Monday, 28 January 2008

Henry Rollins in Hammersmith

Hank did it again: three hours and ten minutes of high-octane story-telling from a man who matures with age but doesn't mellow. Tales from trips to Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan (which coincided with the tragic death of Benazir Bhutto) were neatly sandwiched between reminiscences of Black Flag days, previous trips to London, his latest film role, attending arena rock shows as a teenager and a recent Van Halen gig. The preparation for and execution of the Ruts gig in Islington last year were detailed, as was the attendance and participation in a Grinderman (Nick Cave) concert in San Francisco. Finally there was the obligatory pop at Dubya followed by a plea to the rest of the world to be patient with the USA - it's a country full of wonderful people with a decidedly poor government and it'll take the work of a few more presidents (i.e. years!) to repair all the damage done by the current administration.
All that with barely a pause for breath.

Monday, 21 January 2008

On having low energy (1) Introduction

So, what do I mean by having low energy? Obviously I'm talking about myself so I'm referring to my personal energy levels. To give you an antithetical example, think about those people who are bubbly, energetic and full of life. Think about the sort who can talk enthusiastically for hours and hours about absolutely nothing but still keep you interested in their conversation; the kind of people who, when they're feeling tired, go on about how tired they are. Think about the creative people who always seem to be involved in umpteen projects or go around helping every underprivileged habitant of their local area or are simply so irrepressibly cheerful that they evoke a smile from everyone they meet. Got an idea of the sort of person I mean? Well, I'm the opposite.

I get stuck in a rut so quickly it's like I'm on rails. I've offended many people over the years by falling asleep in pubs and bars, replying to polite conversation in monosyllabic grunts or by simply ignoring people when they talk to me. I've even upset close friends by showing no interest in what's going on in their lives. At no point have I ever really been uninterested - there are few things I have more interest in than the lives of my loved ones - but I run out of oomph incredibly quickly and it all seems like too much effort. You know that saying: only boring people get bored? Well I get bored. I get bored because I don't have the energy to get off my backside and do the things that would enrich my life. My spirit gets beaten down by the mundane so easily that by the end of a tedious, soul-snuffing working day I'm good for absolutely nothing.

Here is a quick Q&A for further elucidation of my point. When was the last time you... so excited you literally jumped up and down? I was 16.
...walked down the street with your best friends and felt so good you were invincible? I was 25ish.
...achieved a short term goal important enough that you punched the air in triumph? About 5 years ago when I beat a PB in the gym.

Not only are those the last examples of each incident that I can remember, they're some of the only ones. In other words there aren't many more instances I could give even if I trawled my memories.

According to my acupuncturist I have weak Heart Qi. A person with strong Heart Qi has what in Martial Arts terms would be called "fighting spirit"; in Western vernacular it would be "lust for life". In later entries I'll explain in detail about the physical and psychological causes and effects of having low energy and what I'm doing to try to combat the problem. I'll also plan the entries so they're a lot more cohesive than this one.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

New Year, New You

Yes it's resolution time and although the chances of anyone reading this giving two hoots for my plans are marginal I'm going to write in my goals for the year now and hopefully I'll be able to report back when each of tham have been attained. Certainly some of them will be mentioned regularly as I have an idea for a series of entries relating to a generic personal/medical problem I have and some of the resolutions are intended to improve that situation. As you'll see, some are specific, dated, etc. and others are much more open-ended, so obviously it'll be much easier to say yes or no to the specific ones and the others will just be reported in an 'as I feel it' sense. More than one of these are things I've wanted to do in 2008 since mid-2007 and absoutely none of them are knee-jerk reactions to the Christmas/New Year's Eve overeating and binge-drinking bonanza even if they look suspiciously like it. I'll add explanations later on but for now here's the list:

1. By March 23rd, cycle my favourite 19-mile road route in one hour or less.
2. Also by March 23rd, clear the Candida Albicans overgrowth in my gut.
3. By July 31st, participate in a mountain-bike race.
4. Also by July 31st, find a new job.
5. Have three items published, even if that's just emails/photos sent to the local paper.
6. Improve my French language skills from their sparse current state to conversational level.
7. Improve my Taiji skills by developing a very regular practice pattern (i.e. 20+ minutes a day, for at least 5 days a week).
8. Vastly improve my energy levels (see the upcoming articles about my low energy, causes, effects and what I'm doing to try to sort the problem out).

There it is. This is going to be a year of big changes. See you back here for updates.