this is a song i wrote late one night (or early one morning, depending on your point of view) after work. it's about being a bartender. it's called "working the wood."
"he stands behind the bar, an undiscovered star, pours another beer, hands it over, saying "cheers," you hand him your money, and he collects his tips, picks up the bar towel, wipes up the drips, he takes a sip of water, he's been sober now, for a couple of months, and he doesn't know how, a crazy way of life, the drunk girls, the fights, it all blends in to one long sleepless night, it's been so many years, the only life he knows, a decade full of booze, blow and cigarette smoke, he wants a change, he craves something else, he's trying to grow out of his old self... but every now and then the past rears its ugly head, it's no longer fun, he's amazed he's not dead, he's been lost and found again, this life hurts so good, he's clocking in at 5pm, working the wood...
he's capable of so much, potential through the roof, nobody knows what you can do until you give them proof, he tried to live the corporate dream, put on a shirt and tie, but it was such a nightmare, he kissed it good bye, he gave his notice, plain clothes chosen, went back into service, a starving artist, with no future, yeah it makes him nervous, but he has faith in his calling, his art gives him true meaning, he measures his success, not by money, but by feelings, and right now he feels full, writing these here words, but they may not be his best, but they're off his chest, that's worth, and don't you dare look down on him, and think his life a waste, the only waste he sees are those from sleep who never wake, they sit at desks, take urine tests, have corporate cards and meetings, car allowances, travel budgets, trying to crack that ceiling, and in that empty world, he'll give you two things that you seek, some music to zone out to, and of course, he'll pour some drinks...
the question is, this thing he does, he had it all to lose, his obligation's to his muse, he's got nothing to prove, so you can judge him, think him dumb, uneducated, worthless, he's living underwater, struggling to surface, at 3am, he locks the door, tired, sore and blistered, another night, another fight for meaningful existence, he makes his way home in the dark, picks up a pad and pencil, and writes it all down in the dawn light creeping through the window, he hears your stories, feels your pain, and shares with you your joys, he keeps your cup full, celebrates your life, gives you a voice, and sometimes in those moments, when you're down and at your worst, he says "this one's on me tonight," and quenches more than thirst, one thing he knows about his life is that he can't commit, to anything more than appreciation of each moment, and ups and downs, the ins and outs, he takes the bad with good, and he'll be here tomorrow night, still working the wood..."
(C) 2009 ryan somers (don't matter just don't bite it)
okay, this is where i'm going to start plugging in my daily numbers. what i do to work out, what i eat, and other relevant stuff. so here it is for yesterday:
woke up at 12:30pm. i would have liked to have gotten up earlier (as i had planned to make it to the noon moksha yoga class), but i didn't get home from work until 4:30am, and it took me at least an hour to fall asleep. doing any sort of work-out on 4-5 hrs. sleep sucks. hard.
breakfast? two breakfast bagels from poor john's, around the corner from my house. whole wheat bagel, egg, bacon, cheese. not the best breakfast, but i caved.
i didn't get a photo of it, but here is a photo of a couple of bagels that i took a few weeks back. okay, so, ryan, one is enough. two? that is just ridiculous. i don't care how hungry you think you are when you wake up in the morning.
oh yeah, and two large coffees that i sip slow over the first couple of hours of being awake.
spinach/squash roti. maybe not the best thing in the world, but i don't think it's that bad. spinach is good for you. squash, has to be good for you, right?
plus, a bottle of vitamin water. good stuff.
and then dinner,
spinach salad with cherry tomatoes and boccancini (sp?) and a poppyseed dressing. and water. not a bad dinner i think.
and later on i resisted the urge to have a glass of wine, sticking to water all night instead.
also, no smoking.
no working out either, but i did do some walking during the day.
excercise: some light walking. smoking: no. (yay!) water: lots. beverages: 2 coffees and 1 bottle of vitamin water. food: two breakfast bagels, spinach roti, and spinach salad.
-i should have either gone to the gym or a later yoga class. -one whole wheat bagel is okay for breakfast, but not two. (and i don't really need cheese and bacon on there. just an egg should be fine.) -happy that i didn't smoke. -also happy that i stuck to water, and resisted the urge to have a glass of wine.
another dream i had, this one a few weeks ago, but i don't think i've told you about it yet, so here it is...
i'm standing outside, talking to two police officers, both of them male (for some reason, i am thinking of the two cops from 'superbad,' but this is most likely after the fact). it's daylight. we're standing sort of in between two police cruisers, that are parked at an angle, towards each other, nose to nose. on the roof of each car, is a large rack, where they are collecting plastic water bottles. we're having a conversation about some new drug that people are using, involving plastic water bottles, and specifically, a friend of mine who they are worried about, someone who i am close to, who is using this drug, and they are asking me if i can help. next thing i know, i am in an apartment, and there is a small party going on. i look around, and people are wearing helmets. what look like the type of helmets an air force pilot would wear, with the oxygen masks attached to them, and the hoses from the masks attached to water bottles. people are breathing in this drug. i put on my own helmet, but it is different than everyone elses. the helmet i put on is a full-faced racing helmet - the type that would be worn by a motorcycle or race car driver. there is no mask/hose/bottle attachment. when i put the helmet on, it is like i am in space - though still very much aware that i am sitting in this apartment, wearing this helmet. but i can see stars, nebulae, space dust cloud formations, galaxies, etc., and i hear classical music. it's beautiful. breathtaking. then i take my helmet off, and see the other people in their air force/mask/hose/bottle helmets and i realize that i am quite happy with my own helmet, and that i don't need to try theirs, though it has been offered...
i think this one is pretty obvious, especially considering the things i've been working on lately... the attempted lifestyle overhaul i've been going through, getting away from the bad food/drinking/smoking/drugs and focusing on eating better, yoga, excercising, meditating, etc. whatever is in those bottles, i don't need it anymore. and i don't need to keep trying any "new" things like that either. totally sober, i can see the stars, and hear the music...
this was a beautiful dream, that i am thankful for.
(i also wonder about the significance of the whole "helmet" thing, as i grew up in a household that was full of helmets. both of my parents had been race car drivers, along with many of my uncles. my father still raced when i was a child, so, growing up, we often spent weekends in our summers, travelling to race tracks such as shannonville and mosport to watch my father race. also, my brothers and i all grew up driving racing go-karts, so, from as early as i can remember, i was wearing a helmet, and racing helmets were always around...)
last night i had a dream that i was in a studio in somebody's apartment, and they kept playing me different beats, and i kept freestyling lyrics over them... rhyming, singing, doing it all, in different styles, even imitating other rappers' styles at times (i remember doing one freestyle in the style of the alkaholiks) and the crazy thing is, even in my sleep, i was freestyling real words. it was crazy, i woke up and for a few brief seconds i could even remember some of the rhymes that i had said. but, like most things from dreamland, when you wake up you can only glimpse a few faint wisps as they fade away...
still, it felt pretty great.
i love freestyling dreams. ciphering with one's subconscious...
you ever notice when you change something in your body chemistry, you get really crazy dreams for a while?
try it. quit smoking. or start. quit drinking. or start. take away or add anything significant to your intake and your dreams will change. at least for a few days.
last night i was in an apartment. there was some sort of a party going on. there were lockers in the kitchen. each one had a different weapon in it. but they were mostly toy weapons. or broken weapons. i was locked in the kitchen. i had locked myself in. the people in the other room were trying to get me. i hid in a closet. a child opened the closet. the door to the other room opened. i picked up a bow to fire into the doorway to stop them from coming in, but i had no arrows. earlier i had been stepping in a litter box without realizing it and somebody had said something to me. now i am crouching down, on the kitchen floor, looking at a kitten. my kitten. it has been accidentally poisoned. it is unconscious. i am talking to it, petting it, crying, hoping it wakes up. it does. it is groggy. i am told that i have to keep it awake. if it falls asleep again it will mostly likely die...
so i decided, at the top of this year, this was going to be "the year i get my life together."
if you've been reading, then you know i've been struggling with quitting smoking, working on eating better, did the moksha yoga 30-day challenge in february. after looking into a few different gyms, i finally decided on joining goodlife, and went in a couple of weeks ago to sign up. i opted to set up six sessions with a personal trainer, to get me started, as i have no idea how to find my way around in the gym. i don't have the slightest clue where to start, what to do, how to do it, for how long, and how often. so i go in, to meet with "jason," my trainer, and i had to fill out what i thought was some standard "rate your health" type of form. well, goodlife is a big company, with i'm sure a number of big-time lawyers who make sure everything is all legal-like. so, when i stupidly checked the wrong couple of boxes on the form, indicating that i had some slight joint issues, i was told that i wouldn't be allowed to start working out until i got the OK from my doctor.
can't you just give me another copy of that form and i'll check the other box instead?
nope. sorry. it's a legality issue...
fast forward two weeks, i booked down to london last week for a quick physical with my doctor (thanks for squeezing me in), and i'm back at the gym with my signed consent form.
i started on monday. got a basic walk through the circuit training machines. biceps. triceps. quads. delts. abs. etc., starting and finishing with some time on the bike. felt pretty good after. i'm still feeling it in my muscles.
i'm hoping to alternate gym days with yoga days, but shitty, i didn't get up in time yesterday to make it to the noon yoga class. (doesn't help that i didn't get home from work until 4:30am - i need a new job, but that's a different story...)
anyway, i'm working with jason on developing a program for me. he took my weight, height, bmi, blood pressure, etc., and we discussed my goals.
he's also got me keeping a food journal. i'm a little embarassed to hand it over to him at this point. i can do better. i WILL do better.
my motivation? i've got a picture of myself on my wall from three summers ago. i was about 20 pounds lighter. i swore i'd never let this happen. not that i'm mega obese or anything, but shit, i just know how much BETTER i feel in life without carrying around that extra few pounds. more energy. more agile. lighter. taller. happier...
so, my goals, as i discussed with my trainer, are the following:
1. just to BE healthier. -this will obviously come from a combination of excercise, better eating, and overall lifestyle changes.
2. to lose 20 pounds. -right now, i'm hovering around in the 190-195 range. i'd like to get down to 175 and see how that feels. maybe at that point, i'll want to go further, or maybe that will be enough.
3. to quit smoking for GOOD. -this one is on me. it's a fight. i'm fighting it. but it's not good enough to be fighting it. you have to be winning it, ALL THE TIME. or else you lose.
4. to achieve better muscle definition. -this can only come from making 'em burn. burn, baby, burn...
i'm sure i'll think of more things i want to accomplish (learning french - and the guitar - are two that spring to mind, but that's another story), but more on that later. for now, i'm going to start keeping a log of my progress on here for you. starting later today when i get home from my second session with my trainer.
i'll be checking in daily with my weight, what excercises i'm doing, and what i'm eating/drinking, in hope that some of you will remind me to lay off the ciders after work, as they surely aren't helping.
i'll be taking pictures of myself, to note the changes in my body (yeah, right now i'm a "before" hoping to become an "after"), as well as taking pictures of the things i eat and drink.
i don't know if anyone will even read this - or care - but just the very act of putting it out there will make me that much more aware of everything on a daily basis. i just know it.
okay, i'm off... gotta get my shorts on and head to the gym... just going to finish my coffee first...
sure, just like every other day. but no, it has to be. do you hear me? it HAS to be.
an open letter to myself:
quit fucking around and get your shit together. those cigarettes are going to KILL you. those chicken wings are going to KILL you. that third beer - the one that leads to the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventeenth ones - is going to KILL you.
make the commitment, to yourself, and share it with your friends. open yourself to the universe, and the people in it. to LOVE. compassion. discipline. commitment.
you are so much more than you are currently allowing yourself to be. and frankly, it makes yourself sick.
it's starts NOW... it starts NOW... it starts NOW... it starts NOW...
these are some new lyrics, i hope you enjoy them. if you'd like to hear the demo of the song, shoot me an email (i don't want to post it up here, but don't mind sharing it with a few friends...)
"waiting for jamie." lyrics by ryan somers aka fritz tha cat [(c) 2009 seriously, don't bite it.]
if this is the first day of the rest of my life, i might as well climb up and take a dive, and do a couple flips, and try to jack knife, and even if i belly-flop, at least i tried, a thief in the night? nah, in broad daylight, i'll take what i need, right, make it mine, take my time, 'cause really there's no rush, no ifs, ands, or buts, there's only do, no try, do you know why? i'm thinking only the gods do, so many people in this world try to con you, look at my finger, no, look at the moon, well, what do we have here? there is no spoon, and this ain't no tune about "do what i do," like i was painting cherry blossoms and writing haikus, truth to truth is, only you can be you, and if i can be me for a minute, then i'll be fine too...
when i was trying to find you, i wasn't sure where to look, you're an unlisted number, the world's a telephone book, my fingers kept walking, for so long, they collapsed, woke up beside you, they started to dance, i got into a groove, kept it smooth like slimkid, jack and jill went up the hill and wrote a dirty limerick, sipped some fine whisky, kissed, hide the hickies, slipped and fell, slid down, feeling kinda dizzy, i missed you for a minute, then i regained consciousness, dug a well in heart, and found it was bottomless, so maybe i oughta just, follow you around, for a while, i like your style, plus you think profound things, to make me sing loud, laughing, i'm clowning, court jester turned crowned king, hey, so how's things? i think i'm doing pretty good, pretty lady, finally, judging by the clouds, and their many silver linings...
like ivy, climbing on brick, like the time ticks, like a fine mist, like wondering "do i exist?," maybe i might just, get it, before it gets me, so stealthy, this thing called empty, maybe the weaponry we've been using is all wrong? maybe we've all been singing the wrong songs? a call to arms, against invisible foes, i fire invisible arrows, i wonder where do they go? well, maybe they know, and maybe they don't, i won't put my faith in hearsay and say-so, say it ain't play, though i doubt it's much more than that, think about the plotlines, characters, format, the whole stage show, it's all for their benefit, a puppet on a string, like what to say, where to fit into the whole thing? i wonder who's writing it, i'll see inside the author's mind, when i just stop fighting it...
[this is the last song i wrote for the new OK COBRA album. matter of fact, i didn't even write it for this album. i spent the first two months of 2009 getting all my songs together for the album. thought i was finished. a day or two before i flew up to montreal to record, i woke up one day and wrote these lyrics in about 20 minutes. (i LOVE it when that happens!) in montreal, on our last day in the studio, we had finished everything we had set out to do, and had a couple of hours to kill. hanging out with mike, paula, and owain, taking some photos, sipping on jameson's, tim started playing a few beats, and i pulled out my notebook... "hey tim, i wrote this a couple of days ago, wanna try it out?" so we did, and i think it's my favourite thing we did for the record...]
i haven't been writing on here much lately. i can't really say i've been doing all that much at all, really. just working, and sleeping. sleeping lots. and watching lots of movies. TONS of movies. i've probably watched about 200 movies over the last four months. city of ghosts. apocalypse now. best in show. the last samurai. w. dogma. garden state. blow. sideways. rescue dawn. eyes wide shut. parenthood. sheepshit.
(thought i'd throw that one in there...)
(i'm not gonna lie to you, it was a bit of an exciting moment for me, when sean emailed me that link... "dude, we're on IMDB...")
(hopefully more to come on that front...)
so yeah, what's been happening?
well, i'm back in toronto.
but you probably knew that already. it's been a while. i can't really remember what i've told you and what i haven't gotten around to telling you yet.
working at a bar. it's called the *****. come by and say hello sometime.
i started doing yoga. did 30 days straight. it was amazing. i haven't been in a week or so. i gotta get back to it. been sick this whole week. stomach cramps. haven't been able to sleep. nausea. spent about three days straight in the bathroom.
i went to montreal a month or so. finished recording all my vocals for the new OK COBRA album. it's going to be called ***** *****. i should have more info for you soon. timbo's working on the mixes. should have a rough mix of the album in a month or so. then we just gotta spit-polish a few things and send it off.
i'll fill you in as i find out what's going on.
can't believe it's been three years since we put out the last album. feels like yesterday. feels like 100 years ago.
i'm excited to get some new music out there.
got some other projects in the works now too. more on that later.
for now? well, trying to stay committed to making a few changes. "lifestyle overhaul" sort of thing. staying away from the drugs. barely drinking these days. quitting smoking (it's a process, working in a bar makes it tough). yoga. hitting the gym. walks/jogs along the lake path.
i hope you're doing well.
want to hear a sneak preview of a new demo we're working on?
let me know, maybe i'll post something up here...
take care of yourselves, it's a big world out there, i just want to swim in as much of it as i can...