100 Cool Things #029: Words that are their own opposites

Go here for a list of words that are their own opposites. My favourite: Left, as in “Now that’s he’s left the room I guess we’re the only ones left in it”. Also very happy with Resign, as in, “Contract negotiations are coming up, I can’t decide whether or not I want to resign or resign.”




Friday Fictioneers: Folk Song


And now a little something from my new album, Hippy Folk Rubbish:

He’s got dolphins on his windows
And beads in his hair.
He’s never washed his undies
So they are barely there.

He preaches a-bout love
And tolerance and peace.
He’s had so much free love
That’s he’s got a rude disease.

His house is nice and big
So at least he isn’t homeless.
His garden is unadorned
So I guess that he is gnome-less.

He plays the bongos in the nude
And scares away the birds
And the awful stories that he writes
Are only a hundred words.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Friday Fictioneers: Camp

adamickes-childsbootsAnd on the last night of summer camp we kissed. My heart tumbled like rocks down a hill. I felt like I was twenty stories tall and strong like a herd of elephants.

My hair stood on end and my blood fizzed like it was coca-cola.

I worried that if we stopped I would float away, leaving nothing but the love of my life and a pair of boots waiting for me on the ground.

When camp was over we never saw each other again but now, years later, I still have those boots.

And I still have that kiss.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Another Friday Fictioneers story with prompt supplied by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Muhammad Ali and Mindfulness

In my previous post about Nelson Mandela I mentioned an article about Muhammad Ali that I had read when I was younger.

It took a minute but I tracked down the original article to find out someone’s name and ended up reading the whole thing. (Which you can do here and I urge you to do it because it’s awesome.)

But first:

My wife practices meditation and mindfulness. She suffers from Crohn’s Disease and a few years ago had a major flare up that lasted nearly a year. During this time she would be in extreme pain after most meals, become exhausted if she had an idea too quickly and was generally miserable all the time (happily, a bout of surgery and TLC have kept her in remission ever since). During this period (or, The Darkness as it is known in Fallon household) Fi discovered mindfulness and the works of John Kabat Zinn.

And it probably kept her sane throughout The Darkness. She learnt about pain management and how to avoid losing hope in what seemed like a hopeless situation.

Mindfulness is all about staying in the here and now, living in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or future.

A problem I suffer from quite a bit.

I dwell too much on the past, less than I used to, but still too much. There are still people in my past who I will think about and it makes me mad. There are half-had arguments that, to me, need finishing that I’m sure the other person has forgotten about.

And also I spend too much time worrying about the future or thinking about the amazing things I’ll do and buy when I’m rich. For a time it really hurt my writing, because I became focused upon how the writing would be a source of money for me and my wife later in my life rather than something that I enjoyed doing.


The article that I read about Ali, I first read it in a magazine when it came out in 2003. Ten years ago, I sat in the back of my dad’s car as my parents drove me back to university. I remembered that anecdote about Mandela and the bit about Ali in the gym. Boxing was a passion of mine around that time but it was more about watching old fights than new ones. Later, the onset of YouTube meant that my dad could sit me down and show me some of the old fights he had told me about, while we drank beer and cheered on Sugar Ray Leonard. I also remembered thinking that if I ever wanted to meet Mandela (and I really wanted to) I would need to get something done because he wasn’t going to come to me.

For some reason reading that article, an article about an aging champion, and reading it today of all days had me thinking that I need to be more mindful. I worry too much about the past and I worry too much about the future and dying and all those heady things that there’s no point dwelling on all the time.

I picked up some mindfulness stuff accidentally from reading Infinite Jest, which came in handy when I was getting my tattoo and kept thinking about the part of the book where the author writes that “no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable”. Turns out that is mindfulness.

Other than that though I still practice Oscar speeches for the movies of the books I have yet to write and dwell on the time that some dickhead from school said some kind of thing that school dickheads say.

So I think, in the spirit of living in the here and now, I am going to make being more mindful my new years resolution for 2014.

And here’s some Ali to play us out.


One of my first memories was being at my nan’s house with my mum and dad watching the telly and it just showing a very long road and a lot of people waiting for a car to arrive.

I had no idea what was going on but my dad told me it was something important. After a while, and, because I was five or six, a while could have been ten hours or it could have been half an hour, a black car pulled up and Nelson and Winnie Mandela got out. At the time it meant nothing to me but it stuck in my memory and it is embedded there, never to move or be replaced. A story that I can proudly tell every time Mandela comes up in conversation

It is sad today to read about Mandela dying but at the same time we have to be happy to have shared the Earth with such a lion of a man.

A quick Mandela story I read a few years ago. Muhammad Ali was visiting South Africa and was a guest of honour at a speech Mandela was giving. The Champ, stiricken with Parkinson’s, took his seat on the stage and listened to the speeches. Eventually, Mandela introduced a man named Cyril Ramaphosa, who was dubbed the architect of the new South Africa. When the man took the stage, Ali struggled to rise from his seat and Mandela, the ultimate diplomat, said, ‘My friend, sit, he is young, he can come to us.’

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Nelson Mandela.