No(t much) Snow

We’ve had a little bit of snow today, but it hasn’t really settled.  Which is good, because it meant that the rails and roads were OK for getting back from the Skunk Anansie gig at Brixton Academy last night.  That was fantastic, by the way, and if I can find the words I’ll try to write up some kind of review.

Today, I’ve finally been working on the photo album for this site again.  So, as an experiment, let’s try displaying a gallery from it on this post…

Continue reading “No(t much) Snow”

Things and Stuff

Today has been a day of variety, which has been nice!  I started out by going up to the Christmas fair for Mum’s church – I got there quite late on, so I helped clear up and carry the remaining stuff back up to the church.  I got a few nice cards and nick knacks for gifts, so that was a worthwhile trip.  Then I walked with Mum back to her house for a drink and then a lift home.

On the way up to Mum’s place, I stopped off and did a geocache that was en route.  It took me a bit longer than I’d planned due to me being disorganised with my stuff, but it was still a speedy one.  Not a micro one this time, but a still small one.  So not big enough to put the travelling monkey into, yet.  Poor monkey!  I’ll move him on soon, by hook or by crook!

After visiting at Mum’s for a while, we came back here and had dinner – stir fry followed by cupcakes!  Then Mum went home and I’ve been knitting and watching Strictly Come Dancing.  I’m still working on the Travelling Woman, but hopefully I’ll be done soon.  Maybe tonight?  Maybe tomorrow.

And then I’ve been playing with Blip.fm – I’ve put a widget linking to my account there in the sidebar, and I think it’s possible to play some tracks directly from here?  I’m not sure, I’m still figuring it out.  That’s not what I’m using it for, anyway.  Mostly I’m listening to the songs my friends have playlisted.  Is that even a word?  Probably not, but I know what I mean, and I’m sure you do too.  Anyway, I thought I’d put the widget up here because in the first place I can, and also because I’m trying to get all my web stuff better linked together.  Integrate my web presence.  Oh how pretentious. ;-)

NaBloPoMo Sept 2010 – Art

NaBloPoMo Sept 2010Although I’m a couple of days late in starting, I’ve decided to have a crack at NaBloPoMo this month.  The theme is art, and I reckon that one way or another I’ve got plenty to say about various arts and crafts, so let’s go for it.  Tomorrow, for example, I’m going up to London to watch a couple of Proms.  I don’t know if we’ll have time to take in any other arty culture, but there will certainly be knitting done along the way!

All Hands on Deck

I haven’t blogged much recently because I’ve been knitting.  Which means I don’t have enough hands to type at the same time!  I should at least be mostly done with the things I’m knitting as Christmas presents.  Ahem.  I might be completely done, who knows?  I probably would have been fine, but Mum asked me for mittens which I then had to factor in… and it all went a little bit wonky.  Not too much though.

Other than present knitting, I’ve finished my gloves (pictures soon), done a bit of spinning at the 1066 Spinners group, and of course have been Christmas shopping.  There’s an open air ice rink in town for the festive season, so Jo and I are hoping to go down there at some point.  Although it’s just started snowing today, so I spose it depends how bad that gets.  I also did an hour of carolling at the local hospital last night with choir.  I really love singing carols, so that was lots of fun.  Even though I did have to stand in the front row where people can – oh no!!! – see me!  Happily for my ridiculous stage fright, most people didn’t stop and stare: we were in the foyer, so the majority of the people just passed through.

Anyway, I’d better go and have dinner before KnitJam tonight.  I’m sure there was something else I was planning to blog about, but I’m sure it’ll come back to me.  If not, it probably wasn’t important!

I killed it!

My photo album, that is.  Ooops.  And yes, this time I think it really is gone – I was attempting to set up the new version of it using the NextGEN Gallery plugin within WordPress, and I guess that clashed somehow with the Coppermine script, because it’s all fallen down and the photos themselves won’t even show up as direct links.  They’re definitely physically there on the server, but I’m getting 404s when I try to reach them.  I don’t know why that is (though I have a suspicion).  So strange.

Anyway, that means that pretty much all of the photos on the blog are broken for the time being.  I’m going to try to get that fixed over the next couple of days, but I doubt it’ll happen tonight.  I have a concert to sing in!  But I might be wide awake after that, so I might make a start then after all.  Now, though, I’d better finish getting ready.  Concert blacks, here I come…

Is Oratoria the plural of Oratorio?

Actually, I’m fairly sure it’s just “Oratorios”.  Which is what I’ve mostly been singing lately, now that I’m a member of Battle Choral Society.  For any non-local people: no, we don’t wear chain mail, we don’t carry weaponry other than the heavy music, and we don’t make war on other local choral societies (although wouldn’t that be kind of fun? *g*).  Just like Battle Wool Shop doesn’t sell combative  yarn and needles (although, again…) and Battle Golf Club doesn’t practice an outdoor form of battle chess (I bet there is a Battle Chess Club, though, which may play normal or battle chess), it’s just that it’s based in the small town (large village?) of Battle.  Which is so named because it’s where the Battle of Hastings took place, with the abbey being built and then the town growing around that in the last thousand years or so.

Anyway, history lesson over.  I’ve been really enjoying being part of the choir, and would have been at rehearsals tonight if not for going down with this stupid cold – I’ve just got to the sneezy part, so I can’t very well go along and germify everyone else.  Bah.  At the moment we’re rehearsing for Haydn’s “The Creation” – concert at the end of the month!  And just a couple of weeks ago was the first concert I’ve done with the choir: Handel’s “Messiah”, which is one of my all time favourites, and luckily something I’ve sung many many times, since much of the practice for it was done before I joined!

Right, if I want to be well enough for KnitJam on Wednesday, not to mention choir next week, I’d better take myself back to bed.   I’m tempted to take my knitting with me, but I might be better off just trying to get some sleep.  Early night vs knitting?  Hmm, we’ll see.

21: Happy Sunday!

OK, welcome to Sunday!  Ten hours down, fourteen to go.  Since I’m feeling all virtuous after having made a monster long post about a bipolar topic, and having done housework, I’m going to go and answer some more comments and hopefully find time to visit some other blogs and comment there.
PS – this song is made of awesome!

—————-
Listening to: Bat For Lashes – Trophy
via FoxyTunes

6: Very Excited!!

I’m trying to contain myself from jumping up and down and running around the room in excitement. (Well, alright, maybe there was a little jumping up and down)  I’ve just had an email newsletter from Concorde2 in Brighton, and Skunk Anansie (now reformed) are playing there in October!  Eeeee!!  I’m over the moon, because I was always gutted that I never got to see them before they split.  I did see Skin play there a couple of years ago, and it was fantastic.  I have got to get a ticket!

(And now I’ll go back to working on a bipolar topic post!)

On different voices

Did you know that people have two (at least) voices? “Chest” voice and “head” voice*. I guess most people only use one most of the time, or don’t notice when they switch from one to the other. Mainly, it’s your chest voice that you use for speech. When you sing, you’re much more likely to leap from one to the other, particularly when there’s a large difference from one pitch to the next. A lot of singing training is to do with getting those different sounds to be consistent with one another. Not to have an obvious bridge moment where you suddenly go into high-squeaky mode or back down into your lower register. If you’ve ever played a wind instrument you’ll know what I mean: it’s much the same thing. It’s got to be smooth and without any odd swoops or jags or squeaks.

Anyway! The point is, right now I have very little chest voice. Speaking is all over the place. There are definitely swoops and jags and squeaks. Unless I deliberately pitch my voice into my head register. Singing, needless to say (particularly since I’m a soprano), is perfectly do-able. Not great-sounding for some things, but do-able. I went to Christingle service at my Mum’s church, and she was most surprised. I’m not going to talk in my head register, though, because it makes me sound about five! I’ll get by – I feel pretty much ok, I just sound croaky.

Huh, that was a sudden swerve into music geeking, wasn’t it? Um. Have a Christingle:

Photo of the Christingle I got today
HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!

* This isn’t breath support: that’s another thing. Which comes from the diaphragm and… oh never mind ;-) I’ll shut up!

Composing Knits

I’ve discovered something kind of interesting. To me, anyway. Fetching wristwarmersYou see, I’d decided I wanted a hat to go with my Fetching wristwarmers. This meant applying the stitch pattern and cables used on Fetching to a hat. Well, with a couple of small variations – aren’t there always? What I’ve discovered is, I approach knitting designing in the exact same two ways I have of approaching music composition.

Usually when I make a hat (or scarf or bag or whatever), I almost completely improvise. Often, I don’t even swatch, I just rely on the fact that I know that I’ll get this approximate gauge with those needles and that weight yarn, and base my number of cast on stitches on that. I’ll keep to approximate guidelines – just like staying within a key (or its relatives) – but otherwise I’ll wing it from there… sometimes even in terms of stitch pattern, although not always. If it works out well, I might go back and record what I’ve done on paper later on.

This time, I used what is actually my other method of writing music: I take a motif that I’ve worked out on an instrument beforehand, then decide on a key, key sig, and orchestration, and write everything else straight down onto paper out of my head. I’m pretty sure I know how it’s going to sound, but there’s sometimes the odd surprise *g*. Along very much the same lines, I started the design for my “Tête à Fetching” hat by taking the motif of the Fetching wristwarmers cables / ribbing which I have already knitted and therefore am familiar with the look of it. I swatched, I calculated, and I wrote out the provisional pattern on paper, including variations which didn’t occur in the original motif. Now, I’m knitting it:

The beginning of the Tête à Fetching

I’ll let you know how it goes, and with luck put the finished pattern up when I’m done!

The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees, but what became of the monkey monkey monkey monkey…

I’m listening to / watching the Last Night of the Proms at the mo. Ah, Last Night, I luff you! One of these days I’ll actually go in person. I’ve actually been a completely rubbish Prommer this year and not been to a single one. I was just too broke to get up to London. Next year! I’m determined. I’ve enjoyed listening on the radio and catching the odd one on telly, but it’s not the same as being in the Hall yourself. I’ve loved the Albert Hall since I first sung there when I was 10. There’s just no atmosphere like it for me. It’s my all time favourite concert hall in the world, no contest. Even the Sydney Opera House, fabulous as it is, just doesn’t have the same emotional attachments I guess. So yes. Go the Proms!

*break while I sing along to Jerusalem*

But what I was originally going to post about was my Monkey socks. I finished them! I like them lots. They’re all comfy too. I’m gradually getting faster at the knitting of socks – I spose it’s more that I’m picking the sock up to knit it more often rather than physically knitting them faster.

Did I mention that the foot was way faster than the leg? I think I did. I ended up with quite a lot of yarn left over – maybe even a third of a ball. Anyway, here they are:

Wearing my Monkeys (larger version in the photo album)

Continue reading “The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees, but what became of the monkey monkey monkey monkey…”

An evening off.

I don’t do this often enough: I tend to do my knitting at the same time as other things (watching TV) or at the very end of the day. But this evening, I’m going to designate myself an official Evening Off from the computer. I’m going to go and sit on the sofa (actually I think one of the reasons I don’t do this all that often is that my sofa isn’t fantastic for lounging on) and listen to podcasts or music – I might Listen Again to Mark Lamarr’s God’s Jukebox from Saturday… I missed it again! Or, huh, maybe I’ll listen to Radcliffe and Maconie and then Masters of Rock first. But mainly, I shall knit!

Aaaaaaaaaaand since it’s almost nine o’clock already, I really should get off teh internets and get on with it, shouldn’t I? TTFN!

Long time no blog

Wow. Didn’t realise it’d been quite so long since I’d blogged here. ‘Real life’ has been busy in itself, and I spose I spend a lot of my online time lurking over at LJ at the moment. However, I am still planning that redesign and server move that I mentioned aaaages ago, and I want to use this blog for a sort of combined study and knitting log. Which may sound a bit odd, but makes sense to me *g*.

Talking of studying, I’m really enjoying my course, though I have ended up getting a bit behind because of not being well. But I’m catching up again, and hopefully I’ll be back on top of things soon. Fingers crossed! Knitting is also going well – I’m doing lots of it, and I’ve sold a couple of things, which helps, since I’m ever so broke!

Anyway, I should probably go and try to rest now. Sleep patterns are, as ever, completely farked. Some things don’t change….

Plans of all sorts

Hmm. I think I want to redesign this site. However, I also rather want to move it… I have my eye on a rather nice reseller hosting package that would allow me to host all my domains (and some for other people, possibly) for no more than I’m paying for my collected various hosting accounts at the mo. However, I’d rather pay the yearly fee upfront, so I need to make sure I have enough for that *and* to pay my bills and buy food (tcha, responsibility, how tedious *g*). So, the redesign might wait until the move. Especially because I’m thinking of changing this to use Movable Type. Hmmmm. The rest of the site will be getting a bit of reorganisation too, I think, to reflect some of the stuff I’ve been up to recently.

And what have I been up to recently? Well, I’ve been preparing for the Open University course that I’m taking this year…. and I’ve been knitting. Yes, me, knitting. *g* Being a bit broke, I decided to re-learn how (I’d been taught at school when I was about six if I remember rightly) and make Christmas pressies for people. So I did, and I did, and they were very well received! Pictures will be forthcoming…. :-) Anyway, I’ve got really quite into it, so I’m carrying on, trying my hand at a few different little projects and finding some amazing bargains on new yarn in charity shops. Hee!

As for the OU course, I’m doing “Understanding Music: Elements, Techniques and Styles”. I’m intending to carry on and take another music course next year, which will then give me a Diploma in Music. From there, as I think I’ve said before, if I’m doing alright at it all, I want to see if I can get my full degree. But for now, I’m concentrating on the one I’m doing this year! The first couple of units should be very straightforward for me, as I’ve studied all this stuff before, but I believe the learning curve is pretty steep – I’m really looking forward to it! :-D I’ve been looking at the online student forums, and it’ll definitely be good to get to know the others in the course that way. Plus, I believe the summer school is in Durham. Eeeeeexcellent! I can’t wait!

Back from Germany.

Hello!! I got back from two weeks in Germany yesterday, visiting Noxy and Luna. Had a most excellent time – there was much silliness and laughter, watching of movies, appreciation of the pretty, reading and reccing of fic, and of course, going to Ring*Con. It was absolutely brilliant to see the two of them, and it was also kind of spooky how normal it felt to be all hanging out together… and it completely sucks that we’re not near enough to be able to nip round to see each other at weekends or anything. Humph. But we’ve pledged that we’re going to visit at least once a year if not more often, and made a weekly chat date. *sigh* It’s brilliant that we were able to meet each other through the net and all, but it’s at times like this that I really wish that distance and travel weren’t so much of an issue!! Heh.

I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned it here yet, but I’ve been made redundant from my old tech support job. Which I’m looking at as a positive thing, because I’m now going to take the opportunity to move back into the music world, and start teaching again – hopefully full time, this time. Voice, Clarinet, Recorders, Theory, and beginner Piano. I’m also going to be completing my Teaching DipABRSM, and I’ve signed up for the first course towards a DipMus at the Open University because I fancy a few more letters after my name ;-) Hopefully, I’ll continue on to actually finish my degree in the long run. Shock!! Anyhow, I’m feeling pretty happy about doing this – music really is my Thing, you know? (Eloquently put, hmm?) But much as I love messing around on the computer, and playing with websites and technology and all that, music is what’s in my gut, my soul, the thing that makes me feel (corny as it sounds) whole and real when I’m doing it. And I always really enjoyed teaching – as much, in a different way, as performing and writing.

So there we go, that’s what I’m going to be up to in future, all going well! I’m pretty much set up to start teaching from home, and I have a couple of other possibilities to look into as well. I do, however, really need a car. Urgh. Help? ;-) I’m going to have to do some temping to keep myself going financially, I think, so I’ll hopefully be able to save some money towards getting mobile. It’s either that, or see about getting a loan. Don’t really want more debt, but…. I do need a car!! Damn.

And to change the subject again, here’s last week’s friday five:

1. List five things you’d like to accomplish by the end of the year.
(Does this mean 2003 or 2004? Hmmm…. let’s say it’s this year.)
– To have started up teaching music pupils.
– To have a definite car-getting plan!
– Get a washing machine (does that count as an accomplishment?)
– Be back doing some kind of actual work!
– Get off these damn meds.

2. List five people you’ve lost contact with that you’d like to hear from again.
– Christina
– James
– Ian (Bernard!)
– W (what am I like?)
– Eddie

3. List five things you’d like to learn how to do.
– Play the guitar.
– Car maintainance stuff.
– Ride a motorbike.
– Fly (as in, a plane)
– (Can I save this one for later?)

4. List five things you’d do if you won the lottery (no limit).
– Buy houses / cars / presents for my family.
– Get a car, a motorbike, a boat, a plane.
– Go on a massive world trip to visit all my friends.
– Technology. I would go completely mad with the lovely lovely technology. Mmmmmm.
– Find a damn big house / estate / building and make it into a fabulous fandom house or apartment complex or something, with permanent accommodation for a group of us, plus rooms for people to come to stay… and a big cinema, a library, a highspeed network / net connection, and an octagonal music room with all the instruments and schtuff I / we could ever want…. *vbg*

5. List five things you do that help you relax.
– Read.
– Sing / play music.
– Breathing exercises.
– Walk.
– Spend time with friends, vegging :-)