Kindness is magic

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All the difference on earth

How can you make the world a better place?  Ricky Gervais had this trending as a Twitter hashtag a couple years back but it stands repeating.  World peace seems so daunting as do all of those sorts of things.  But what could you change?

I wrote this after a day of trying to think of some material and mostly getting stuff like people arguing about merging on Facebook which got me thinking about how we should find another way since they can’t run forever anyways.  But where do you start with that?  It’s that same level of massive subject that feels too much to even go into.

Thinking about this I went into the food store.  I tried to keep it simple but had even less money than I realized.  I tried asking if the lady could take some things back but it still didn’t go through.  Then a lady behind me in line paid for me.  It wasn’t just a few quarters either it was over a five.  I thanked her profusely and she said she had been there before.

It was just a little moment but I am so grateful to that person.  It gives you that feeling that as one community we can make it all work out.

It doesn’t take much.  Even just stepping forward when someone is having a hard time makes all the difference.  The feeling of things working out can spread.

Have a great day!

🙂

Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

If you could not fail…

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Everest

What would you do if you absolutely could not fail?  Would you climb to the heighest high and stand on the top of the world?  Take it further with the international space station?  Do stand up comedy at the Met?  Heavy weight champ?

And does it have to be so grand?  I had this question put to me and really what it questions is goals and dreams.  I don’t personally follow the “you can do it all” thought due to the hurtful nature contained within.  Something tells me that if I try my hardest I’m not going to make the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition for 2016.  Even if I switch my latte to nonfat I’m pretty sure it’s outta my reach.  This is an obvious example but it’s best to stay in those goals, the reachable ones of what you want to do or feel you could if you put in that little extra time.  Mine is full time writer and musician.  I work on top of that but otherwise I’m already doing it. 

As to the failing side, what’s wrong with that?  We want to have experience and we like to receive experience but what is that?  Isn’t experience just the result of making mistakes and learning from that.  If you worked in a place where no one came in, yeah you’d be amazing at it and your work would be failure – proof but it would be 1) extremely boring and 2) over in less than a month. 

Some of the biggest failures have been the gateway to success as well.  Post its came from someone trying to create a superglue that totally failed.  New Order’s bassist just grabbed a bass and joined the band with no idea how to play the correct way so he created a style that became their signature sound.  The list of this goes on and on.

So get out there and try it.  Try it, suck at it and try it again.  Just keep hammering at it 🙂

Cheers,
Tom

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Unconventional love

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It took me a bit to come up with an unconventional love for today’s prompt after going through the discussion about love a few days back.  Love for people and pets is considered understandable fair game that no one would question you for and so anything outside that box is naturally going to seem strange.  There was the runner up of the characters I create but as someone who is putting them self out there as a writer that seemed a bit cheesy.  But at the same time so does this as a musician.  I can only suppose that cheese is inherant within this subject.  As a barista a love of coffee…same.  As a man love of women…I probably should just leave that one alone.  You get the idea.

So I chose headphones.  It’s not naughty by any stretch of the imagination.   And no, I’ve never walked around listening to naughty noises.  Though I could see the surreal quality of listening to amore secretly while taking public transport to return bottles.  I think it would get old fast and I would probably prefer podcasts or music in its place.

But with that extreme concept aside it does show the reason I enjoy them so much.  Within those speakers you have total freedom to create a world of enjoyment that is tailored to what you want.  It’s a wonderful chance to explore something new while you are already in transit, feel the comfort of something heard before, or stay dialed in with local radio.  I know when I use to do Janitorial my connection to local talk radio made every bit of difference as I didn’t feel quite as disconnected to the rest of the world.  These recent ones are Bluetooth so I can also make phone calls from them, though this isn’t always best as you do get to look a bit strange talking like that, but people can suppose it is Bluetooth.  I have also used my headphones as I mentioned before to “test drive” music I have created, taking it out of the home studio context and setting it against the world outside.  As a cleaner I have also spent loads of time with, well, what use to be books on tape but is now podcasts, downloads and things that end with “this is Audible.”

You can use them before work like audio caffeine to get you going. You can switch to a soft playlist to slow things down again.  Another unconventional love I nearly used was that of public transport actually because when you get a decent spot (which is what failed this title as it is not always possible) you can use headphones to create a insular world of quiet ambience and with another honorable mention, my 300 page notebooks, you can use this world to create while you are already on the go.  I created not only ideas this way but entire characters have come from these moments in the back of a low floor double decker passing Uptown on the way to Craigflower and Tillicum where I use to live.  Longer the ride the better.  With headphones on and my Memo app (yet another) I planned my entire last move while supposedly “stuck” on a BC Ferry returning from Christmas holidays.

If you listen to music this way it actually spurs you to discover more music as you naturally want to expand the range of what you hear.  It is where I discovered Karl Pilkington and the Ricky Gervais Show, headphones on, cleaning my way through a newly renovated office.  I also listened in that same place to Sol Stein on writing, which I can’t praise highly enough.  Between those two gentleman’s work was quite possibly my drive to create comedy because a year later I was on the set of my first film shoot.  That film didn’t work out, but my present project with Cheri Jacobs continues to build towards completion.  It’s called Ollie and Emma and if you haven’t seen that yet, please check us out on one of our social media platforms.

Our WordPress blog
Ollie and Emma on Twitter! 
Ollie and Emma on Facebook!
And Instagram too! 🙂

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Cheri Jacobs and I


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Ollie and Emma - The Series

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Top ten fast food items we miss!

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Those old containers less missed

Some of my posts I like to push for interesting narrative ideas or use of poetic imagery.   Yeah, this isn’t one of those.  But i have though about doing this one for a bit as I was born in the seventies so I’ve seen lots of products come and go. 
Much of this is locally based and as a former employee of Tim’s I naturally tend towards that but I will try my best to think outside the snack pack.
Here’s a countdown of those cheap treats too soon gone..

10 Tim Hortons Stew in a Bread Bowl
Oh there is lots of things to say beyond here since the in house baking stopped but it remember this little idea they had.  The stew was decent and the sourdough bowl was good too.  The leftovers did look really icky though.

9 As show above the Mcdlt by McDonald’s.
It was the fancier one, more an attempt at a proper burger that I remember my parents liked.

8 McDonald’s Pizza

There was preset ones like vegy, meat and Hawaiian but you could custom it and they came in personal and family sized.

7 Subway Horseradish melt.

Sounds like a crazy idea too but it was actually really good.

6 7-11 The Turkey Croissant

I use to live on these back in the early ninties when I looked for work.  Actual croissant with light turkey, lettuce and cheese and it was really light and nice.

5 Sobe drinks

Just that…again, ninties.  They tasted amazing and had a humorous little under the cap saying to do with lizards.  You could get them at (and I’m going locally here…)

4 The Entertainer Victoria, BC

This store was a mix of video store and snacks just behind the TV station across from Wendy’s.  Great spot to load up for a movie at home kind of evening.  It had a drop box in the back of the building that is now covered over.

4 Tim Hortons Chocolate Sour Cream

This one I really liked which also came in timbit form.  Bought freshly baked these and the walnut crunch were especially amazing.

3 KFC downtown location Victoria

Ok, this is another locally spun one.  This use to be on Douglas and Yates and was perfect for when you had to change buses but wanted a bite half way.  Ok it’s KFC but back there I was fine with it.  A popular location but the changing landscape of downtown and the families of Victoria preferring to be outside the downtown core pretty much killed this off.

2 Tim Hortons Party Pack

Ok, I worked there back in the day so that helps with me knowing the details but this one surprised me that it went (very possibly to do with the new…um…baking)  this was a huge box, held together partially with tape, that held either fifty donuts or three hundred timbits.  Large functions would actually buy multiples of this but my fondest memory was creating one of these, by myself, with the person choosing them a single donut at a time.  Slow going…

1 Tim Hortons the Cakes

Couldn’t help it.  Not only were these made in house with full baking equipment from scratch (blenders, wood tables and rolling pins…we had it all) but our cake decorators actually were made to take a local cake decorating course to learn to do the roses that garnished the top.  There are rumours as to the reason for there demise but with the upcoming baking methods it is likely that these were eased out.  Rumour is that they were more trouble than they were worth due to the onslaught of complaints about things gone wrong so the company pulled them.

Anyone have any that I missed?  I know there was a burger joint that use to be at Pandora and Blanshard and another out by the Admirals bridge but anything you want to add would be awesome!

Keep your eyes on your fries and have a good one!

Can I take your order?

Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

Anything for love

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Valentine’s day is long past but the prompt was discussing the idea of the essence of love across all forms so I also ask what do they share?  You have the obvious romantic love, obvious because it has the greatest story potential and mystique.  There is brotherly love and parental love.  Then there is more simple loves of places and things that can go all the way down to “I love these new socks”.  What is shared across the board here?

There is the simple existence of joy which is shared or perhaps not in the case of the socks.  I feel a little like early Depeche with this song…

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The Meaning of Love

There is the treasuring side of love where you keep something close to you and by that young Martin Gore’s lyric “like wanting a scar” is somewhat poinant.  I think that within that is possibly one part of the heart of love.  We risk our own tragic presence of heartbreak and put our emotions on the line with how we cherish.  It’s the one thing that made the idea of getting a pet to me for the longest time something I wouldn’t do.  As you open your heart to a being, especially in the case of a pet that can not last much past fifteen years, you are inevitably opening yourself to the potential of hurt.  You are willing to take the hurt for the being you love.  That could also come all the way up to the grander forms.  Again you are willing to suffer yourself to be connected.  Being alone is safe and secure but it is cold and removed.  Being connected to that other person has warmth but that potential for all kinds of damage.  Not only do you open yourself up to them, trading your heart for theirs but you also put your needs behind their’s.

Powerful stuff indeed!  With the title I fell to thinking of two songs.  Gordon Lightfoot’s and Meatloaf’s.  You know Mr. Loaf’s so here is a link to a great song by Gord backed by David Foster.
Anything for love

Have a lovely week!

Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

Windows

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Do I see the forest or the trees outside?  I’m in the city so with a number of moves it’s really the same sorts of views.  I only ever had one that wasn’t other apartments and that was the basis of the little moment had by “Jack”.  It was a low ceiling basement suite of a century old house.  I still loved that little place.  The home of my old film project was based on that place.  It had a windowsill so wide and deep it could almost work as a single sized bed and it faced ground level so when you looked up you saw the light of the sun blazing amongst the tall blades of backyard grass.

Now it’s a different patchwork of life beyond the walls.  Some are lit, some are faded in the light buts it always still the same maze of a world that is only viewed from that spot.  In the place you sit at the end of the day it’s like the world makes that degree of sense that lets you sleep.  All the troubles can be moved away far enough, the world quiets down to a flicker and somewhere in that maze of sunlit grasses, the hope lingers in the sweet topsoil.

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The Moment

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" capture in my heart, just to hide away" John Martyn

“It’s her” Sean thought as he walked in.
She was at the same conference that day, flanked by friends on both sides like a diamond set in a cheap gold ring.  She shone out then as she did now, sitting alone at one of the small sets of cream colored chairs by the glass windows.  He needed someone like Mike for this.  Mike would know how to get her talking in his no bullshit way.  Sean just paused for a second and went up to the bartender and ordered a domestic pint.

“That’s five bucks, pal,” the old guy said and he paid and looked around.

The place had a few people in it, mostly from the same conference, mostly mostly on their phones.  She wasn’t.  Sitting at the bar he managed to look and she was just looking out the window of the hotels bar over the pond towards the towering pines the formed the border onto Quebec St.

Her face glowed bright soft under the slight orange light with her large blue  eyes gazing out like someone stargazing.  He looked away quickly when he realized that if she looked in the reflection of the window, she’d probably see him looking at her like some stupid horndog.

He knew that Mike would have smacked him upside the head in a friendly way for what he was doing.  He could almost vision Mike, The Bike Mike Attack like he called himself, and got others to call him too, right next to him on the next stool.

“Sean, buddy, honestly,” he said right up to his ear so Sean could almost feel the breath on his ear “this is a piece of cake!  You’re both at the same conference.  There’s your material…perfect opening line…”

“Weren’t you at the conference?” Sean breathed softly, drowned out by the sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

“Yeah, or how about that Keynote, huh?” Mike continued.

“Total meltdown,” Sean chuckled only to look up and see the bartender looking at him.  He looked into his pint and sipped.  The bartender went back to wiping down.

He looked back again.  Her left hand was on the other side which gave him no chance of doing a ring check like he had found himself doing before.  But if there was someone wouldn’t she be like everyone else?  Wouldn’t she be glued to her phone?  Maybe she was waiting for him.  Maybe he’d come down from the room any moment.  The scenario played out in Sean’s head like it was directed by Woody Allen himself.  He would finally start talking and suddenly this wall of 6 foot, fresh from the weight room boyfriend would be towering over him like a bear in a business suit.  He looked away as he suddenly broke out in a sweat.  She’s so beautiful you moron.  Of course she has a boyfriend or someone.  Girls like that always have the guy which shoulders so broad they could carry a jet copter.  And forget being over there, Sean continued in his head, he might be protective as he’d have to be with a gorgeous creature like that and if he walked in from the lobby to the bar and there’s you leering like a perverted puma about to pounce he would be straight over to assert his alpha dominant role.  That role would have you flung to the other end of the bar like a balsa wood airplane.  The bartender probably wouldn’t mind.  He probably coaches touch football.  Probably cheer and high-five the guy since he looks at you weird anyways.  I should just give up and look at my phone.  I could do a tweet or something about the conference and maybe put some notes down so people in here don’t think I’m some wild eyed lunatic.

“Hey,” came a soft voice next to him.

Sean turned around to come face to face with her.  He looked at her stunned for a second.

“Weren’t you at the conference?” She smiled.

Created by TomPogson.com

Postaday – Online me versus me…me

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Diy U2...think Lemon. ..

How much different our we than our online persona?  One thing I’ve been trying to do more is just have fun with these mediums as opposed to be in sales mode because naturally there is that side to this which is about presenting a sellable something.  In the same way as a pop star of the eighties the whole mystique becomes a different mask than you actually are and feels like it lives a different and very interesting life.  As a musician I’ve yet to be on a hilltop with the long flowing hair I don’t have, playing a screaming bluesy solo through a amplifier that’s never seen but is somehow there.  There’s no patch cord either but it just works.  And the tone is fantastic up there!

The real me is very driven but fairly shy and not super assertive.  I’m probably the hardest on myself and I’m right now waiting for allergy season to kick which it has since I can remember.  For work it’s like Wayne’s World…i have the extensive collection of nametags and hair nets.

Online me is definitely more confident.  I’ve learned to be more prudent with what I say but somehow I’m less afraid to try silly ideas out and I use that to seek ideas throughout the day for things like this.  But yeah there is always that feeling that online me is way more cool that I am.  I find I’m more on here and Twitter than Facebook these days.  Facebook seems more like clutter whereas Twitter gives me the ability to find our about my hometown and other things I wouldn’t have known of.  As Ricky Gervais said though…online me does have more of a swagger.

Cheers,
Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

So much time spent…

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Life long joy.

     This favorite little thing in life goes back so far that I’ve forgotten when.  Somewhere in the 80’s, back before I noticed girls or had my first 8-bit Nintendo game I found this in the house.  There was no planning or plan with borrowing it from dad’s office and using a blank tape.  I remember using the q – tip to try and clean the tape heads with alcohol.  I remember my fascination with its mechanism and the fact that I could record myself doing little skits and singing songs.  Like any child with a favorite toy it was me, cross-legged in front of the recorder, holding down play and reverse to make that screeching sound that everyone hates while I scanned for the intro.  Eventually there was a second machine which had the high speed feature.  Novelty of making myself into one of the Chipmunks lasted for a bit.

The use of the machine lasted to today.  There is something about the solid reliability of tape that digital can’t match.  I’ve used multitrack digital but it always feels like I get lost in the engineering role.   I’ve used tape 4 track of course, and had so many Type 2 tapes for this but what I remember is doing a really lofi song recording with two machines recording over and over until the first track was like a distant echo.  Every detail of that magic machine was a curiosity.  The smell of its speaker, the buttons I never understood to use.  Something about the recording process was so interesting as well, which I still find in the recording process.  When it’s recorded it’s like the songs enter their own universe with strange phantom sounds and foibles.  Mix tapes of songs are like a musical diary. 

Oh and with the band…yeah I’ve got a couple tapes of them (switched to digital more recently out of convenience but am considering returning)

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The library.

And as a kid who also liked things like Robotech and Tron there was this idea when creating any kind of battle.  It’s supposed to be a gun thing from Star Wars.  It just looks like…well…two pencils and a tape.

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You may fire when ready...

Those days are past but the use of my tape recorder still remains as the primary songwriting platform to this day.  The tapes of songs are great as they can’t get lost somewhere in the bowls of a hard drive, just somewhere in my desk.  I still have the Walkman that after recording a multitrack song would take it for a “test drive” walking through Cook Street Village with headphones to see if the song felt right outside of the home recording environment and see what I could change or add.  And of course, for anyone who knows about my band Cookeilidh or the blog post on being a celtic bassist, yes…i still have where it all started…with an extra whimsical ” o ” 🙂

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Still plays

Cheers,
Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

Created by TomPogson.com

Skyline photo project

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Victoria Harbour

Funny how this shot was taken on a day that I initially didn’t want to go out.  I have one of those lingering coughs that won’t go away and it was high thee to the drug store.  I think that’s how that’s spelled anyways.

Once I was outside I didn’t really notice the cough and I had just read one of those lists of blog challenges that asked for a skyline.  I had only heard that the top of Yates St. Parkade was good for that.  I had never actually been up there before.

Something about places like that take things away.  I feel a bit silly saying that because it’s also rumored to be a rough spot at night.  It’s the reality of our town like I want to explore with the Quiet City project.  We have the oldest street in Western Canada just below where the photos were taken.  That street was once lined with Saloons and peopled by newcomers from all over the world seeking riches in the gold fields along with the local Native communities who were already in residence.  We may believe in multiculturalism but getting everyone to understand that is another thing.  We also have a financial mix right across the board.  It is not cheap to live here and we have the wealthiest, street people and everyone in between still in the same mix as they were over a hundred years ago

You only way out is inside.  You can go outside and find some secluded place but it may not stay that way.  You pay off one bill and another one looms.  You add more work but it just loads more complications that drop your immunity through the floor. I don’t want to come off as negative but there are challenges for working class writers here. I just got a text threatening my phone to be cut off after bills already finished off my pay yesterday except for what i had for cold meds and juice. As i was outside uploading this (writing this in post) I just had to stop a street person from walking off with my bag. He apologized for that and it was awkward but still scary as it shakes you up because I know the desperation and therefore the unpredictability. It’s there under the same sunny skies as Beacon Hill Parks amphitheater. All you can do is roll with it. We’re a beautiful small city but a city nonetheless.

Find peace in the moment and live simply.  That’s what’s there for each of us city folk. Enjoy those little spots and good friends under the sun and blue horizon.

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