star_swan: (Music always helps)
I really need to hit the sack, but first...

I bought this tea sampler of Kusmi teas. They are Russian, but made in France. o___o They're incredible! I sampled four out of the five today >.>. At one point I was flying on tea. Told Kit about it, and gave her my live reaction(s). It was a good way of seeing just how strong they are as well. SO far Troika and Prince Vladimir are strong enough to have at breakfast with milk. Nearly resurrected my Tea Journal. I have managed to stop acquiring things, finally.

..on a related note, I was seized last night with the sudden desire for a violin. x_x I even found some online/at the local music shop for reasonable prices. Hmm. But it is rather hard and I would be bonkers to try it, more than likely. Kit plays and recommended (highly) some sort of instruction though she says that attempting to learn it on your own is not impossible or unheard of. I just could not shake the idea from my head. Still pondering it, but waiting a bit to see if I can manage. I would have to get something to deaden the sound. It would more or less be a secret.

HMM.
star_swan: (Current mood: drunk)
...if by "drunk", you mean "Oh snap, I had too much caffeine."

I rerealized today why I do not ever ingest that many cups of tea. I quit coffee for reasons. Or it could be the sugar or the sugar AND the caffeine. At any rate, it's like sticking my brain on a roller coaster where the big climb takes hours, the view gets increasingly dizzying by the minute, and the drop is sudden and devastating. In less than an hour from now, I am probably going to crash like nobody's business and fall asleep beside my unmade bed or on top of the clean sheets. I knew I should have made the bed as soon as I pulled the sheets from the dryer, well right after I got into the house where my bed actually is located, of course.

I have just passed the, "Oh my gosh, everything is FUNNY!" stage and am entering the "Wow. I could get so much done in this hyper alert state".

One of my old co-workers, Derrick, said that he could always tell when I had had sugar or caffeine because my personality would just shift and my eyes would get dinner-plate-big.

I probably should have hid the keyboard from myself. Oh well.


So. Life!


Familial stuff is *crosses various appendages but not too many*, good and getting better each day. I would eye this warily and with suspicion but the caffeine high is blotting out the fear center of my brain. I don't think that we actually have a fear center. I know it's supposed to be the Amygdala, sort of, but I think it's a vastly misunderstood creature. I like my amygdala because it gives me such handy information like, "Oh my god....that dress is a truly hideous color. Must destroy it with FIRE." and "I love pudding! Yummy!" or "Aagghh!!"

But, yes. People are actually getting along and being, dare I say it, nice to one another. Hmm.

How do people get anything done drinking coffee and the like? How do they even focus? My thoughts are like demented ping pong balls.

I can't believe it's Wednesday already. x_x I mean, it's a good thing, but I feel like there are some things that I had hoped to have accomplished in my spare time before the end of the week which is fast approaching.

Speaking of, can somebody please tell me how in the blue, bloody hell we've arrived at May already??? Wasn't it just New Year's?? Jesus trucking crispy rice

Coming to a post near you (does that make sense?): photos of the quirky things that make this town where I live unique-ish. They include things like cats on leashes (and they're happy about it!), London Buses that are cruising around thousands of miles from their original point of origin on another continent (why??), Fro Yo places that demand that you eat their trendy, frozen treat and like it or else go get eaten by bears for all that they care, and Evil Traffic Lights of Doom that can smell your driving record and are judging you accordingly (and I do not mean those silly little cameras on top of the light pole either).

You think I'm kidding, or that it's the caffeine talking.
But seriously, I took some photos that seemed fairly typical of this place. :)

As a side fannish note or a fannish side note (?), I finally finished watching Season 8 of Doctor Who. Wow. It is nice to know that Moffatt is digging into the same Big Fat Bag of Crack as RTD. That finale though. I liked it! Woah. Yeah. It was epic and bonkers. Still processing.

Going to wander off to shower and bed now...before I really type something crazy.
star_swan: (Misty Morning)
Doctor Who Babble. Feel free to skip. :) )

I am trying to learn another bit of music and finding lettering and letters annoying. It's like no matter how many times I read a piece of music, the letters never quite stick. I have this problem with dictionaries, iPod lists where the artists are alphabetized (which is generally how that works), foreign language syllabaries. If I color the notes, I never mistake what they are.
(More on that and my funny brain in another post). I can be scrolling through my iTunes library for something and I will go right past it, like I don't even see it even though I was obviously looking right at it.

Family is sort of better, and sort of difficult.Likening it to a cut healing where it itches in the meantime whilst getting slowly better. My family isn't stinging or painful, but it itches a little. I hope it's itching and not something else.

My LJ turned twelve on May the 1st!
Wow. Seems like an obscenely long time ago!

I have things to do, fun things, good things and I want to do them, but I have been binge watching instead. :S

The other night I sat out on my balcony and watched the light fade. It took about an hour. I noticed that the breeze would ruffle the leaves on certain trees, but not their near neighbors even though the leaves on those trees were not any heavier. But then it would ruffle the leaves aways away like it was skipping over certain trees. Like little micro breezes. It seems that the smaller a system like that gets, the less apparently predictable it becomes. Ever wonder why that is? Some folks cite math, but I think it's energy. The breeze must be following a certain path for a reason.

Need to redo the hummingbird feeder and set the coffee maker for the morning.

I will leave you with an odd tune that I have been obsessively listening to: Plans by Grizzly Bear.

P.S: It's a Full Moon!

Eff it.

Mar. 31st, 2015 08:37 pm
star_swan: (Default)
I write in here nearly every day, at least three times per week, and I have been keeping this up for the past two years. Before that I was writing a handful of times a month. And I have been locking all of my entries. Why the fuck have I been doing this?

Putting this here because it is amazing: extreme words of wisdom about playing an instrument, specifically piano. It highlights how you have to work steadily, consistently, and reasonably resting in between sessions.

My favorite line: You can't cram the piano.


So working on third day in a row of tossing and turning. I would always get back to sleep, but then I would wake up again. My cycles seemed to elongate as I approached dawn, probably because I was talking to myself (in my head) and trying to soothe myself back to sleep and into a more prolonged sleep, which worked, albeit with weird side effects. I would be dreaming and I would think to myself, "Damn! This feels so good, sleeping." and "I can see the edge of the dream. It's the outside world. Shit! Don't want to wake up again!" And then I would "physically" run away and plunge deeper into the dreamscape. I would even feel myself waking up and I would force it away. Then I thought, "Gee. I hope that I can wake up again if I need to." I can do this thing where I can be dreaming and I can decide to wake up, not every night, but a lot of nights. Lucid dreaming is really cool and also kinda strange. Being able to control your sleep means that any stressor or misstep and you can wind up with a jacked up sleep schedule. Mind over matter is not always a picnic, more like a demented carnival ride.

I've decided to pretend like this is a normal day and that I do not feel half delirious with dark circles under my eyes. I don't think that napping is going to fix it. Perversely, if I do my practice (gently) and manage to accomplish things, slowly, it will put my mind at ease better than trying to take half-assed naps would. The last time that I was sleep less, getting good and exhausted was the only sure way to calm my arse down. It's like I have to really want the sleep because a lot of the time I am too wound up or spinning my gears too much to settle down and accept the loss of consciousness. Even if I think that I want to go sleep. Spinning stories helps because it takes concentration, but is also diverting and relaxing and eventually you lose the thread and drift off. How sick is it that I play mind games with myself in order to sleep?

That and Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. It's the same as regular except that you can set lower or higher word counts for yourself for the month. And I do not want it to be like camp when I was nine years old where I was sad, beleaguered, and half feral from lack of rest.


***********

Three hours before three o' clock! Woohoo!! I spent a lot of it practicing Bach (which is restful for the sleepy mind) and this thing called Parisian Street Scene which has a pretty wicked tempo and is a lot of fun. I feel so accomplished right now, I can't even tell you. I think that I am going to do some leisurely exercises, grab a coconut water, and go sit outside at the shadier end of my patio and luxuriate in beneath the crepe myrtle and snapdragons/mint/violas/morning glories. It is pretty dope out there now with everything lush and flowering, have to say.

Mint water is GREAT! Ice water with crushed mint leaves in it to be exact.

I had to stop myself from going back to the piano earlier. I am tempted to play a little more, just something leisurely. So long as I do my three hours, I suppose I can do extra dabbling here and there. I think that I am going to start doing daily s l o w trill exercises. I started to do hand over hand arpeggios a couple (??) of days ago.

Tonight, I need to shower after dinner (I am going back to showering in the evenings because I forgot to this morning and I realized that it is weird after having showered for years in the evenings, pretty much my entire life with a brief interlude from HS or uni??) and then finish transferring notes and snippets into Scrivener. Tomorrow is IT. 1,110 words per day for a month. I can do this. I just need to find a suitable time of day. Seems like mornings would be best, first thing, after breakfast but before the piano.

Might have to dance this evening to induce serious tiredness. That and it will drive away over thinking by refocusing my energy into my body.
star_swan: (Snape about to bitchslap (Gof))
So I have been furiously (though not actually) adhering to my practice sessions with a will. The past couple of days I had had to retool a couple of things because my hands were getting tired. I was ignoring some of the Hanon Insanity and rolling my wrists when going up to the black keys on scales, otherwise the tendon between my right ring finger and pinky were going to start muttering unhappily.

Long story short, four hours per day every day is a little crazy at least with current techniques. While lifting my fingers and hammering through Hanon has created a boost in strength, it is simply too intense to sustain. It was starting to make my thumb pads a little sore. And while the soreness was always gone the next day, nevertheless, it wasn't good. I thought back and realized that practicing with lightness and fluidity took longer, but got me to the same place technique wise. I was still building finger strength. As one person put it, "You can't cram the piano". More is not necessarily better. This one British concert pianist was encouraging people to use six hours of their free time in order to learn it, but I would advise using those hours for a variety of things: theory, note learning, slooooow practice, ear training. I was getting a little frustrated also because I want to compose things and learn about structure and build on some of my improvisations, and have the time to do so. I was afraid to ease up even though as an athlete, I always knew intuitively to rest after a session and allow my muscles and brain to recuperate.

Hanon has proved useful, but I am going to ignore the earlier advice and use my wrists more keeping my fingers lower. As one person said, raising your fingers simply slows you down and gives you more distance to cover and makes for awkward hand positions that are less efficient and cause more potential strain. Or else I could just tread more lightly (mf or mp). I get that slowly you build strength and that when you up the tempo, you play more lightly. "No pain, no gain" is a BAD mantra to apply to piano practice. :S

This one professional musician even went so far as to recommend only practicing four days a week for those with busy schedules. I am seriously considering five days with rest days interspersed. So, something like Mon, Tues, Rest, Thurs, Fri, Rest, Sun, Mon, Rest…et cetera. On the rest days, I can just study theory. Hmm. I am still not sure. Or else I could scale it back to two hours daily and take off one day in the middle of the week, possibly Wednesday. The thing is, when I get in front of the keyboard, I tend to get sucked in and just keep on going. I'll break up the time into segments where I work on one thing and then another and time whizzes by. I do realize that quality is preferable and some folks argue that beyond two-three hours, you're facing diminishing returns both mentally and physically. Then I think back to people who say that you should practice for 30-60 mins daily. :S I was supposed to take today off in order to rest, but I did wind up doing 30 mins of light arpeggios and simple Bach. Keeping me away is a challenge! This one guy also recommended working on passages/new tunes first when you are fresh mentally and working on scales etc later and switching it up.

I am simply going to have to sleep on it and think to myself about what is the best schedule, intuitively, for me. Is my goal to become a piano demon or to write and learn music and become more proficient?
star_swan: (Sunflowers)
Just left a possibly, stupidly long quotey comment on my friend's A03. I think that I wound up mostly quoting and gushing and scarcely leaving any (to my mind) insightful or useful commentary. I am blaming my period brain. I read it a couple of days ago. But I have been too tired to formulate a coherent response. Haha, so this was slightly less incoherent than what it would have been had I commented yesterday or the day before, only every so slightly...
Fuck, I love her stories. There is only the now and all it affords you to feel in explosive colors that bleed out of you in the hopes of touching others.

There is a lovely breeze out. The relative temperature (relative to wherever you happen to be: the grass, the pavement, the patio all vary by degrees) outside is warm, but it is still nice. I am longing for a storm, for dampness. That would make my life right now. I realize why the change is so comforting, apart from it being what I was born into, what I am used to, what I grew up with. There is so much (more) sensation in a storm, the drop of the barometer, the accumulation of moisture that you can feel and smell on the surface of your skin, inside your nostrils, caressing the airways of your lungs. And standing in the rain with all of your free nerve endings alight with the cool droplets pouring down from the sky, rolls of thunder in your ears, flashes of lighting bouncing off your retinas. Wow. I miss it. I never thought directly about it, but it is an enveloping sensory experience.
Fuck science, really, except for its capacity to afford one yet another pathway for expression. That is what I will use it for. I sincerely hope that no one mistakes me for a true devotee. I am tied down to no belief system, be it outwardly, purportedly religious or vapidly, misleadingly, fallaciously factual in nature. In nature. What the fuck do they know about nature in their ever pressing need to dissect it and lay out all of the bits for further, cold-blooded probing? I believe in the web of life, the interconnectivity of the universe, and in magic. And rainstorms.


In other news...lady parts are stabbing me (but not as much in the feels, it's more strictly physical, thank gods) , Colin is mopey because he seems vaguely dissatisfied/tired and I think it is because he is exhausting himself with theatre and trying to avoid home so much it hurts. I would like him to feel more comfortable (even with nagging grandparents) and to feel safe here. I know that someone like him treats home as a temple and if it can't be, he tends to fall apart a bit. He needs it. We all need it. You can't always be flinging yourself here and there willy nilly. Not even the most outlandish of extroverts can manage that. I told him that I did not want him going into the city alone to see the Front Bottoms, one of his favorite bands. A friend was supposed to go, but she punked out on him. It is not all dire though. Yesterday we went to see Begin Again again and Colin met us after outside the theatre and for a moment everyone looked happy to be in each others' presence(s). That film though....it completes me. XD It was even better the second time around. Just....incredible.

Colin wants to see it again so I will have to take him or give him some money to go see it with someone. Hmm.

I don't often see people with as wide an array of facial expressions as me. What's weirder is when they seem to possess the same ones. o_O This is just random gifs on the internet, nobody around here. Or have you ever encountered people (am I actually addressing questions to my blog now?) who have a rather similar life path, upbringing, sort of only in an odd reversed mirror image sort of way? ...like they moved or did things at around the same age, or grew up someplace wintry and defined by it and you grew up someplace where it didn't ever exist and you longed for it because you glimpsed it in picture books and they wished for the things, conversely, that you had in abundance where snow never touched the ground, a brisk chill never kissed the air? But there are uniting factors like being an only child, the observer. It's like they could be your mirror twin. Only NOT. Yeah, uh. Severe babbling. Bad. Bad. Must stop. Pay no attention to the complete freak behind the curtain...this has nothing the hell to do with anything. Any resemblance to...is purely blablabla etc.

Oh and, Colin said the other day that I am the most awkward person that he knows. WHUT?

I feel like a fool for wanting little quiet, happy moments and perhaps I am making a big deal of it, but I can't stand it when he is just lying there in his room, clearly moping and feeling sorry for himself. I am allowing him to get away with it for about another hour or two before I need to make dinner and then he is talking to me whether he likes it or not. This is ridiculous. He is trying to learn six new songs in a short period of time and I can tell that he is receding in the face of feared failure. His room is a disaster zone, again. He is just settled morosely in bed amidst a cluttered sea of his haphazard possessions. It's the perfect stereotype of teenage angst. Perhaps drama is as drama does. STILL. :S

Meanwhile, amidst my ravings I have the bonkers/impossible schedule this week. Need to cram info for Exam 5 and then turn around and review for the final that occurs on the very next day. I was planning to review more this weekend, but it got away from me. I was also so tired. I am so tired. Urrghh.

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star_swan: (Default)
I was promised tea

April 2017

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about me

I'm a mad translator with a degree in Comp Lit and assorted languages. Writing a novel and studying violin. (The story has been flailing along for the past couple of years. I think that the Scrivener research file is larger than the actual text.)

I live with a rather naughty ginger cat. Is there any other kind?

I love tea, loose leaf teas, teas in sachets, all sorts of teas and COFFEE. The more legally, addictive stimulants, the merrier!

Music and books are my life. I basically live in a closet-sized library with a container garden. I occasionally sleep. <3

ivybellis ------> star_swan

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