23 October 2010

Oh work thou art sly

Yikes! Ever been busy for so long that the moment you actually stop, you're kind of lost? I was like that a bit earlier on tonight. I looked at my to do list and my emails and realized nothing that was left to be done could be completed before it was time for me to get into bed and so it was one of those awkward moments when I had to just accept that I couldn't do anything but I wasn't exactly free. Oh work thou art sly!

So tonight there was supposed to be a typhoon hitting HK and a charity dinner that I was supposed to attend and perform at got canceled and well.. turns out tonight was nothing more than a breezy evening...heh go figure. On the other hand I joined the comedians for dinner and even slipped in a quick set at the comedy club before rushing home to deal with work. I've been working so much these last few days I literally felt like it's been a month without a holiday. I think I'm going to have to just pull myself away from work for a while tomorrow, just to get my mental bearings straight..

Well the last 10 days have been crazy with the Annual Comedy Festival and everything. It was kind weird seeing this week so calm comedy-wise :P On the other hand I went jamming with my band on Wednesday and it was great to see everyone having improved and coming in for a tighter session than ever. I guess all those painful hours practicing has paid off well for us as a team. We're still looking for a bassist which means until then we can't do gigs.. but nonetheless it's also a blessing in disguise because now we've been focusing on upping our game and have written 2 brand spanking new songs. We're creating the 3rd one and each song is getting more challenging than the one before, partly because our boundaries have expanded with each song, and I guess it's just that competitive spirit in all of us....

I've recently decided to go back to the foundations in everything I do, from my web design to my fitness routine. It's quite interesting because now when I go back to their roots, even the basics have a different meaning to me. Kind of like going back to work on my handwriting after having written for so many years. You write in a different manner, really noticing the details and also appreciating what it is you're doing in the foundation level. Like even my comedy, I'm gong back to square one where I just watch great comedians perform (when I have the time that is :P), but now I don't just study them, I even spend time analyzing their bits to see if it was their style, the punchline or their delivery that was the most essential ingredient. What I'm saying is that having done comedy for a while now, I have developed the eye to study another comedian at a different level. Perhaps that is what people are really doing when they admire paintings at galleries. I mean I admit, when I see a painting... I stare for a short while and then I just get it. I mean, ok, it's a painting, it's a masterpiece. Am I missing something? I guess I am.

Anyways, woah, got interrupted there so this is actually 1 hour later. Ahaah it's odd how with blogging the time gaps between paragraphs don't really translate to the reader, but literally when I first started writing this blog, I didn't know about this awesome site called 750words.com. For all you writers out there, check it out! I just played around with it for a bit and I think it's gold for writing! I used to try to stick to a minimum of 25 minutes of writing daily but realized sometimes I get stuck with not writing a lot because I just didn't get into that flow.. and after testing out 750words.com, I just realized that was my mistake, it wasn't how long I spent writing, it was the length of my writing. Sometimes you just have to keep at it for a while and good things come about, you don't just wait passively.
So yes, that was my big accomplishment in the previous hour. Darn, now I'm all excited to try it out already but it's bed time.

Oh time thou art sly, too! This is why I could really appreciate an extra hour or 2 each day, where the world is in limbo and everyone around me stops and I'm allowed to live for myself :P I guess that's the 8 hours of sleep I get each day, where the world can burn away but I'm going to be snoozing happily away. The joys of being a deep sleeper mean even if Armageddon is upon us, I'll probably be searching for the snooze button rather than the fire exit :P

Happy next 10 days everyone and let's see how my 750words.com trial goes :)


12 October 2010

English one man show - check!

Yes! Finally, I can proudly add to my list of comedy accomplishments: "English One Man Show"!

This time must have been one of the most chaotic days to have a one man show. I wasn't as nervous as I was when I was doing my Chinese one man show in 2008, but it was still madness in my mind before going on stage. My biggest fear did happen, and I did forget around 3 goo bits I had, but nonetheless, crowdwork saved the day. The comedy Gods blessed me with some great audience members who wanted to play and were basically feeding me material :P! To the point I even joked with the audience that there was no point in my material being on a cheat sheet on the stool (For these big shows, I always go on prepared with a water and cheat sheets but till today I have never actually peeked at my cheat sheet, and doubt I can even remember the last time I sipped water while performing on stage). It's one of those weird things where while I'm on stage I have this weird idea that people didn't pay for me to peek at my notes or stop and sip water.... heh.

On a side note, now that I've begun reading The Musician's Way, my drumming has improved in a different way. I no longer find myself sometimes practicing endlessly at an exercise, I have taken steps back to really focus on quality practice now. It's quite exciting because now whenever I practice, when I reach a point I feel confident in what I've practiced, I record it down, the play it back and pray that I got it right. It actually is good because it builds confidence when you hear yourself play the music. I can feel that problem I used to face where I found I could play a beat but I lacked that little groove to it is getting better.
The downside however is that I don't practice as many exercises at a time. I used to manage around 3 exercises per session. However now, I rarely get passed 1 :P But 3 days later I've not just passed, I've perfected the exercise. It's quite interesting to listen to myself playing and being a critic, I get really harsh to the point I don't want to stop till I've perfected it (ahahah that's an annoying thing, I don't like doing things half way....).

I've also switched up my work out routine, I've figured now that my free time is getting less, I'm not going to allow myself to have any workouts longer than 1 hour. In fact, my goal now is to be freaking done after 45 minutes. Freaking done you ask? I mean at 45 minutes it's not a matter of wanting to go on but I'm exhausted in a good way. So now I do nothing but full body circuit weight/cardio workouts. Basically those crazy workouts that force you to work for a certain time period rather than reps. Like instead of aiming to hit 10 reps, now I aim to repeat something for 30 seconds. It sounds easy, but trust me, when you're combining a plank with a dumb bell row, 30 seconds can tear you apart. I was dripping sweat by my 2nd cycle. I was aiming to do around 4 cycle.
Oddly, in just 2 days I already feel stronger, like my muscles are pumped and ready to rock!

On the downside, my comedy writing has suffered. I had a total brain shut down on Sunday after my one man show on Saturday and a week long of hosting/performing, etc. at the 4th Annual International Comedy Festival. But I just did one of my good ol' everything random, just follow your gut things and it was a great day. Just followed wherever I ended up, whichever bus appeared and ended up having a really refreshing day :) Plus the weather is getting nicer now without the intense heat burning through my back like before.

Well I'm still backlogged on emails and to do list items, but I guess it'll take me a few more days before I can get back on track fully... far too many things to tend to all at the same time... ahah that crazy feeling of me losing control of my life is slowly setting in, but then again, as I always remind myself been there done that so it's just a passing storm to me now. I deal with it as it comes.

Well so far so good, Sunday being a "you're allowed to slack off day" is quite good really :) Although out of no choice, I'm going to have to meet some people this Sunday for a future gig. Ahh well, guess nothing's perfect! :)


01 October 2010

October means 2010 is almost done

Woooo! 1 October 2010! That means we're nearing the end of 2010! It's so weird because I can still remember the beginning of 2010! Heck, I still remember excited about being the announcer at Legend Fighting Championship 1! And now I have done 3 of those gigs already! Woah!

Well September was an awesome and fruitful month. Lots of things happened during that time, of course, I turned 28 ;) And I got to enjoy the lovely sounds of Jun Kung's concert that night and I was quite inspired really! After that night, I realized one thing lacking with my drumming was that fluency. It's kind of like a local Hong Kong person speaking english vs. an American. Sure the HK person may have perfect grammar and most of his accent may have been cleaned up, but it's the little "ya' know" and other slang terms that make the American's English sound more fluent and smooth. This is the problem I'm struggling with. When I speak drums, I know the rules of nouns and present tense, etc. but it doesn't flow the way people like Jun Kung can just flow at a drum set. I'm currently interested in taking lessons with a master (one of the reasons I didn't get a teacher was because I wanted to make sure either I'm learning with the best or I learn on my own). So far, I've contacted 1 guy who a lot of people consider to be a very harsh but awesome drum teacher but no response yet about whether he's interested in adding another student to his gang. I'll probably message him again today to see.

But if anyone knows a good (and harsh, I like teachers who are strict and require extreme discipline) drummer in Hong Kong, please let me know :)

On another note, my one-man English comedy show is going to be on in a week's time! Excited and nervous at the same time! I'm confident it'll go well but I guess maybe I'm just hoping to exceed my own expectations :P
Life has become a bit more stable for me, I've found my groove on many things and I've learnt to better accept failure to achieve a bit better. Like now as I said before, I'm going to keep Sunday as  my sacred day to just chill out. I realized the reason I worked my ass off even on Sunday was because I often felt like I hadn't made the most of the week so Sunday was my compensation day. However, last week since the birthday landed on a Saturday and I had just finished Legend 3 on Friday, I literally switched my brain off on Saturday to the point for the first time in ages, I went out with nothing but a cap :P No bag, no water, no laptop. Ok so I had my phone and stuff, but not the general things I'd lug around with me. It was an awesome experience, very relaxing because I was just "flowing" with the moment, I wasn't pre-planning everything (I'd usually literally pre-plan my food and water so when I go out I don't find myself going "shit, Im hungry, I need to find a restaurant" but more like "I'm going to be hungry in 15 minutes, it's better I stay near restaurants for now"

I watched Derren Brown's HERO at 30,000 feet and man I loved it! So inspiring! I mean a lot of the things he talked about were things I'd read about in books and stuff, but just watching it and seeing what he was going made me so refreshed about life. My favorite part was when he said we're not defined by our past but rather our current decisions and I remembered, that is so true. I mean, I'm a firm believer that we need to know our history to help define ourselves today, to realize how we got to where we are, but at the same time, we can't be stuck with the past and limit our futures due to that. Sure it's easier said than done, but it's worth remembering. I remember when I first started reading his book Tricks of the Mind, he talked about how magicians worked and the mentality behind that and I have to say, it really excited me! I guess the concept of deception is one I'm very fascinated by. The Art of War, The Art of Deception, Tricks of the Mind, etc. are all some of my favorite books, mostly because it talks about using deception (not lying) to fool someone into creating a fake reality for a moment that seems so justified the person getting fooled doesn't realize they're being fooled and thinks all is well and they were doing the right thing!

I remember some of the stories in The Art of Deception talked about how many humans are willing to disclose partial information, thinking that there is nothing you can do with a piece of incomplete information, but we forget that if you disclose partial information and your friend discloses the other partial bit of information, I now have the full piece of information and neither you nor your friend would have guessed what they did could have got them in big trouble..

Anyway, so today being a public holiday, I now have to face the reality of do I also take a holiday or stick to my guns and work it out, only holiday-ing as I promised on Sunday? Hmmm, let's see what happens in the next few hours ;)