Sunday, September 27, 2009

Life. Random.

I don't know what to blog about. It's troubling. And so now instead of the wonderful, thought-provoking, inspiring, genius post that I'm sure you were expecting, you just get a post about me whining about how I don't know what to post and how annoyed I am with myself that I haven't posted for the past couple of days.

I was going to be at scout camp this weekend, but we cancelled it because practically everyone was sick. I wasn't though. I'm determined not to get sick. It's just not an option for me at this point. So I've been taking echinacea, Vitamin C and Cold FX, washing my hands obsessively (oh look, Daniel's doing something obsessively, gee, what a surprise), and drinking lots and lots of tea. I always drink lots of tea, but recently I've been drinking at least 5 cups a day and at least that much water. So far, it's been working. I've felt a couple symptoms, but I've fought them off.

In other news, I have my first voice lesson of the year tomorrow! I'm veryveryvery excited to be back at voice lessons. Huzzah!

Aaaannnd in other news....

Well, there isn't any other news. Sorry. I'm sure I'll have some for tomorrow. So just go and drink some tea, or cut your toenails. Or something.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I donated blood!

Yay! So, a few days ago, I turned 17, which is the youngest age that you are eligible to donate blood! So this morning, I went to the blood donor clinic and donated! It was pretty neat, and actually quite fun. They prick your finger with these funky awesome high-tech poking devices first, that make these awesome clean, quick, painless cuts and then they take a drop of your blood and test it for iron by dropping it in this blue liquid. If it sinks, then your iron is good, if not, you can't give. After a couple failed poking tries, we finally got it to work and my iron was good, so I could give blood. Yay! It took me about 7 minutes for my body to pump out 500mls of blood, and I felt fine through the whole thing. And in 56 days, I can donate again. Huzzah.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Music Monday! (among other things!)

Hi everyone,

So, every week, on Monday, I'm going to post something about music! Who knows what it will be? It might be a Youtube video, or a music review or anything else pertaining to music. Today, it's a mixture of things.

Firstly, I have a new favourite soundtrack. I've been listening to a lot of soundtracks recently, and one that's really caught my ear is the score for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, composed by Alexandre Desplat. Oh. My. Gosh. It's breathtaking. Honestly. It's just gorgeous. He really captures the mood of the film, using a full orchestra, often highlighted by piano solos. Listen to it yourself. Personally, it's one of the most beautiful things I've heard in a long time. Definitely in my top favourite movie soundtracks. Gosh, it's gorgeous.

Secondly, in my other news, I've picked up an (unpaid) gig as a piano accompanist! So I'm excited about that. I'm accompanying a group of about 10 young cellists in a group cello class. I think their ages range from about the 7-9 yo age range. It's pretty cool. I admit that I was rather nervous at the prospect, as three days before the first rehearsal, they gave me 3 (!) books of music to learn (!). Yes, in three days. Thankfully, it was mostly easy, and I was able to sightread (read as: fake) my way through it. And we only did I think, five pieces tonight. But it'll be good, and I think it will really let me gain experience as an accompanist, and chamber musician.

That's all for today!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Film Fridays! - The Aviator

Hey everyone, I'm starting a new "section". Every week, on Friday, I'll post a movie review! I'm also starting a new section on Mondays too. See if you can guess what it is.

So this week, I'm going to post a review of Martin Scorsese's 2004 film "The Aviator", starring Leonardo DiCaprio. You can read the IMDB page here. You can also read the Screenit parental review here.

Firstly, DiCaprio's performance as Howard Hughes is nothing short of brilliant. He shows many levels of emotions, and his performance is subtle and nuanced. We see his character start strong, but eventually fold under incredible pressure, but eventually return to (almost) his former glory, but...changed.

The plot moves along quickly, and all the performances are great. It's a fantastic film and it has the emotional content that I look for in a film. Highly recommended, and I'd give it a 9/10.

But don't take my word for it! Watch it yourself! But read a parental review first to make sure that it's something you want to see! I take no responsibility for any scarring, maiming, nightmares, murder, thievery, fire, abduction, spontaneous combustion, mental illness, cancer, explosion, or any other harm that may come to you as a result of watching this film. Be warned.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

10 things about me that you may not have known

  1. I like people, but often distance myself from them for various reasons.
  2. I believe in equal rights and equal treatment for everyone, whether they’re male or female, black or white, gay or straight, Christian or Muslim, American or Canadian etc.
  3. I don’t like loud noises, or loud voices or crowds of people for that matter. 
  4. I drink copious amounts of water. I mean a lot of water. Obsessively. Yeah, I love me my water.
  5. I love being barefoot. I like it more than wearing shoes. In the summer, I almost never wear shoes.
  6. I like class. You know, not really formal things, but I love wearing a nice shirt and tie, and doing something classy, like playing a music recital or going to the theatre or the symphony.
  7. I don’t swear. It doesn’t offend me per say, but I’d rather not stoop that low. I can be classier and more creative with my language than that. 
  8. I enjoy cleaning my room. Yes, you really did read that right. I find cleaning my room very therapeutic. I put on some music, and just...clean. It’s relaxing.
  9. I read Shakespeare. And lots of old books. For fun.
  10. And I get called weird. Quite a lot. And I’m proud of that. Because I don’t want to be called normal.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I don't (really) believe in peace on Earth

Okay, I'm not trying to sound like a pessimest or anything, but I honestly don't believe in world peace. I just don't think it's going to happen. Whenever I hear somebody say "I wish/pray/hope for world peace," I think they're just fooling themselves. Seriously, in our huge world, there is always going to be somebody who wants to get a head of the game by cheating, lying, killing and being generally bad. And there will always be people to join that person. I just don't think a peaceful world is realistic.

But I think that peace with your self is realistic. I've said it once, I'll say it again. You are the only person you can change and come to peace with. And by doing that, you may be able to influence others to do the same. And maybe, just maybe, we'll be able to increase the amount of happy, loving, people.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Hey everyone, I wanted to post today about gossip. Not that it's been especially on my mind recently, but because I wanted to highlight a brilliant passage from one of my favourite plays, Doubt, a parable, by John Patrick Shanley.
Here it is:
A woman was gossiping with a friend about a man she hardly knew – I know none of you have ever done this – that night she had a dream. A great hand appeared over her and pointed down at her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O’Rourke, and she told him the whole thing.
‘Is gossiping a sin?’ she asked the old man. ‘Was that the hand of God Almighty pointing a finger at me? Should I be asking your absolution? Father, tell me, have I done something wrong?’
‘Yes!’ Father O’Rourke answered her. ‘Yes, you ignorant, badly broughtup female! You have borne false witness against your neighbor, you have played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed!’
So the woman said she was sorry and asked for forgiveness.
‘Not so fast!’ says O’Rourke. ‘I want you to go home, take a pillow up on your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me!’
So the woman went home, took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to the roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed.
‘Did you gut the pillow with the knife?’ he says.
‘Yes, Father.’
‘And what was the result?’
‘Feathers,’ she said.
‘Feathers?’ he repeated.
‘Feathers everywhere, Father!’
‘Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out on the wind!’
‘Well,’ she said, ‘it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.’
‘And that,’ said Father O’Rourke, ‘is gossip!’

I think that's a perfect allegory for gossip and it's a good reminder for me. I don't think I'm particularly horrible for gossipping, but I would certainly be lying if I said that I don't gossip or haven't gossipped. But it's something that I try to keep in the front of my mind, so I don't fall into it. I like that image of the idea that once out words are out of our mouthes, who knows where they are going to go? Scary, but also something that can be used for good. But if we speak and think with love all the time, that's something that we can be happy about having spread in the wind.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Finished the score for The Tempest!

Hey everyone, I just wanted to share with you that I finished writing a score of incidental music for Shakespeare's play, The Tempest. It will be performed live accompanying Celsius Youth Theatre's production of The Tempest, this November. It took me almost all summer to write, but I am very happy with the outcome. It's the longest thing I've written (10.5 minutes), and I actually like it, which is saying quite a lot, seeing as I am quite the perfectionist when it comes to my music. Anyway, I just thought that I'd let you know! Maybe I'll find a way to post some of it here or something.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

School, and my musical lack of happiness

Hey everybody,

Well, "school" has started for me! Kind of. Being a homeschooler, who's to say when school really begins? But for me, since some of my weekly lessons have begun, and I'm back to practicing piano and flute for hours, and doing math etc, I think it's started for me. I have to admit, I'm pretty happy to be back at it!

Right now, I'm still writing music for my youth theatre's production of The Tempest. It's coming along pretty well (I've written 8.5 minutes!), but I'm finding that I have trouble writing really happy music. Maybe it's because I like really dark music and stuff in minor keys. That's all good when I'm writing whatever I want, but in this show, there's a couple of spots where it's actually gotta to be joyful. It's funny, because if you know me at all, you'll know that I'm a very happy person. I'm not a dark souled, troubled, sad person. Quite the contrary! But when it comes to music, I just like...dark music. So I'm trying to listen to happy, joyful tonal music, as opposed to my regular music (Sweeney Todd, Wicked, RENT, Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev...)

So, that's a little update into my life. :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Obama's message to students

Y'all should read US President Barack Obama's address to students about education. You can read it HERE or watch it on below. (his address starts 2:30)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

An experiment...that is neat.

So I was doing a bit of recording today, and I was playing with different effects on my software. I improvised some flute and recorded it, and then put the "echo" on. And it sounds really cool! So I uploaded it to my youtube. Here it is. Bear in mind, that like I said, I just did it off the fly, so it doesn't "go" anywhere, and my intonation is pretty blah (to my ears), but I hope you enjoy it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

To give or not to give PART II

If you remember, a little while ago, I blogged about an experience I had with a homeless guy who asked me for money very persistently. It wasn’t a bad experience, just a thought provoking one. You can read my original post HERE.

And I asked for your feedback! You wonderful readers commented with really thoughtful, great answers, and I wanted to follow up with another post responding to your responses. Thanks for the great, great feedback everyone! Here's some highlights from your comments:

Dorothy said:
“I don't generally give to them, though I do give to homeless shelters regularly.
Sometimes I feel bad, but I think usually it's feeding an addiction. I know a few people that have tried giving food or bus tickets and have gotten sworn at by the panhandler.
This isn't to say it's always the case, but it seems to happen a fair bit."

Anonymous said...
“I usually don't carry money on me, so I can honestly say that I cannot give them any money. If I do carry money, I just carry the amount that I will need to use that day (which helps me not to make impulse purchases) and I keep it in my pocket or another out of the way place, and I say I don't have any change to spare.”

Logan said...
“Also having the money right there would be a hard thing to not give the money, Personally I most likely give out the 5 dollars, but then pray to God that he would do the correct thing with the money, and then next time (if I went busking) when I would go to the market occasionally empty the money into your pocket or something along those lines so it’s not in plain view.”

Josh said...
“Honestly, I don't think that we should decide what they do with the money, if giving them money is going to help them feed themselves then I think it is worth every penny, if they use it for something that isn't going to help them it was their choice. But there is always a chance that it will really help them.
Giving to shelters is always a really good idea, but sometimes I think it's best to give directly to the person in need.”

Dorothy brings up a good point when she says that she gives to homeless shelters regularly. I have to admit that I don't and it is something that I certainly should do. Giving to shelters is definitely a good way to give and be able to know that your money really is going where you want it to go. This would also allow me to say, when asked, "sorry, I give my money to such-and-such-a-shelter". And then I wouldn't have to feel guilty about not helping the homeless.

But I think Josh is also right when he says "“Honestly, I don't think that we should decide what they do with the money." But, but, but...Oh gosh darnit, it's a tough call.

So I have a plan.

Here's the plan.
  1. I have decided to give 10% of all my busking money to a shelter of some sort that directly helps people in need.
  2. When asked, I can realize know I am under no obligation to give money, but if I feel called to, I will give them some money. I'll just see, and judge from the situation. I'll certainly give money if I feel I should.
  3. As Logan suggests, I'll also empty my case every once and a while, to avoid obviously having made a bunch of money and denying them a loonie.
So that's the plan! And I'm stickin' to it. I'm planning to go busking tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll also be back on facebook for the first time in two weeks tomorrow, so I'll post my feelings about my facebook-less weeks then!

Jasper part 4/4- Geradine Lakes

This is the final post in a four part series about my hiking/camping trip to Jasper. You can read part one here, part two here, and part three here.

So, on our last day of hiking, we went up on the Geraldine Lakes trail. I've done a little bit of hiking on it before, and it's just gorgeous.

A view of the first lake.
 And a view from higher up.
We stopped for lunch by the base of a beautiful waterfall.

My feet were starting to get sore (thank you plantars fasciitis), so I stuck my feet in the ice cold mountain creek. 

I loved watching all the fish in the lakes. Just ask anybody who was there or anyone who has travelled with me. I'm pretty obsessed with fish-watching. 
Look below: It's a fish!
Another shot of the waterfall from further away.

 Kind of a wacky shot of a the lake, from a different angle. I happened to catch a dragonfly in the photo, which adds a certain element of quirky character to the photo.

So that's it! The end of this "series" of posts. I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. It was a really great trip. I hiked over 30 kilometers and gained over 1600 meters of elevation. And best of all, I had time to think, reflect and appreciate our world. 
Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

This is too cool. This guy made a bunch of videos and merged them and voila! a one man instrumental of Billie Jean, which, incidentally is my favorite Michael Jackson song. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Jasper part 3/4- Mt. Edith Cavell

So, that night, the Venturers arrived (all except one, who came the next day). The next morning, we set off to Mt. Edith Cavell, a merry group of seven.

Our plan was to hike up the main trail, up to the top of the "Cavell Meadows" which offer great views of Mt. Edith Cavell (we weren't actually climbing the mountain). Here's a look at the Angel Glacier, which is the "icon" for Mt. Edith Cavell.

A couple of the boys.

The view from the first viewpoint.

My dad has this little plush penguin that he takes hiking and uses for scale photos. Here's a loverly photo. of Monsignor Penguin (not real name)
And after a steep climb, we're at the top of the meadows!
At the bottom of the glacier, there's this pond/lake with all these ice chunks that fall off the glacier.
And that's all for today! Hope you enjoyed! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jasper part 2/4- Athabasca

So, on the second day, my dad and I decided to hike up to a little cliff that he calls "Little Athabasca". He calls it that because it has a great view of the wonderful Mt. Athabasca.

The photo below is a picture of my finger pointing to the cliff that we hiked up. I'm standing beside our car in the Columbia Icefields parking lot, and we hiked the rest of the way.
Here is close up of the cliff.
My dad hiking up. What you see in the photo is average terrain, and no, there wasn't really a path.
The wonderful Mt. Athabasca

There were some climbers coming down from Athabasca. Inspiring! I took some photos of them through my binoculars.

This is the stuff we were climbing up for the last part till the very top.
And without further ado- the view from the top.

A cool rock I found with a hole in it. No, I didn't take it home (it's a National Park)

Gotta love snow patches in summer.
I love the plant life that survives in the mountains way up high. Don't you sometimes feel like you're all alone in the wilderness?

The pictures just don't do it justice. It was just incredible. I'll probably post more photos from this hike, as it was so good. I think it was the best hike I've ever done.