Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Years Present!!!

HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!  Last day of 2011 and everything's fine! 

So Danielle Fricke released "Hello Little World", her first indie album, this morning and I've listened to it several times throughout the day.  Her music is so beautiful and vulnerable - as though each verse were spun of spiderwebs and blown glass and other fragile things like hearts - I'm IN LOVE with her songs.  The whole album is a story and each song is a chapter.  Crafting an album is practically a lost art but here we have an excellent example.

Thanks Danielle!  Even though I paid (completely voluntarily) for these songs, I consider them a gift!  Danielle has gifted us all with these tiny fragments of her heart and soul.  Like pieces of moonlight refracted off still waters, piercing and momentary, imperfect but pure.  Listening to Danielle is like stumbling across a little bit of a larger truth in a deceitful world.  I for one am in her debt because of it.  I don't find a lot of new music that really speaks to me these days, so when I do I really appreciate it!

"Hello Little World" is heartfelt and wonderful.  Go download it right now!!  Click HERE!!  And please, if you can afford it, give Ms. Fricke a couple of bucks for her effort.  She obviously deserves it and it'll encourage her to record even more!  Win win!

Happy 2012 Everybody!  Love you guys!  Here's my personal favourite song from "Hello Little World", no longer "Untitled", it's now christened "Springtime"

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

2011 Year-End Round-Up!!

Well, how about that!  In just a few days we'll have made it through yet another year!  Astounding!!

So 2011 was, for me at least, a year of great change.  A year wherein I have finally decided to wrest control of my life away from outside influences and initiate changes all by myself, instead of just waiting for change to happen.  It's been a good year and I'm feeling incredibly positive as we move into 2012.  My life is going well and things are only going to get better!!  Even failure is only training for success!  Quite a switch from my attitude of years gone by....

So last year about this time I set myself a few simple goals for the year.  New Year's resolutions, if you will.  You can see what I intially wanted HERE.  Then I held myself accountable every quarter to make sure I was staying on track.  Of course I shared all that as well - 1st Quarter, 2nd Quarter and 3rd Quarter!  It's been an interesting ride and, I believe, a great way to keep my mind on my goals and not just spin my wheels all year long.  Next week I'll have a whole NEW list of goals for 2012.  For now, however, lets see how well I REALLY did in 2011: 

1. Lose at least 10 pounds (shouldn't be hard in a whole year. I'm 185 now. What will I be at the end of 2011?) 

Here we are at the end of 2011 and I weighed myself this morning.  I weigh 146 pounds.  Earlier this month (before several days of turkey and stuffing) I clocked in at 142!  Regardless of my exact weight, I've maintained myself between 140 and 150 for over 3 months now.  I'm very satisfied with that!  As a matter of fact, I bought all new clothes that fit me as a skinny person AND I received my very first M size shirt in YEARS for Christmas!  Not only did someone think I was a medium, but she was right, the shirt FITS!  I was both flattered and pleased. 

2. Make a more significant effort to free myself of debt (minimum payments are not enough!) 

Okay overall for 2011 I was obligated to pay off $9000.00 of my debt.  I decided that this was not enough and set a personal goal to pay them $15,400 dollars over the course of the year.  Unfortunately, I had a few unforeseen expenses (who doesn't!) and couldn't make that number.  I did, however, pay a total of $13,450.00 over 2011!  That's not too shabby!  As a matter of fact, I now owe less money than I paid out in 2011, putting me that much closer to being completely debt free! 

3. Write more (at least get 2 blogs a month in) 

Well, I've maintained at least one blog a week here at Stryder's Dementia (for a total of 58!) and I've also contributed to over 25 articles over at Fruitless Pursuits.  Beyond that I have been developing a few longer fiction pieces in my brain and the several notebooks that are lying around my apartment. Oh and a few songs are being written and arranged just to keep things interesting.  I'm still not happy with the volume of material that I am writing but I think it's getting far closer to what I'd like it to be.  My main problem is a combination of motivation and time management.  In other words, I'm lazy.  Regardless, I'd say that overall I nailed this goal!  I've found one of the biggest secrets to accomplishing my goals is to write them down.  It makes you feel good if you then actually do it and bad if you don't..... 

4. Learn some more difficult songs on guitar (sometimes 3 chords is NOT enough!) 

Yeah, I practiced my guitar a lot this year and learned some more difficult songs and whatnot.  It's been fun!  I don't, however, think that I put NEARLY the time or effort into this that I would have liked to.  It's a shame that it took me and the boys till nearly the end of summer to realize that we could just wander downstairs and jam in the park!   Still, I feel more confident as a guitarist then I did at the beginning of 2011 so for that I am grateful! 

5. Be more adventurous. (I'm going to NYC this September. With or without company.) 

Well, as you know if you read the last round-up, I never did get to New York City.  I did some stuff though.  There was travel and there was a lot more getting out of the apartment this year.  Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but a definite improvement over 2010.  My main problem here is that I keep waiting for someone to go withI'm not brave enough to do these things on my own right now.  That's gotta change in the upcoming year I think.  More about that NEXT week.....

I guess getting my hair cut and whatnot counts as being adventurous.  Really all I mean by "be more adventurous" is to leave the apartment fairly regularly and to leave the city occasionally.   Be more courageous, attempt to meet and have conversations with new people, and just stop making excuses to stay home and sit on the couch all the time!  I still don't know WHERE to go to do this on a regular basis but I'm trying.  It's hard to learn.  Social behaviour is often still the hardest for me...if any of you have any advice, please feel free to share!  I did get a few offers before Christmas to go out and do some stuff that I've put on the back burner while I am on crazy holiday work schedule.  Maybe those offers can come out in the new year to start!  

Well, that's about it for 4th quarter and thus 2011!  Oh, of course the most notable, not-on-the-list thing:  I still haven't had a cigarette since Labour Day!!!  I know 4 months is nothing when it comes to the demon nicotine but it's still a good start!  I don't have any desire to go back to it - if I do you can all mock me mercilessly!  

Thanks for reading all year!  I've broken all my own Internet records for hits and whatnot!  It's been great!  Stay tuned next week to learn what I'm planning for 2012 and we can all do it all over again for a whole new year!!!  Although I may run out of exclamation points before then!!!!!!  See ya! 


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Casual Christmas...

Well, Christmas is just a couple of days away and I have almost nothing to say about it!  Work has been playing the "let's see how early we can make Mike get up" game so I haven't had my eyes open wide enough to write any rough notes for a blog this week and yet suddenly I find myself with a deadline!  What's a geek to do?

It's ironic because I already know the next two week's worth of blogs.  Next week of course will be my "year end wrap up" and the week after that can start it all over again in 2012 with a whole new list of goals and ideas to keep forging my world.  Sadly, that's all in the future.  What CAN I talk about this week???

Anyway, then it finally came to me.  I don't really NEED to say much about anything this week.  It's Christmas week, everyone's sort of calling stuff in and the year's winding down.  Today's the Winter Solstice and we've got 3 months now to watch the world doze...what more can really be said?

Oh I know....

Merry Christmas everybody!  Or you know, happy whatever you's all the same to me.  Just take it easy for all us sinners out here...

Wednesday, 14 December 2011


 So this past Friday I cut my hair.  Not a little trim or a mildly shorter cut, but a massive, crazily image-changing hair cut.  Shaved, too.  My hairstyle went from Jesus to Clark Kent in one afternoon!

Some like it, others not so much.  I like it, although I liked the way I looked before too.  In either case it'll definitely take some time getting used to.  What everyone wants to know is why?  What made me decide to make such a drastic change??

To answer that question one simply needs to think over the last year in my life.  2011 has been my year for change!  This year I've examined my life from all sorts of angles...the things I do, the people I associate with, the habits I keep....and simply asked myself over and over again "Why?"

Why do I do the things I do?  Is it beneficial to me?  If it is shall I do it some more?  If it is NOT, why don't I just cut it out?  Do I enjoy doing it?

In this simple way,  I've managed to re-invent my lifestyle, at least to some extent.  To become a happier and more well-adjusted person.  More productive and less self-destructive!  Even when my plans and feelings get thrown for a loop, as they were this past November, I have managed to hold on to what I've learned this past year and deal with things in a healthy, normal way until the situation gets back on track somewhat.  Sure, I still get depressed and of course I'll always be a strange, strange man to some.  There are many things that will NEVER change.  However, I've accomplished enough positive things that I feel that I've gained a level in personal growth or something.  Must be all those experience points I've been racking up!

Anyway, I'm entering my 35h year in a few weeks, a happier and better man than I was at this time last year.  Perhaps than I have ever been.  And so I though that an outward symbol of all this interior house-cleaning was needed. 

And so, I present - The Haircut:

Everyone has things in their life that upset them and make them sad.  Think about yours for a minute.  You have the power, right now, today, to change it for the better.  We all have the power to make change in our own lives!!  Results don't appear overnight but keep at it and you will find that things can and will get better.  It's all up to you! Beefcake!  BEEFCAAAAKKEE!!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Want, want, want...

If you live in the 21st century, you may have noticed that everyone has an agenda.  Everybody who can be bothered talking to you wants something from you, whether they know it or not.  Mostly these things are simple...directions, product inquiries, general, likely "work-related" things.  You certainly want these same things from others!  It's all good.  However, come Christmastime, the people that want stuff from you seem to multiply.  The usual demands one experiences are still there, but then there's always a huge rush of holiday people who want things as well.  Not just consumers, either!  Friends, family, people on the street, they all want at least your attention (and probably also your money) for longer than usual.  Then of course there are the businesses.  Every one striving oh-so hard to get you to come inside and give them all your cash.  Each one like a vampire sucking away your time and earnings for whatever must-have garbage is available right now.  If you fail to co-operate you get labelled "Scrooge" or worse (let's say probably worse these days, but I'll keep it polite here). 

Anyway, again, it's no big deal.  I don't begrudge these things at all, normally.  It's the human condition and "everyone" includes you and I, so who are we to judge?  We all want things from our fellow man, whether they be material, ethereal or otherwise (IS there an otherwise?).  Likewise we all have things to give!  I guess (and I realize I run the risk of sounding selfish and whiny.  A risk I run every week while writing, I suppose) lately I just feel like people are far more focused on what they can get than what they can give.  I generally feel, particularly at this time of year, as though everyone demands something from me but very few step back and wonder what I need or what they could do for me.  Not that I want or need very much of anything at all.  I just wonder if maybe we've all gotten a little too selfish lately? 

Actually, it's probably just me.  I'm not Christmas-y enough this year.  I am usually happy to give anything and enjoy being needed or useful or generous.  This year I just feel tapped out.  Not financially, but with my energy levels and my general ability to care.  It's like I cared too much for a while and now I've burnt out the circuitry that gives a crap.  All the normal, usual demands that people make on my time feel strangely like impositions, all the stuff that I'd normally be happy to do seems like a huge lot of work and effort for little gain.  Just answering a phone call seems like too much work suddenly.  I don't know.  I guess maybe I just need some time to recharge.  There are more demands than usual on me currently and there is less time to recover every day than I am used to.  These things take a toll. 

Well, I'll just have to buck up, I guess.  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  Christmas only comes once a year.  Is it strange that my first thought when I hear that is "Thank God!"?