Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I think I've finally decided what to do with this blog. I've also decided what I won't do.

I will not make myself post on a schedule, just for the sake of putting up content.

I will not put pressure on myself to make everything I post perfect.

I will treat this blog less like a portfolio of well-drafted thoughts and opinions; and more like a scrapbook of ideas.

I will be myself. Even if that means long hiatuses of laziness.

Because, I mean, really, who am I kidding?

If you're wondering what brought this on, I've just been thinking lately about how I don't really post much of my work online. Also, I need a space just to chuck the junk that I wouldn't put on, say, deviantart.

There's an awful lot more junk to post these days too, since getting my new job. I now work reception for an air-con wholesaler in the industrial district. Even when we're busy, there isn't that much reception work to do. So what happens when creativemachine gets bored with a pen in her hands? You're just going to have to wait to find out :P

I won't explain myself any further - chances are no one's going to read this anyway. Although, I did have a spike in page views a few days ago. No views for ages then *BOOM* suddenly 18 in one day. I know 18 is hardly anything, but considering the dormant nature of this tiny little blog that warranted 18 views on a good day back when I was posting frequently, an unexplained spike of 18 in one day is, well, a lot, and also kind of weird.

Sidenote: I nearly typed "alot" instead of "a lot" then. I don't normally make that mistake, but yesterday, I saw this and flipped. The internet just gets me sometimes.


Expect a redesign soon. I have a few ideas in the works.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Japan Report :)

Just recently, I went on a trip to Japan for my third international music tour :D We were asked to write reports on our experience, and I felt like mine was blog-worthy, so I'm sharing it with you here.

So here I am in Japan, sitting on the couch in my pyjamas, watching trashy daytime TV in a language I can't understand (don't get me wrong though; I find it sort of fascinating). Why? why am I here, and not outside enjoying my time here in this beautiful country? I'm sick. Nose dripping like a tap, scratchy throat and between being stuffed up and drugged up on cold&flu medicine, I can barely think. But, I will give it my best shot.

My host mum Akiko has been wonderful, giving me ginger tea and tissues, and letting me sleep in. It has been quite a hectic week, after all. I won't give you a full-on play-by-play recount of everything that has happened, but I will share with you some observations that I have made since arriving here on Sunday night.

The biggest cultural difference I have seen so far, is that the Japanese really care. About everything. For example, whole teams of people are assigned to keep the streets clean and litter-free. It's their job to make sure that Japan stays beautiful. Even such a small and seemingly unimportant detail of daily life is given such attention. But the Japanese acknowledge just how a small detail can make such a big difference. If this is the kind of attitude that this society has towards the little things, you can imagine how that translates across to every other aspect of daily life here.

The second thing is that Japanese people are full of respect. For each other, for themselves, for the country they live in, and for anyone who comes to visit. I have never felt so completely welcomed into somebody else's home before. My host family, the Kawasaki's, have been the friendliest, most caring and generous hosts. Like I mentioned, while I've been sick, Akiko has taken good care of me.

The country itself is just beautiful to look at. Everything is packed in tight, but no one seems cramped or irritated by the close proximity. Despite the high density population, there is greenery and recreational space everywhere. Their work-life balance is perfect; or at least, as close to perfect as anyone on earth has yet achieved (at least to my admittedly limited knowledge).

Perhaps the greatest indulgence in this country, besides the beyond-amazing food, is that we're here to do what we love. Not only are we here to experience another culture, but we are in a position to give back to the generous community that has welcomed us here, by doing something we all do well. Making music.

It's at this point that I should express my sincere thanks to Shaun Dorney and the LYME staff for all they've done. The opportunity to see another country, and to perform on foreign shores is not something I take for granted at all, and I'm truly grateful for the time and effort they have put in to making this trip a success. I quite literally would not be where I am today without them. So Shaun and Co, I know you'll read this, for all the opportunities, for friendships forged with fellow musicians both Australian and Japanese, for the bonds formed with our new surrogate families and for everything else, I say thank you all, so so much.

To Pam Parker, if you're reading this, thank you for your ongoing support in our musical endeavours also. It means a lot to have our creative efforts recognised by the city's leaders - it's not often groups like ours earn this kind of recognition. I really hope we'll do you proud tomorrow in our final big concert with Hirakata's Brass Band.

Of everything amazing in this country, I have only one little niggling criticism - Hirakata is experiencing an epidemic of wonderfully talented young woodwind, brass and percussion players, but it's definitely missing something...

...Yep. Needs more strings.


Now if you'll excuse me, there's a trashy Japanese game show on just begging me to watch.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review Friday: Fish Custard

In my recent blogging hiatus, I decided it was high time to see what all this fuss surrounding Doctor Who was about. I watched my first ever episode, The Impossible Astronaut, exactly a week before my twenty-second birthday. In the space of about a month, a friend lent me each of the boxsets starting on season 5 to fill in the Eleventh Doctor's story, and then back to series one to fill in all the fun from the Ninth and Tenth incarnations.

It took me a grand total of about 2 minutes to completely fall in love with the show. I am totally in awe of the acting abilities of all the involved cast who brought the characters to life. I am also constantly blown away by the intricate writing abilities of Russell T Davies, Steven Moffat, and all the rest of the writers who passionately contribute their imaginations to the show. BUT, that's not what I'm reviewing today.

I've been listening to the soundtrack* from Season 5, and while I'd like to review the soundtrack as a whole, I feel like there are a few stand-out tracks that really deserve a review post of their own. One such track is "Fish Custard". If you haven't watched the series and intend to, be aware that there are spoilers ahead. If you want to watch the series without having it all spoiled for you (which I highly recommend - Doctor Who is one of those things that should never be spoilt), I suggest you turn back now. Once you've caught up, then, feel free to come back and read, but don't say I didn't warn you.


The track "Fish Custard" is played during the scene where little Amelia Pond is letting the Doctor into her house and offering him food to eat. Eleven** is still very newly regenerated, and adjusting to his new body. He requests several different types of food, all of which he expresses his taste for before he tries, and promptly spits out and changes his mind upon tasting. At the end, he finally finds what he needs to eat. Fish fingers and custard. Together. The scene is very quirky and comedic and that is exactly what Murray Gold injects into the music. This is one track that I can listen to and instantly picture exactly what was going on.

The track starts with some sparse pizzicato, channelling some tip-toeing vibe. Already the track is perfectly endearing, and complements Matt Smith's new portrayal of the Doctor beautifully. The track bends and sways with lilting strings and brass, punctuated by woodwinds and quirky percussion, breaking off and building back up with each failed food. At one point, the orchestra*** strikes a dissonant, suspended chord, as the Doctor flings a plate of food - this time bread and butter - out the front door, "AND STAY OUT".

The oboe's tone makes it perfect to audibly describe the new doctor's inquisitive, bizarre nature, as he rediscovers himself. One of the reasons I absolutely love this scene is that it's the perfect opportunity for the audience to rediscover the Doctor as well. This was so, so necessary for this particular regeneration, considering the extreme popularity of his previous regenerated form, portrayed by the ever-charming David Tennant. When you lose such a loveable face, it can make it really easy to spite the next one, simply because it isn't the last. As a fan of the show though, it's one of those facts you just have to come to accept. But I digress.

Later on in the track, after all these failed foods, the pace of the track picks up a bit. It signals that the trial-and-error phase is over, and now, he has a rough idea of what he wants, but he just can't put his finger on it. Apparently carrots are not it ("Are you insane?") and as he takes over the search, the music keeps building and getting even more frantic, until he finds exactly what his new taste buds have been looking for - Fish Fingers and Custard. Here, the music hits its peak and ends boldly on a dominant chord. It feels finished, but not quite, like a sentence finishing on a comma. It's perfect though, because the musical silence that follows is perfect for the next part of the story.

The music doesn't take over the whole scene, rather, it lifts it to a whole nother level, which is exactly what it should do. As a whole, the track gives us clues to the Doctors new character, provides emotional - in this case, comedic - cues, and put's the whole audience into Little Amelia's shoes. It musically describes the scene without spelling it out or stealing the spotlight. But it's still distinctive enough that you can listen to it on its own and the scene floods back into your head. As far as I am concerned, this track, this crucial element, has been what has made this particular scene so memorable. Of course, it wouldn't have been without Matt's incredible performance either; and I in no way suggest otherwise, but the track pulls the whole thing together. Murray Gold has done a fabulous job yet again, and reflects the enthusiasm and gusto and passion for the show that seems to echo and emanate from everybody involved.

I can just imagine being a member of the orchestra. Being in one myself, I know full well that you have certain pieces that you adore more than the most for whatever reason. It could be a particularly difficult piece that took you forever to get but you finally mastered, and now you love it. It could be that piece that wells up some deep emotion right from the pit of your stomach. Or it could be one like this. Quirky, fun, and full of attitude. I imagine quite a few BBC musicians list this one among their favourites.

I'm going to end it there. It is stupidly late again, which means I need to stop writing before my ability slips, if it hasn't already. Thank goodness I did restrict the review to just one track, otherwise I'd be here all night.

Hope you all have a nice weekend, I'll be back on Sunday with a report on this week's creative endeavours.

Love :D

This reviewed item out of 5: Definitely *****
Average stars this year: 5

Days I've kept this going: 3

*I should mention at this point that I'm going to be reviewing LOTS of soundtracks. They make up about 70% of what I listen to at the moment, the other 30% consisting of classical music (about 25%) and whatever else on my iTunes takes my fancy.

**I will henceforth refer to the Doctors by their regeneration number. Eleven refers to the regeneration played by Matt Smith, who is the current Doctor, and will be up until the 50th anniversary year 2013, so we have recently heard.

***BBC National Orchestra of Wales if you were wondering. They do, and have done, all the soundtrack work on the modern series, and they're phenomenal and severely underrated as an orchestra.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Here we go again

So, after giving it a generous amount of thought, I've finally decided how I want to set this thing up.

Without further ado, I present My New Blogging Schedule.

  • Monday - "Little Things Monday" - I will be continuing the series I started with the goal of listing all the things in the world that make me happy, and that I am grateful for, in blocks of ten at a time. This, with the goal of encouraging myself to look closer at things, and be glad for even just the little things when times are tough. I feel like this is a worthy thing to blog about on a regular basis.
  • Wednesday - "Critical Thinking Wednesday" - This will be the day where I plan/post an in-depth analysis of whatever has been occupying my thoughts throughout the past week. It could be anything, from politics, to music, to whether Snape deserved to be with Lily instead of James (short answer: No). I decided to include this one, because I am discovering that when it comes to certain topics, I have very strong opinions, and I'm pretty damn good at backing them up too. And where better to put one's opinion than on one's blog?
  • Friday - "Review Friday" - I tend to like reviewing things when I'm done experiencing them. You might see reviews of concerts (usually of the orchestral variety) or pieces of music, or movies, or books. Basically, if you can experience it in some capacity, and you can review it; you could possibly find it here.
  • Sunday - "Creative Sunday" - This is where I get to show you guys what I've been up to. Whether an illustration, or a video, or a graphic, or a song, or anything really, as long as I've made it using my own two hands and my creativity, it goes here. Even if it's just an idea. This is where you guys come in too. All creative people need a sounding board. I'm relying on you guys to let me know how awesome/terrible my work is, and also, what you would like to see me do next. See, being the creative type I am, I can be terrible at keeping the creative juices flowing. It doesn't have to be profound either. I may just need one word to kick-start the next project. 
Anyway, that's it for regularly scheduled posts. Unscheduled posts will include but not be limited to: diary entry or recount/reflection on the day whenever I happen to do anything interesting/worth recording/remembering, any other lists I happen to come up with, and so on and so forth. Labels/tags should also be used extensively, just in case a reader feels like going through and looking at every "Review Friday" post, or something. 

Also, posts should be ended with some sort of counter, preferably relating to the topic of the post, although keeping consistent within the category. For example, on "LTM" I will be keeping tally on the total things I can think of that keep me happy, and also, a tally on how many items listed were experienced on that Monday. "RF" could give a rating out of five for whatever was being reviewed, and also, a running average out of five for reviews throughout the year. "CTW" might include some sort of satisfaction rating, depending on how much a situation/issue is annoying me eg. if the issue is easily solved, or being handled effectively, or something relating to the resolution of the problem. This one still needs to be clarified though... ideas? 

Today is Thursday, so the first official scheduled post will be up tomorrow. A Review for Friday :)

Sleeping time is now though so I must away. I look forward to this new venture. May it actually work out this time. Cheers.

Days I've kept this going so far: 1
^ I like this counter. I might keep it there :D

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping with the times

This is going to be a short post. Yes I realise I posted only a few hours ago, saying that I was tired and about to go to bed. Yes I am still awake. I blame the internet.

Skipping forward to the catalyst for me hitting the "new post" button for the second time in only a couple of hours, I just found out via Twitter that Amy Winehouse died. She was 27.

I'm devastated. I know she was a drug/alcohol addict. I realise that this is something she brought upon herself, but MAN! That woman had one heck of a voice on her. Have you ever heard it? She was incredible. I just, I think in my eternal optimism, I was hoping she might recover and make a decent career for herself. Which makes this even more tragic. It's like romeo and juliet, minus the romeo element.

I remember sitting in my work tearoom, reading up on her latest antics in whatever gossip magazines were there. I, just, why? I can't even.

I realise that topically, the events in Oslo, Norway are far more tragic, but to be completely candid with you all, I haven't really caught any of the news, so I'm really disconnected to the tragedy over there. I'm ashamed to say so, but it's true. Whereas, even though Amy had a choice, and the people of the Norway Tragedy had none, I actually spent time, while Amy was still with us here on this lump of rock, listening to her dulcet tones. Developing some semblance of a one-sided relationship with her as a human being (as we all do with musicians. That is, after all, the role of the singer/musician/artist/whatever). So, there was a part of her that had become a part of me before she died.

Don't get me wrong, any loss of life is terrible, and my heart goes out to all of Norway in the light of everything. But a little tiny piece of me died tonight with the news of Amy's parting. And that is why I am in mourning.

Last time I felt like this was a few years back, when we first heard the news of Heath Ledger. Then again when we heard of Britney Murphy. So much talent among them all. So much waste. And it's no unheard of either. Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, among others, were only 27 when they left us too. I wasn't around for those, but I imaging their supporters all felt the same too. GAH! I have no more words.

I'm going to shut up now before I get any more gushy. It's 10 past 3 in the am. I'm obviously just emotional and delirious because it's 3:10am, and I need sleep, though I doubt this news is going to suck any less when I wake up.

RIP Amy. Let the heavens enjoy your dulcet tones forevermore.

Oh wow...

I was just about to make a post about how long it's been, but MY! This whole system looks different! I must say, I like the sleek look of the upgrade, but, well, I mean, this is the most different the posting/dashboard has looked since I started blogging. SO UNUSUAL!

Ok, spaz attack over.

So, it's been like, forever again. Sorry. Whatever, let's move on.

I'm so out of practice at this I'm afraid I've completely forgotten why it is I come here. Why did I ever post here in the first place? Was it worth it? Why did I stop? I've been eyeing the Blogger bookmark in google chrome for weeks now, feeling guilty that I haven't posted in forever. It's been quietly nagging at me to come back and show it some love and attention, which up till now I have dutifully ignored. Tonight it finally won.

So for the few of you who still come on here to read these pointless meandering ponderings, I have questions. First off, I just checked my insight for pageviews on this here blog. It says that my viewing audience have logged on in Australia (not surprising), America (where I know some of you live) (specifically those to whom I used to write snail mail to) (speaking of, it's about time we jumped back onto that old bandwagon isn't it? I feel like it's time) (sorry, I digress) and, of all places, Russia. It's odd, because I know at least 2 of my subscribed readers live in the UK, but the UK didn't show up :-/ and I don't know anyone in Russia, but on the insight map, Russia is dark green, suggesting high concentration of pageviews.
My question for you, readers, is Where In The World Are You? Let's get some sort of idea of our demographic, shall we?

Secondly, how exactly do you benefit from reading this here pointless-waste-of-internet-time-and-space-I-refer-to-as-my-blog? I mean, I benefit because I suppose it's an outlet, and it's a form of entertainment. But, like, if you're reading it, you must be getting something out of it, right? Am I entertaining? Am I informative or insightful? Am I simply relatable? Please leave me little nuggets of joy and love down below in the comments. You know how much I love knowing that strangers/acquaintances on the internet/other side of the world love me enough to acknowledge that they have read/enjoyed/even hated my outpourings of mental mush...

Thirdly, what would you LIKE to see from me? See being the creative type I am, I'm completely hopeless at coming up with blogging ideas. I have a couple of post ideas, but in order to get into a routine, I feel I should follow some sort of blogging agenda or pattern. Like, post reviews of books/movies/music on Fridays. Post an artwork/work in progress on Tuesday. Some sort of critical thinking/analysis of something-or-other on a Sunday. And then in between, just post and keep you all updated on my not-so-interesting-when-you-compare-me-with-other-individuals-on-the-internet life. I'll sort out the details later.

I'm very tired right now, so I'm going to leave it there. So, minions, leave me your comments. Spam the heck out of my comment box. And get creative. Tell me what you want from me, and I will MAKE IT HAPPEN FOR YOU.


*EDIT* So I just noticed that last time I tried to recommit to blogging like a lunatic, I started a thing where I attempt to list ten things that I love. Little things, but things all the same. Should I keep going with that? COMMENTS. DO IT. Cool.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

List of things I love: Part the Second

I know I said that this was going to be my Wednesday thing, but I am quite a forgetful person. I'll catch up eventually.

It has come to my attention not so recently that I start a lot of my sentences/paragraphs with the word "so".

So there's that...

To the LIST!

11. Harry Potter
12. Tumblr
13. Chronicles of Narnia (currently starting The Last Battle. It has taken me so long to get around to doing this. EXCITING!)
14. When a little bird comes and just chills on my bedroom window sill in the morning. Just minding his or her* own business.
15. Hans Zimmer's work. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but it's worth another mention, just to ensure that it is here on this list.
16. The Corrs. Irish-pop band who were big from the mid-nineties to the early naughties. Still love every little bit of music they have released to date**
17. Sitting down after a long day with a book and a cup of tea and some relaxing music.
18. The way the sun shines on dewy grass in the morning. I like this especially when it is still misty. There's just something magical about it, and when you're not a morning person like I am not, that extra little bit of magic helps
19. Finally getting a passage of music right after practicing it and screwing it up a million times.
20. Getting excited about nerdy things, be it the release of the latest HP movie***, or an awesome teefury t-shirt design.

*It's a bird, guys. How am I supposed to find out its gender? I mean, really...
**Including the solo releases of both Andrea Corr and Sharon Corr. Don't tell the others, but those two are my favourite.
***Super stoked for the next one btw. The first promo poster came out for it today. Excitement levels through the roof.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Movies to watch this year.

I just need to make one of these lists. So many awesome movies I haven't seen and really need to see. Will probably save them for the winter months because everybody knows winter is the best time for watching movies. It's too damn hot in summer to sit down on a couch for a couple of hours in front of a screen. No. Summer is night-time-stroll season. Winter is curl-up-under-the-blankets-and-watch-movies-with-a-cup-of-cocoa season. But, I digress. TO THE LIST

1 Inception. I know, I know. What kind of Hans Zimmer* fan am I if I haven't even seen this one?
2 Avatar. The one with the blue people. Not the last airbender one. I hear the latter is really crap.
3 Tangled. I've seen the first hour, but I was watching online, and it cut me off. I hear the lantern sequence is the best scene in the film.
4 Sherlock Holmes (the one starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law)
5 The King's Speech
6 Black Swan
7 Slumdog Millionaire

Can you tell I don't get out to the movies much?

That's all I can think of right now. Got any suggestions for me? Or movies that everyone else but you has seen, that you really need to see? Or even, anything you've seen that has an incredible soundtrack? Soundtrack is a big thing for me, and can sometimes be the make-or-break factor of my liking the movie.
This list is bound to grow. I just need to keep track of these amazing

Also, I feel like this blog is turning into a place for me to dump all my lists. I hope that's ok, and if it isn't I don't care.

I might add in an update every now and then, but it's kind of handy having somewhere to keep my lists.

*Still a pretty huge one, considering the ever-rising play count of the Pirates: At World's End soundtrack.
Current plays: between 50 and 66
(this isn't completely accurate as it's been a few weeks since I plugged in my iphone for an update. I assure you there are plenty of plays on there too)
Most played track: Up Is Down
(fairly sure this is accurate though. Favourite track/theme of the score)

List of things I love: Part the First

I've decided to make a definitive list of all the things in life that I love, or love to do, or that make me happy. It's going to be an ongoing thing. I'll try to do ten things each time I post, and I will try to make these posts weekly. So this will be my wednesday thing.

Here we go.

List of things I love, part 1

1 Pokemon Cards
2 Playing the violin
3 Awesome people
4 The Internet
5 Internet Memes
6 Youtube
7 Tumblr
8 Twitter
9 Facebook
10 Expressing myself creatively

Since this is the inaugural post, the initial list items will be mostly generic things. Hopefully, as we go on, the items will become more and more obscure. I like to think it will encourage me to appreciate the little things.

Also, maybe, it might encourage me to come on here more often to share my life with you lovely people. I really hope that is the case.

<3 you all

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh hay

Yeah. It's me.

Now that you've recovered from the shock of finding a post from my blog in your feed (really, did you ever think you'd see the day?), let's chat.

So how've you been? My life's been ok. Up and down. Which I kind of like. I don't really feel like recounting every bit of it for you here though. I hope that's ok.

I've been spending a lot of time doing stuff online lately, so I figured it was time to resurrect this old blog. Dust of the cobwebs and such. I want to use this as a station where I can post anything and everything that I do, so you guys know what I'm up to. So instead of just reading about it, you can live it with me.

If you want to keep up with me day-to-day, I am on twitter. My twitter feed shows up in the sidebar here anyway, if you don't have a twitter account. Which you should, if you're on the internet. I mean, my pet spider has her own twitter account. And youtube account. You really have no excuse... other than perhaps if you were a Swan Queen, or if Voldemort* killed your parents...

Ok, that's enough guilt-tripping for one post. Since whenever I start posting on here again, I am temporarily super-motivated, you may see another post from me as early as later this afternoon. (Current time: 1:42pm)

So I guess I'll smell ya later.

*sidenote: Google Chrome recognises the word Voldemort. Awesome.