18 February 2015

Impromptu Jerk Chicken

My mate RG came over the other day.

Brother, you want a beer? Yeah sure.

You want some chicken? Yeah sure.

Ok cool, let's make Jerk Chicken.

12 February 2015

Will there be enough water when my ship comes in?

I've been listening to The Dead Weather a lot these past few months and in particular the track 'Will there be enough water?'

Will there be enough water when my ship comes in?

When I set sail, will there be enough wind?

I picture this grand, impressive ship coming in to shore, taking off from shore to set sail. Do you think the sea captain worries about if there's enough water or wind? Maybe. If we personified the ship, do you think it would pay mind to the water or wind? Maybe. I like to think that the ship understands it's purpose is greater than worrying about the water or wind. It will succeed regardless.

I'm drawing on this as an analogy for thinking, 'will the timing be right for my greatness?'. Yeah its a little ambitious I know, but I'm planning on there being greatness in my life. What I see as greatness may be different to you, but I don't want to belittle my dreams so I'll call it greatness all the same. And whilst I am a thinking man I see others around me putting too much planning into their progress. Too much thinking and not enough doing. I see others agonising, scrutinising and inevitably postpone or cancel being adventurous, creative and changing their lives for something amazing. For greatness.

Will there be enough water when my ship comes in? Greatness in life can't be planned like that. Greatness doesn't ponder whether it's timing is appropriate and if we want to achieve amazing things then we can't worry of that either. When I set sail, will there be enough wind? Will it be the right time, the right place, the right situation, will it all fall into place?

If you really want to achieve greatness in life then you won't ask yourself these questions. Greatness doesn't wait and it sure as hell doesn't care if the conditions are right.

Be great. And trust that everything else will fall into place.

7 February 2015

My People - Ali

This is Ali (or AK as I call her - her initials). We met years ago through working in the same industry. Even though we have our day jobs/careers, we both have had dreams of doing other things. For AK, it's food. She is an extremely talented dessert chef. Macarons, cakes, pastries, ice-cream, she does it all. And not some home-cook style desserts, AK is legit. She's a real pro at what she does and has started making a career of it.

Like many people with great talent she also doubts herself way too much. One positive from that is it keeps her humble but on the downside she worries, overthinks and stresses a lot more than she needs to. AK has a brilliant sense of humour and I'm glad she doesn't hold anything back with me; cause she's f*cking hilarious. AK also isn't your typical lady; she rides a motorbike, says f*ck, sh*t and c*nt where it's needed and eats like a bloke. But on the other hand she's a gorgeous gal, has an enormous shoe collection and can frock up with the best of them.

She's one of my people but AK and I did have a falling out once. It was worlds ago now so details of it aren't important but the result was me being really pissed off and our friendship over. We didn't speak for months until one night I decided to make amends. At the time I was stressed with a bunch of adult pressures and life was getting the better of me. I recalled a friend once saying 'to bring yourself out of darkness, you need to put light onto others' and the importance of forgiveness. I hadn't spoken to AK in months and whilst I still had the shlts with her, I had missed her friendship. I wondered if she was the one I should 'put light onto' as this wise friend had told me. I figured in some weird way it was the right time to do a positive thing for myself and for all I knew the timing could be something positive for her too. So I contacted AK and forgave her.

I am so glad I did because our friendship has grown to be one of the most important I have. You have those special relationships in your life where you become such close friends that it's like a marriage. In that, it's an unspoken constant, it's done, we are friends forever now and that's just how it is. My friendship with AK is like that... for as long as we both shall live. 

AK and I are both still in the same industry and both still working on our respective dreams. With these similar circumstances we've really come to rely on each other for advice and motivation. Different to myself who is quite expressive, open and wordy, AK is someone who says more in her actions than her words. And it's her actions that show me how important I am to her as her friend.

AK is always there for me, always supporting me and always has my back. I love this gal.

AK. One of my people.

5 February 2015

34 @ 34

Only 5 months left until I turn 35 and this list isn't moving along that fast... time to really start ramping shlt up!

12 down, 7 more in progress and 15 that I have done nothing about.

1. Complete a large home renovation project (eg - kitchen, ensuite)
2. Do the Yarra Valley with Leela and Danny. Trip to Melbourne pencilled in!
3. Bench-press, deadlift and single-leg leg-press my bodyweight. 
4. Cook a Terducken.
5. Build or rebuild/refurbish a piece of furniture.
6. Do a weekend trip with wifey to another city in Australia. 
7. Donate $1000 to charity. In progress, donated $100 to National Breast Cancer Foundation, $50 to MS ACT, and $500 to Independence Australia.
8. Buy a new big fancy Xmas tree. 
9. Get my teeth cleaned at the dentist.
10. Buy a king size bed.
11. Go a month without buying my lunch at work.
12. Buy a new piece of furniture.
13. Get a tattoo (still borderline on this one). 
14. Read a book about Louis Armstrong. In progress
15. Learn how to make sausages. Lessons pencilled in!
16. Kiss my wife in the rain.
17. Watch the sunrise over the ocean.
18. Photograph a series of portraits of my friends. I'm calling it, 'A Day Out With ....' and we'll hang out for a day, do fun stuff and I'll take a bunch of photos of friend in the process. Sounds fun hey? In progress - wanna do a Day Out With me? Larry, RG, Rob & Glenda are done, Kat on the list for April '15.
19. Write a love letter to my wife.
20. Get in a magazine/publication for something (not a criminal activity or something stupid).
21. Attend a winemakers dinner.
22. Drink Absinthe.
23. Bake my own bread (that's not a euphemism, I really want to bake a loaf of bread and try to perfect it!). Getting some recipes together to try soon.
24. Smoke a cigar.
25. Try Yoga. I've agreed to try Bikram in the next few weeks with my mate ERC. Sweaty, I'm talkin swamp-sweaty.
26. Do a day-trip with my Mum.
27. Get a pair of custom made jeans.
28. Lose 5kg.
29. Install a rainwater tank at home.
30. Play blackjack at a casino.
31. Spend a night on a boat/yacht/ship.
32. Go for a massage.
33. Host a vintage dinner party with my mate Natie.
34. Go to the Greyhounds in Narrabundah.

4 February 2015

Time to get my house in order

It's a thing I say to myself... time to get my house in order.

Basically it's me being hard on myself that I'm either not doing enough, not working hard enough, not doing something as well as I could be, not, not and not. I'm always analysing my life, trying to figure out how and where I can improve. I'm pretty hard on myself in private and I've learned to see the signs ahead of time. Those signs tell me I need to smarten the f*ck up and get my house in order.

Back in February, 2012 I injured my ankle in a basketball semi-final. I jumped up in the air, came down on another guy's foot and rolled my ankle over badly resulting in two torn ligaments and a small fracture. I had reconstructive surgery in the July that year and at the same time the surgeon performed a micro-fracture procedure. Basically they sawed through my heel, changed the shape of my foot and put a huge surgical screw in my foot.

For the next 8 weeks I could only get around with the use of a wheelchair or crutches. Physically, the recovery from the surgery was tough however it's a long road you can take your time with. But emotionally and mentally, those 8 weeks were terrible. All the simple tasks we take for granted all of a sudden I couldn't do. Showering, making myself a cup of tea, carrying something from one room to another, walking around the block with my dogs. And the emotional toll it took on me was huge. The wheelchair was handy to get around the house, but I hated being in that thing. I hated how I felt rolling my crippled ass around in that thing. 

I said to myself at the time that I was only going to have this limitation for a couple of months whilst I recovered and I was really struggling with it. How do people do this all the time? Do they have the support? How do they manage the emotional strain that this physical limitation puts on them? I said to the lovely Larry at the time that I was going to find a charity to donate to that provides this sort of support. After experiencing it first hand just for a couple of months I had a taste of what people must go through and I wanted to donate to a charity that supported people in those situations.

Short story... I never did it. I kept saying I would, but I didn't. Today I was talking to someone about a mutual friend who was going in for surgery. And I thought about being in that f*cking wheelchair and I realised I've been talking, not doing. Time to get my house in order and get this done.

After some research today I ended up speaking with the lovely people at Independence Australia. They are a charity focusing on supporting people with disabilities. A big part of their work is education and support for people who have a physical disability. Counseling for people with spinal injuries, home assistance, providing mobility aids, support groups.... everything I had been thinking of these guys do it.

So today I donated $500 to their great cause. I still feel bad that it took me so long to do it, but really glad I got around to it. But I also think the timing was right for me to do something positive and put some positive energy out there in the world for me and mine.

Got my house in order.

3 February 2015

A Day Out With Rob and Glenda

The weekend past we did a road trip to my brother Robbie and sister in law Glenda's place. This one wasn't exactly intended to be a Day Out With but I'll roll with it. Whilst I didn't get individual photos of them as portraits as I'd normally like, but we all spent the day together and as I normally do I photographed all the spaces in between. It was Liv's first day trip out of Canberra to Wollongong which went reasonably well although she was pretty tired most of the time the poor thing. Add to that it was windy and overcast so no getting in the ocean for little Liv. I still braved it and got in the water... so cold but so good!

My brother Robbie is very similar to me in that he loves to cook for people. So we turned up to find chilli chicken, kofta, salads, grilled vegetables. Robbie is a gun at this sort of stuff, he loves it. After a great meal and a few beers we made our way down to the beach two blocks from their home. The ice-cream van on the way didn't take eftpos which left a few sad faces. Not your typical Australian day out at the beach as it was very overcast but I loved it. This delicate white-apricot light fell on everything it was beautiful. Then after the beach I got a chance to go over Robbie's new car, a 1964 XM Ford Falcon. Such a fat old beast of a thing with a great sound.

A long day travelling up and back but a great day out with Rob and Glenda.

1 February 2015

Do you give a f*ck?

Today I did a trip to the coast with Larry and Liv. Great to see family, get in the ocean, eat good food and take photos.

The traveling in the car I value as much as all of those things for the time it gives me to reflect.

Today I was thinking of a friend of mine and then made some realisations about relationships. I'll do my best not to get into details or the person as the risk is me coming across like some chicken-shjt, whiney passive-aggressive type. In the end, how I feel right now isn't about the person but about the concepts and realisations that followed.

I thought of this friend, wondered how they were, how their day was going and hoped that some adversities they'd faced weren't getting the better of them. Then I asked myself, 'Do they even give a f*ck about ME?' Here I am, thinking of a friend and dedicating mindspace to my care of someone... I give a f*ck. I know I've contacted them numerous times lately. I give a f*ck. But is this metaphorical giving of f*cks reciprocated? I don't believe so; and maybe it's not entirely their fault.

Relationships nowadays are so accessible with all the technology available to us. It's so easy to turn on your phone and scroll through everyone's lives without interacting, without care. I am conscious to not let that be the way I understand the lives of those I love. I try to make sure I interact, I message people directly, I see friends in the real world and I even write letters. All for sake of being a good friend, making the effort and giving a f*ck. I don't always get it right but I do my best. I guess all my life I have been an old soul, so it's no surprise to me that I still interact this way and tire of friendships that become only online interaction.

Another reality I cannot ignore is that I am going to get this sometimes because of the person I am. I am the strong one, the one who is in control, who has it together (most of the time) and who is there for others. From this it feels as though I fall out of mind often as I am that guy who you don't have to worry about. I had this discussion some time ago with my good friend Ant, that he and I both fall out of mind often as we're seen to be the strong ones, we're 'fine' in the eyes of others.

Now I'm not saying that all my friends are thoughtless f*cks who don't care how I am. Not at all. I have some wonderful people around me, many of them I've written about in Brown Life. But I definitely question our default methods of interaction and care. Not to mention the lack thereof because of how easy it is to see someone's life online, know what's happening in their world and to not contact them, to not ask how they are and to not make the effort. To not give a f*ck. Is that really 'friendship'? No it ain't. And it's so easy for us to do.

And it's not just others around me I question, it's myself as well. Do I care enough to make the effort with people, do they know I care and do I actually do the things I preach as important.

Do I give a f*ck?

Do they give a f*ck?
Do you give a f*ck?

27 January 2015

Musical Musings - All the cats join in by Benny Goodman

When we opened Molly in February 2014, my love of jazz and blues came to be of great benefit as we were figuring out how we wanted our bar to sound. One of my favourite tracks we play at Molly is All the cats join in by Benny Goodman.

And now it's become my favourite track to play when it's my baby's bathtime. I put on a playlist of jazz, pour myself a scotch and get Liv's bath ready. It's the best part of my day... bath time with my 3 month old little girl, singing along to old jazz tracks and making her smile and laugh.

Oh how the world has changed for me. A year ago I would have been up to my eyeballs in whiskey and wine at Molly listening to this track. Now I'm at home with my wife and little girl, tapping her cute little nekked belly in time with the brushes on the drums trying to get a laugh out of her at bath time.

Love it.

21 January 2015

I'm a different person at night

Tonight I sat out the front of my house on my own. It was raining, dark, the air was cool but comfortable. The rain keeps everyone else in their homes so it's as if my street is abandoned but for the orange glow from my neighbour's windows. Standards of guitar and whiskey but also my camera tonight, playing around with exposures and colour balance.

In the space my mind is in right now I'm thinking of a conversation I had some weeks ago. That I'm a different person at night. As I was thinking more about it I received a message from a friend who told me she loves my brain. That's put a smile on my face and I started writing.

I've known for some time I am a different person at night. In the mornings it's a real contrast. It's like my circadian rhythm is the opposite of what normal life has mapped out for us. I don't mean that to sound any bigger than it is or that 'the man is getting me down cause I gotta get up and join the daily grind' bollocks. The world is what it is and for hundreds of years in the modern world we wake at dawn, prepare for the working day and sleep in the evening. That's how it is.

That ain't me.

I've heard people say 'I couldn't get to sleep' because of an adversity occupying their mind, keeping them awake at night. 

That ain't me.

I'm too strong of an evening for things to get to me. So my problems don't keep me from sleep but when I wake I know they'll be right there waiting for me. In the mornings for whatever reason I feel fragile and emotionally weak. My anxiety levels are higher and if something is bothering me I know it will always bother me greatly first thing in the morning.

In the evenings I'm clearer, more confident, more capable, smarter, stronger, I see things better. If I could, I would stay awake all night writing, creating, listening to music, drinking coffee and whiskey. I heard someone say once 'you know what you know. You don't need to justify or explain it to anyone because you know it to be true in yourself'. I know I am a different person at night.

So I surmise that it's these night hours that I am built for. It's where I am at my best.

And knowing that makes me happy.

18 January 2015

So here it is


So here it is.

I once told you I would continue to write you so long as you still garnered my interest. Then after that brief silence accompanied by your perplexed look, I told you 'that will probably be for a long time', and you smiled. It was a small moment that stuck with me. I remember that smile as you looked away somewhat sheepish. You told me in the past you love to read my words, however when I speak them in person I see your embarrassment grow and your heart melt at the same time. It is as if you are still unsure how to accept such genuine infatuation. Perhaps you are not used to the way I see you. And I continue to write you.

For now, we are apart. We told each other we must part and even though we didn't speak of it, we both knew our love was mistimed. Yet right when we knew to end things it was as if our love grew that very second. In that moment our love was clearer than it has ever been, greater than it has ever been, yet now we are further apart than we have ever been.

So here it is.

And I write you even though I am unsure what to say or how it will be received. Perhaps what I write is of little relevance as I know that moment we see each other will speak for itself; it always does. For now, we are apart. Naturally, insecurities will grow and in our minds we will question each others love. No doubt question our own love. I asked myself yesterday, do I love you or do I love the thought of you? The answer is both. I love you so deeply and passionately it resonates from the very core of my soul. Yet we see each other so sparingly it is the thought of you I am left with; which I have fallen in love with as well.

So here it is.

How I ache to be more to you at the moment and for the distance between us to be less. I find during my days I see you in everything I do. Your face regularly enters my mind and I long for you as I think of a moment we have shared. There have even been times I could smell you on my clothes as if I had been holding you; but I know it's my love playing tricks on me. Such a cruel bastard my love is to me lately.

It is with unfortunate realism that I expect your love for me to wither; however I remind myself of your words to comfort and clear my mind. You said, 'There is a connection between us that cannot be broken. Regardless of time, place, how we try to restrain it or anything that stands in our way... our connection is there. What we have is there and real connections like ours live on forever.'

For now, there is little else to say.

Love from you know who.