My Room

I love to take pictures of rooms, better than I like taking pictures of people. That’s why The Selby is one of my favourite places on the internet. I am getting my own place next year and already I am consumed with interior decor imaginings and searching for inspiration on Flickr.

Hello bedroom. I like this picture because it is warm and colourful. Getting dressed in the morning is a task that I revel in, yet it always takes way more time than it should and my bed always ends up a mess. This is the first house I’ve lived in with floorboards and I am now of the opinion that they are way overrated. Dust gathers EVERYWHERE. It is impossible for me to sweep all the way under the bed, so there’s probably years of dust under there. Maybe I need a rug?

Hello dreamcatcher. It’s a gift from a friend and the ridiculous hanging hook thing is from the Vic Markets in Melbourne. I hardly ever remember my dreams and I am quite sure it’s because I don’t have dreams of substance. If I get woken suddenly in the midst of deep sleep or while I’m drifting off to sleep then I remember what I was dreaming and it’s usually either strings and strings of words without any meaning or just everyday stuff. Never anything scary or dramatic or amazing. This morning, crunchy boy woke me up early so I remember that I was dreaming about getting dressed. I was looking for my magenta and black thigh-high socks, lol. Good stuff, huh?

Hello, cluttered surface on top of my chest of drawers. Picture is from Seattle an was a present from my sisters when they were there. Random perfume bottles, lava lamp from ex boyfriend and without working light globe, sunscreen bottle that has been sitting there since Summer, bear toys and heaps of junk. The camera is a manual SLR of Dad’s from the seventies. He saved up for two months to get it. I have been having heaps of fun with it, learning how to use it. Today I’ll get my first roll of film developed. Hopefully it will turn out okay, but I reckon I’ll have a lot of either under-exposed or over-exposed pictures.

Technical Work

This week I decided to do all the scales and arpeggios for 1 note per day for my piano technical work, going up chromatically day by day. Today’s note was F. So I practised….

  • F major scale, Hands Separately (HSep) and Hands Together (HTog). Legato and staccato, contrary motion.
  • F major scale in octaves, HSep and HTog. Double octaves with Right Hand (RH) leading and with Left Hand (LH) leading.
  • F major arpeggios. Root, 1st inversion, 2nd inversion, HSep and HTog. Also in 3rds and 6ths, HTog.
  • F chromatic, HSep and HTog.
  • F harmonic minor scale, HSep and HTog. Legato, staccato, contrary motion.
  • F melodic minor scale, HSep and HTog. Legato.
  • F minor arpeggios. Root postion, HSep and HTog.
  • F major chord progressions: I-IV-I64-V7-I. Also I-VI-IV-II-V-I6-II6-I64-V7-I. Also I-VI/V7-IV/V7-II/V7-V/V7-V7-I6-II6-I64-V7-I.

Okay, I realise I got a bit lazy with some of them, especially the minors, where I neglected to be as thorough as I was when practising all the variations on the major. But I console myself with the fact that this list still took fucking ages to get through. I used to think that doing technical work was taking precious time away from practising my recital pieces, but now I think I’m going to make sure I keep doing technical every day. I think it’s really important; it helps with my repertoire learning, it warms me up sufficiently and I feel good if I do it. A bit like exercising. Except I actually really like doing technical work and I don’t really like exercising!

I need to work on my staccato scales and octave scales the most. The staccato scales are especially relevant to some of my current repertoire. I really like doing the chord progressions. I sing the name of the chord, pitching to the bass note as I play. I only started practising chord progressions fairly recently, because my students have to do it. It’s really good for both me and them.

Tomorrow’s keys are G flat major and minor. One of my favourites! (Huge music nerd moment.)

What I Wore: Saturday 29th August, 2009

Wore this to see UK dubstep DJ Reso last night. Had planned to wear a dress but as it turned out the freezing cold weather forbid it. I can never bear to be cold in the name of looking good! Of course, out in town I always see girls dressed to the nines despite the weather. I always pity them a little!

Black tee, orange top from my sister, black cardigan, “Private Benjamin” jacket from Dangerfield, black tights, skull & crossbones skirt made by me, purple fishnet lace fingerless gloves from welovecolors.com, Doc Martens with assorted laces.

Do you like my skirt? I made it myself. I had long decided to learn to sew, and after arming myself with a big book about sewing, a basic pattern and some fabric, I made this simple, A-line skirt. Sadly, Mother had to help with the zip, as my first attempt was rather less than satisfactory.

Sewing is actually quite expensive! A pattern alone can set you back 20 bucks. Fabric isn’t cheap either. I suppose the cheapest way to create your own clothing would be to buy secondhand items and then alter them. I’m not confident enough to try alter anything though. I want to find a pattern for a layered, ruffled skirt, like a ra-ra skirt in three layers. I’ve made something similar by myself, but I didn’t have a pattern so I just winged it, and although I was proud of the result, I’d rather do it properly. The thing I’ve discovered about patterns though, is that they are released seasonally, and it can be hard to find exactly what you want if you have a particular idea in mind.

Despite the cold, I had fun last night. My boy played a large part in organising the gig, so it was good to see the dance floor packed out during Reso’s set. I really have trouble dealing with late nights though! I’m pathetic after midnight. Lame, huh?

My boy has a blog now. Here’s his poster design for the Reso gig last night.

Chickpea Curry

This is my new favourite recipe. It’s super easy and tasty. I know you’re probably supposed to have rice with this sort of thing, but I prefer couscous. It’s faster to prepare than rice, and (in my opinion) tastier. But I have been brought up on rice-based meals, so maybe it is just boring to me!

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
tablespoon oil
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp ground cumin
handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can diced tomato

Slice onions finely; crush the garlic. Heat oil in a pan. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring until soft.
Add the chilli powder, salt, turmeric, paprika and cumin. Stir over heat for 1 minute.
Add chickpeas and tomatoes, stir until combined. Simmer, covered, over low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garam masala and coriander. Simmer, covered, for another 5-10 minutes.

Alfaparf Jean’s Colour Violet

I’m sorry that this blog is practically turning into a huge advertisement for Alfaparf. And I’m sorry that I’m posting about my hair. AGAIN. But I am sooo thrilled with this result:

FINALLY I’ve attained the shade of purple that I had imagined all along. This was the shade I envisaged when I first planned to go purple. Alfaparf, you never fail me. I left the dye in for 1 hour and 45 minutes. The resultant colour is so deep that it almost looks black in low light. I foresee it staining everything much more than the magenta. Rinsing the colour out stained my fingernails violet and the water never really ran clear.

Quite excited. My band is having our photos done for our debut album at the end of this week. Now my colour is ready, I just need a hair cut and then I’ll be all ready to go.

What I Wore: Wednesday 19th August

Here is my best “protecting my internet privacy” pose:

Mesh dress from Topshop, turquoise blue boob tube from MNG, black elastic-waisted shift dress from American Apparel, Splash tights from We Love Colors, black booties.

Internet shopping is the new black. I got these tights from We Love Colors and the mesh dress from Topshop. When I put on the tights I was slightly overwhelmed by how crazy they were, but now I think I kind of love them.

Special Effects Blue Haired Freak & Purple Smoke… and Stuff

More gratuitous hair posting. Ah, yes:

Taken about a day after colouring with Special Effects brand dye. A mixture of Blue Haired Freak and Purple Smoke. Widely touted on the web as the best unnatural dye out there, I found Special Effects rather disappointing on both occasions I tried it. This time, I thought the dye was rather more transparent than the Jean’s Colour I normally use. When applied, I could still see through it to the magenta underneath. I left it to process for about three hours, but the end result was not punchy enough. You can still see the magenta tones quite clearly through the violet. Oh yeah, and I used a mix of blue and purple because the place where I ordered the dye from had run out of Wildflower, and suggested the combination of colours to achieve a similar effect. I reckon I got a better purple from Manic Panic Purple Haze.

This is my pocket watch that I bought from the Vic Markets in Melbourne. I asked the man to put it on a chain to wear around the neck rather than the pocket clip it was originally attached to. It’s a good watch for teaching because wrist watches are annoying when I’m playing the piano.

Here are some root vegetables:

I only like carrots when they are cooked. The other night I cut up some raw carrots to dip in hommus and remembered that yes, I don’t much like raw carrot. It’s kind of bitter.

Hello dog:

Bye now.

Inspiration

Martha Argerich, my favourite pianist, playing one of my favourite pieces by Ravel.

My favourite song by bassist/singer extraordinaire, Esperanza Spalding.

“Souretsu” by Shiina Ringo. I wish there was a PV for this song.

“Nude” by Radiohead. I woke up with this song in my head this morning.

Vegetarian Food in Adelaide

Image by Dan Eriksson

Here are my pick of Adelaide’s vegetarian meal options that I’ve discovered so far:

  • Vego ‘n’ Love’n It. When a friend first showed me this place in Rundle Street, I was surprised at how many times I must have walked past it and not known it was there. It’s located up a narrow staircase and gets packed out at lunch times. Very delicious burgers and good value for money.
  • Sumo Salad. I used to work here and the freshness/quality is great. Quite a few meat salads but the vegetarian options are quite tasty.
  • Bangkok Bites (Chinatown, in the “old” food court). Lots of vegetarian noodle and rice options at about $7 a pop.
  • Barbecue City. It’s mainly a meat restaurant but the Vegetable Dumplings are really good, you can have them pan-friend or steamed, both are yummy. They have a fair few other vegetarian options, but I haven’t been able to get past the dumplings.
  • Pure Vegetarian (Chinatown, in the “new” food court). You can have a choice of several dishes with rice or noodles. I LOVE that brown rice is an option.
  • Burp Burritos. Vegetarian burritos are cheap but delicious.
  • Ky Chow. Ying Chow has a bit of a cult following these days but I maintain that Ky Chow is the best place on Gouger Street! (I eat there WAAAAY too often.) I admit that pure vegetarians might have difficulty choosing suitable dishes, but what they do, they do well (except perhaps for the Malaysian Vegetable Hot Pot, I found it a bit boring). My dishes of choice are Shallot Pancakes, Vegetable Rolls, Hot and Sour Vegetable Hot Pot and Salty Fish Eggplant Hot Pot. The last has fish in it, so it’s for pescetarians only!

Pescetarianism is going well and I do not miss eating meat at all EXCEPT perhaps for duck. I love me a good old Peking duck. The transition has been interesting, especially the aspects of dining that involve significant others, but I am really enjoying discovering all this yummy food.

If anyone knows of good vego joints in Adelaide, your recommendations are so very welcome.

Alfaparf Jean’s Colour Magenta….. Fresh. Plus colour maintenance tips.

Freshly dyed hair, for your consideration:

Lighting is not the best. Gotta get myself a decent camera one of these days. Mine’s good for a point and shoot.

These pics are kind of old now. More than a month old I think. I’ve since had my roots done and my hair cut. Note to self. Hair is too short in these pics. Grow, grow, grow.

How I Maintain Bright Colour

  • Invest in a decent colour-safe shampoo and conditioner. Pick something up from a salon or Hairhouse Warehouse. I’ve found supermarket brands don’t cut it.
  • Don’t overwash. If your hair doesn’t get that oily, try conditioner washing instead of shampooing every time. Alternatively, dry shampoo is really good to use occasionally. It doesn’t replace real washing though.
  • Avoid rinsing your hair with hot water. Turn the hot water down so it’s just mildly warm before directing the shower head at your hair. It makes a huge difference. When I use hot water the colour runs out a lot more than when I rinse with cooler water.
  • Top up your colour. Initially, my colour rinsed out quite fast, but the more you dye, the more the colour builds up. Alfaparf Jean’s is vegetable based, as are most bright semi-permanents available, so it will build up and it won’t damage your hair. Also, when your hair’s a bit faded, you can mix a bit of dye with your conditioner to enliven your colour.
  • Bleach before you colour. It’s the only way to achieve a vibrant shade.
  • Use a colour protectant spray with UV filter. I used to do this a lot in summer. The one I have gives a nice sheen as well.
  • Experiment with dyes. I’ve found some brands and shades are longer lasting on my hair than others. You can find reviews on the internet, but the best bet is just to experiment. Special Effects is reputed to be the best brand, but I haven’t been impressed so far.

Yesterday I coloured with a mix of Special Effects Blue Haired Freak, Special Effects Purple Smoke and just a little bit of Alfaparf Jean’s Colour Magenta. Pics to come, although like I said, I’m not heaps impressed. On the agenda is to try a blue colour, but I’m not expecting it to have much staying power as there are no blue tones naturally occurring in the hair.

Okay, bye for now.