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Niclas Thorsteinsson – Tunesmith and Performer

Category: Bubble Boy

It’s Alive.

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The crazy times are over for now. I’m still reeling a bit from an insane September-October schedule, but things have finally calmed down to manageable degrees. 

So what did I learn from my Bubble experiment? Well, not that much really since I just had to take care of what happened to be in front of me. I did manage to get rid of my bout of light gaming addiction and have put my console up for sale. I have a limited number a spare hours in my day and I’m sure as hell not going to spend them on a media with such bland and derived plots. I have yet to find a video game that comes even remotely close to reading a good novel. So console and phone games are out. I’ll stick to board games with my friends, thank you very much. 

I’ve decided to remove the ‘goals’ section from this site. There are plenty of good and interesting bucket list blogs out there, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I’ve been working daily on a music project for the last week so things are picking up. We’ll be recording some new Reverends songs rather soon. The finances are in order and we’re having a good time rehearsing. More on that later. 

What else? Olivia is nine months already, crawling all over the place, pulling out books and she has a special affinity for any kind of electrical wiring. This is good. 

Day 23 – Realizations and changes

dark_clouds

As previously mentioned, it’s becoming blatantly obvious that I have way too much to do.

The Bubble itself, or rather the abstinence part of it, is going ok. I am not watching any TV or Netflix by myself and am not playing any video games. There has been a bit of mindless surfing, usually stemming from me searching for specific information which I need to complete a task and then forgetting all about the Bubble. But forgetting is allowed as long as I don’t continue when I realize what I am doing. No need to get any more anal retentive than I already am. 

So, with the absense of Netflix binging and gaming, I have oodles of free time, right?  Apparently not. The extra time I freed up was rapidly overtaken by all manners of stuff. First, both my jobs seemed to go apeshit this september with a mountain of things to do. Secondly, my choir, Tarira, had extra rehearsals due to an upcoming concert. My band The Reverends is becoming more active (we’ll be recording three new songs in the very near future) and Annvør and I have had a lot of meetings and mails to write on behalf of our teenager Ári (who has infantile autism). All this while taking care of Olivia, our eight month old. So things seem to be happening all at once this September. Due to stress, I, in an act of profound stupidity, began smoking again. I haven’t smoked for about a year, and will now have to spend a few weeks getting rid of that particular addiction. Allen Carr, ’nuff said. Come to think of it, I started smoking again last September as well. I guess I don’t handle stress very gracefully and become way too whiny.  One cup of stoicism, please. Anyway, I’m just putting out fires at the moment, but have taken a few steps in the right direction, which I’ll explain in detail soon. I intend to continue the Bubble, with a few changes, into October as well.

Bubble Boy Day 1 to 4 – Aaaand we’re off.

Mr Rehearsal

Day 1 Thursday

Got up at 6:30 a.m. and did my morning routine. Arrived at work at 7 a.m. (my job is 5 minutes away) and worked till 3 p.m. Went home, took care of a few errands and ate an early dinner. Rehearsed with The Reverends from 5 to 7.30 p.m (we have a biker gig on Saturday). Came home, ate, looked after Olivia who was throwing fits left and right. I think she’s going through a difficult period. After the kids had gone to bed, Annvør and I chose photos for this large 21 picture photo frame we want in our living room.  With the luxury of choosing 21 photos we thought we had an easy task ahead of us. Ehm, no. But we got there in the end. Hopefully, our various relatives won’t feel too slighted by our choice of pictures or by being left out. Oh, what tangled webs and all that.

As previously stated, I haven’t committed to any specific tasks yet and have only made a list of what I’m allowed to and not allowed to do, just to see if anything productive will develop naturally. I don’t have any high hopes of that happening, so by next week I’ll start demanding a bit more from myself. The weekend is full of birthday preparations, gigs and work. I’ll update this post as the days go by. Thirty individual daily posts would just be annoying.

What else? Kris Kristoffersen is in town. I’ve seen him in concert before and haven’t really had time to go this time around. The man is 80 and making the rounds all over the islands. With a cold, even. We’re all mightily impressed down here. Gotta love the guy.

 

Day 2 Friday

Ári sprained his ankle a few days ago and could barely walk this morning so he’s definitely going seeing a doctor.

…and for some reason it’s been next to impossible to get a doctor’s appointment lately  (I’m looking at you, Miðlon) so Ári won’t see a doctor till Monday.

What else? I made brownies, bought stuff for my birthday, rehearsed for three hours with The Reverends and did a whole bunch of maintenance stuff. Long day.

 

Day 3 Saturday 

My birthday. Annvør and I spent the whole morning preparing and then we had our closest relatives over for brunch at 11 a.m. I always prefer a small party over a large gathering where I don’t have time to talk to everyone. So definitely cozy time. Afterwards I went down for a sound check and subsequent gig with The Reverends. Went great and we had fun. I might get a hold of a few photos later.

 

Day 4 Sunday

Slightly hung over when I woke up, since I had a few beers last night. It passed quickly and Annvør and I had breakfast and played with Olivia. Had a shift from 12 – 8 p.m.  Devilishly tired when I got home and am now heading for bed at 10 p.m. since I’m getting up at 6.30 tomorrow.

Bubble Boy – My Simulated Cabin in the Woods for September

OmaLike so many others, I have a silly, romantic fascination with the idea of artistic retreats. Going to a remote place, breathing in nature and producing dazzling works of art. It worked for Thoreau, Kerouac, Bon Iver and so many others french sounding creatives, right? Well, I’m a working family man with a newborn and a special needs teenager, so I have neither the time nor the finances to do anything of the sort.

Hence, meet Bubble Boy, my virtual retreat. Why and how does that work? Well, me hearties, first I had to ask myself what do I want to be doing from here on out? And then do that. It’s not that simple, of course. Life happens. Work happens. But it’s not that far off either, hmm? No.

For me, a short answer to the question above would be: I want to realize my creative ideas, do the best I can for my family, become a reader (vs. absorber) again, be somewhat healthy and energetic, be adventurous, socialize and participate a bit more and give back in areas that matter to me.

So what’s stopping me? 

  • Lack of time. Lack of planning. Lack of courage. And just not doing it.

All fairly manageable—dare I say it—excuses. I can make more time by getting up earlier and also by curbing unnecessary time consuming activities. I can make a morning routine where I plan, set deadlines and follow through on my plans. And then there is courage, closely linked to procrastination, perfectionism and all that jazz. It’s a cart before the horse situation. As most productive people have figured out, you don’t sit around waiting for courage or inspiration or whatever. You just get on with it and then these things may or may not come. Either way you’re doing something. Allow yourself to suck, as someone said.

So, let me start by listing what I’m not allowed to do in September:

  • Solitary Video Gaming.
  • Internet surfing (except when I have to achieve a goal or buy something very specific online – hence, no browsing).
  • Solitary Film & TV watching. Together with friends and loved ones is OK. My gf watches very little tv, so it won’t consume much time.
  • Sleep in or stay up late. I intend to get up at 6.30 and be in bed by 10.30 PM every day.

I have somewhat of an addictive personality and whenever I feel depressed, anxious or just tired I choose the path of least resistance and begin absorbing ungodly amounts of the things mentioned above and that doesn’t jive with who I want to be.

Here’s what I’m allowing myself:

  • Music: Creating music, jamming, rehearsing.
  • Writing and blogging
  • Photography
  • Other creative projects.
  • Reading: All kindle and pocket and honest to god books made of paper.
  • Family Time.
  • Exercise. Walking, hiking, running, dancing, whatever.
  • Socializing
  • Finances
  • Plan & Organize.
  • Meditation and other relaxing activities.
  • Other necessary activities such as work, cleaning, etc.

As stated earlier, I’m also incorporating a morning routine.

So I’ll keep this going all September. I’ll check in every day and report on what and how I’m doing. The most significant changes are getting up early and removing the time wasters. I’m thinking I ought to set a quota on my daily creative pursuits (like Stephen King writing 2000 words per day without fail), but first I’ll give it a week to see if anything productive develops naturally now that I’ve removed my biggest time wasters.
This will be a learning experience and I’ll probably refine a few things along the way. Also, an absolute ban on video games, netflix and web browsing is excessive and I’ll probably return to them in October and use them as rewards instead.

 

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