All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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009. 25 Things That Make Me Happy

Yesterday, courtesy of my 365 Day Blogging Challenge, I depressed myself by writing about things that made me sad. A post that only served to remind me just how lonely and depressed I am at the moment.

Thankfully, the challenge isn’t dwelling on this, so here are twenty five things that make me happy. It’s not a complete list, but a nice cross section of the things that make me smile and feel wonderful.

1. Charles De Lint

“I finally figured out that I’m solitary by nature, but at the same time I know so many people; so many people think they own a piece of me. They shift and move under my skin, like a parade of memories that simply won’t go away. It doesn’t matter where I am, or how alone–I always have such a crowded head.”

De Lint has been my favourite author since I first discovered his work in the early naughties. An old friend I met whilst backpacking mentioned him and for months I kept my eye out for any of his books. Unfortunately, he is not widely available outside of North America and it took me nearly two years to come across one of his books. This book was Memory and Dream and I found it in a charity shop in Inverness for 50p. I carried this book around with me until 2009, when I lost it courtesy of homelessness.

I haven’t had the opportunity to read De Lint since, but if I can get back on my feet, the thought of several new books to read puts a smile on my face.

“Wondering’s healthy. Broadens the mind. Opens you up to all sorts of stray thoughts and possibilities.”

2. Jacket Potatoes (with butter, cheese, broccoli and cauliflower)

Mmmmmmm, yummy.

3. The Legend of Zelda

If I had the money I would go straight to the store and purchase a Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess so I could spend the next several days in a blissful state of ecstasy.

4. Wombats.

Just look at them. They are awesome embodied in marsupial form.

wombat

wombat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5. Articles

No, I’m not made happy by separate clauses in legal documentation, nor specific bits of clothing or household paraphernalia. I mean well written, entertaining, thought-provoking articles of journalistic, opinionistic merit.

6. This blog post from Fringewalk, because it makes me smile every time I look at it…

7. Glenfinnan

Despite it being the location of a dark moment in my life, there hasn’t been a single time I’ve visited this beautiful place when I haven’t felt pure ecstasy.

Glenfinnan. Loch Shiel and the memorial to the...

Glenfinnan. Loch Shiel and the memorial to the Jacobites. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8. The female posterior.

I’m not going to apologise for this as I don’t expect women to apologise for their own lustful desires. I happen to think the female posterior in any shape, size or form, is magnificent and you’re completely mad if you don’t

9. That moment when you realise the book you are holding is special.

We’ve all had a moment such as this. You’ve selected your book, maybe from a review or recommendation, perhaps from just browsing the shelves of you local book emporium. The cover looks interesting, the blurb intriguing, but you know not what it may contain within. As you start reading it you smile, promise yourself one more chapter, then two, four, then you realise what you’re holding is something magnificent. Something that will stay with you always.

Quest for a Kelpie – Age 8, Scotland – Under the duvet with a torch

The Crow Road – Age 21, Scotland – On the shores of Loch Shiel.

The Hotel New Hampshire – Age 21, Canada – On a train between Edmonton and Toronto.

The Stornoway Way – Age 26, Australia – Small park outside Fitzroy library.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Age 30, Australia – Kings Domain, homeless.

10. The Virgin (by Gustav Klimt):

11. Photography

If I had the money I would go straight to the store and purchase a Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess so I could spend the next several days in a blissful state of ecstasy. But before I allowed myself to be cocooned in such a state, I would swing by a camera store and buy a brand spanking new D-SLR with multiple lenses so I could reignite my passion for photography.One of my strongest emotions is how calm and focussed I am when viewed the world through the lens of a camera. Lost in my desire to capture the beauty I see to share with the world.

12. The fact that so many people have become obsessed with Forty Shade of Grey

…when Anne Rice was doing sadomasochistic erotica far better twenty odd years ago.

13. Sleepy Lizards

Just look at them. They are cuddly cuteness embodied in reptile form.

14. James Kelman

“Ye wake in a corner and stay there hoping yer body will disappear, the thoughts smothering ye; these thoughts; but ye want to remember and face up to things, just something keeps ye from doing it, why can’t ye no do it; the words filling yer head: then the other words; there’s something wrong; there’s something far far wrong; ye’re no a good man, ye’re just no a good man. Edging back into awareness, of where ye are: here, slumped in this corner, with these thoughts filling ye. And oh christ his back was sore; stiff, and the head pounding. He shivered and hunched up his shoulders, shut his eyes, rubbed into the corners with his fingertips; seeing all kinds of spots and lights. Where in the name of fuck…”

When I visit a country I have a thing where I try to read as many authors from that country as I can. During my time in Canada I read: Wharton, Cohen, Atwood, Coupland, Huff. In Australia: McGahan, Winton, Micallef, Carey, Garner, Halligan.

During my first months backpacking in Scotland I submerged myself in the works of MacKenzie, Prebble, Gray, Stevenson, Welsh, Burns, MacKay Brown, Doyle and James Kelman.

The latter of which I fell in love with. Recently, whilst browsing a Lifeline op shop, I came upon a novel called Kieron Smith, Boy and let out a small squeal of glee. A new James Kelman novel I had yet to read! I have now read it, and I love him even more.

“Parks were on the other side of the river. One was one way and the other was the other and they were both good. I liked them. Usually we went to the other. It was a big walk and ye went different roads and there were closes to go through and sometimes there were good jumps out the back. But if the other boys were there and saw ye it was a fight…”

15. Flannel Pyjamas

If I had the money I would go straight to the store and purchase a Wii and a copy of Twilight Princess so I could spend the next several days in a blissful state of ecstasy. But before I allowed myself to be cocooned in such a state, I would swing by a camera store and buy a brand spanking new D-SLR with multiple lenses so I could reignite my passion for photography. And with this camera nestled snugly in my backpack I would go to a store and buy a brand new pair of flannelette pyjamas so I could be all cosy when I returned home to play Zelda and think of what photographs to take, possibly a series illustrating how awesome pyjamas are.

16. Flanel Pyjamas (being worn by a woman)

There is nothing sexier, nothing more alluring, nothing more beguiling than a woman wearing pyjamas. Lingerie is all well and good, but in pyjamas, the female form takes on the air of mystery. What delights doth lurk beneath that shield of fabric?

The imagination, far and away the single greatest aphrodisiac known to humankind.

17. Shaun Micallef

The man is a genius, see for yourself.

18. Hugs

Who doesn’t love hugs?

English: Photo of two people hugging on free h...

19. Kisses

Depending on the circumstances, hugs will often lead here.

Kissing Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys lud...

20. Sex

Yep, hugs lead to kisses which leads to sex which leads to…

21. Going Down Under

Few things make me happier than savouring the succulent delights of Australia’s secret gardens. Horticulturally speaking, of course.

22. The Doctor Who Theme

How happy this tune makes me :) Specifically the assault of emotion that overwhelms me whenever I hear it. Memories of childhood, of teenage years, of my ex attempting to distract me from watching it by naughtily removing her clothing. Joy at being able to visit strange new worlds and befriend wonderful new people. Bliss at the dialogue and plots the writers weave. Frustration at The Beast Below. Pure unadulterated hate at The Horns of Nimon. Confusion over why Tom Baker is so beloved when Troughton and Tennant are far superior. Speculation over how brilliant Colin Baker could have been if not lumbered with such a ridiculous outfit and atrocious scripts. Lust over Amy, Sarah, Ace, Victoria, Nyssa and Zoe. Oh, what a terrible place this world would be without this show.

23. To Write Love on Her Arms

A non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide.  TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

24. Skittles

25. Comments

What? Comments make me happy. So why not bring some happiness to a guy’s life and tell me the things that make you happy? How else will I know how to bring joy to your life?


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My Life in Movies

An idea I “borrowed” from another blog. Not ripped-off as Van Sant did with Psycho, but paid homage to, like 97.3% of filmmakers have done with It’s a Wonderful Life.

Below is a list of my favourite movie from every year I’ve been alive; 1978 until 2011. I’m fairly sure some will be laughed at, reasonably positive others will be agreed with and at least one that will have you thinking I’m taking the piss! I’m not, by the way.

I’ve also added a few near misses to illustrate just how hard it is to pick a single film from each year.

So go get your popcorn ready as the feature is about to begin…

Watership Down (film)1978 – Watership Down
Just missing out: Superman, The Buddy Holly Story and Days of Heaven.

This animated gem wins out the award because it is one of the few films that genuinely freaks me out. My parents – bless ‘em – made me watch this as a youngster and the feuding rabbits have scared the crap out of me ever since. Cue empathy with Buffy’s Anya.

1979 – Alien
Just missing out: Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Apocalypse Now and Manhattan
One of my favourite science fiction films of all time. Ian Holm is adorable, the design incredible, the direction, perfect. The reason this beat Life of Brian is simple; I wanted to have Monty Python and the Holy Grail but alas I was not born in time.

1980 – Superman II
Just missing out: Fame, Flash Gordon and The Elephant Man
Until Spider-Man 2 came out this was my favourite superhero film of all time. In my opinion it’s better written, more assured, funnier and just plain superior to the original. I was so tempted to have Flash Gordon win purely because of its camp genius (Timothy Dalton, that torture scene, Brian Blessed) but alas, nothing could best Superman this year.

1981 – Gregory’s Girl
Just missing out: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Das Boot and Time Bandits
One of my favourite films of all time, and easily my second favourite Scottish film of all time. However much I love Indy’s debut adventure, this gem of a movie will always remain close to my heart.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

1982 – Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Just missing out: Poltergeist, Fanny and Alexander, E.T and The Dark Crystal
One of the absolute best 80s movies. What with stars Nic Cage, Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Phoebe Cates (swoon) all nailing it and the great Cameron Crowe on writing duties, this is easily one of the greatest flicks ever!

1983 – Local Hero
Just missing out: Videodrome, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life and Wargames
Nothing could beat this film. Until 1999 it was my favourite film of all time and to this day continues to hold the number two slot firmly. Everything about this film – from the beautiful location filming, to Peter Capaldi, to Bill Forsyth’s spot-on direction to Mark Knopfler’s superb soundtrack – is perfect.

1984 – The Karate Kid
Just missing out: Gremlins, Nausicaa: of the valley of the wind and Amadeus
The film that began my lifelong obsession with Elisabeth Shue and a film that saw me get into lots of trouble as I roamed around the house kicking and chopping things. A true classic.

The Goonies

1985 – The Goonies
Just missing out: Back to the Future, The Sure Thing, Young Sherlock Holmes and The Breakfast Club
The greatest family movie ever made. If you’ve seen it, you’ll understand, if you haven’t, you’ve never lived.

1986 – Blue Velvet
Just missing out: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Great Mouse Detective, Highlander and Mona Lisa
The great David Lynch doing what he does best. Not a difficult choice this year, despite strong cult competition, the birth of my Highlander love, animated mice and quality British drama.

1987 – The Year My Voice Broke
Just missing out: The Untouchables, Raising Arizona, The Living Daylights and Babette’s Feast
One of the greatest little-known Australian films ever made.

1988 – My Neighbour Totoro
Just missing out: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Short Circuit 2, A Cry in the Dark and Eight Men Out
What can I say about My Neighbour Totoro that wouldn’t make me sound like a gushing idiot? I adore, cherish, worship and love this film unreservedly. Easily the greatest animated movie of all time there is not a single cel, second or syllable that I don’t adore. From the dust bunnies to the Cat bus, from the Hisaishi’s score to the greatest female character in animated history; everything about this movie screams perfection.

Cover of

1989 – Say Anything…
Just missing out: Back to the Future II, The Little Mermaid and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
I got as far as Indiana Jones and the La…before I realized that Say Anything was released this year and I couldn’t hit backspace quickly enough. Crowe’s greatest film, Cusack’s greatest film, that scene, the “I have hidden your keys!” scene, Frasier’s dad and that beautiful ending. Oh my, this film is divine.

1990 – Pump Up The Volume
Just missing out: Back to the Future III, The Witches, La Femme Nikita and Wild at Heart
Two words: Samantha Mathis. I used to have this entire film memorized and ready to real off to anyone who’d listen. Love the themes, love the acting, love the fact that it introduced me to Leonard Cohen. Love Samantha Mathis’ br…illant performance.

1991 – Slacker
Just missing out: Barton Fink, The Fisher King, Naked Lunch, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Beauty and the Beast
The film that introduced me to the beauty that is independent film-making. It was also my introduction to Richard Linklater and showed me that film could do so much more than just tell a simple A to B to C story. I haven’t seen this film for years but have missed it like I do my old friends.

1992 – Strictly Ballroom
Just missing out: Chaplin, Bob Roberts, Batman Returns and The Player
Second best Australian film ever.

Dazed and Confused

1993 – Dazed and Confused
Just missing out: Benny and Joon, Jurassic Park, Farewell My Concubine, In the Line of Fire and Schindler’s List.
Another classic film from the great Richard Linklater; amazing soundtrack, great period detail, fantastic performances. It’s just bloody wonderful. Jurassic Park came so close to winning this but not even CGI dinosaurs and Dickie Attenborough can beat the cast of this film.

1994 – Exotica
Just missing out: Leon, The Madness of King George, Natural Born Killers and Quiz Show
An odd choice, I’ll admit, but this film has always held a spell over me. Picked up one day in the video shop I worked in I couldn’t help but be transfixed by the visuals and feel Egoyan created with his marvelous direction. A sadly little seen gem.

1995 – Se7en
Just missing out: Before Sunrise, Braveheart, The City of Lost Children, Empire Records and Living in Oblivion.
So many wonderful films this year but how could Se7en not triumph? Easily my favourite serial killer movie, easily my third favourite David Fincher and a film I can watch over, and over, and over, and over…

1996 – Box of Moonlight
Just missing out: Beautiful Girls, Crash and Romeo & Juliet, Love and Other Catastrophes and Hamlet.
Best film ‘few have ever heard of’ ever made. This is a film everyone should watch. Beautifully written (it was the first screenplay I ever purchased) and delightfully performed by acting legends Jon Tuturro and Sam Rockwell. I so wish this film was more widely known, but in a way I’m glad it isn’t, for it is just mine. For your information, this year was the hardest to decide as I adore every film (almost) equally.

1997 – Grosse Pointe Blank
Just missing out: Chasing Amy, Lolita, Lost Highway, Princess Mononoke and Funny Games
There is nothing I can say to justify this choice other than – c’mon people, how could you not love this film?

1998 – The Thin Red Line
Just missing out: Pleasantville, Run Lola Run, Rushmore, Last Night and The Last Days of Disco
I watched this movie in the cinema beside the video store I used to work at after a shift one day. I’m not the most ardent war movie fan but this film has haunted me for years and will no doubt continue to do so until I die. After watching The New World with an old-friend she declared her surprise at how there was a war film made in much the same style; something I myself had thought upon leaving the cinema in a blissful trance many years earlier.

1999 – Fight Club
Just missing out: Existenz, Magnolia and New Waterford Girl.
The film that knocked Local Hero from my favourite movie of all-time top spot. A movie of the like we will never see again. Pure perfection.

2000 – Almost Famous
Just missing out: High Fidelity, Battle Royale, The Dish and Wonder Boys
Cameron Crowe’s second greatest film and one so magnificent I fail to understand how people don’t like it. From the beautiful Tiny Dancer sing-along to the in-flight conversation this film reeks of brilliance. It does no harm to have a cracking soundtrack, the beautiful Kate Hudson and the best deleted scene in the history of DVD deleted scenes either.

2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Just missing out: Moulin Rouge, Amelie, Waking Life and Ghost World.
I saw this film on the same day as my girlfriend only at different times. She was seeing it as part of work, I needed to see it the moment it started screening. In the two hours I waited for her after the movie I was lost in a world so marvelously realized, so beautifully created I nearly missed her when she exited. As we bathed when we were home we waxed lyrical our love of this film until long after the water was cold.

Secretary (film)

2002 – Secretary
Just missing out: Spider-Man, Talk to Her, Y Tu Mama Tambien and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The existence of this film gives me hope for intelligent romantic drama. It is also a film I have a famously documented love/hate relationship with. I love (beyond reason) Maggie Gyllenhaal’s pitch-perfect performance, I love the subject matter and I love Shainberg’s direction. But my hatred of the psychological justification always (always) angers me. Hence love and hate in equal measure.

2003 – Young Adam
Just missing out: Thirteen, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Kill Bill and Bad Eggs
I saw this for the first time during the Melbourne International Film Festival with a friend of my then girlfriend.  She thought it interesting, I thought it amazing. I had never read the book before this but tracked it down after scouring every single bookshop in the Melbourne area and devoured it. From the fly to the mood to the characters to that scene it easily earns its mantle as greatest literary adaptation ever.

2004 – Shaun of the Dead
Just missing out: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Spider-Man 2 and Before Sunset
So why is my favourite superhero movie not top dog? Why is the low key Paris set motion picture not winning out? Why is the magnificent dream based movie not the film of the year? Because, umm, it’s Shaun of the Dead, and easily the greatest thing ever made starring Dylan Moran and zombies.

2005 – The Descent
Just missing out: Sin City, Serenity, Batman Begins and Look Both Ways.
Best. Horror movie. Ever! And, yes, it is better than Batman Begins because I say it is!

2006 – Stranger than Fiction
Just missing out:  Pan’s Labyrinth, Happy Feet and Ten Canoes.
It had me with bunch of flours. Plus, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and a beautiful original script of the like we’ll never see again.

2007 – Zodiac
Just missing out: No Country for Old Men, Hot Fuzz, Knocked Up, Transformers, Enchanted and The Orphanage.
A tough year to decide. But this true story was so impeccably made and I love it so deeply that the only serious competition came from the Pegg/Frost/Wright genius of Hot Fuzz and the Amy Adams brilliance of Enchanted.

2008 – The Dark Knight
Just missing out: Prince Caspian, The Spiderwick Chronicles, My Year Without Sex and Balibo.
Do I really need to justify this?

2009 – Bandslam
Just missing out: Crazy Heart, Inglourious Basterds, Watchmen, Monsters vs Aliens, Star Trek and (500) Days of Summer.
Do I really need to justify this?
*looks around*
Okay, I loved Watchmen, I did, but that lost because of the AWFUL sex scene. I cherished Star Trek, but that lost because Rachel Nichols didn’t get much to do. I adored (500) Days for the writing and that scene where Han Solo makes an appearance. I think Crazy Heart deserved all the acclaim it received and Monsters vs Aliens is one of the best CGI films ever. As for Inglorious Basterds, aside from Kill Bill, it’s really the only Tarantino film I can stomach and came so…so…close to winning but…it’s Bandslam! Greatest first kiss scene ever! Vanessa Hudgens! Crazy ska version of Everything I Own. Vanessa Hudgens. A very underrated screenplay. The bit where she falls into the fence by the tree. Yep, Hudgens whips Tarantino’s ass for me this year.

2010 – Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Just missing out: The Social Network, The Fighter and The Killer Inside Me
I wrote about this film here. Not even the great David Fincher or unsettling brilliance of Winterbottom can outshine this movie.

2011 – Super 8
Just missing out: Sucker Punch, Thor and The Tree of Life
This was one of only two films I saw in 2011 and the other was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Umm, this one is much, much, better!

So, over to you…thoughts, opinions, movie recommendations? I’d love to hear them.