low impact and it is great for battling anxiety, bloating/nausea (it works like a mother burping you essentially) and of course you can mix it’s exercise qualities with doing actual errands. What barbell can pull that off?

There is also the creative element. There’s always more streets to go down and places to explore (don’t venture into people’s property…they don’t like that…I know, right?) and this is always great for being inspirational. I have definitely worked out ideas in walks and there’s also that liminality quotient of bringing you out of your comfort zone and into the experience of the world.

Locally you will get to know your way around which is great and one of my favorite things is combining that with a pair of headphones. Any of the music that I’ve been recommending on this blog would be awesome, as would your favorites, but for today’s…

Here’s a classic Tom fav from a classic album…

Today’s track is Depeche Mode – Freestate

Open your mind – Freedom’s a state

😊

Tom

Don’t Poke Murphy

I just had to.

Let me explain. No, there is no time…let me sum up. 😉

I had some pretty impressive success with the last post, especially outside of WordPress, talking about how things had gone with my weight and quitting smoking. I’m always looking for things to talk about and that is true. Things were so ridiculously bad back then, which was so annoying because at the time I had just finally become a full time writer and musician so I was like really?!? Lol! I read everything you could Google about chronic nausea, sought out doctors, ran, exercised, meditated, and even drank gross weird things. I do a stripped down version of that now as those grant funded days are a thing of the past unless something changes. Anyways I am very glad I did that and am frankly scared to let things slip back, which keeps me moving. I actually had the pay version of the Calm app which was great and I genuinely kind of miss that. Still got to figure out how to include that again. I’m a musician so I’m all about patterns.

Random point, I’m writing this on my smartphone as always and I love the fact that when I put down “I’m a” it suggested “graverobber”. Little badass for my new MotoZ phone which I haven’t been honesty that crazy about, though it does have fm radio.

Which brings me to the title, which would make a good album title. Murphy’s Law, which is said to be based on this quote by Augustus de Morgan

It is found that anything that can go wrong at sea generally does go wrong sooner or later, so it is not to be wondered that owners prefer the safe to the scientific …. Sufficient stress can hardly be laid on the advantages of simplicity. The human factor cannot be safely neglected in planning machinery. If attention is to be obtained, the engine must be such that the engineer will be disposed to attend to it.[2]

Mathematician Augustus De MorganJune 23, 1866

Through grapevines and Chinese whispers (the latter needing a new expression considering it’s etymology) it has become Murphy’s Law of “What Can Go Wrong Will”.

I poked the spirit of this thing.

Result. Crap sleep because my tummy acted up and lost the entire day of blogging, hence Friday off. Least I kept that simple.

Nevertheless I am very grateful for the level of support on here and abroad for this. I was hoping maybe someone had been struggling with the same thing because I know how crazy making chronic nausea can be, especially when doctors act baffled.

I reset my alarm and though tomorrow is a longer day, I might be able to get one there or at least Monday. Sunday is pretty much the social media quiet valley of the week so not posting on Sundays is kind of fair enough. I am hoping to reduce the Sunday impact of the additional work I took on. I need the money but you need actual down time as well or the machine wont run right.

And that’s an album cut on Don’t Poke Murphy.

Speaking of today’s writing music is another classic from over 10 years ago now. Well I did mention Abba, so…

Iron and Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days

I used to work as a Barista for just years and back then it was this, Coldplay, Jamie Cullam and Jack Johnson.

Speaking of I really appreciated what NPR Fresh Air did with their 2016 Anthony Boudain interview. Like with Freddy Mercury I’m sorry I only discovered him now because of how he talked about his life being opposite of “Normal People”. As a Barista, cleaner, musician and even a writer I don’t know how often you feel like life’s biggest observer.

I’m drinking coffee in a duck blind.

Cheers Anthony,

Thanks for reading everyone 🙂

Tom

Lost 30 lbs, quit smoking and otherwise fought back

I didn’t know if or how to go about this one, because lots of people do these things, but maybe someone might relate to how it started.

Nausea and other worries about my gut, like fear of not having a washroom nearby.

Just that. Somehow back in mid 2015 it got to the point that food would make me feel just gross the entire day and the absolute worst was when I tried anti-anxiety medication that “may cause nausea”, so therefore for me, laid me out so bad that I didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to anything.

That’s really where I just got angry. No other way to describe it. Thank God by that point I was self employed so I didn’t have to specifically worry about rushing off to work (somehow). This isn’t an ad but I started using that calm app for meditation, which got me to focus on my breathing and this method actually helped me through gigs because of course I was still doing professional shows with the band (one show in October 2015 was probably the closest I came to walking off stage as I felt too gross).

Anyways, other than the smoking which I was worried I needed to combat sleep and constipation, I started on diet and exercise. First thing I did was I just walked straight out despite my body wanting me to not do that. I was over 220 lbs somewhere and was supposed to be creative and here I was finally doing things and being shut down by my own body. I wasn’t having that so I did the longest walk I could think of which was around the waterfront in Victoria.

I started with walking everyday, meditation and, from researching things, tried to eat more alkaline food. I’m not rich so going full Mediterranean Diet is nice but impossible. One thing I did add was my oatmeal thing which was steel cut oats, a healthy “breakfast topping” of cacao and other things in a mix, lightly over that and blueberries. Drank lots of water, drank Ginger Tea with fennel and listened to (I know he’s upopular now-I was annoyed too) all the Tony Robbins stuff I could find. There was a thing on “Body You Deserve” that mentioned a walking – running – walking 30 min pattern, which I got a heart rate monitor for, because on a doctor’s advice I was going to try and bring my weight down. I was never big, until my thirties where my metabolism cut out so much that in a band photo it looked like I was standing closest to the camera.

So everyday I was running after 10 minutes of walking, trying to stay in my target range. I was scared to let one day go. Eventually I got my first gym membership and started a Good Life Fit Fix program, which is essentially working on each machine to failure after a short treadmill warmup.

When I went back to work my walking went way up (work as a cleaner again) so I do the gym and running three times a week.

Things improved and my weight came down but it still wasn’t as good as I wanted and only one thing was left.

I quit smoking in November of 2017. I used the gum as I was scared I wouldn’t sleep and once I got past day three or so, I wouldn’t say it got easy, because that took a while, but it got more important to keep going…like I had never made it that far.

I’m still fighting my problems and everything but at last count I’m below 190 lbs and haven’t had a show as bad as back then. These days I’ve been doing running where it’s part cardio as well and over 35 minutes and I’m enjoying challenging myself with ones like running the entire inner harbour from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Esquimalt Westsong Trail entrance, which less than two years ago I couldn’t even walk.

Today’s music was Anastasis by Dead Can Dance, which I discovered while writing and, being a baritone, I like trying to sing to, lol! Not now of course, it’s early. 😂

Dead Can Dance

Cheers,

Tom

Welcome to Adhd

imageFull speed ahead

Full speed ahead

This is the sort of post I usually wouldn’t make. I guess that means I should in a way. It is, I promise, not about complaining. It is also, I equally promise, not a new-fangled thing that I was diagnosed with recently as I was diagnosed back in the early 80’s.

My Adhd is very real and has been my entire experience of life as lack of sight is to a blind person or confusion of events is to someone with schizophrenia.

It is naturally not as debilitating as these previous ailments as unlike them it has its positive and negative attributes. Adhd people would have been the best watchmen (or watch persons) as we are always switched on
There is no down time. There is no relaxing. We won’t do it later and we are always hyper-aware of the…ooh what’s that? Just kidding but funny enough I’m getting what I call “the shakes” as I write this. Or maybe I just need another smoke. It makes smoking really hard to quit, well for me anyways, as it is perfectly meditative.

Coffee which I’ve talked about before has different effects and I know for some of us Adhders (it’s a word…well…ah, smile and nod) coffee can actually work wonders in strangely balancing the rush. And I think the reason is like I’ve experienced. Coffee slows us down. You didn’t misread that. I’ve had a double espresso and passed out shortly after. And no, you didn’t…well…you get the idea.

Because we are so much in our high gear coffee is a paradox that speeds things up even more which, unlike the Seinfeld episode with Kramer and the multiple espressos, it goes into an overdrive that’s exhausting. Down we go. Moderated we can use it to just slow it down gently instead of a sugar-like crash.

This brings me to the downsides. Not only is reading something that is hard to focus on, as is a formal lecture situation (we’re great strangely at self directed study) where information is being fired at us but in the same way that coffee can overwhelm so can over stimulation. Much as we are great at seeing lots a high speed situation can go all the way over and like with my espresso crash things go into overwhelm. When that happens I swear I couldn’t spell the short version of my name.

It’s Tom. Now that’s pretty easy. But seriously those situations are like a Japanese train being derailed. Our being fast only makes it worse. I’ve learned to breath when I feel those jitters that spell the overwhelm sign. You can pause and stop because much as the situation may ask you not to its going to be lots worse if you don’t.

I don’t know if these experiences resonate with others. I know Ritalin and such have never worked and only made me feel dopey but then I’m looking through my camera view of the world. Please share your views on this if you like.

Cheers,
Tom
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