What’s been going on?
Hello, fine people. You may have noticed the recent lull of Mr Oh blog activity. I’ve been kind of busy as I am lucky enough to have become a dad for the second time very recently. I now have a second daughter, Lana, who is a bundle of joy. As a result, I have had less time to draw. Nappies and wotnot!
However, it has given me space to think about Mr Oh and come up with lots of ideas, so I wanted to update anyone still reading (bless you, you loyal lovelies) as to what’s on the horizon.
Essentially, through the blog so far, I have been posting all different types of cartoons: self development, off-beat, character-led comics…After reflection, I am now going to endeavour to take it on a new, more focused direction. I’m going to give TipTop a go and create a focused TipTop website via wordpress.org and a new theme. Also, I want to create enough content in advance so that there is a constant trickle, rather than any embarrassing lulls. Essentially, I guess it’s a bit of a relaunch but I see it as a development from what I’ve learnt so far and an attempt to get more loyal readers who may like TipTop specifically.
What’s the site going to be like and when’s it coming?
In the new TipTop site, there’ll be cartoons about parenting, Health & well-being, Uncle Bob, and general quirkyness, all hopefully held together by the characters.
I’m also trying to develop my drawing and colouring with new software and equipment to up the quality as best I can.
Down the line, I also want to incorporate recordings of songs I’ve written with the characters too. It’s all too much excitement for my little head so one step at a time!
I’ve got a fair bit of work ahead of me to make this fly, and with fatherhood and a busy teaching job to manage, I don’t want to kill myself getting thing live. Still, the passion is there, so I will work hard to get things going and hope to have something for viewage before too long!
I’ll keep you posted here on developments if you would like to track my progress and let you know when it’s ready. I am using twitter a fair bit if you would like to say Hi. I’m @MrOhComic
Thanks so much for staying with Mr Oh thusfar and hope your world is good. I hope you’ll keep in my loop and stay tooned,
Mr Oh x
Yoga is The Juice. Can’t be TipTop without it!
What is the “go to activity” that gets you mentally and physically in the zone?
Next week: how to prepare for parenthood, TipTop style.
This was inspired by a recent Radio 2 interview with none other than Art Garfunkel. In this rare interview, amazingly, even in this day and age, Garfunkel mentioned that he has never owned a mobile phone or computer. As such, he said he feels “untethered”.
He also talked of how much he enjoys walking. So much so, that he’s already walked round every State of America. Plus, he’s currently walking round Europe I believe.
I’m not suggesting we should all be like him and not own phones or computers. I love my i-Phone and besides, where would we be without computers? However, I am keen to promote a return to basics: Fresh Air is The Don at helping us feel good, and a balance has to be healthy. So let’s remember that the next time we are craning our necks or squinting our eyes at a screen, or feeling cabin feverish at our work desks.
And here’s to you, Mr Garfunkel… A reminder to us all to turn off our phones and machines, tread out and kick down some cobble stones, and breathe in the goodness of fresh air: 3 steps to feelin’ groovy.
TipTop urges you to spread this Health Message to CyberWorld!
Next week: more Health and Well-being, according to TipTop
Here are a few embarrassing things that really happened to me. Actually, one of them happened to my wife – bet you can’t guess which one?
1. Having my flies undone when giving an important speech.
2. Walking slap bang into a parking meter whilst checking out a beautiful woman on the opposite side of the road.
3. Turning up late to a really great mate’s wedding and sneaking in to the back of the church, hoping they might not notice.
4. Leaving a metal teaspoon in a food blender when making a pudding in the middle of a dinner party.
5. Getting home at the end of the day, looking in the mirror and seeing that I had had spinach stuck on my teeth all afternoon.
6. Turning up at a party with some weeds fashioned into a bunch of flowers and seeing everyone else’s amazingly generous present.
7. Falling asleep on the top deck of an all-night London bus and being woken up by the driver at the end of his shift 40 miles from where I lived .
8. Experiencing the shock of a colleague walking in on me on the toilet.
I invite you to submit your own…
Consider this a safe depositing place to tell all about your cringe-worthy embarrassing experiences. Feel lighter by unburdening yourself from the inner torment of their memories. For here, friends, you will be pardoned, set free, and embraced by a community of fellow bloggers who champion humour over all…
Life can get a little crowded, can’t it?
Sometimes a few of our activities could do with ending up on the editing floor. The result? We end up doing a little less but do it a whole lot better. We free ourselves up to rediscover what we really enjoy doing. We find focus. And focus is fab.
So…I say cut, cut, cut. Edit your life, filter your joys, and feel the change.
The tale of Dick Whittington whispering in ears;
Fairytales and magic lights banishing fears.
The promise, the lure, The London, so fun;
The things I would do before being outdone.
Then one night, the wind came in from the west
And carried me yonder to a city more blessed:
City of cities, of meadows and Squires
To a woman, a child and all my desires.
“Cheer up, lad, things could be worse.”
I hate it when a complete stranger says this to me. Sod off! I’m having one of those days, leave me alone! It will pass. I’m not like this all the time, you know. I’m actually a pretty positive person all in all. It’s just that when I’m not, people seem to notice more. If I was grumpy all the time, that would be different. But you know, when I get a grump on, I just indulge in it, almost laugh at it, knowing it will soon pass. So, I say, it’s O.K. to be grumpy once in a while. We’re allowed. Being positive ALL the time would just be weird.
Live slow, die old. It doesn’t sound quite so Rock & Roll as “live fast, die young”, does it? But, don’t know about you, I want to stick around a while. Besides, my life is fast enough now thank you very much, without having to inject it with Turbo-charged activities. I did a lot of that when I was younger and my perspectives have shifted somewhat.
The teaching job I do is fantastic but it is fast-paced and can be as stressful as a pressure cooker if I let things build up. Sound familiar? I need to find ways of trying to keep a lid on it, find an inner pace, and not let my environment dictate.
One of the most influential books I’ve read on this is the fantastic, “In praise of SLOW” by Carl Honoré. I implore you to read it. He had the idea for the book when he woke up to the fact that the world had gone mad, on seeing an advert for “one-minute bedtime stories for children”.
What has the world come to?
Here are the top three things I try to remember to do that help me have a slow day and consequently, a stress-free and productive day. I wish I did them all the time as I do think they work. I’d love to hear how you benefit from slowness and how you go about it. It would be great to share ideas.
I don’t normally write this much, normally focusing on the drawings, but I’m pretty passionate about this one, so I’ve scribbled down more than usual…
Feel Good before breakfast
I try to start the day off doing some kind of exercise that gets me feeling good before breakfast and sets the tone for the day. Apart from optimising performance generally, it somehow calms me and helps set a slower pace.
It’s usually 20 minutes of yoga, 5 minutes of which is simple, slow breathing. Or running as fast as I can to get a sweat up for 20 minutes – which usually almost kills me, but then makes me feel good and helps me avoid stress later in the day.
The mantra or daily motto of “feeling good before breakfast” was inspired by Patricia Ryan Madson’s book, “Improv Wisdom” where she talks of rituals, in her brilliant chapter, entitled, “just show up.” Just by putting ourselves in a place where good things can happen, the rest will follow.
Walk slowly around at work
So many things can seem urgent at work and the “pressing engagement” mindset and expectation to do things straight away can be infectious. One way I try to combat this is by purposefully walking slower than all my colleagues. I don’t care what they might think of this, if they think I’m slow or laid back as I know the work I do when I get back to my desk or classroom is up to snuff.
Punctuate the day with micro-meditations
I find practising this really hard but I know it works. Trying to stay in the moment at key times in the day helps me try to focus on the now, avoid stress, appreciate nature and see the wonder of smallness.
One of the key times for this is drinking cups of tea throughout the day – I mean really drinking those cups of tea: consciously feeling the contours and texture of the bone-china cup between the fingers; noticing the playful shapes of the steam rising from a hot brew; carefully pouring then focusing on the taste and feeling of the swishing liquid in the mouth.
Another favourite of mine is when I get to school in the car, I do three long deep-breath sighs, then slowly focus on turning the ignition off, noticing the chugging of the engine dying down, then slowly open the door. I find I have put the day on pause for a moment. Days I don’t do this, I get out of the car quickly and onto the treadmill.
Other examples of times to do this are focusing on the tastes and smells at lunchtime, or letting the senses appreciate the details of flowers.
There are hundreds of opportunities throughout the day that can be seen as “hooks” on which to hang a simple 20 second or more micro-meditation. Fact is, we usually ain’t got time to look at candles and chill for 20 minutes during a working day, so the more times we punctuate the day with smaller, more manageable meditations, the richer, slower, and more meaningful our days get. I recommend “The 5 minute meditator”, by Eric Harrison as a simple and practical guide.