Wanted to belong here…

…but something felt so wrong here.

So, following on from my post on spiritual enlightenment I have come to a conclusion. Spending time alone in hotels will do that for you!

My quandry was deciding whether it’s possible to have a spiritual awakening when you haven’t really done anything bad in your life. I even compared myself to Slash! Well, basically I was just comparing myself to anyone who had previously been addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol etc. However, why are these things considered to be worse than just working hard and striving for perfection?

Society!

Society dictates that an addiction to these things is bad. Society dictates that living a wild lifestyle is bad. Right from school age we’re taught to work hard and strive for perfection. To beat everyone else whatever the expense.

Working hard and striving for perfection in everything you do no matter what the cost is not a good thing. It’s equally as harmful to us as taking drugs, getting drunk and sleeping around can be. Therefore, the spiritual awakening can be valid as long as you realise that something you’ve been doing has become harmful to yourself or others and the time has come to change.

It doesn’t matter what that “something” is and it will be probably be different for each of us. What might work for one person could well be harmful to another. All that matters is our own happiness and we have to ask ourselves if what we are doing and how we are living our lives is making us happy. If we cannot categorically say yes then something’s up and we need to stop and take stock.

I asked myself if my hard work and search for perfection was making me happy. I honestly and deep down knew it wasn’t.  And that was when I woke up and decided I have to change things. If something is harming you, no matter if it something that you have been told is “good” for you, then you have to let it go.

In the coming months I’ll be taking a step back and focusing on the elements of my job that I enjoy and make me feel rewarded. Outside of work I’ll be adding more balance. The meditation is going well, I’m going to go back to Ashtanga yoga classes and earlier today I had a personal trainer devise a workout plan to add some variety to my daily regime so I’m not just going through the motions. There’ll be more on this next week after my first session.

Fings I Love Friday (2)

It’s that time of week again and what a week I’ve had!

1) Coloured socks. A little over a year ago I upgraded my sock wardrobe. I was bored of plain black socks so I got some day of the week socks and a full set of these bad boys:

2) Not sleeping in hotels. I love sleeping in my own bed and having my own clean shower!

3) Cambridge in the sunshine. Coming back from London yesterday, the sun was out, the fields were in bloom, the roads were quiet and the sun was out. It was a fantastic welcome home. Like all the elements had specifically prepared for my return!

4) Beverly Hills Cop movies. Watched in my hotel. Hilarious and a kick ass soundtrack!

5) The missus and the cats. As always!

I sing to myself that I’m gonna be free

…but the road I must travel, it’s end I cannot see.

This week I went to London. Without meaning to be too negative…what a soul sucking place it is! Whenever I pass through our great capital I get overcome with sadness and exhaustion. It really does suck the juice out of me. A lot of psychic vampirism going on there.

I was visiting HQ and had to stay over for a couple of nights. Due to an oversight in negotiations I have to foot the bill for travel and accomodation so I have to buy cheap. Last time I went, I stayed in the Travellodge in Tolworth. It was awful. This time I stayed in the Travellodge in Kingston. It was equally, if not more, awful.

Wednesday morning I woke up and went in the bathroom and set the shower running. I went to grab a towel and when I came back the shower had overflown. The plug was blocked. I had to dig out the contents with a spoon. I’m not going to go into the details but ew! It’s bad enough when it’s your own bathroom but clearing out other peoples “stuff” is just gross.

I complained at reception. They gave me a clean spoon. I kid you not.

I think I’m out of cheap places to stay and next time I’ll have to stump up more cash and stay at the Holiday Inn. Do you think there’s a direct link between it costing more and actually being better?

Also, what happened to Kingston? When I first moved there it was a really vibrant town centre with plenty of places to eat. This week all I managed to get for take out was a Subway. Everywhere else had shut down. Such a shame.

In other news I developed a really bad cold. I’m sure I made a great impression with my new assistant, just snotting everywhere during training. I tried some Beechams Cold capsules and they have worked a treat.

Tomorrow brings another installment of Fings I Love Friday. Stay tooned!

Forget all your troubles, forget all your cares…

…and go, Downtown!

I have recently started following some photography blogs/sites in the hope of getting some inspiration. Photography is one of my “things” at the moment. I used to be really good at it and when the missus started taking pictures for her blog, it awoke the beast within!

One of the sites I’m following suggests themes for the weekend. This week it’s Downtown.

Luckily today has been a lovely sunny day so we took a walk into town. It was lovely. Riding into town is good, but walking gives you a lot more opportunities to take in your surroundings.

The first thing that caught our eye was this beautiful sentiment:

http://www.voix.org.uk/#/unit30project/4540232483

I’m amazed that these buildings are still standing.

The first bridge we get to when we go into town is the one on Magdelene Street. It has such an amazing view.

And of course, Cambridge is famous for its bicycles so along comes the obligatory black and white bike shot!

It has since started raining and I think it’s going to last for the rest of the holiday weekend.

We went into Jessops and had a look/feel/play with some Nikon DSLR’s. Very impressed with the D5000. I think that’s the one we’ll be getting at some point in the next couple of months.

Until next time…

Fings I Love Friday (1)

Errr..yeah so I missed my first Things I Love Thursday so I’m starting a new trend!

1) I love riding my bike. I feel so free and the wind wraps and swirls around me. It’s a lovely, electric feeling. I sound like I’m five years old!

2) I love One Day Remains by Alter Bridge. Both the title track and the album as a whole.

3) I love my new tattoo. It’s healed really well. I can’t wait for the second session in June now.

4) I think for the first time in a long time, I really love my life. I love my missus, I love my cats, I sort of love my house, I love my garden, I kind of love my job; it’s nice having something to channel my energies into and not just be bored all the time.

5) I love our current plans for the future. I’m excited about what’s in store!

That’s not bad for a first attempt eh?!

You can’t run from the future…

..You can’t change the past. You’re not that fast.

A little late with this one but I had to review it. I got the new Slash album a few weeks ago. It’s been described as Slash and Friends. At first glance you think “Oh God not another one of those crappy celeb collaborations (abhorations??!!)” but then you realise it’s Slash, of course it’s not going to suck!

What a blinder!!

Right from the opening track. Ian Astbury on Ghost sounds amazing. I love The Cult and it’s cool to hear him do something new. There’s a new chap I’d never heard of before but have become quickly obsessed with! Myles Kennedy. Apparently he fronts Alter Bridge who are part Creed. His two songs on the album are probably my favourites. He has a great voice. I listened to the latest Alter Bridge album today and it’s amazing.

Chris Cornell’s track is good, “Andrew Stockdale of Wolfmother” as he is being referred to everywhere is alright, Lemmy is God and then THE GROHL THE GROHL!! Ah Dave, you rule! An interesting song is Nothing To Say with the chap from Avenged Sevenfold. I’ve never heard Slash play metal but he pulls it off really well.

What I have noted from this album is that most of Slash’s buds are folks who’ve had issues with addiction in the past and have come clean. This has obviously got me thinking…

As I near my thirties *gulp* I realise I haven’t really lived. I have literally wasted my life. To me, it seemed liked most normal kids spent their late teens indulging in drugs, drink and sex. I didn’t do any of that. I worked. A lot. For nothing. I had a small period of indulgence in my early twenties developing a close personal friendship with Mr Daniels, did some stupid shit, nothing to write home about. Had dinner with a bearded lady. Well, didn’t even get to dinner. Bundled her in the back of a cab and sent her back to her cave.

This leads me to my next point. I’ve had a spiritual awakening and it’s fantastic. There’s just one thing. One tiny niggle. Is it for real/have I earned it? So many people have had these horrific lives where they’ve been confused and consumed by their various addictions to sex, drugs and/or rock and roll and then they’ve had these awakenings and turned everything around. Can my awakening be compared given my comparatively clean living?

I’ve been searching for something for the last few months and I’d even contemplated going to church, but then I re-read Darren Main – Spiritual Journeys Along the Yellow Brick Road and something has changed in me. I suddenly feel alive. It’s bizarre and I can’t really explain it. It’s helped put things into perspective and I’m looking at getting back into meditation. I started today and I can see I have a lot to work on!

Obviously, as the other half of one of the most amazing yoga teachers I’ve ever seen, this isn’t my first awakening or exposure to all this but this time I feel it on a much deeper level. I read the book a couple of years ago and it made a lot of sense and helped me but I guess I just sort of fell off the wagon a little and lost my way again. Perhaps my addiction is work and perfection? Yeah, great, I get the lamest of all addictions. Couldn’t have given me a break and let me have been a stud at 19 or anything!

Hmmm…more on this later perhaps.

We could dance and party all night…

…and drink some cherry wine!

Last night was really nice. We sat out back and had a really nice meal, cod wrapped in bacon, cooked in vegetable stock with saute potatoes and green beans. Another one the missus concocted magically which was enjoyed as we sat in the glow of the sunset drinking wine. We’ve cut back on wine a lot recently but it was a celebration of the end of a mammoth project I’ve been working on for the last few months.

Maybe Jacob’s Creek will pay me some sponsorship royalties?!


Today we gave the cats a bath. What were we thinking?! It ended up alright I suppose, the cats don’t hate us, nobody died, they’re just sat around excessively grooming. Looking much nicer now of course but this is how they looked earlier:

Me, well I got me a war wound that will serve as a reminder to only do this once a year and leave them the hell alone!!

Yee-owch! Thanks Park. Thanks very much.

Do you like to do it yourself?

If the mood strikes. How is the mood striking you now?

G’day! I like photography, the missus likes photography. She likes to photograph food and while the results have been good, she’s been limited by the terrible lighting in the kitchen. It’s not like the cottage in the Dittons, that’s for sure!

So, I’ve decided to do something about it. This weekend, I built a lightbox.

I had a quick search online and found some ideas and while it seemed simple enough, what I have noticed lately is that a lot of these DIY project websites have these impressive tutorials but the cost of doing them far outweighs just going out and buying what you’re trying to make.

I dunno, maybe across the pond people like doing stuff for the sake of just having stuff to do. Me, if I’m DIYing I’m saving money!!

So I made mine entirely on the cheap. Old box in the garage, old pillowcases (sorry missus!!), tape, scissors and pen lying about the house.

Pretty impressed with the result actually!

Tada! One home made lightbox!

Unfortunately, the missus is out and about today and has taken the good camera so I’ve re-instated our battered old Canon A75 point and shoot. The macro is awful but it has already showed the potential this box has.

Picture of some fruit

Another picture of some fruit

And some pins. Because they were there

These were all taken with natural light through a corrogated roof in our conservatory so they’re a bit yellow. I haven’t even rigged up the lights yet. That’s coming later. But as an initial test, these are pretty bad ass!

While writing this post, the missus came home. That’s how I managed to take a picture of the lightbox with a camera in place. I also did a quick test with our good camera to see how that liked the lightbox. This is a much better result.

Light was a little better from the sun but the camera is also a lot better.

In other news, my new favourite channel is ESPN HD. HD has really revitalised sport for me. It’s just so clear. I really feel like I’m there in the game. Today I’ve been watching the NBA playoffs. Boston vs Miami. What a game!

I’m enjoying sport at the moment. It’s one of my phases. The Premiership is getting quite exciting. The snooker is on. The golf Masters was good this year. I have free access to American sports in HD. Yeah, it’s a good time for me and sport. I won some money on the horses recently. I’ve been using that money to bet on other sports. It’s very hit and miss but I’ve got a fiver on Man Utd winning the league. Good odds, I get £40 if they do it. Come on you reds!!

So, in the morning when the rooster crows…

…pack your bags and get ready to go.

Today I listened to the first Black Stone Cherry album. I love their second one and this one ain’t half bad.

It starts out as a bit of chugfest, which isn’t bad really but they’re so much more than that. Then you get a song like Hell & High Water and their potential really shines through and you can see that they just needed a little bit more time to brew to release the bad ass that is Folklore and Superstition.

I gave the JJ72 album another listen, definitely a keeper.

The soaps are a bit dull today. I really dislike Toadie. He used to be cool. What the hell happened? Home & Away’s fashion tale is a little too close to the Neighbours one. Although this murder storyline is pretty cool!

Planet Minigolf didn’t come out on PSN today which is a shame but Prince of Persia was on sale for £3.99 so I got that. It’s a remake of the original and I have to say it’s pretty authentic, right down to the shoddy control system! But seriously, it’s a good remake and it’s in 1080p. I spent several hours in the prep study room playing this game. On the PS3 it’s 117Mb, back in the day we shared it between us on a 720k floppy disk!!! We made so many copies of it until it eventually got a virus and we all lost out. Piracy doesn’t pay kids!

That’s it from me today really. Oh, except this political debate stuff is getting on my nerves a bit. Pandering to the floating voters. That said, I’m a strong supporter of the lib dems, but I don’t really like Nick Clegg and our local MP has changed and I don’t like him either. Gordon Brown’s policies and ability as a politician are second to none but his lack of showmanship is losing him votes. So at the moment I’m deciding between the two, of course I’d never vote for those blue scallywags! (Rach says I have to be polite on a public blog or risk being sued)

She said “Hello, you fool, I love you”

“Come on join the joy riiiide, be a joyrider!”

Eee, what better a way to start a new website than with a Roxette lyric from 1991!

Inspired, of course, by this week’s Glee.

I’m only half way in (V+ is awesome) and we’ve had The Doors, All American Rejects, Lionel Richie and Neil Diamond but I prefer Roxette. Maybe they’re on later?

Awesome AC/DC!

I’m totally distracted. WRITE THE BLOG!

Right, so, this blog is going to encompass everything I’m interested in. TV shows, music, computer games, financial accounting…umm…yeah!

So the last few days have seen me hit all of these in quick succession:

  • TV shows – Still addicted to Aussie soaps, loving Glee right now, coming to the end of That 70s Show, started watching Flight of The Conchords again and still in the middle of The X-Files.
  • Music – yesterday I picked up the first JJ72 album from the shelf. I bought this years ago but never listened to it. I went through this phase of buying 8-10 albums a week (I lived at home with minimal rent and a management salary, needed something to spend it on) and there’s some I haven’t listened to ever! The other day Oxygen came into my head and last night I decided to do the ironing. The missus has banned me from doing it despite never seeing me do it and she keeps complaining about having no time to do it so I figured I’d help out and just do it. I needed something to listen to so I put this on. It’s actually really good!! It definitely deserves a few more listens.
  • Games – I’ve not been playing a lot of PS3 lately. Haven’t had time, working too much. What I have been playing is a Facebook game called Country Life. It’s seriously awesome! And super addictive. And because it’s browser based, I can leave it on in the background and just tend to my stock every now and then. It’s better than all those other games because the crops don’t wither. If they introduce this feature, I’m gone!
  • Financial accounting – Well, this is my job. Sort of. I’m an IT Consultant and I currently specialise in accounting systems. The last few weeks I’ve been working on the biggest project of my entire career. Yesterday we went live and aside from the usual expected technical hitches everything has gone swimmingly. I finally feel like I’ve achieved something in my job. It’s been a complete uphill struggle trying to learn accounting but I’m getting there!

This just in, courtesy of my Google Reader, there’s a new miniature golf game coming out for the PS3. I love miniature golf, both IRL and on the computer. A few years back I was hopelessly addicted to Fuzzy’s World of Miniature Space Golf. This was awesome and in many places difficult. Until now, there hasn’t been anything remotely close.

I introduce Planet MiniGolf from Zen Studios. How awesome does this game look? And it has a course customiser! What more could you want?

Well, that’s out soon and I’ll be first in the digital queue to buy that no doubt. For now though, I’ve been informed not to go over 500 words or you’ll have stopped reading. So you’re probably not reading this.

Until next time…

Drew Irons