Un-Resolutions 2010

About this time last year, I wrote a short list of goals for myself. I think it’s time to review 2009 and have a think about 2010.

Last year, I resolved to:

Learn some basic Photoshop skills. In truth, after some initial dabbling, my interest quickly waned and I achieved next to nothing in 2009. BUT in the past month I have been learning by way of looking up random tutorials online. I really like Photoshop tutorials because they walk me through the process, enabling me to achieve a chosen effect with minimal frustration whilst educating me on what all the buttons and thingies do. It’s really a great application.

Be more well-spoken and articuate. This didn’t turn out to be difficult, it’s just a matter of switching it on, like you would at a work or professional place. I still frequently lapse into unwanted colloquial idioms such as “like” etc mainly when I stop thinking about it.

Make a general rule to accept invitations. Um, fail? If anything, I went out LESS. But I don’t feel bad about that.

Learn to draw. On it. I think I’m getting better. But I’m not going to show off my drawings yet.

So, this year, I only have two goals. One is to see more live music. The other is to be nicer. When I say “nicer” I specifically mean less elitist. It has gradually come to my attention that it is easy for people involved in music (including me) to talk down about our fellow artists. It’s easy to do because in this field we are always comparing talent/skill/whatever. But I’ve realised from talking to other people that it’s too easy to think you’re better than someone else, and vocalising thoughts like these is so unbecoming.

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My Current Beauty Product Staples

I’ve been thinking recently that I’ve been using some really awesome beauty/makeup products. So I’m going to write about them. Gosh, I can tell that this is going to be an almost unbearably girly post and I haven’t even started writing it yet!

  • MAC Prep & Prime Lash. It’s so awesome. Used before mascara, it plumps and lenghtens up my thin, short Asian lashes, prevents the mascara from clumping and stops it from falling onto my face throughout the day.
  • Olay Moisturizing Lotion for Sensitive Skin. I know that this brand is aimed at older women, but I find this moisturizer works really well. It soaks in quickly and it’s light. I used to use the cream version of this moisturizer, but the lotion is better for the hot weather we’ve been getting recently.
  • MAC Paint Pots. I have a queerly shaped eyelid which is not a monolid, but the crease is quite close to my lashline. Because of the unusual shape and because my skin tends to be oily, eyeshadow has a strong tendency to crease when I wear it. Especially if it’s hot/the eyeshadow is of shitty quality/I wear it all day. Paint pots are amazing for preventing creasing and prolonging wear when used as a base for eyeshadow. I dab it on with my finger. It goes on kind of moist but dries to a gritty powder that really “grips” powder eyeshadow. I also wear it by itself. And I also layer several paint pots on top of each other. Anyone who has problems with their eyeshadow creasing should DEFINITELY try this product.
  • Napoleon Minimal Makeup. I usually get my foundation from MAC. But now that it’s warmer I needed something lighter than my usual foundation. (Studio Fix fluid has good coverage, but it can make me break out.) I wandered over to the Napoleon counter mainly because the MAC counter was busy and I got tired of waiting around for some assistance. The girl at the Napoleon counter was really very helpful and friendly. She actually colour matched me correctly by trying two similar shades, one on each side of my face. (At MAC they’ve only ever bothered to try one colour, and I always go home and realise it’s too dark for me.) Minimal Makeup is oil free and sheer, so I haven’t broken out since using it. I like that I can layer it on if I want more coverage and it’s very longwearing.

Okay that’s girly posting for now, byyyye.

P.S. I’m on the hunt for a REALLY AWESOME lipbalm. Recommendations?

Things You Shouldn’t Do in a Piano Lesson

Fart. This happens more often than you might think. I’ve learned to ignore it.

Say you were too busy to practice this week. This one never flies, ever. I always want to laugh a little, especially if the student is, like, 11 years old. My response is always something along the lines of, oh really, did you get time to watch TV this week? Play videogames? Yeah, I thought so. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT BUSY IS!! You’re 11!!

Pick your nose. Quite a prevalent habit among younger children.

Cough at me, or on me. Only a few weeks ago I had a student cough directly onto my hand. Yes, it was gross. I maintained my composure and went and used some water-free hand sanitiser straight away. In hindsight I probably should have allowed myself to lose my shit a little. Always cover your mouth and/or turn away to cough, it’s just polite.

Play the piano while I’m talking. How rude. Please give me your attention when I am speaking to you!

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.

Stuff I Like

  • Music flash cards. I’ve been using them so much with my students this past week.
  • Freshly flossed teeth. I have become such a geek about clean teeth.
  • Gatsby “Moving Rubber” hair wax.
  • Driving down Plane Tree Drive when it’s breezy and autumnal. It’s amazing, like a car advertisement, with the brown leaves floating down at your windscreen.
  • Photographing people’s rooms.
  • Successfully getting Bear Bear to “wait”. But he tends to freak out if I move out of sight and then it doesn’t work… Damn psycho dog.
  • Tongue twisters.
  • My new notebook. It’s my first foray into unlined pocket notebooks. The lack of lines is so liberating! (I’m such a nerd.)

Junk Food

Image by belinder77

 

Image by belinder77

New almost-vegetarian diet notwithstanding, I ate SO BADLY today and now I feel like crap. Here’s a list, lest I forget today’s mistakes.

  • A whole block of Lindt dark chocolate with almonds.
  • Four Mr Kipling’s Cherry Bakewells. (The packaging does not lie, they truly are “exceedingly good”.)
  • A chocolate doughnut.
  • Two cookies.

Hm, now that it’s all down on paper, so to speak, it doesn’t look so bad. The worst bit was the chocolate and cherry bakewells. I shall console myself with the knowledge that it could have been much, much worse. And after this I’m going to make an egg soda. If you want an egg soda too, you can learn how to make one here, but be warned that it is probably not the healthiest drink you could have. Plain soda would be better for you.

On the topic of food, Mum asked if I’d be available for a Mother’s Day barbecue. My response was, “…barbecue? Will you make your potato salad?” followed by what I judged to be a timely statement of my new pescetarian intentions. She took it better than I expected, although I think I may have misled her because she said, “oh, you’re just trying it for a bit, right?” and I said “….yeeeeeaaah”. Note that she didn’t actually say that, because her half of the conversation was in Cantonese, I have translated it to English.

By the way, I just found out it’s definitely “barbecue” not “barbeque” because, according to Dictionary:

barbequenoun & verb, a common misspelling of barbecue. USAGE This common form arises understandably from a confused conflation of the proper spelling barbecue, the abbreviation Bar-B-Q, and phonetic spelling. Its frequency does not quite justify it: in no other English word does que attain the status of a stand-alone, terminal syllable.

So there you go.

Piano Love!

I am love love LOVING piano right now. Reasons for my joy:

  • It feels good. Seriously. I love that I’m learning how to use all my muscles and weight and bits and pieces properly so that the sound is great and the effort is minimal. It feels so nice and organic. It’s like walking. Natural and comfortable. 
  • Relishing the payoff that has resulted from my hard work. Technique isn’t an art, it’s a skill, and skills can be acquired. I love that the “art” of piano playing isn’t mysterious or enigmatic, it’s very sensible and logical.
  • Being able to actuate the ideas in my head. 

Advanced piano playing is so self-indulgent. My attempts at explaining what I’m learning and achieving to non-pianists or even non-advanced-pianists always results in fail. Consequently I feel as if I’ve had a religious experience or been “enlightened” in some way that is unexplainable to… lay-people. Bahaha.

Un-Resolutions

I don’t usually support the idea of new year’s resolutions because I don’t think efforts to improve oneself should be limited to once a year. But the new year does instigate such a feeling of opportunity and freshness and… newness. (Hah!) Okay, so it’s well into February, but I have spent the last few months slowly compiling a very short list of things I’d like myself to achieve.

  • Learn some basic Photoshop skills. My lovely boy has taught me a few tricks already, until then all I could do was adjust brightness/contrast/etc.
  • Be more well-spoken and articulate. In particular I’d really like to stop sprinkling “like” through most of my sentences. It sounds so adolescent! I think I’m getting better. I can do it if I remember to think about it.
  • Make a general rule to accept invitations. Because I would like to improve my social skills and I think it’s admirable and good for me to put myself in situations that make me feel slightly uncomfortable. 
  • Learn to draw. I want to learn some basic techniques for pencil sketching. 

They are not big aspirations at all, but to me they are worthy of pursuing.