Posts in category "Random"

hair of the dog

I wish Trolley was here so we could play Starcraft 2 like we did when we lived on Island Park. I’d set up my lap­top in his room — he’d have a beer and I’d have a joint — and we’d spend hours against some com­put­ers in Warcraft 3. Or he’d surf the web and lis­ten to music while I wrote in this blog, shar­ing the apart­ment with his kitty and mine.

Those were the sum­mers of No Motiv and Coheed and Cambria. The win­ters of Bel Canto and The Dears. I remem­ber being happy then.

I wish Aaron and Trolley were here so we could get really, really drunk, even though I don’t drink any­more. Only when I wake up in the mid­dle of the night, and all the thoughts I’ve been push­ing into the back of my head come claw­ing out, leav­ing me with a rest­less mind. I pour a glass of Bailey’s on the rocks and prac­tice scales until the alco­hol makes me fall asleep again.

One time, we went to the Honest Lawyer to cel­e­brate Aaron’s birth­day. In our drunken haze, we thought it’d be a good idea to order some pizza when we got back to my apart­ment (there was a pizze­ria right out­side the side door). Aaron hurled in the gar­den rocks as we were wait­ing for the order. We brought him in, and gave him a pil­low and towel cause he wanted to sleep in the bath­room. He told me later, “I only get that drunk when I’m really depressed”. Sounds good to me.

I wish my friends were here so we could drink like the old days, when we were between school and work, and women.

peacock

A few snaps of Jeff and Darren from a quick shoot last night. I never real­ized how much I need my new 70–200mm lens after get­ting a full-frame cam­era; 70mm is much too short, even in my small stu­dio room.

It’s strange to see so much nat­ural vignetting. I’m not sure if it’s the lens or the way the light falls off when spread across the back­ground from one direction.

Jeff in hat

 

Continue read­ing “peacock”…

Aguado Dionisio — Study in A Minor (arranged for ukulele)

Got my new tenor ukulele and it’s an absolutely gor­geous instru­ment, although I’m sure that’s related to the cost1. After a few weeks of try­ing out the Aquila’s they came with, I put on some Worth brown strings with the low-G.

Study in A Minor is a great piece to learn because it’s rel­a­tively sim­ple (so I don’t get dis­cour­aged too eas­ily), but there are three tricky parts to focus on improv­ing. They’re also each dif­fi­cult in their own way, grad­u­ally work­ing the dex­ter­ity or flex­i­bil­ity in a cer­tain fin­ger or two.

I wanted to film this as a record of the way the ukulele sounds now; it’s a solid lace­wood spruce body, so the tone will develop over time as the wood matures. Also, so I can have a quick ref­er­ence of what it sounds like with longer nails on the pick­ing hand (which were promptly cut after, because they were dri­ving me nuts). It’s rel­a­tively clear sound, whereas with­out nails it’s sort of “wet”.

I first learned this on a soprano ukulele, and I had to retrain my fin­gers to stretch on the tenor. It was a BIG dif­fer­ence, and I didn’t think my fin­gers would stretch far enough at first.

It feels amaz­ing to prac­tice some­thing for weeks, and to finally have it click one day. Then you never want to stop play­ing cause you’re afraid you may lose it the next day.

  1. Jesse says I paid “real instru­ment” price for it. []

My cousin Chris

I’ve only shared about two con­ver­sa­tions in my life with Chris — the last of which was about seven years ago — owing to the fact that we live on oppo­site coasts of the coun­try. But Darren and I rec­og­nized him as one of us: some­one who thinks for him­self and doesn’t buy into the whole Chinese cul­ture unques­tion­ingly. This is in con­trast to many of our other cousins, who seem to love their par­ents sim­ply because they were birthed by them, not nec­es­sar­ily because their par­ents are good people.

Chris hap­pened to be pass­ing by for a wed­ding, so I hosted him for two days. It was inter­est­ing to meet him at this point in our lives. I won­der if I’m actu­ally more sim­i­lar to Chris than I am to Darren, mainly because of how our cre­ativ­ity defines us. It was so easy for me to relate and talk to him. And as with Darren, I actu­ally felt like Chris was fam­ily, closer to a brother than a cousin, which is all too rare among my blood.

As an indus­trial designer he does amaz­ing draw­ings, full of vibrant colours that pop-off the page. I asked him to draw some­thing on my dry erase board because draw­ing is a cre­ative abil­ity not in my pos­ses­sion, and I find the process fas­ci­nat­ing. It was a logis­ti­cal chal­lenge because he would smear his exist­ing work every time he rested his hand on the board for stability.

He’s my exact oppo­site when it comes to health. He’s a vegan, while I’d find it impos­si­ble to give up meat, let alone but­ter and ice cream. He just lit­er­ally biked 100km a day across Canada, while my lifestyle could be con­sid­ered seden­tary at best, with only Tai Chi and some mild cal­is­then­ics in my exer­cise rou­tine. And yet we’re the same weight and shape. It’s sort of eerie to see him draw­ing in this video; aside from a shorter hair­cut, it’s almost like I’m watch­ing myself.

The time he spent here passed quickly, as I intro­duced him to the ukulele. Aside from catch­ing up and learn­ing about each other, most of the two days were spent exper­i­ment­ing and play­ing together. Eventually, we went to a music store and bought him his own Mahalo ukulele, which filled my heart with glee. Darren and Jeff are com­ing up for a visit next week, and hope­fully Chris will be able to hitch a ride with them for our ukulele band before we all head back to Toronto for Crystal’s wedding.