29 April 2010

10 days of insane

Hello! How is everyone doing?
So the past 10 (well 12 really) days have been a killer for me, ranging from an awesome English comedy show to the CD Release Party for the Underground Compilation CD#3 (yes, my band Eve of Sin is featured on that disc! Wahoo!). I spent time getting interviewed by students for projects, checking out Chris Brien at a drum clinic and even had my band go on RadioDaDa!
Poof! Here I am tonight, I'm supposed to be making some modifications to a few of my projects but I'm seriously at a point of mental exhaustion that deserves a bit of R&R.

Ever had those weeks that zoom by you so fast but you just know you did a lot, yet feel like holding on to every ounce of time you can get your hands on because you don't want the day to end just yet? I'm feeling like that because it's 11:25pm yet I'm itching to do more and more and more tonight! I'm glad I got my must-do-this-today-or-else-I'll-feel-guilty stuff out of the way, but I really wish I was a bit less drained because I'm really itching to write some new comedy or at least work on some stuff I've got that is a bit raw. My comedy manager has given me a new challenge where I need to host a night's worth of comedy but I'm literally not allowed to fall back on my material. That means 100% riffing. Woah, I am stoked about this challenge but it's quite scary really. I mean, it's going to be hard to convince myself that I'm going to have to hope for the best during the moment, not just during my set, but the whole night! Yikes! But I guess, it brings me peace when I remember the lovely chapter in one of my top favorite books How to Think like Leonardo DaVinci titled Sfumato which talks about the ability to embrace ambiguity and the unknown. Boy has that chapter influenced me big time! I guess at times it's hard to live a life where you don't know what to expect in the next 24 hours, but then again, when you really think about it, we're doing this all the time!

On a brighter note, I've got some good routines down that I've followed well and have worked out for me. If you've been following my blog, you'll know I always like to superset my mental work with physical work and I've managed to do so quite well for my freelance web work, my drum practice sessions and my fitness exercise. I've been struggling a bit for my comedy writing because that actually requires me to be both physically and mentally rested to do it. It involves me thinking of ideas and then working them out through words and body language combined! It's hard because I usually have to rest for around 40 minutes before I am ready to write comedy, but to find 40 minutes, then another hour in the middle of the day before I'm burnt out like I am now is a real challenge. Anyone have any suggestions. I've combined the use of comedy to relaxing music and so far I've found that 40 minutes it the minimum for me to be excited about writing comedy. If I just watch, say, a 20 minute sitcom, I'm usually rested but not motivated... hmm. Guess I have work to do in that department.

I've also developed an improved workflow for my projects using a combination of Remember the Milk (I love it!) and GTD inbox. Actually, the main enhancement that GTD Inbox does for me is give me easy to use buttons to label mail posts. Other than that, I don't fully utilize its other functions. I've come to realize I've got a division of next actions:
  • Urgent and important (ie. DO IT NOW!)
  • Urgent but not important (ie. Do it by today)
  • Not urgent but important (ie. Reply people about something or deal with something that involves someone else because I'm holding them up...)
  • Not urgent and not important (ie. someday/maybe)
Going back to my comedy, now that I've gotten in the habit of writing more and more I need to figure out a better way of organizing my stuff, I've got Evernote, Google Documents, Ommwriter, plain notes, freaking everything with ideas/bits! Raahh!!
I think I might spend some time this weekend to just sort out a proper system for myself, it's driving me nuts as I go back and find I have like 3 versions of the same bit that all have something different to them and then notes on what people's feedback was, etc. Ahaha again, people like Albert Einstein and Leonardo DaVinci had the same problem. But that is no excuse :)

A cool thing that I have got organized is my drumming practice. Boy did that take me some time to figure out, I had to go back and look at all my drum books and resources and figure out what combination of exercises would benefit me the most. I now realize why the great drummers spend up to 8 hours a day practicing, sheesh, there's so much to practice! Heck, I spent an hour just doing a range of 35bpm(ie. 110bpm -> 145bpm eight notes) worth of single strokes (R L R L R L, etc.)!!! This RMP-5 is a blessing and curse! Ahaha setting it on Stroke Balance and Coach totally rips you apart with timing! Especially when you're at slow tempos! I love it nonetheless! It was a fantastic upgrade from my old Boss DR.Beat 90 which had a similar function.

Anyway, let's see, I've got 10 days to sort myself out and get my comedy writing up to par! Let's see how it goes! :D


18 April 2010

Lamb of God Live!

No, you clearly don't get the magnitude of how this event has affected me. Why do I say that because it's been a week and I have yet to fully register and digest that I was watching Lamb of God live! Not just live, but my bandmates and I managed to power our way to the middle of the first row. So what? Check out how close I was to Randy and the rest of the performers...

Do you get what I mean now? Not only did I secure pretty much the best damn position of the night, the band played every freaking song we all wanted. We managed to get a partially torn run-down from the event and after double-checking, they literally played every single song I was hoping for and more. Heck, they even played ruin! Ruin!

That was pretty much what I was watching live in front of me!
After the show, my bandmates and I were so psyched and inspired we literally walked for 20 minutes without a clue where we were heading but just talking about how freaking satisfied we were. The price of flying to Taiwan just to watch Lamb of God was so worth it!
Ever since then, I have been completely re-inspired drum-wise and also about my band. We had deep talks about what we wanted to do as a band and it's great to see everyone kind of got a wake up call to really make this band, this thing we call Eve of Sin, happen. I'm not just talking about gigs in HK and around the city, I'm talking touring and going places. If Lamb of God can do it, there's no reason we can't.

Speaking of being inspired, the great Butch Bradley has been performing the last 3 days in Hong Kong and I watched 2 of his shows as well. Last night's show, I got to sit in the front because there were 2 empty seats that were supposed to be taken but for some reason, the people moved to another seat so I got to fill up the seat! It was the first time for me to enjoy a professional comic from that seat. As a fellow comic, we usually don't sit that close nor interact with the performer, but woah, talk about a whole different situation sitting up there. It has a certain fear and excitement associated with it. Kind of like walking home on your birthday not knowing what to expect, a surprise, or just a cake, or what?

But the last 10 days have honestly been a really, really hectic one for me. I have to say it's been quite tough on me as well because I've had to stay in tip top focus throughout. I remember Monday being all re-energized after my Taiwan trip, but here we are a week later, I can feel the exhaustion, partly also because I've been struggling to try to maintain everything I want, work, drumming, comedy writing, working out, etc. and it really is tiring. Poof! I wrote down a break down of my day and it turns out that if I wanted to achieve everything I wanted, I'd only have 6 hours left for my actual freelance work. This is not including the usual loss of time in general work, sometimes needing to take an extra 20 minutes of rest, etc.! Yikes! Heck, today I was supposed to write comedy from 2:45 - 3:45pm and it's 3:45pm and here I am blogging instead. Why? Well, at 2:45pm, I was still mentally exhausted and it felt like I had so many other things to think about, I couldn't be relaxed and write comedy. On top of that, I was supposed to go to the gym later on but now I don't think I will because my right ankle is a bit sore from all the walking and standing yesterday. Heh.

It's tough forcing myself to not do something when I have so many other things I want to do and I can't do them yet, just makes me feel like I'm going against my principle of getting things done.. heh.

On a brighter note, I upgraded my drumming practice pad to the lovely Roland RMP-5 which forces me to be even cleaner with my drum strokes because it has a meter that checks how close your strokes were to the beat and I've realized my left hand is a tad off when I go above 260bpm hitting eighth notes :(. Darn. At least this is a good benchmark and as long as I keep at it I should see improvements in the upcoming weeks :)

My comedy writing has been slacking because I'm finding it so hard to get to a point I'm relaxed enough to write stupidly at times, there are too many things I need to tend to that writing creatively is getting tough. Especially in my own room because wherever I look, something needs to be done. I'm still in the process of figuring out a way to perhaps have a fixed outing where I go and sit with my laptop and write for an hour. There's a park down my house and perhaps I could do that, but I'll have to give it a shot and see. At least that way I have no distractions other than myself to blame for getting nothing done :P

Darn, I feel like I was 2 years ago, when I was struggling to maintain my freelance work because I didn't have a proper system to keep track of everything going on and now I've got that, which makes me better realize what is going on and further stress me out about how I should be dealing with that instead. Ahh ignorance is bliss.

Speaking of ignorance, Adobe CS5 has come out and boy am I psyched! It's the perfect opportunity for me to re-visit from the ground up, everything I missed out in my favorite digital media applications. I'm still in the process of organizing a study schedule for them and will probably slip in 30 mins a day before I go to bed just so that I don't interrupt the rest of my day and feel there's yet another thing to do....

Anyway, I got 10 more days to figure out a good system and get myself back in my good ol' routine (at least I'm tired of getting you're slacking off emails from rootein.com...) Have fun! Lamb of God LIVE! OMFG!


08 April 2010

Earliest + Shorted Blog Entry Yet

Good morning everyone! It's 5:25am and here I am getting ready to go... go off to Taiwan... go off to Taiwan to watch Lamb of God live... go off to Taiwan to watch Lamb of God live with my band mates!

Every time I go on a trip, somehow things just have to get hectic on the last day here. I'm running on a little under 4 hours of sleep and it's freezing cold here. But no matter what I make it to the trip and it is awesome.

So here's to the next 4 days in Taiwan and enjoying some time without my phone ringing constantly combined with a little sinful pleasure that I allow myself on every trip overseas -- eating anything and everything! Let the fattening up and satisfaction of my taste buds begin! :D

Take care of Hong Kong while I'm away! :)