Black Lamé Leggings

I was heaps excited when American Apparel opened a store here in Adelaide, mainly because I had been eyeing up their range of lamé leggings for quite some time. Didn’t ever end up buying a pair via the online store though, for some reason spending money on unnecessary items is harder for me when I contemplate doing it online, maybe it takes away the impulse buy urge? 

Behold, black lamé leggings:

Ah, the possibilities. 

Today, after my piano lesson, I was wandering around town and I discovered that soooo many places now stock a cheap rip-off version! You can get a pair at Equip or Cotton On for around $25, but the quality is not that great compared with the American Apparel version. Anyway, now I can’t (okay, won’t) get a pair because they’re set to become the horrendously ubiquitous winter trend of 2009. A couple of winters ago it was pinafore dresses and ballet flats, last winter it was skinny jeans and long, finely knit cardigans (Cotton On still a culprit here for effectuating that one) and still more ballet flats. My prediction for this winter: black shiny leggings are going to be EVERYWHERE. 

Meanwhile, I did snap up a pair of American Apparel’s purple lamé leggings, hopefully few others will jump on the wagon with that one, tee hee!

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Technique Accommodating Art

I love this passage because it’s true, not just for music, but all art.

Fundamentally, technique is no more than the ability to say what one wants to say: the greatest performing artists are often the greatest technicians because their technique has grown to accommodate their art, not the other way round. Saint-Saëns’s aphorism “In Art, a difficulty overcome is a thing of beauty” is neatly turned, but for the performer it is true only if Art – or artistry – is present in the first place. Performers need to have their imaginations awakened and stimulated before they can make music from the kaleidoscope of sounds the fingers can produce on the keyboard. As a ruling maxim I prefer the exhortation of that great pianist and artist Edwin Fischer: “Do not destroy this world of artistic visions that comes up from your unconscious – make room for it; dream dreams, see visions”.

– from “Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy” by Paul Roberts.

How Embarassment

This, minus the black lacy cropped top and with added black sandals, is what I wore last Thursday to a gig with my band that was actually a private function. To my horror (and to the guitarist’s amusement), SOMEHOW the other three had managed to silently agree to dress in all black. Things got more unfortunate when I realised as we were hurriedly setting up, that I didn’t have the power cord for my keyboard and I absolutely needed it. Due to having to make a last minute detour to pick up the keyboard stand, which was at the guitarist’s house, I had arrived with only five or ten minutes to spare before our set was to begin. The gig had to start on time, so I had no other option but to drive home to get the power cord while the other three began without me. 

Naturally I was freaking out. I drove from Hindmarsh to Campbelltown, found the cord in my room sitting on a shelf (WHY was it not in the bag with the other cords and leads???) raced back to Hindmarsh and made it in time to join in for 3 songs. 

I felt like an idiot but I was somewhat soothed as I stood outside listening, for Escapist actually sounded pretty good without me, and being a function, the guests were eating dinner and loudly chatting away and the “background music” seemed quite well suited to the situation. The others had moved the keyboard off the stage, so we quickly moved it back. It was quite a strange gig. I think I’ve definitely learned my lesson and will now keep all my band stuff in order and pack and prepare properly beforehand. I was lucky this time, being a dinner function my absence wasn’t noticeable except for the fact that we brought in a keyboard and then it got moved off the stage. Also the lady who had got us the gig noticed but she did say that no one else would have been able to tell. 

Anyway, moral of the story is ALWAYS BE PREPARED.

On a totally unrelated note, Flickr is awesome but I have just discovered the limits of a free account, those limits being that I can only have the 200 most recent photos in my photostream viewable at a time. You can upload photos to WordPress, but the quality always gets a little crushed, so I always use the Flickr URLs. Oh well.

Things I Like ♥

  • WOMADelaide. An event that Adelaide should be proud of.
  • Cute girls with lip piercings.
  • Satisfaction from playing the piano and getting better at it.
  • Music. Especially “How to Disappear Completely” by Radiohead. Really loving it right now. Also Sa Ding Ding’s album “Alive”.
  • Seeing increasing numbers of cyclists on the road.
  • Receiving packages in the mail.
  • Being visited at work.
  • Being able to assert myself to parents and students. Makes me feel like I’m finally an adult.
  • Getting dressed creatively.
  • Freshly dyed hair.

Here are some pictures of my dog

This is Bear Bear. He is my favourite dog and the above photo is my favourite photo of him. Being a dog, he doesn’t enjoy posing for the camera, but I managed to snap him at the perfect moment and I love this photo because he looks like he is smiling. 

We don’t usually put doggy clothes on Bear Bear. I think that they are kind of cruel. Bear is a West Highland White Terrier and they are known for having skin problems, it’s a genetic thing. His Ma or Pa may have had it. We have special medicated shampoo for him, which helps a lot, but recently the problem has flared up, maybe it’s seasonal, like hay fever? On this particular day, he had just been washed but was still scratching and biting himself under the arms so much that it was starting to bleed, so Mum whipped out this woolly doggy jumper. Bear Bear hated it at first, but it was probably for the best, and it was only for a couple of hours. 

We are pack mates. Except I am higher up the pack hierarchy than him, he is at the bottom. Sorry, dog, that’s the way it is. 

 

Purple Haze

Maintaining an unnatural hair colour sure is hard work! But like they say, anything worth doing is worth doing well. I am especially keen on not letting it get faded and ratty because of work. I’ve been asked how I get away with my hair colour at work (I have a teaching position and I work in food retail) and I reckon the answer lies in keeping it neat and presentable, i.e. not faded/dirty/punkish and by making sure the rest of me is neatly presented. 

The colour in this photo is Manic Panic Purple Haze, with a teensy tiny bit of Alfaparf Jean’s Magenta mixed in, for good luck. I was amazed and thrilled to discover that Hairhouse Warehouse stocks Alfaparf Jean’s, the very same dye my hairdresser uses on me. Needless to say, it was much cheaper to purchase a bottle of it than to pay for getting my hair done professionally. I also picked up a plastic mixing bowl and a tint brush for a pittance too. 

The Manic Panic dye was bought by my sisters for me in America. I asked for Special Effects because it’s widely reputed to be the best unnatural hair dye out there and it’s not available in Australia. It took them a while to find the SFX, but in the meantime, they bought the Manic Panic and I ummed and ahhed because I’ve heard it’s just not as good. 

I guess the dye proved me wrong because I am really happy with it, and it’s staying power is impressive so far as well. This could also be because I coloured my hair myself, I did a few things differently this time. I left the dye in for about 45 minutes with head wrapped in cling wrap and blasted my head with a blowdryer twice to heat it up. After rinsing out most of the dye, I rinsed through one cup of vinegar and water. This is supposed to raise the pH of hair, closing down the follicle and ensuring a longer life for colour. It’s actually a tip from Manic Panic’s own website

For maintenance I’m using De Lorenzo Nova Fusion Colour Care Shampoo in Violet. It comes out dark, dark, purple, nearly black. Fudge Conditioner for coloured hair, I can’t remember it’s exact name but it’s on the cheaper end of professional hair care products and has a UV filter and a lovely shea butter smell. When my colour fades, I’ve got a tiny bit of Manic Panic left that I intend to mix with conditioner and apply for a few minutes after washing. Another shampoo and conditioner that is really great for coloured hair is Alfaparf Splendore Hydrate Shampoo & Conditioner, it smells gorgeous and it’s really effective, but it’s a little expensive and I figure that if I’m topping up my hair colour every few weeks I should try to cut costs where I can.

What I Wore: Monday 16th March

I really need a tripod because the sum of my efforts today is this:

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Pink 3/4 sleeved top from Myer, little purple top from my sister, black halter-neck a super old purchase (we’re talking about ten years), second-hand skirt altered by my mum, black tights from Equip, platform sandals from Zu, green tassel from Salvo’s, new black glasses.

I would have preferred a standing shot, but my folks are back home from holidays now and I can’t quite bear for them to see me balancing my camera on top of a stack of outdoor furniture simply in order to take a picture of myself, let alone asking them to take the shot. Can’t be bothered with the inevitable questions/amusement which would follow. So I trotted upstairs to the big mirror and came up with this:

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Both shots don’t really do my hair colour or my shoes justice, the former I am really excited about. It is Manic Panic Purple Haze, a colour my sisters bought for me from the U.S. and I dyed it myself, my first time without my hairdresser since I began this coloured hair odyssey some months back. 

I’ve not been posting as much because the uni term has commenced and I’ve been so busy with band stuff for the Fringe etc. And as you can see it takes way too long to take outfit photos, I need it to be just a simple snap! Note to self, check Ebay for tripod deals.

Things About Phở

Pho is a “traditional Vietnamese thinly sliced meat and rice-noodle soup dish”. (Lazily, I am using the Wiki to save time on coming up with my own definition. Similarly, I can’t be bothered copying and pasting or going through the symbols to type “pho” with the correct accents, so apart from the title, it’s just gonna be “pho” with no jiggly bits. Sorry.) My usual pho haunt is the Vietnamese noodle place in the New Food Court in Chinatown. The other day, after getting our eyes checked and selecting some new frames at Arndale, Mum took me and my Aunty to a pho joint on Daws Road. I can’t remember what it’s called, something with a number, like “Pho 70” or something like that. 

Anyway, the experience turned out to be quite educational as my Mum and Aunty know a thing or two about pho. Mum’s great at randomly knowing things when you least expect it. A good pho should be served up really hot, the soup should be hot enough to easily “cook” the beef. Especially important if you’re having pho with rare beef, in which the beef slices aren’t cooked before they are put in the hot soup. Too few rice noodles and too much soup makes for a stingy pho. I announced that I thought the pho from the New Food Court was tastier. Turns out that’s because they add more MSG. You can tell, my Aunty said, if your mouth gets dry after you have your pho. Excess MSG will do that. A good pho doesn’t depend MSG for its flavour. Now, referring back to the Wiki, apparently claims that MSG is bad for you are scientifically unsubstantiated, BUT the point is that domestic knowledge passed down the maternal line is the good old fashioned way of learning things, and for some reason that appeals to me in a homey kind of way. 

I love the silky smooth rice noodles, the soup that is so remarkably flavoursome given how clear it is, the refreshing herbs and the zesty flavour from the lemon juice you squeeze in. Such a fantastic mix of flavours and it’s usually so inexpensive. Even the cheap plastic bowls and plates the meal is served in adds to the experience. I love you, pho. If anyone knows of any good local pho joints, do share please.