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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News and Musings

Hello, I’m back. My holiday was super-fun and great and also a bit lonely but I’ll get into that later. First, let me draw your attention to the fact that I am very excited that my band Monkey Puzzle Tree has been invited to perform at Womadelaide this year! Womad is my favourite festival and I can’t think of words that can adequtely describe how pleased I am to get to participate as a performer. This is a great opportunity for us so all four of us are very excited.

There’s something about the fresh feeling of commencing a new year that leaves me feeling quite excited in general. It’s the end of January right now, February contains good things like Chinese New Year (which coincides with Valentines Day this year; the 14th), then comes March and anyone who lives in this town knows that March is the best time of year to be in Adelaide. Not only is there Womad (which I’ve mentioned already, click the links above if you want more, more, more) but there’s the Fringe Festival (biggest Fringe in the Southern Hemisphere I believe) and this year is an Adelaide Festival year too.

My recent adventures abroad have really awakened the travel bug in me and I’ve already started making plans. I want to go on a holiday every year. Fortunately my occupation, with its frequent school holidays, allows this. In July, I’m planning to go to Fiji for a tropical escape. And in the December/January holidays I want return to the Motherland, as it were, and go to Hong Kong and possibly surrounds.

Kuala Lumpur was great, especially at first. I explored and got lost and discovered things and ate fruit every day. But I did get a bit lonely towards the end of my stay. I went alone and by the week’s end I was feeling the strain of not having had a real conversation with anyone for that whole time. Pathetic, no? This was of course, only exacerbated by the fact that I caught a cold in the last few days and could do nothing but languish in my hotel room. Boring!

I opted for luxury (for once in my life) and stayed in a beautiful hotel. It as great, but next time I travel alone I will stay at a cheap place, like a backpacker’s hostel as such locations are great for meeting interesting people from around the world.

I flew from KL to Melbourne where I stayed with my sister and attended seminars for work. The seminar days were inspiring and fun. I always leave seminars feeling excited about teaching and it’s fun to be in an environment where I can discuss the teaching materials with like-minded professional musicians. It’s great.

So now I’m back and I’m fresh, rejuvenated and optimistic.

Here’s a scan of some pictures I took in KL to finish…

New Camera!

My Fuji Instax Mini 7 camera arrived in the mail a couple of weeks ago. It is so much fun and very addictive. I took the photos above with it the other day when my little brother and I took the dog to the park. The park was covered with yellow flowers; it looked amazing. Unfortunately, it was also covered with bees and I was wearing sandals, so we proceeded across the grassy expanse with caution.

The camera is heaps easy to use. It has just 4 light settings. A couple of the photos above turned out overexposed because I used the wrong setting. Film works out to about less than $2 each and loads into the camera in packs of ten.

These photos would be heaps good for scrapbooking.

I have been really busy and stressed lately, so no time for paper crafts unfortunately! I have a recital coming up and I still have so much to do! I am playing two piano and violin sonatas; one by Debussy and the other by Grieg. I am playing with two different violinists, too. One is a fellow Honours student at the Con and we have had only one rehearsal. The other is a professional from the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and we are having our first rehearsal tomorrow. Both pieces are really fucking hard, but I am especially freaked out about the Grieg because I physically cannot play the 3rd movement. Sigh. Just gotta keep pegging away at it.

In other news, it is October and festive Christmas-ware has already begun to appear in the shops.

I ate a whole box of Mr. Kipling’s mince pies to myself.

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Today

It’s school holidays and uni holidays at the moment, but it hasn’t felt like a holiday because if I don’t plan a decent amount of practice into my day I start having nervous palpitations. Well today I thought “to hell with that” and gave myself a day off. Lounged around in my cosy pink dressing gown, didn’t shower til well into the afternoon, read a large chunk of a book that’s been patiently waiting to be read for some weeks, DIYed a chain harness, made a vegetarian lasagne and walked the dog!

For some reason I find it incredibly hard to resist buying books. Same goes for stationery. Officeworks and Borders, mmmmmmm…… I always buy books and then don’t have time to read them. The book I sank my teeth into today was “Tales of Earthsea” by Ursula Le Guin, one of my favourite authors of all time. My love of fantasy and sci-fi novels hearkens back to days of teenager-dom, and although I’ve mainly outgrown this nerdy habit, certain quality authors still retain a special place in my heart. As far as I’m concerned, Ursula Le Guin and Robin Hobb (another favourite) don’t just write fantasy/sci-fi fiction, they write fantasy/sci-fi literature. Ahem.

Poor Bear Bear doesn’t get walked nearly as much as he should. But he doesn’t make things easy. A decent walk can’t be achieved unless two people go, myself and Little Brother. When Bear was young he would get freaked out by other pedestrians, lawnmowers, the sound of traffic from several roads away, etc, and simply WOULD NOT walk any further. I think middle age has made him calmer, but he’s still fucking difficult. Currently he is curled up on a cushion on the floor in front of the heater.

Yesterday, after much initial fail, I set up my keyboard as a midi device. I’ve been teaching myself to use Reason by reading the “Getting Started” file. I had much success yesterday. Turns out it’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Also I am excited by keyboard + laptop + software = soooo many possibilities for production, recording, performing.

Speaking of which, the album my band have been working on is nearly done. We had our (hopefully) last mixing session in the studio this week. Next up is mastering and artwork/photos, then finally, pressing. I am hurrah because this has been dragging out for so long and I am feeling quite distanced from the project. Hm, well not to say it’s taken longer than it should have to make the album, I think next time will take even longer, but instead of having the time between recording and the finished mix drag out so long, it would be better imo to spend more time in pre-production and recording and less time mixing. Nonetheless, I really love all aspects of recording. And I really love performing and I get to do that next week, woot!

Tonight I am going to a party and I can already tell it’s going to be good because now I’m in a heaps good mood from recounting my day and stuff I’ve been doing. Makes me realise I quite like my life.

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The Road to Pescetarianism…

… is not a rocky one, I’m finding. It’s actually been quite easy. I think the fact that I had already cut pork from my diet for quite a while has something to do with it. When I quit eating pork, I soon found that even erasing that one meat from my diet meant I had to do more thinking about what was in my food. That was a bigger change than I had expected because it meant I had to change my thought processes every time I ate… if that makes sense. So enlarging the list of what I won’t eat to include all land meats wasn’t that big a change.¬†

Also, even before my decision I didn’t regard meat as a staple part of my diet anyway. I don’t believe humans need that much meat. Imagine if meat was served as a side dish rather than vegetables! It seems a little strange to me now that main courses in any food culture have meat at the centre of the dish, in the starring role.¬†

The hardest part about pescetarianism has to do with situations where I’m eating socially. It’s hard not to feel excluded when you go out to a dinner with friends and you are the only one not partaking in a shared meal. My folks have been pretty good about it but I have still felt a pang of guilt now and then when I realise they are pandering to me. I appreciate it lots, but I am perfectly okay with feeding myself; I don’t want to inconvenience anybody.¬†

At first I was worried that my family would be offended. My parents show that they care by offering food, they also do it to friends when they come over because it’s a way of being polite and welcoming. So I was worried that I might offend them. I think that having been moved out has really helped them perceive my “independence”, so they don’t really take it the wrong way.¬†

What is interesting is having to draw a line. I still eat fish but I’ve drawn a line at land animals. But if I’d cave for anything, it would probably be Peking duck, even though I’ve had a pet duck, the idea of eating duck doesn’t upset me nearly as much as some other things. But you have to draw a line somewhere.

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:

barbeque, noun & 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.

Things I Like ‚ô•

  • 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.

What I Wore: Monday 16th March

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

p1040356

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.

What I Wore: Thursday 12th February

It took pretty much all of my limited Photoshop ability to make this image…

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(Really old) top from Hong Kong, skirt from Mum, tights from Target, sandals borrowed from my sister, necklace from Big Day Out and bracelet from I can’t remember where.¬†

Wow, I guess I just realised that this outfit is really cheap. The only parts of it I bought are the tights and the necklace. I probably should get some sandals like these ones, I’m only able to “borrow” these ones from my sister because she happens to be away on holiday at the moment! The skirt is something my Mum picked up at a Rotary Club sale. She hemmed it and sewed in an elastic waistband. This is the first time I’ve worn it because I usually stay away from floral prints.¬†

Actually this whole outfit is quite unlike me. The florals, the combination of the dark purple tights with the lighter colours above. I attribute my experimental mood today to inspiration from all the style blogs I’m following. Truly though, fashion blogs really inspire me. I never buy magazines anymore. It’s so much more interesting to see examples of real creativity. I also find the fashion in magazines tends to be really consumer-oriented, whereas I think a really interesting sense of style doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag.¬†

Today someone asked me why I think people care about what they wear. I said that because you wear your clothes all the time, they become part of how you and others perceive yourself. Even people who don’t put much effort into their clothes stick to a certain palette of colours, or a certain style. My friend said that he watched a documentary which argued that our practical need for clothes and objects was deliberately turned into an emotional need in a push towards capitalism and consumption. I guess I can agree with that. We do live in a very capitalist society. But I feel that dressing oneself is a form of self-expression. It can be fun and imaginative and it doesn’t have to be all about needing to buy the latest STUFF.¬†

Okay, sudden moment of contemplation over. Say hello to my dog. 

What I Wore: Monday 9th February

After a week of heat wave insanity, I’m making the most of the cooler weather by wearing tights. It’s a top of 24 today and it’s perfect outside.¬†

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Top from Supre, singlet from Big W, skirt from my sister, belt from Dotti, tights from Paddy’s Markets in Sydney, shoes from Sydney, sunnies from Equip.

Went out this morning to do some band stuff, now I’m home and ready to practice my piano. Then it’s off to work and then a staff meeting until late.