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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