25 February 2009

2 years. Where was I?

Woah, it's been 2 whole year as of today since I started this blog! It's so much fun travelling back in time and reading these sorts of logs to see where I was and where I am and how much of it was "pre-planned" and how much of it just happened. Poof, I can honestly say, whatever's going on in my life, at most 30% of it was planned 2 years ago when I started this blog. The rest? Well the rest is as with anything in life, it goes with the flow.

It's times like these that makes me happy to know I'm a person obsessed with leaving my footprints and marks of my history for the future me to enjoy and recall about :). To be able to see how I had treaded up the mountains just to scream my lungs out not knowing that in a matter of months, the emotional turmoil I was going through would be nothing compared to the craziness that I'd be thrown into. To know that the emotional turmoil I'd once gone through was actually a blessing in disguise revealed to me a few entries later. Heck, every entry of mine surprises me with something I didn't expect. So what's to come in the next 10 days for me?! Who knows! :) And that's the great thing about life, you just can't get bored of it.

A lot of times people need stability, they need a routine, hell, I need a routine too, I can't wake up every morning not knowing if I'll still have a bed to sleep in. However, I do wake up every morning not knowing how my day will unfold until it does so. I may give myself a rough outline of the day's schedule, but rarely has it ever followed precisely and I've come to accept the standard rate of error (you know those +/- 5% sorts of things) in my time management. I no longer freak out when I'm 5 minutes behind schedule, I simply appreciate that I'm not 6 minutes behind and charge on.

I guess in the last 2 years, a lot of me has grown and improved. Kind of like a person with a better haircut doesn't make that a different person, it's still the same person but with improvements (or if it's a bad haircut then the other way round). For one, I've come to establish that I can do what I want to do as long as I genuinely know I want to do it. There's no faking passion, as I've said time and time again in my posts. The things I do cannot be faked, you can't fake enjoying heavy metal, you can't fake being fit, you can't fake being funny and you sure as hell can't fake having a passion about something. Reading through my entries in these last 2 years, my passions have remained somewhat the same, however, I've grown in terms of depth regarding them. My drumming's improved, my fitness has gotten better, my comedic performances are more enjoyable and well heavy metal music still is like a brain massage to me :) Speaking of which, if you haven't already, you must check out Lamb of God's newest album Wrath. It's one of those discs that need time to absorb and enjoy. You can't enjoy red wine without letting it breathe a bit, the same goes for this album. It's really, really good and now has become my mental gear shifters for the gym. I turn this on and boom my muscles are pumped with blood and ready to dance with dumb bells like it was Saturday night live.

I won't let this post go on for too long but I just wanted to share with you the joys of having this blog that has been a part of me for the last 2 years and if you don't already do so, start writing a blog or a journal. You may not see the point now, but in a few months when you look back at where you were and where you are, you'll be very, very happy about it :) Trust me.

Enjoy the fine Wednesday and look forward to the weekend, it smells like a good one!

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22 February 2009

Seeing is Believing

I'm finally here, at my lovely blog, sitting peacefully without having to rush off somewhere in a short while. It's been a crazy week with a lot of spontaneous events that have stopped me from keeping up with my Day 10 schedule and thus I'm late, late, late for my entry. So um, oops. I guess that'll suffice.

I think I've scratched my left eye while sleeping because I woke up this morning with tears and a shade of red covering it. It's making this entry seem so emotional because every now and then I have to dab it to prevent the liquid from dripping every now and then. Yet, mentally I'm feeling fine. Hah silly eye, it's got the wrong emotional signals.

I guess we see the world in our own little ways, through our own eyes. One moment the world is blurry, and put on your prescribed glasses and next your moment's all focused. Some people are the type that they have to see something to believe it for themselves. Like watching something on video versus watching it live. It's a different feeling. Say going to a concert, it's not about just the visuals, it's the aggregate effect all your 5 senses receive from the experience. You've got the heavy bass running through your skin, loud music pumping into your ears, the smell of smoke, sweat, lights, everything pounding your nose, the taste of excitement in your mouth and well, of course, the look of the band you're watching in your eyes. Add a frame around that and slap on a YouTube logo and half of that vanishes. The same really does go for stand-up comedy, even though a lot of people may not agree, it's a different experience watching someone do a bit in person versus on video. The other day I had a guest appearance for a university singing contest and I did one bit I'd done on TV and people still cracked up. I knew some of these people had seen my bit before, but they cracked up more on the fact that they were waiting for something they knew was coming -- the punch line.

It's a weird thing when you realize sometimes it's kind of like singing along with your favorite song at a concert. Some punch lines are so good that people want to say it with you in their minds. I guess that's when you know you've got an A-grade bit. I've discovered the same is when you're talking with friends and when they know you and your style well enough, they can predict what you'd say for a certain situation or conversation. You know how sometimes people would tell you stuff and you'd say "Oh, it couldn't be him, he's not like that." It's something similar to that because you just know that person's style.

I guess style is something that unites a lot of the arts, because that's what people keep working at discovering and also work at developing and innovating. It's something that only comes with time and experience, you can't just say "ok from now on, this is my style." In my opinion, it doesn't work that way, your style develops by itself, you just have to keep poking new boundaries and keep doing things to let it develop. Kind of like working out, the muscles don't need you to mentally focus on them, as long as you're working them out the right way, they're going to respond by growing and improving. It's an involuntary/sub-concious event.

Going back to seeing, in many ways seeing is quite a sub-concious event too, you notice things you didn't expect or after a while realize you did see it without realizing it. Often people have talked about when you want to see something, you will see something more. Like if you started taking the time to notice people in pink, you'd realize there are in fact a lot of people in pink! It's not that you suddenly managed to create a cosmic effect that cause people to choose pink for a change, but that you switched your sub-concious observation to a concious one and now you're noticing this stuff. Kind of like me and nutrition labels. Without realizing it, I'd notice them and for one, I noticed them on freaking bottles of water. I mean really? Do we really need to be reminded that water has 0 calories? 0 carbs? 0 fat? And 0 protein? I suppose on paper it doesn't seem so bizarre, but when you're holding the bottle thinking "they actually spent money on some science experiment to discover this information?!" I guess seeing in believing as well as enjoying because a lot of things are only great in that moment. It's one of those "you had to be there" things.

The moment. It's another one of those cosmic ideas that makes you really go "woah" sometimes because when you find the right thing at the right moment, it's quite mind-blowing. Kind of like having a good come-back without the short period of time where come-backs are powerful and not lame. It's weird when you break down and analyze things like these, it makes you realize that there's often some science behind every form of art. I mean in my opinion, technique is some sort of science because it's has a fixed pattern that you work at to improve. It's like a formula in a way that leads to a certain outcome. However, it also blends in a lot of personal touch because everyone's mind and body is different so the same technique may not work for you but a slight variation would. I guess it all comes down to seeing what works for you and believing in it and working at it. Enjoy!

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04 February 2009

Logs, logs, logs, logs and more logs

I've come to realize I'm the type of guy hat loves to keep logs of everything I do. I keep records of my comedic performances on video tapes, I log my drum practice sessions, my fitness workouts, even what I eat every day! Heck, I'm (b)logging right now!

The other day, I was at the gym, lifting weights when one of my fellow iron pumpers came up to me (he's seen me there and always smiles and occasionally has a small chat with me) and told me to stop logging everything down (I carry a notepad and pen with me to keep track of how much weight I lifted compared to my last session, so I don't get lazy) and told me to just lift as much as I could and I'd get stronger. It made me think, was this overkill? I mean to keep track of things to this point, does it take the fun out of the whole deal? When I log down everything I eat, do I forget to enjoy what I eat because I'm so busy worrying about the nutritional content of what I'm eating?!

Honestly, it took me less than a second to realize, no, I love logging what I do. This way, I have a starting point from where to keep progressing. Not to mention it gives me more motivation to try harder because I've got written proof of where I was and where I am now. I mean, if I re-read posts in my blog that are like almost 2 years old, I'd even read about how I felt after having arguments with people, I'd remember those memories of struggling with my 1st comedic act, heck, I even have a post where I was so excited that I did 20 minutes of comedy in Cantonese! Now I can do a 1 hour show! :D Hell, my fitness log keeps me in check every time I'm at the gym because if I'm not getting better, I know something's wrong. Then I can go back to my food log and check if I've been eating right and perhaps it'll explain why my energy levels were lower than usual. Come to think of it, I feel like an Area 51 experiment but without the scientists around me, but instead, inside me.

I do admit, sometimes when you have logs of everything, you have a tough time maintaining these logs. It takes me time to actually stop, write down my drum speeds and progress and compare them to previous practice sessions. Time I could have been using to enjoy the sunshine or reading a book instead. Speaking of reading books, it's been so darn long since I actually read a book. It's crazy. I used to read my books on buses and trains but now I've almost always cut out taking the bus anywhere because I've come to realize it takes me just as much time to walk to the closest train station as it would if I waited for a bus, took the bus, then took the train. Not to mention I get that little walk and save some money! Win, win I tell you! :D Especially now that it's still a bit cool, I'm not all drenched in my sweat from walking around, so I might as well make the most of it while it lasts. I'll miss this when summer comes.

And when I'm on the train, I usually have my music playing and I'm just giving my brain the massage it deserve with some nice music. Ok, nice is a relative term I must admit. Last night I was out with a friend for dinner and we were talking about our musical preferences. As many people know, I love metal. And when talking about it, it made me realize (and I've probably said this before) that metal is one type of music you can't fake enjoying to be cool. Unlike, say, hip hop or jazz, it's not that easy on the ears so if you don't like it, after a while, it's going to show. Don't get me wrong, I listen to jazz and hip hop too, but given a choice, it's usually metal first :) Recently, my workouts have been always fueled with Lamb of God's album Sacrament or a collection of my favorite Chimaira songs. It's gotten to the point that I have a psychological switch when these songs come on. Like I'd be walking on the road and when one of the songs, such as Lamb of God's Again we Rise or Redneck comes on, my mind will suddenly have images of the gym and weight plates. I've recently even been learning the drums to that song and it's a lot of fun, not too hard to play, but does require some focus because of the fills.

Speaking of drumming, so here we are in February and I had a new year's resolution of constantly working on my drumming skills from month to month. So here's the breakdown for those of you (read me):
So there you go, more logging on my part. At least I'm living up to my word. The thing is, with these numbers, 1 year from now, when I look back, I'd probably laugh thinking "I could just do 150bpm only?!" because that's what I often do when I go back to some of the old drum exercises I used to do and marked it as "80bpm max" and now I'm hitting like 140bpm :) So logs, even if overkill, put a smile on my face after all. And thus, they'll keep going, on and on and on. At least if I do lose my mind one day, I'll still have my logs to tell me where I was when I was still less insane. Have a good next 10 days and you know what? Why not keep track of something and see where you got to in just a measly 10 days. Honestly, 10 days is a loooonnnggg time! :)

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