Friday, July 31, 2009

What I've done recently (other than Clarinet and Uke)

Okay, so I thought it might be fun to do a post that's 90% pictures. See if you can figure it out.

What I've actually done recently:

Things I really should be doing but am not:

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Okay, I thought I would randomly post this...Maybe 'cause it's really late at night and my brain is fascinated by the fact that it moves, I dunno.
Anyway, how often does someone give you a random hamster? Well, today you get one.

New Layout!

As you probably noticed, I added a new layout as well as a header/banner thingy...What do you guys think?

Ukulele and Clarinet!

So, lately I've been working on teaching myself how to play both the ukulele and the clarinet over the summer. I play piano as well, but I wanted to expand my horizons. Pianos aren't portable, and a lot of people play it so auditioning for something with piano might be difficult.
Unfortunately I can't afford lessons for either of them (I'd have to drop either piano or a dance lesson) so I decided to self-teach.

I had the clarinet sitting in the basement from a long time ago when my dad bought it at a second hand store.

We think it used to be a school instrument.

For quite a while I'd toyed with the idea of playing with it, so when I asked for reeds and a book on how to play for my birthday and got them I figured it was time.
It's hard. And very, very different from piano or trumpet (which I played briefly in a band).
I often wish I could have lessons, or at least someone who plays to nag via Facebook or something. But I love the tone of it, and I think I'm (slowly) getting better at it. Maybe if I keep up with it and graduate from a few of the self-teaching books in the series then I'll consider doing something more serious with it.

And then, the ukulele.

This was one of those spur of the moment, "what the heck!" type of purchases. My mom and I went into a music store and they had these colourful, toy-like ukes. They were only $30 bucks so we split the cost of one, they were too awesome to resist. (And this is why we have so many instruments in our basement...But I'll save that for another post.) So I found some music and chord charts online and started playing. It's actually really easy and fun. You only have 4 strings to manage, it has a really cool, bright sound and while mine is bottom-of-the-line, it's playable and perfect to start off with.
I've decided that if I'm still playing it by the time Christmas rolls around I'll ask for a good-quality one as a present.

I think I'll make another post later about other summer activities, but for now I will go and practice my purple ukulele and second (third?) hand clarinet.

As always, I adore you guys for reading this. You rock! Comment and then maybe I'll buy you some chocolate as a gift. And you can buy me a $200 uke!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Graphic Novels

I recently read two graphic novels, The Plain Janes, and it's sequel, Janes In Love, both by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg.
They were good, but I wouldn't say they were excellent. Parts of the plot were very unoriginal, there's a Jane for each stereotype. Jayne, the nerd, Jane, the theatre geek, Polly Jane, the sporty tomboy. The protagonist of the story (Jane of course), however, was more original. The plot and writing style also seemed more authentic.
The story starts when Jane (the main one) is a victim of a terrorist attack. After she has recovered, her parents and her move away to the suburbs/country (where exactly they move didn't seem completely clear to me). Starting at a new school, it's the story of her emotional recovery in a way, and how she tries to escape through art.

These were one of the first few graphic novels that I've read, so today I went to the library to look for more. I didn't really want manga, or a graphic novel entirely about relationships so I didn't manage to find any at that particular location.
I think a good graphic novel can be really cool, sort of like a comic book, but with a deeper message and more interesting plot and dialogue. You can visualize it better with the illustrations and it's fun to see the characters "acting it out."

Anyone know of any graphic novels like this? Or graphic novels different from my idea of a good one? Do you like graphic novels? Comment!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Titus Andronicus

I saw this play tonight...What can I say.

Even though I sat at the very back of the theatre, I found it extremely intense and kind of upsetting.
I would guess it's Shakespeare's bloodiest play, a woman gets raped and her hands and tongue cut off, as well as numerous brutal murders. In terms of gorey Shakespearian plays, most people would usually think of Hamlet or Macbeth, but I found this one to be much more violent.

I think the aftermath of Lavinia's rape was the hardest thing for me to watch. The actress portrayed the role amazingly well as she crawled down the stairs, and with a scream, poured blood out of her mouth.

If the acting had been poor, I could have left with the impression of "Oh, well, that was kinda sad." But the actors really got into their roles and did an amazing job.

Shakespeare does an amazing job of capturing that cycle of revenge, and it's sad that that is still relevant today. Have we not learned anything in the past centuries?
Though it was a challenge to watch, the play did not condone violence in any way, completely the opposite, and I think it was worth going.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Awesome conference and almost-outhouses

I recently went to a religious family conference (I'm Catholic) out at a lake with a spacious area for people to set up tents and RVs.
It was a really beautiful time spent there, we had daily Mass and some excellent speakers. Another thing that was neat for me was that there were tons of other youth around my age who share my faith and while I can't say I really made any friends it was cool to see that there actually are Catholic youth out there. At my church there really isn't a great program for anyone other than young adults.
We went last year as well, but I think I enjoyed it more this time around. There was more variety in the speakers and I think I was also more interested in listening to what they had to say.

It's always one of those places that gets me thinking, about my faith, about my future and what I think I'm called to do. Perhaps I'll make another post about vocations later, we'll see.

Anyway, on to the "flush" toilets there. Probably the only bad thing about the conference.
They really may as well have been outhouses, it would've been less messy. See, the problem was that they kept flooding, probably because their flushing mechanism was completely unreliable. And then it rained. So now you have a tiny cubicle with up to a few centimetres of water (clean or sewage, I'll never know) and damp toilet paper littering the floor. The maintenance guy randomly closed a few and then people opened them again, I think. It was all rather strange and gross.

Alright, well, I'll stop my half-asleep brain from rambling any more now.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sheep Per Person (with the help of Sarah)

"Sheep for everyone!"

I recently found out a hilarious statistic. In Wales there are 4 sheep per person. Crazy, eh?
But then, I looked up New Zealand and found that there were 10 sheep per person. This number is down from 20 per person a few years ago!
To put this in perspective, there are around 32 people for each sheep in Canada.

Special thanks to Sarah who "makes helpfulness happen".

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

Just a quick post wishing all you fellow Canadians out there a Happy Canada Day!

Today I'm dancing at a celebration and we're also going to see the fireworks in the evening.
Another thing we do is decorate our van and wave flags out the windows whilst going down busy streets.
It's a lot of fun, you sort of get that same thrill as when you wave at random cars that you don't know.
What do you guys do for Canada Day? Comment! :D

Happy Canada Day!