Thursday, 28 October 2010

A week in the life and Sambarrrrr!!

It's currently Thursday afternoon, which means that tomorrow is Friday. This means that the weekend is nearly upon us, and this can only be a good thing. I'm off home tomorrow, which shall be very awesome. For those of you who don't know (and shame on you!) I reach another year milestone in the journey of life on Monday. Admittedly, this milestone isn't as big as the one for being 18, and like most prime numbers, it often finds itself being forgotten about on a regular basis. I shall be 19, and start the last year of teenage life.

As it's Thursday, I'm currently inbetween doing Spanish homework since I have that one glorious hour a week when I don't have a funking clue what's happening. To be quite honest, I'll probably only need Spanish to be able to throw a basic insult at Fernando Alonso for being a whiney little dweeb. Of course, he would then hurl far more complex insults at me which I wouldn't understand, so I could just imagine in my head he's actually just suggesting that I'm correct and that he needs to grow up and learn to accept that if someone is ahead of you, they were clearly faster than you at some point during the race. You idiot.

That brings me nicely to the past weekend. I really didn't get much sleep over that weekend, and I suspect that leads to the underlying problems I've endured this week. I really don't remember too much about Friday night apart from the fact that I decided it would be clever to start writing my Goodbye, Lenin essay before deciding that watching UFC 120 was a better idea and did that instead. By the time I'd finished watching that, it was around 2am (and I did skip a few fights that I'll probably go back and watch at a later date. But since it was 2am, and I'd seen this on the UKFF (it was also mentioned on Dropkick Radio, but I didn't manage to catch the show live since I was....oh, I remember, I'll get back to that. I was gigging.)...where were we?

Oh, yes, 2am on Saturday morning. The very first Dragon Gate USA show Enter the Dragon was being shown on GoFightLive for free to promote and hype the fact that they've got a live iPPV this Friday night. Absolute belter of a show, though I did get to a point where I was flicking between that and FP3 from Korea.

Backtracking ever-so-slightly, we now go back to this time last week. As part of Honeydrum, we did three short performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening at the union as part of the Backstage Society's performance fundraising event. Very good shows each night, and I think we got progressively better each night so things are looking good. I'm more confident with the grooves for each rhythm, and I think I know most of the breaks now. Clearly, this is all good news and hopefully I'll get through a gig in the near future without going "Oh, shit...I messed that entry" or "I shouldn't have played that break...I didn't know it properly and looked like a dick."

Then on Saturday after the final gig, we ended up at a house party in Headingley which was so awesome. It was a very good night, and to be honest, we were the greatest thing there. ;)
Honestly though, Phen brought some drums with him and had the congas set up when we arrived. We just played and jammed with some people for a couple of hours and it was a ridiculous amount of fun. My hands were VERY sore when I got home though...they're not quite used to such an intense level of playing for that long!

The Grand Prix was a bit of a mad one! The rain delay was a bit mental, though I completely see why they'd done that. It was also rather useful for me. Somehow, I managed to sneak in a quick nap and woke up just as the restart was being announced as a five minute warning. Just enough time to make a coffee obviously!! But it did mean that I didn't really get to sleep properly until about 10am on Sunday morning, and I was up and about less than two hours later. Clearly, my weekend wasn't sleep-filled.

I've made up for it since then though. I guess that's the good thing about the later-stages of my week. Wednesday off means I can sleep late (or as the case was yesterday, I can sleep most of the afternoon. Greatest two hours of sleep on a Wednesday afternoon I've had in a while. Probably wouldn't have happened if hadn't have had to go up to uni just to give in a piece of work.

This weekend is going to be rather funky. From the sounds of it, there will be chocolate cake, ribs, friends, Xbox games, great times and even more drumming~! Is that possible?! Clearly, I can find a way to squeeze more drumming into my life. At the moment, I'm putting in about 6 hours a week of drumming, and then whenever we have a gig, it's a couple more. So Sunday evening is the Lantern Carnival/Parade in Sefton Park for Halloween, which has been one of my favourite Beatlife gigs to do because there are some brilliant designs and ideas each year. I'm looking forward to that, even though I have got to learn Pirate Sambarrrr and Zebra Shuffle using the sound recordings and words! I tell you something though, I reckon I'll have it.

For those of you who I shall see very soon, I look forward to it. If I don't, why not? Either way, stay safe and enjoy your lives.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Getting the band back together

Before I get into my actual blog entry, I was asked to mentioned Rachel. There...on we go!

What a bizarre weekend that was. I'll admit that I loved being home, and even though Vicky commented on Sunday that she'd missed Leeds a bit while she was back home, I didn't really. I'd guess that was just because my weekend was so full of stuff that I really didn't have that much time to sit back and think about Leeds. My mind was always moving onto the next thing on the list of stuff to do, whether it was getting to another Beatlife gig, getting to Fozzy or just playing video games with Emma and Andrew. I guess I'll probably get that feeling when I'm home next weekend since it *should* be a much more laid-back weekend where I can actually relax and chill. Then again, I'll have some work to do that weekend which'll be due in the following week.

I've learnt my lesson to not take my big bag to uni. It was a bit of a painful experience to carry the bag, which was, I thought, rather full (though coming back laughed in the face of Friday). From now on, I'll just get a slightly later coach and come back to the flat to get my bag. Then again, I could probably make the journey and be back at the station for half 1. Maybe I'd be pushing it a bit...I won't take the risk.

Anyway, here is where the fun begins. My lovely new phone, which I had been rather enjoying over the previous week and going slightly app-crazy with, decided to take up a new owner. I work on the basis of it was stolen, since I checked where I had been sitting, the floor around it and also the area outside near the coach and the very small journey I had taken before realising I was phoneless. Thankfully, the battery was nearly dead on the phone. Take that thief!

So I then had to spend my initial time at home calling the phone company to get the sim card and phone blocked, and then calling the police to report it. Oh, how fun! Jumping forward a bit, the joy of the insurance company kicked in when I found out the details hadn't been forwarded by T-Mobile yet, so I wasn't on the system. This leaves me waiting for the next week to hear back from the company on whether my claim is successful. As things stand right now, I have a replacement sim card, but no phone to use it with. ¬_¬

Beatlife...oh, how amazing it was to get the band back together. Obviously, they've all been together and doing the regular Tuesday nights and whatnot, but it was so awesome to get to play with them again. I mean, Al said that it was awesome to see me again and to play and it really was. The gig in Manchester was pretty darn funky, and the one on Sunday was surrounded by food, VERY strong coffee (though that could have been due to immense tiredness) and face painting. What more could you want from a Sunday in Sefton?

Hopefully, I'll be playing with them again for the Lantern Parade on Halloween night. It's a very funky gig, and if I can make it/they'll let me play, it'll be a very fun way to spend a late October evening!

Fozzy provided one of the most awesome gigs I've been to. Admittedly, I've not been to loads of gigs, but this was definitely better than some others. If I'm honest, the first two support acts weren't anything special with their brand of screamo-type rock. They could have both done the same song for 20 minutes and I wouldn't have noticed the difference really.

Thankfully, I thought the third act was a bit better. Though this could have been helped by the rather attractive lady singer. After them though, it was time for Fozzy! I wouldn't be surprised if a rather significant portion of the crowd was there just to see Jericho. Admittedly, I started listening to Fozzy because of Y2J, but they've put out some good music over the years.

Jericho just proved he can still work a crowd, even a rather small one (especially compared to the sizes he usually works with!). We were pretty electric when they got on stage, and the entire band did a good job of getting us hyped up. Rich kicked ass on guitar, and Sean was providing some funky basslines. Good stuff all round!

I did get time to play F1 2010 for a bit over the weekend, and I can confirm that it is rather funky. It took a little bit of time to get used to the steering, and I think I need to tweak the AI settings to be a bit more realistic, but I'm digging it so far. Hopefully I can sneak some more time on it next weekend!

Stay safe, take care of yourselves and I'll be back...probably over the weekend if anything interesting happens!

Life is too important to be taken seriously.

Oscar Wilde

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A weekend of games, gigs and fire alarms

It's been a bit of an awesome week, and things are only about to get better. Well, they'll be better as of about 24 hours from now. I'm coming home baby! And what a weekend I've got waiting for me...two Beatlife gigs ( in Manchester and Sefton Park and Fozzy ( on Saturday night. In between all of this, I've got to find time to catch up with family, try and see some friends and also waste large portions of my time playing video games. Since I've been gone, we've had a pretty decent influx of games into the house. Emma got the new Guitar Hero game, and we were always going to be spending a bit of time jamming away on that upon my return. I'm looking forward to that, it should be a bit of a step forward and improvement after the previous instalment of the GH Series was something of a let down. This one looks like a huge return to form though, and there are some seriously epic tracks on there.

As well as that, Andrew bought F1 2010. Since Codemasters announced they were releasing an F1 game for this season, I've been excited for it. I got the "warm-up" game for the Wii last Christmas, and even though it wasn't that impressive when it comes to the AI, it was still pretty cool to be able to play an F1 game for the first time in years. The graphics were pretty good, it had the 2009 drivers, teams and tracks, and it was almost a signal of intent for what they'd be producing for this year.

Now the game has been released to the world, I can't wait. I've heard things about there being really ridiculous bugs on the game with things like pitstops ruining races and ghost cars overtaking you in the pits. I don't care though. The graphics looked awesome, the gameplay is meant to be rather slick (if a bit slippery at first) and the AI is much improved. This is something I want from my F1 games. I don't want to turn it on, put it onto the hardest setting and be able to win straight away. I want to be in the midfield scrapping for a point or two if I'm lucky and eventually improve with the game until I can do well.

For example, Andrew was telling me he's just won the world championship with Lotus. That's not really very realistic. If he were to put it up a difficulty level, I can almost guarantee that wouldn't happen. I imagine I'll put it straight on the hardest setting and play away.

He's also bought the WRC game, which should be epic. I think the last rally game I played was a Colin McRae game a few years ago. Again though, that looks amazing. He's also bought a wheel for these driving games to add a bit more realism, which I'm looking forward to.

Essentially, this weekend should be one of gaming awesomeness. =)

Last Friday, I had my first gig with Honeydrum at the Raise the Roof event at the West Indian Centre. I spent the first part of the gig playing cameraman, but that was so much fun. I got to stand back, listen to the music, watch the dancers and take everything in. It was really interesting actually, and I could see which parts of the group weren't as tight as they could be, and I was able to share this feedback with Phen after we'd finished playing, and he agreed with most of it.

Oh, there was a fair amount of drugs going on there though. Even just walking out of the toilet and being asked if I "want any gear". thanks, I'm good. Honestly, I won't change my mind just because you've asked if I'm completely sure. Even going outside to sort something out, I get asked if I want to share a joint with someone. Again...I'm alright, don't need that. One of the acts had a rapper/singer who was as high as a kite and didn't care about telling the world about it.

I don't really care about that was an epic night and I had such a good time. It really helped to have a couple of mates tagging along as well. And of course, I love nights out where I don't have to pay admission because I'm one of the acts. Aah, the joy of being a musician!

I'm now becoming rather familiar with the fire alarm in my building too. Last week, we had it go off rather early in the morning. Obviously, I see the logic of this. Everyone (well, theoretically) will be in their flat at stupid o'clock in the morning and they'll be asleep. So if they wake us all up at the same time, we can hear the fire alarm and everyone knows what it sounds like. As I say, logical decision. I just wish it didn't happen so early. I suspect I'm not entitled to complain too much though, as I did just get back into bed and managed to catch another half an hour of sleep.

Then the fire alarm decided it would wake me up earlier this week. I don't remember the day, but that's probably because my brain has turned into a bit of a mess recently. Seriously, it's a little bit worrying, but I'll live. Well, that's the plan. As long as I wake up each morning and keep ticking along, I won't worry about the fact that I'm struggling to piece together each day. Just imagine how messed up my mind would be if I had alcohol in there though...I'd probably have frazzled out by now.

Again though, this fire alarm was just a test run to make sure it was working properly. Now, call me stupid, but wasn't the fire alarm a few days ago a good way of testing that the fire alarm works?

So why do they need to test it again?

Of course, this brings us to today. Some of you may have seen my Facebook status about this. It seems that the fire alarm was set off as a result of steam from someone's shower. I do remember us being told that the fire alarms were smoke detectors, not heat detectors. So this really makes me wonder...just how fucked up are things here? These things continue to baffle me and confuse my sorry mind even further.

Regardless, it's time for me to go and continue my education. My hour of Spanish on a Thursday is approaching. I've then got to work like an idiot tonight (though this might mean I get to listen to Dropkick Radio tonight live) so I can get my work done before I head off home tomorrow afternoon. I don't want to have to spend my time working over the weekend, mainly because I don't think I'll have time to do any work!!

Anyone who has never made mistake has never tried anything new.

Albert Einstein

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

How early is too early?

It's been a while since I last did an entry, so I apologise for that. Since I started at uni for real though, things have actually been rather hectic. So I'm considering mixing this up and actually trying a couple of video blog entries as well to compensate for this. I've got the day off tomorrow, so I shall be spending it trying to get as much of my Core Language work done as I physically can before I head off to the union in the evening to have one more session of drumming before Raise the Roof on Friday.

Hehe, just as I mention how tomorrow will be spent doing work, I get a text. I love it when these things happen. As an alternative, I'm heading to the market tomorrow morning to pick up some stuff with Beth from one the flats upstairs. I might follow suit and pick up some cheap stuff while I'm there. It rather destroys any wish of a lie-in I had, but that's absolutely fine by me.

Anyway, now that I've got that little sidetrack completed and sorted for the morning. Uni life is all going rather well I think. I'd be a liar if I said my very first lecture wasn't a bit scary, but I guess almost everyone can agree with that sentiment. What I certainly wasn't expecting though, was to have my first lecture be entirely in German...the very definition of being thrown in at the deep end! Still, it is a German degree and it was the Core Language module. Most of the other modules are in English though...apart from the history tutorial, which is in German. Call me a little bit cynical, but if I don't really know that much about German history pre-unification in 1871 altogether, I don't really have much chance of knowing about it, and being able to write/talk about it in German!

All of my other modules are alright so far, the workload has only really been big for Core, and that was a ridiculous amount (or so I thought). It appears that might be the regular workload, and I'll be getting more on top of that occasionally. I'll get used to it, right?

We had the Fresher's Ball on Saturday night. It was a pretty good night, but we did spend a large part of it playing on FIFA 11, and I'll admit that it is one cracking game. I'm seriously considering bringing my Xbox with me to uni when I go home, or I might leave it until Christmas and bring it then...that might be easier. But when we got to the Ball, none of us were really that dressed up, with the exception of Jolie. There were some guys who had suited up for the event, but as we all know, suits aren't really my thing. I was going to wear my jacket and a polo shirt, but I was told that was a step too far, so I went in a t-shirt and some dark jeans.

I still have to admit to not knowing who Eliza Doolittle is, and I don't really know who Diana Vickers is either...someone said she's from X Factor or something? To be fair, Eliza gave a pretty good set. If I saw her again, I'd enjoy the gig but I can't really say I'd pay money to see her. After this though, we got a set from Scott Mills of Radio 1 fame. He became my favourite DJ of the moment purely for his decision to end the night by playing "All I Want for Christmas is You".

And so this begs the early is too early? When is it an acceptable time to start playing Christmas music? If I'm completely honest, I'm of the opinion that if it's a good piece of music, then there's nothing wrong with playing it for a couple of months a year instead of a few weeks before Christmas and then it disappearing from the airwaves (but staying on music channels until January).

For example, take East 17's "Stay Another Day". I don't know about you, but I consider that a Christmas song. Admittedly, it was originally released a few weeks before Christmas, but it was then re-released (another video was made with them all wearing white) and it got Christmas number 1 that year. It's a belter of a tune though, and I can quite happily listen to that at any time of year. I know it's not the best example, but I can listen to something ridiculous like the Christmas song released by The Darkness a few years ago too.

If I'm honest, I don't think hearing a Christmas song now would annoy me. Maybe that's because I think it's all a bit of a joke. The second that supermarkets bring out their selection boxes and decorations, shops start selling Christmas stock and cities start to put up their Christmas lights, it should be officially made Christmas and those songs should be fair game.

Maybe it's just me, but that'd teach us a lesson to not start trying to make money from it months in advance...

Instead of a quote that I've borrowed from my wall, I'll leave you with a song that I got linked to a few weeks ago. You'll see for yourself, but it's an acoustic version of Patience, the Guns'n'Roses song. This version has Slash playing and Miles Kennedy (of Alterbridge fame) doing the vocals. Maybe...just maybe...Kennedy sings this better than Axl himself.