31 December 2007

Bring it 2008!

Hello everyone! Today's the last chance to dance in 2007 for me so all I can say is bring it on! I'm excited about the next year and I'm happy when I look back at this year. After last night's gig, I'm even happier because it went nice and smooth and all the hard work is paying off. I was watching an interview with Teddy Campbell and he said you can only reap the rewards after you've been laboring and sowing your seeds. This is (obviously) true, but another thing I'd like to remind myself is that even if you keep sowing and keep laboring, this all still takes time for the soil to digest everything. I could work out everyday, but if I don't give my system a chance to digest all my hard work, I'll never be able to make the most of it.

I'm ready to take on everything I've got planned today and I'm already getting there, I've finished the day's drumset practicing and once I finish this entry, I'll hit the showers and head to the gym (it closes at 6pm today, so I can't miss out!). When I come back, I'll get down to finishing some of my freelance projects so I don't have lingering things to do when 2008 comes along.

It's an exciting, overwhelming and scary time now because it's like I've finally found a balance point, but the hard thing is staying balanced! Like I said before, I've had my ups and downs, highs and lows, happy's and sad's but it all works out in the end. I know it will not because I know it will, but because I have faith it will :). Anyways, it's 2:52pm and I better get ready and get out before I miss everything! I'll be back later and have my own personal count down to success in 2008. So for the next few hours, I hope all of you get your act together too and have a big bang ready for the new year!

Update at 9:11pm:
Just got home! Woah, I had a great work out and it's all sorted out now! I had to stop over at a friend's house to help him fix up his dying computer and now it's time to eat some dinner. My last dinner of 2007! I'm looking forward to the next few hours and not to mention my late night hike at 2am! I'll keep you posted!

Update at 01:06am:
Poof! Just finished my feet exercises at my drum pad. Argh, it's really exhausting trying to hit the mark on my metronome. After a while, I even find myself frustrated, but no matter what, I'll keep working at it! Sometime's it gets so discouraging but I know in the end it's good for me :) But then again, my legs are a bit tired today since I did an aerobic work out at the gym so it's fair I wasn't at my best performance. So yes, it's 1 am on the new year day and an hour later I'm going to be hiking! Mwahahaha! Now for me to just get my stuff sorted out and prepared and off I am! I hope so far things have been good for you all! :)


30 December 2007

It's Sunday, the day of rest

Well, it's Sunday and technically should be the day of rest. In many ways, it still is a day of rest for me as I'm doing all the things I enjoy, even though they require voluntary effort on my part and take up my whole day.

Oh, by the way, after writing the previous post last night, I got up and was swept away with exhaustion and decided I would just go to sleep. I was actually so tired, I couldn't even fall asleep! Have you ever had these before where you're too tired to even sleep!? I hate it when that happens because I really am wasting my time but at the same time, I can't do anything else! I slept a good 9 hours and woke up. All my early morning plans had to get shoved aside or pushed to the afternoon, but that's alright. So what do I have planned for today? As usual, a lot of course:
  • Do my breathing exercises
  • Practice drums (Drum Set, Hands, Feet)
  • Sort out my to-do's for the rest of the week regarding all my freelance work
  • Finalize all my gym workout routines (and get a work out while I'm at it)
  • Finish sorting out a few more processes on my computer
  • Go play my drum gig tonight
  • Update this post to see how much of this I've accomplished :P
You know, the more I try to do, the more I agree with one statement that said you are as productive as you are relaxed. I used to be a big fan of intensity where I thought the more intense I was, the more work I could get done. But that's like saying the tenser your muscles, the more you can get them to work. Muscles work by getting tense, not being tense! Same for me being productive, by starting off relaxed, I give myself all that room of building focus and intensity as I become productive.

Speaking of being focused, after a lot of hard work and discipline, I've managed to get quite focused now when I practice my drumming. I can sit there with my practice pad and metronome and do a series of control bounces at the same speed for a whole 10 minutes without getting bored. How? Well Rhythm Coach on my DB-90 metronome helps a lot because it keeps things happening, one moment I'm on the dot, next moment I'm too fast or too slow so I have to keep up constantly! In the beginning this used to get discouraging, but now I love it! Makes me really focus on hitting the mark of every beat perfectly! I'm not saying I want to be a drum machine, I'm saying I want to have the option of being a drum machine when I was to.

Wow, that brings me to another point. I was watch the Modern Drummer Festival 2006 Saturday & Sunday last night and in the interviews section, Thomas Lang talked about his performances and how he improvises most of his performances and it made me think of one thing. Many artists and people who always claim to want to break the rules in their creativity and so choose to do things with no regard to the rules. Now I'm sure you've heard the statement "To break the rules, you need to know what the rules are first". That goes the same with my drumming. For me to play drums with a human touch (ie. not like a machine), I need to be able to be a machine, too. Basically, instead of saying I don't want to play like a machine, so I don't practice as strict as I do, is wrong. It should be "I can play like a machine, but in this situation, I choose not to." Jo Jo Mayer said the same thing when he talked about using a drum stick's bounce rather than trying to do the full down and up motion by yourself. He says not to think of this as a crutch where you rely on the bounce to get the job done, but more like you realize the bounce is going to happen, so why not work in harmony with it rather than waste the potential of the stick's bounce? So true, so true! Ever since I started doing a lot of the things I do, I've learnt to see the world around me in a different perspective. Things that used to discourage me because I'd feel let down by them now pump me up even more because it reminds me how much it all comes down to me and myself.

One day while walking in the MTR, I thought of one phrase which I really like: "Only I can hurt me". This is so true! Things that used to upset me or hurt me only bother me because I let them into my system and do their damage. It's just a mental shift that is necessary for me to push them out or turn them into energy for me to go even further. When I did my corporate stand up comedy gig, I was nervous as ever. I think the most nervous I'd ever been in my life because I was really, really, on my own. But that experience made me also realize the potential that was in me when it came to relying on myself. It reminded me how much I can do as long as I shift my focus in the right direction! I mentally prepared myself that night and just let it flow and it worked out! :D This was one thing I learnt from the book Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within where the author talked about why musicians did drugs and stuff and about how the best performances were those by musicians who just let it go and play. It's so true. Many seasoned musicians will tell you the same thing. Practice all you want, but when it comes to performance time, throw it all away and just play the music! I do that very often now, I go with my feeling rather than the vocabulary of licks and grooves I have in my head. But to do this, I need to have that vocabulary to start off with. It's much like a person who learns the alphabet and a few words can never write a masterpiece. I need to have my vocabulary digested into my system to really be able to play-at-will! The same goes with my stand up routines. The more I do it, the more my bits get digested into my system and I can pull at them whenever I want and execute them at will. And so having done that corporate gig, it makes me realize that shows at the comedy club are relatively nothing (stress-wise) comparatively and so whenever I perform there and find myself getting nervous, I remember how I managed to survive through the corporate gig and I'm calm again.

This brings me back to the things I have to do today. Don't get me wrong, there have been many, many, many days where I wanted to do 100 things and only accomplished one. Heck, last night was a perfect example. While writing my entry, I had all these things lined up. After pressing the Publish Post button, I just went to sleep! But this doesn't discourage me because I also know there were times when I wanted to do 100 things and I ended up doing 101 things! I know it's possible so I keep at it and take advantage of it whenever I can. If I can't, I accept it and move on! :)

But one final note before I go and get on with my day and stop making this a super long post, is that what I say here is theoretically straight-forward and true. Like any other human, I have times of weakness where I find myself just emotionally wrecked. All the great ways of thinking and positivity just can't help me. This, in my opinion, is normal, it reminds me that I'm still a fragile human being that is alive. It's at times like these I appreciate the days when I'm truly a happy, happy person because without a few crap moments, happy moments will get normalized and you'll get used to it. So on days when I feel bummed out, it's really a blessing in disguise because thanks to that day, the next day when I feel better, I'll really feel better, not just be better.

Anyways, let's see how I get through today!

Update at 4:19pm.
I've done the following:
  • Breathing exercises
  • Drum practice (Drumset)
I'm about to go shower then hit the gym, so on my way I'll try and sort out the following:
  • Sort out my to-do's for the rest of the week regarding all my freelance work
  • Finalize all my gym workout routines (and get a work out while I'm at it)
Going to be a long, long day.... :)

Update at 01:19am (31 Dec. 2007)
Wow, I just got home. The show went well and boy was I glad I went to the gym before hand! I sorted out all the different variations on exercises I can/will be doing, so I'm all set for a routine. I'll be back tomorrow to work out my aerobic exercises. Still debating if I should go jog around the race track or just stick to the gym. I don't want to strain my knees too much but at the same time, the race track just rocks!

Alright! So I still need to accomplish the following:
  • Drum practice (Hand/Feet exercises)
  • Finish sorting out a few more processes on my computer
I didn't fully finish off writing out all the work I have for my freelance projects and also I still have my hand and feet exercises I need to get through for my drums. Speaking of drums, I got so much time to jam tonight on stage! I love jamming! This is the time where I really just throw away everything I've practiced and just play from the heart. I'm not scared to muck up nor am I worried I'll miss the beat. I have faith in my jamming abilities and tonight it went nice and smooth as usual! All those rap beats I've learn came out and I funk'ed up what was supposed to be a totally metal show! Hehe!

I'm off to finish off the remainder of today's to-do's! :D

Update: 04:09am (31 Dec 2007):
Woohoo, finished!
  • Drum practice (Hand exercises)
  • Finish sorting out a few more processes on my computer
Ok, I admit, I didn't do my feet exercises because I really was just too damn tired I couldn't help it. I just got out of the shower and am about to hit the sack. I have a long, long day ahead of me tomorrow before I say goodbye to good old 2007. I still remember starting the year with the phrase "2007 is the year for change". A lot has changed! A lot! Some of them were intentional and voluntary, while others were unfortunately forced upon me. But I can only take them all as blessings because if not for them, I wouldn't be where I am today. So much has happened that it makes me really curious as to where I'll be this time next year. For once, I look back at the year and don't feel "wow, the year's over already?" but instead smile because I know I really made the most of the year, just like I made the most of today.

I had my highs and obviously I had my lows... but today, I'm at peace with myself. As of right now, I know I did my best and that's all that matters to me, that I did my best and that means tomorrow I'll be better than I was today because as long as I keep working at something, I do nothing but improve.

I wish all my readers the best of luck in 2008 because let me say it now, 2008 is the year everything happens. I can feel it in my blood! I've worked too damn hard for it not to and I know I can, so it's just a matter of doing it now! Watch out world! :D

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29 December 2007

I'm exhausted but still need to keep going

Woah, I'm really mentally exhausted and I could really use a good 1 hour break today but I have to keep going because a lot still has to happen before today ends.

I just came home from meetings and they all went very well, but I'm just tired. I have to say, it felt good to come back to a neat room for a change (I cleared it up all of last night) and all I have left is to create a proper inbox for myself so that at times like now (where I'm so tired, I just don't care), I have a place to chuck my stuff temporarily. For example, my backpack is currently on my bed when I really should put it under my organ but when I came into my room, I was just so exhausted I couldn't care about cleanliness at that moment.

Weeee, more interruptions! It's almost 6pm and I still haven't had a proper chance to practice the song I'm supposed to be drumming tonight. Yikes! Anyways, I better get to it as I have a lot of things to tend to today and I've got like 30 minutes before I need to eat dinner and run!

I'll have to update this entry later today. Right now, it's 5:55pm on Saturday, 29th December 2007. I wonder when I'll update this entry again.

5 hours and 10 minutes later....
Wow, it's 11:05 pm! I just got home and am enjoying a nice bowl of granola cereal. I love my cereal! So what has happened during this time?
Well a lot!
  • I learnt the whole song I was supposed to play for crazimals (OK, it isn't the toughest of songs)
  • I practiced that song
  • I ate my dinner
  • I went to Mong Kok and jammed with them for 2 hours
  • I walked back home
And here I am :) So what else is pending to be done tonight? A lot! Yikes! I need to sort out a few more things in my room, practice my feet/hand drum exercises and also sort out my reading material. There's a lot of stuff I need to get back to reading so I better sort out what comes first!
You know, I really enjoy filling my room with background music while I work, it just keeps things alive for me, but I'm having problems sorting out my speakers. I'm still trying to figure out how I can set everything up to literally surround myself with sound waves! My aim is to get this done before the new year... but there's one catch. I'm not allowed to see wires everywhere!
"Go wireless!" I hear you saying. Why of course, that's the easy way out, but my goal is to use my current set up and figure out a solution. I've come to really enjoy trying to work around my limitations and trying to push what I have to the max rather than just find an alternative. Sure, sure, in some ways I'm kind of re-inventing the wheel where I'm trying to find a solution when there is a better alternative out there, but at least it makes me get all creative (and frustrated)! It's a good exercise, too!

So what have I accomplished today in my journey towards the great new year? Well like I said, I was busy and stuff, but I guess in a way today was a day I enjoyed my accomplishments of this year where I found myself meeting clients, playing music and just enjoying the comforts of the life I've made for myself :). So off I am to enjoy the rest of the night! Have a great weekend!

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28 December 2007

Yesterday's missed entry

Argh! I never got a chance to write an entry yesterday. I was aiming to write one entry a day until the new year comes in so I could see how I prepared myself for 2008... woo I start typing this and I get 3 phone calls one after another. You see what I mean by I had no time?

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I'm happy that my life is so busy, exciting and packed and thank goodness I spent all that time working out my ways of managing my time and myself otherwise today I'd be so overwhelmed by everything! Yikes!

Even today was a long, long day with a lot happening, but let's go back to yesterday. So yesterday, I took care of my personal fitness plans and worked out some brand spanking new exercises for use in the gym. Personally, the new exercise I came up with for my chest really, really works! Woah, I didn't strain myself but it sure kept my muscles at maximum intensity and tension throughout the work out! I need to work out an aerobic plan but I'll stick to my good ol' jogging around the race track with music in my ears, it's so therapeutic. Most people who see me often say "you go to the gym?!", yes, yes I do, I'm no Mr.Buff Guy but I go to the gym and I lift weights. I've always been the relatively skinny type and that means I don't portray a buff image, which is fine by me because I honestly do this for myself because working out is totally a me-me-me time for myself where I'm 100% selfish. While I'm at the gym, I'm extremely anti-social. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rude, if I see someone I know, I'll say hi, but don't expect me to do a set of exercises and stand around chit-chatting, I'm not there for that. I'm there for an hour in-and-out.

During the hour that I'm at the gym, my mind cares about one and only one thing -- me. My eyes are focused on the weights, my ears are ripping through the heaviest of metal music I have, my nose and mouth are performing synchronized and controlled breathing while the rest of my body is working out. I love it.

The coolest thing about my work outs now is that all the time I spent before researching and learning more about fitness is paying off. Not to show off, but there are people who I see regularly at the gym who seem to still be at the same level they were at a few months ago not because they don't come regularly, but because they cheat. Cheat with bad technique. There are a lot of exercises people can cheat in, one of them is the bicep curl where people swing their arms and use their shoulder muscles to assist so they can lift more weight. I'll admit it, my arms are total shits, I usually lift around 8kg per arm while most guys next to me do nothing less than 14kg. I admit, my arms are weak but at least I know I'm doing a full 8kg on my biceps :). And to be frank, I don't give a crap if people look at me and snicker at what weights I'm lifting. Like I said, I'm there for myself so laugh all you want :)

And this brings us to today, Friday. Ah, good ol' Friday. I've had a long, long day already so far with meetings and interviews and now I'm finally home. I've got to sit down and get some work done tonight but hopefully if all goes well, I'll be meeting my friend to go for a nice, relaxing drive later at night. I could use that :). Wow another phone call... sheesh. So anyways, today's goals is to try as much as possible to clear up my room. I've got a lot of work to get done still and I'm actually quite tired already right now which is not a good sign I must say. Speaking of work, I even need to prepare for the new song I'm playing for Crazimals on Sunday. Yikes, I haven't had a proper chance to work on that!

Anyways, I'm going to eat some dinner and try to get what I aimed to accomplish today done. Good luck to me, check back in the next 24 hours!


27 December 2007

Days away from the new year

There's only a week left before the new year kicks in so I'm slowly ticking off things I want to get done in preparation for the new year. One of them was to re-tune and re-set my drum set in my band room. I spent a total of 7 hours today disassembling, tuning and re-assembling my entire monster of a drum kit! I am so exhausted and my ears are really, really tired! But there's still a lot waiting for me to get done tonight and all I can say is bring it on! Raah!

Check out the lovely pictures of my final kit. Notice my DW 5002 pedals aren't present. I didn't want to have to lug it to the bandroom and back home today. I hope the space I left is just right. Based on my foot and leg's comfort, the little gap between the hi-hat pedal and the legs of the snare drum is where my left foot feels most comfortable when I simulated playing double pedal.

Also, I haven't set up my mics either because after 7 hours, I was exhausted, hungry and I had to rush to catch the train back home! For all you drummers who are drooling right now, I don't suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome)... anymore :P But all I can say is long live the 2nd-hand market! Every piece on my drum set, except for the following, is 2nd-hand! :D
  • Zil-Bel
  • Drum sticks
  • Pearl Stand holding the HH Heavy 20" Sabian Ride
So now you all know the kit that's making all the racket in my band room :P... I pity our neighbors...


26 December 2007


Wow, I've spent a total of almost 4 hours just today practicing my drums! I feel so alive recently, I think it's because I've gotten back on track with my breathing exercises that really fill me with energy every day :).

I just thought I'd share with all my drumming readers what set up I have to practice at night:

Yep, that's my practice kit. It allows me to fully focus on my exercise without getting distracted by playing with songs and stuff like I often do when I'm on my electronic drums.
  • DW 5002 pedals
  • ReelFeel practice pad
  • Vic Firth 5B Nylon tip drumsticks
  • Foot practice pad
  • Pearl snare stand
  • Boss Dr.Beat DB-90 Metronome (love rhythm coach! I have it set on 3 and I don't move on till I can do a full bar with every hit at "good")
So there you are :) I wonder how this kit will evolve over time so let this be a reference point in my drumming career.

Now on to my proper money-making work... see ya!


24 December 2007

A fresh start

Yep, I finally re-formated my computer and it's all smooth. I'm still working out some backup systems and stuff so I minimize my losses should I have any failures technically!

I got 2 pairs of shoes that are just funky stuff! Check them out:

Lovely :) Just thought I'd share the good news.


22 December 2007

Sleepy on a Saturday

Wow, I'm actually feeling quite sleepy right now. I guess I didn't sleep too well last night because my younger cousin kept nagging at me this morning because she was bored and so I got around 5 hours worth of proper sleep.

It's already Saturday and everyone's getting into a festive mood everywhere I look. I'm just working out some projects as well as kinks in my own work flow everyday so that when the new year unrolls, I'll be rocking as smoothly as possible.

I've got my Chinese comedy performance tonight at the Take Out Comedy Shop. That'll mark the last Chinese show of this year. I need to write more material so I can swap bits around.

Today should be a Day 10 entry but all I can say is that I've really trained myself to focus more although sometimes I fall off track because I'm trying to focus on too many things at the same time. I've learnt to set priorities better but when I feel exhausted, no amount of self-discipline will do anything for me. I just feel tired and lazy then. I haven't been doing my breathing exercises because when I wake up, it's usually to a start where I have to be up and running immediately or when I sleep I'm so tired I just want to sleep and shut down.

I spent a lot of last night working out kinks in my work flow as well as my computer because the more I work, the more I realize I can't afford any down time so I have to be ready to take on any obstacles I face technically. I also need to have a proper reference system for every project I do, kind of like a project template that takes care of every aspect of it from emails to the fonts used in the project so that if a year later I come back to it, I'm good to go immediately.

Anyways, let's see, I'll probably hit the shower in a bit to wake myself up, but right now... oh wait wait wait! I have good news to share!!!

I bought a new electronic drum kit!!! The Roland TD-12k (Black)!! Woohooo! I have to order it and it'll arrive probably in February 2008, but it'll be here! Take a look at this:

That my friend is sexy! It was time I upgraded from my lovely TD-6k drum set I got 2 and a half years ago because I need the better equipment for my playing now. Hopefully I can even move this drum set into my room and it'll be quiet enough so that I can play at night when I'm just sick of working on some projects. Also, I'll be able to connect it to my computer directly and do recordings immediately when I get any ideas.

I'll let you know how much I love the TD-12k set when I get it! :D Have a good weekend!

Update: I took an hour's nap and I'm all charged up now! :D

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20 December 2007

My first corporate stand-up gig

Wow! I just got home and I'm mentally burnt out! Being super nervous takes a big toll on you and your body! I feel like I just finished a week's worth of continuous exams!

But it's all worth it because tonight I just had my first corporate (read paid) stand-up comedy gig in the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen! It was a multi-lingual one where I did 60% in English and 40% in Cantonese. Quite good fun, although I must say I was freaking nervous as hell because some of my material was quite fresh and so I haven't fully digested it and so to be honest, 1/3 way through my set, I actually forgot my next bit and so I just tried to fill in with something off the top of my head. When it came to me, I was on a roll again!

The crowd seemed to love my Chinese bits, maybe because it was easier to understand, but at least they had a good time and laughed loudly at my humor. It's quite encouraging when you get energy from the audience like that.

You know, the more I do this, the more other things are feeling like less of a pressure. I mean this past Saturday, I had a drum gig in Kwun Tong again with Crazimals and I was not nervous at all! I guess after doing Stand up comedy, where you're on your own, when you're with a full band, it feels like no big deal really because anything goes wrong, you've got whole crew of guys to cover you up. Then again, maybe I'm just getting more confident in my drumming.

Another thing I've learnt is that it is indeed all about timing! Woah, I need to learn to use pauses and stuff in my stand-up much like I do in my music! They're so similar because without precise delivery, the whole thing is ruined! But I guess as a stand-up rookie, I've got a lot to learn and refine. I have to admit though, ego-istic as this sounds, I think I'm pretty good for a guy barely 3 months into this :).

But speaking of timing, today was a total test of timing! I mean, you have no idea how tight I was on time when it came to my writing my material since last night! I haven't worked this hard at one stretch in a long, long time! I remember this time last night I was still going mad trying to organize my set for tonight's gig. I even went out for a walk at 2am to clear my mind as it was really blocked. I'm not talking about being tired, I'm talking about really not being able to think at all! All day today I spent refining my material as I wanted to clean up bits that were lacking a good punch and improve on my tried-and-tested jokes so I could fit it in different ways. My goal is to really get my material digested into my system so I have a vault of topics to pick at whenever I want. Finally, I left the house with around an hour to go and after-work traffic sucks ass! I was writing my material on the bus and throughout my journey to the restaurant! Even on the freaking boat to the floating restaurant! I was a nervous wreck! But one thing that saved my life was when I reached Admiralty, I saw the number 70 bus behind and I knew I had to catch that or else I'd be late, so I got off the bus I was on, and ran like never before! But I did get the bus and phew I made it on time (well a few minutes late, but blame the ferry, not me :P)

Today's not really a Day 10 entry, but I just wanted to share with everyone my milestone. But I have to say I regret one thing, before my set, I was so nervous I forgot to take out my camera and get photos/video of the gig!! AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lesson learned :|.... anyways have a good day and as Jami says, keep laughing! :D

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12 December 2007

Things are happening!

Things are happening so fast I myself can't even seem to keep up! It's only been 10 days since my last entry but boy have things changed! Once again I'm reminded of the power of just 24 hours! I won't go into specifics, but things that me and my friends were complaining about one night fixed itself in less than 24 hours by what seemed like a miracle!

Things are happening! Life is moving and I'm chasing it more than it's chasing me! Life is a performance and I've really become quite the performer and I'm loving it. After you do stuff a few times, you digest it and all those butterflies wear away before the show. Just tonight, I went for the English open mic and then joined my friend Belle at her birthday celebration and did some stand up for her and her guests. It's getting quite fun as I have material that I've really digested internally and can pick at any time for any situation. I guess it's just a matter of time before I have enough to do more improvised shows.

Things are happening! My band is finally coming to terms and we can see the potential of performances in the near future. I'm also playing drums for a band called Crazimals and I'll be performing in Kwun Tong this coming Saturday ( 15 Dec 2007). After doing stand up, playing live in a band feels like no challenge because I'm not only sheltered by my drumset, I even have other band guys so I feel really safe and not nervous at all. I finally understand when professional performers often say they don't practice much. They've internalized all their stuff to the point it is part of what defines them. In many ways a lot of things I do now defines who I am and it just does itself without me having to do much. I used to read books on music which taught me one golden thing. Practice all you need to, but when it comes to performance time, throw it all away and just play with the flow. This is so true! Whenever I let go, I perform my best! I find that when I play the drums while thinking like I'm a third person watching myself play, I play the best. My hands and feet know where to go and I just sit back and watch them do their thing. Hours and hours of hard practice is paying off a lot now :)

Practice then throw it all away. That's today's Day 10 teaching from me. It goes with everything. When you find that you have to waste effort in thinking what you're doing even after all that practice, you're really still practicing because obviously your system isn't perfect yet. This goes for my work as well, I'm slowly getting things running smoother and smoother every day and I'm not so stressed like I was before in managing myself. I've found systems that work for me through trial and error and understanding what I like and don't like. I talked about my hate for redundancy before and it still stands true. My PDA + Outlook set up is perfect for me and it has not yet failed me. It's working so well that I can get so much more done and I'm more confident in myself when it comes to trusting I won't forget to do something. The cool thing is, even if one of my systems screw up, I still always have a backup on the other system that I synchronize. The most I'll lose is a day's worth of information :).

I'm still working out a lot of other kinks for myself which sometimes really drive me round the bend because I have to experiment so much! But once I find something that works, boy oh boy does it feel good. I've started using Synergy to hook up my PC and Mac and this is just one example of things revolutionizing the way I work! Now I can put away my extra keyboard I used to have plugged into my Mac! Not only do I save on having to use a different keyboard, I save space on my desk! It makes a big difference having that extra space there! Oh man, if I keep going, I don't know if I'll ever stop! In just 10 days, so much has happened!! :D

Every time things get better, I keep remembering that early morning when it was raining heavily and I walked up the mountain all frustrated with where my life was and yelled it all out. I had a calm sense that told me greatness was ahead of me. I had no idea how drastically my life would change in just a few months. Sigh. As much as we're nearing 2007, I still feel like so much more can happen in these next few weeks so I'm not feeling any of that "wow, the year's already over?!" but more like I'm excited to see where 2008 will take me. I was talking to my band guys and watch out for us, 2008 is going to be our year to explode in Hong Kong's music scene. We've put in a heck of a lot of effort to perfect our art and we're pumped!

So again, today's Day 10 lesson is practice all you need but when it comes time to perform, throw it all away and go with the flow. This is true for literally everything in life. :) Enjoy!

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02 December 2007

94 hours

That's what I'm listening to. 94 hours by As I lay dying. The first time I heard this song was when I was playing drums for a band called Hypothalamus. Wow, when I heard the intro, I thought holy shit! That's totally insane. I could barely even figure out what was going on let alone dream about playing it. Today, I still listen to it and love the song so much. I really love metal and hardcore and all the energy it brings me at times when I just feel alone and stressed. For some people, they get frustrated from all this noise, for me it brings me peace. While I'm listening to my favorite metal tunes, I feel like I've transported myself to another world. Like I've escaped the reality I'm in and all the visual images I see are just part of the music video that goes with the music blasting away at my ear drums.

Ahh drums. I'm so glad I picked up my drum sticks and decided to be serious about drumming 2 and a half years ago. I've never looked back and regretted the day I spent around HK$10,000 on my Roland TD-6K electronic drum set. That's another getaway for me. Whenever I put on my headphones and sit in my corner practicing or just playing, I feel like everything around me, all the pressures and stress I'm under can get lost for the 30 minutes or 1 hour I'm at the drums. When I first started playing drums, I thought it's just about coordination but man! Was I so wrong! There's so much more to drumming it's like I've opened Pandora's box! Every time I learn something new, I realize there are 10 new things that come with that! It's exciting yet exhausting at the same time because sometimes I lose my focus and look at all the things I cannot do rather than celebrate all the things I can do. Chris Adler woke me up when he said on Modern Drummer Festival 2005 that you really lose sight of the whole experience of drumming when you only focus on the things you can't do rather than enjoy what you can. Thanks man. I'm learning some Rap Beats at the drum set while complementing that with exercises on my foot and hand pad. There's so much that I want to improve so I can do so much more. I'm working on blast beats at the moment as well which really require precision and speed combined with brutal energy. I can hit a good 160bpm on my bass drum using my double pedal but if I really break it down and keep going with weird patterns, I'm around 144bpm. I remember the day I used to struggle trying to do straight singles at 140bpm. Today that's like a warm up for me :).

How I've grown in my own metal expression. I started off as a vocalist because I couldn't play any instrument except for my voice. I then picked up a guitar and finally moved to the drums. Today I still really love screaming into a mic and would be more than happy to growl away but I have to choose drums or vocals and I go with drums for my own band. But who knows :).

I love performing. It's not so much the rush but more the relief after the performance that I enjoy. I want to be able to look back at all the pressure I went through and know it was well worth it for the proud feeling you get when you accomplish something. There have been shows and performances I didn't like but none that I regret. Even if I messed up, there's so much to gain from it. Like my first stand-up comedy open mic performance. It's not one that I want to be going about showing off to someone but from the video, I can improve myself so much. Stand-up comedy, another one of my passions will and is taking off for me. Who knows where it'll take me but I need to focus on my material as well as delivery. It all takes time.

Time. One thing I realized about time-management is that I need to understand things that require digestion over time vs. things that just need time to get done. For example, it takes around 10 minutes to go over one of my bass drum exercises, so technically I should be able to master 6 exercises in an hour. However, this kind of stuff requires internal learning and digestion by my body which means even if I alloted 5 hours in a day for drumming, I'd get less done than if I alloted 1 hour a day for 5 days simply because of the digestion factor. This has made me re-think a lot of things when it comes to setting my priorities. I try my best not to sacrifice drum practice and working out because I know these things require time to digest and work out whereas stuff like clearing my room, sorting out my organization systems and processes just need time to get done.

Once again, it's late at night, like 3am as of now and I am excited. I really am because now that I can see where I was 1 year ago and where I am now, I can't wait to see where I'll be this time next year! My friend Bun will be coming back in a year and we've decided to evaluate where we've both gone with our lives at that time. It's really encouraging because it makes me want to do so much more not because I want to show off but I want to share with him all this stuff. I really appreciate Bun because he's one of those guys that gives it to you straight. If he's happy for you, it's not because he's being polite, he really is happy for you! I'm like that with him too, he knows that if I'm going to smile, that means I really am happy. If I didn't like something he did, I let him know. I guess in many ways it has driven people away from me and also brought others closer to me because they know I'll be honest with them.

Lamb of God - Laid to Rest is playing now. I love the band's voice because it's angry, angry metal which is my favorite. This stuff really gets me going in the gym when I'm working on my last repetition and my muscles are giving way. My arms are still a bit tired from yesterday because I really pushed myself further and also because I did new exercises to avoid my muscles hitting a plateau and wasting my efforts. Tomorrow's gym day again for me so I know for an hour in my life, I'll be listening to my music and just focusing on myself. It's one of those healthy selfish moments where I don't care about anyone else but myself :).

I'm actually mentally quite exhausted today which is why I let myself take a break and do nothing productive. I really need days off like this because it lets me get out of my typical routine. I was talking to a friend tonight and realized I've finally found a routine that I enjoy and don't feel like I'm forcing myself into it. I guess it's also because my freelance projects are falling into place where I'm not struggling with figuring out what I need to do and rather am focusing on just doing the work. Not to mention now that I've implemented refined systems into my work process, it's saved me a lot of headaches. But there's still a long, long way to go before I perfect this system.

Well it's 3:10am now and I guess I should get back to...er... relaxing heheh. Oh wow, I just realized today is a day 10 entry! Hmm, so what's the big day 10 wisdom for this time? I guess it's that I'd suggest for anyone out there who wants to do so much with life and feels like they're limited because they don't know where to start, I say start with everything! Do everything! Some people say you should specialize, get one thing done and then move on, but I feel if you're patient and realize the digestion principle I talked about earlier on, it may be in your favor to work on everything at the same time. And always have faith in yourself. I'll be honest with you, very often I lose faith in my drumming because I'm bombarded with super drummers everywhere I look, but heck, that's only because I'm looking up rather than down. Why compete with grade B when you're aiming to be the top of grade A? I mean I've played in shows where most of the drummers were quite crap other than putting on a cool image. I mean, the audience and fans would say how great that drummer was but I'm sure he/she really knows how good he/she is. I mean, you can fool others but you can't fool yourself. If you have faith in yourself, no matter how shit you are today, you know you've got the potential for greatness.

I remember one of my previous entries, I had walked up the mountain one morning while it was raining and just screamed out into the wilderness and then told myself that I sense greatness ahead for me. I had no idea what was in store for me but I had faith in myself, enough to pick myself up no matter how many times life smacked me down. I think my friend Samuel told me that "Good people need to go through hard times" and I think it's quite true because that really filters out the genuine people and the others who want to be good guys. I really believe that when a person is genuine to themselves, they have the strength of their core values rather than the image or perception they're trying to portray. Like a person who pretends to love metal vs. a person who really loves it. Sure, you can put on an act and head bang away, but there's a certain energy that flows in a person who is really having a good time vs. a person who's pretending to fit in by acting like they're enjoying something.

Faith. One thing that I keep reminding everyone to have because it's an intangible cure to a lot of emotional problems. When you believe that the next moment can be better than the current, you're already opening the doors halfway. My Dad used to joke about how he'd buy a lottery ticket only after he wins it first. I think that's a really good point because it really made me realize that sometimes you need to believe it's possible even when the odds are against you. For my stand-up comedy, I was competing with people who've been doing it for months while I had barely done it for 3 weeks! I aimed for the moon and even though I didn't reach it (well I did, I got the Chinese prize :)) at least I found myself amongst the stars. So have faith! HAVE FAITH! If you believe, you're halfway there!

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01 December 2007

5:30 am....

Wow, it's December.

The year is reaching its end and all I can do is look back and smile. So much has happened, so much has changed. I started 2007 with the mentality that 2007 is the time for change. Boy oh boy have there been changes, some voluntary, some forced on to me.

I've learnt a lot about myself and quite a bit about the people around me. Some of those who I once considered to be close allies have turned into enemies I distance myself from while some who were once strangers have become my valued companions. I've spent a great deal of time sorting out my life, my goals, my ways of thinking.

I've accomplished so much this year that even when I consider all the shit things that has drowned me in 2007, I can still strike a proud smile of where I am today. I may sound a bit ego-istic now, but I really have spent a great deal of effort and sacrifice to get to where I am today. Most people only see successful people when they are successful without considering the hardships and struggles they went through to get to their final destination. I guess this blog is my journey of where I was to where I am today.

I enjoy keeping a log of my life because whenever I feel like I've hit a plateau, I can really look back and see how far I've come and how far I'm still going. It's like saying the week went by so quickly, but if you really consider, what were you doing last Saturday? Last Sunday and so on? If you break it down, chances are you did quite a lot.

Just today, I really went berserk on one of my projects because it launches this coming Monday and I had to rush quite a lot of work. It's times like these that all that hard work of refining my skills and tools and learning to be efficient becomes worth it. It's like when you're given 5 minutes to do what on average takes 10 minutes to do, you not only have to be twice as fast, you have to be twice as efficient. Increasing speed on an inefficient object is just increasing the wasted efforts. Improving efficiency means the same speed accomplishes more now because of reduced wasted efforts. That's always been my goal, to eliminate waste around me. I even managed to squeeze in proper drum practice, going to the gym, meeting friends for a drink as well as writing this entry. Sure it's not a day 10 entry but I just felt like sharing my feelings now that I've noticed I've built some sort of an audience :).

I guess the peace at this hour of the day really brings about an emotional trip where you just want to sit and let the breeze hit your face as you close your eyes and visualize the ideal life. In many ways I know what I want to achieve, although I've realized that a lot of the time, what in theory feels good, very often may not be true. But at least I have a general direction and set of goals I want to achieve. A lot of them I have already done.

Anyways, my brain's really starting to shut off now, I better hit the sack. Happy snoozing!