Monday, 28 March 2011

"A terminally good weekend"

A have to agree with the title, it really was a brilliant weekend. I went home, but unlike previous visits home where I'd just relax, see some friends and play on the Xbox until the small hours of the morning after going to the pub or something, I was incredibly busy. For those who don't know, I took a couple of people from Honeydrum to Liverpool for a weekend away and we did a bit of an exchange of material with Beatlife.

Those two and a half hours in Elm Hall were really good. I said it a few times while we were in there, and I stand by the comment of me saying "I'm home." That hall is where my life in drumming really started and where I learnt to play some Beatlife stuff. That evolved over the years until I had to move away and, through a fair bit of searching, I found Honeydrum and a place to continue my drumming. Those guys have pushed me further than I could have really imagined I would have been pushed in terms of music over the last 6 months. I'd like to think I've become a pretty good snare player, and I've gone from having not done any sort of singing to learning a load of sequences of songs and then in the last month or two, leading a sequence and now being able to play and sing at the same time. It's an absolutely incredible journey to have taken since late September, and I don't see the end of that road coming up any time soon.

Anyway, the session was really really good. We (HD1C) showed them a bit of what we do with some grooves and songs and then tried one or two of our rhythms. If I'm completely honest, it sounded AMAZING to hear the grooves being played with over 20 people. It's a really huge sound that we've not really been able to have with Honeydrum so far this year, but the group is growing and expanding all the who knows what the future holds!

Beatlife taught us a bit of Pirate Samba and Zebra Shuffle as well, and they're pretty tasty grooves. I'm looking forward to going back there over the April break and hopefully getting one or two sessions with them and having a play there. From feedback that people got at the end of the session, it was pretty much all positive (I certainly didn't hear anything negative) and I wouldn't be surprised if we do it again. Hopefully, we'll manage to book a full afternoon or a day to do it though so we can get plenty of stuff done and also be able to take our time.

We went into town on Saturday for a bit of nightlife and experiencing the culture of Liverpool by night. I'll be honest, I'd forgotten how crazy Liverpool absolutely, well and truly schools Leeds and puts it in its place. But wow, we saw plenty of colours and went to a couple of really nice pubs and a few clubs/bars as well. Great night indeed.

As is almost customary when I come home, I tried to eat my entire body weight in food...and I think I gave it a good go this weekend. My mum did a lot of baking, with a really awesome chocolate tart (which I'll be hopefully trying to make myself), pie, fruit buns, rice pudding and sticky toffee cake. Believe me when I say, I tried all of it and it was all very, VERY delicious.

I suspect my sleep pattern may have suffered a bit though. Thanks to also having the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia, I managed to watch the practice sessions on Thursday night/Friday morning, Qualifying on Saturday morning and the race on Sunday, I didn't catch much sleep. To prove this point, I worked it out last night...from Thursday morning when I woke up until Sunday night when I went to bed, I had just under 10 hours of sleep. That works out at about 75+ hours of being awake and not a lot of sleep. Needless to say, I slept really well last night and I'm hoping I sleep well enough tonight.

Just a week left to go at university now! It's going to be a very busy week though...I'll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

I like the sun, it makes me happy.

It's been a really good few days. Today was especially awesome. I woke up at 7.15 to the sounds of The Final Countdown playing through my pillow, which just equals win on so many levels. If that seems a really weird concept, my pillow has a speaker built into it so I can plug my iPod in at night and drift off to sleep to the soothing sounds of whichever podcast I'm listening to at that moment in time. The vast majority of the time, it's something from Deathsquad (Brian Redban) or maybe a bit of Dropkick Radio if I don't catch the live show.

Anyway, from then I had to do a presentation during my 9am seminar. If I'm honest, it was alright. Could have been much better, but for 9.30, it was pretty good. I'm not sure that my plan to talk to a class of predominantly females about cars and bore them to death, consequently getting a good mark, worked. We'll see. Of course, thanks to the strikes from some of the lecturers today, I was then free until 3pm. As luck would have it, 3pm was then the time of my second presentation. This was probably went a lot better since there was more preparation to it. Regardless, I've done both presentations that I needed to do and as a result, I now don't have anything to worry about regarding my German modules and presentations. This really is a good thing since I can now focus on the Spanish module and getting my poetry essay written.

Last Friday we had a pretty big gig at The Well in Leeds city centre. It was a really great gig, plenty of great energy to the place and the crowd seemed to really like our stuff. We may have slightly annoyed the guy in charge since Phen just gave up listening to his request that we finish since we hadn't finished going through our material. In some respects, our set is a bit like a journey that we invite people on and that we go on ourselves each time. On Friday it started with the African drumming and some singing, which is pretty relaxed and laid back. Then it moves onto the samba set with singing before we finish the singing and go to the really funky, really tasty funks and different grooves. If you cut us off part way through that, you lose out on some of the experience and there's a sort of feeling afterwards that it needed to go somewhere else to take it one level further.

This all leads us rather nicely to the weekend. It's the weekend I've been looking forward to for a while since I'm taking a couple of Honeydrum people to Liverpool to meet up with Beatlife and have a workshop with them. If all goes well, it should be a REALLY good weekend with some music and a chance to relax. Plus, I get to sleep in my own bed for two nights which is brilliant on so many levels. Oh, and of's the first Grand Prix of the season. So I'll be quite possibly pulling an all-nighter on Saturday night if we go to town. Either that or it'll be just catching an hour or two of sleep before I listen to The Chain and get the shivers back down my spine.

I'm quite surprised since I was almost expecting myself to be asleep by now. It could just be that I'll go to sleep once I've finished writing this. I wouldn't be surprised if that's true to be honest. I'm pretty tired...and then no doubt I'll wake up in a few hours and can do some work. Fun fun fun!

Today really was a glorious day. It's been sunny for...pretty much the entire day and it felt a lot more like summer than spring. I have no idea what it reached on the thermometer today, but it probably felt a lot warmer than it was. Fingers crossed we get some more of the same tomorrow so I can relax and enjoy a bit more sun! I did get to catch a good amount of sun though...had some good conversation with different people which is always good.

I missed the sun...I realise just how happy it made me and everyone around me. It seems stupid, but the world really did seem a lot happier today. It was an awesome experience and hopefully we get more of the same.

Keep enjoying life people and stay safe. Just remember, life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.

Friday, 11 March 2011

I really need to start thinking of some super-catchy titles related to the blog content...

It's been a funny week. To the best of my knowledge, I don't mean funny "haha" (though I'm hopefully going to be seeing some of the Leeds comedy festival that's going on this weekend in and around the university.

I mentioned last week that I was planning a road trip to Liverpool with some Honeydrummers. This is going ahead after we've booked the hall for the afternoon and things are starting to get in motion quite nicely. I was hit by the startling realisation of just how much work needs to be put into a trip like this. On reflection, (and thanks to my shocking memory) I really hope I was never ngative towards teachers in school who were organising trips and may have gotten a little stressed out. There's a lot of things to sort out...well, I say that. It could be a relatively small number of things, but because I'm completely inexperienced in this, it seems like a lot of work.

Work is something that's piling up as well. There's presentations galore and a couple of essays that are due in at various points in the coming weeks. It probably shouldn't be too bad though if I'm completely honest. I've got enough time to do everything and do it all to the top of my ability (whatever you may think of my ability). It gets a bit tasty when I throw in a lovely number of gigs in the coming weeks with Honeydrum. If all goes to plan with the weather, we're planning on doing a bit of playing in town on Sunday. So if you read this (and it seems quite a few people do now...which is awesome!), come and check us out if you're around Leeds city centre on Sunday. There's a fairly big event on the 18th at The Wells which I'm predicting will be an epic night. I'm not sure if there's a Facebook event, but check out The Wells' website and you'll find out some info about it. It'd be great to see plenty of people down there, and I'll start posting about it on Facebook every few days to try and get some friends down.

I've found myself sleeping a lot more recently. I'll be honest, the last time I think I've slept this much was in 2009 after I had my head injury and found myself taking every available opportunity to sleep because it made me feel a bit better and helped fight off the headaches for a while longer. To my knowledge (which as we've established is a bit messy at the best of times) I've not suffered a head injury in recent weeks. In fact, I'm pretty certain I haven't. So why am I sleeping a lot more?

Take Tuesday for example. It's my busiest day, and I'm fully aware of that so I try and get to bed on a Monday night by midnight at the latest. A lot of the time, I manage this. I'd also had an hour of sleep on Monday afternoon after uni, so I wasn't exhausted. I woke up on Tuesday on my alarm (which is always useful) and got on with my day. A coffee in the afternoon, some food and a peppermint tea...pretty normal. Yet I came back to my flat and, while people in my flat were getting ready to go out, I decided to do some interwebbing. I fell asleep. Not a quick 15 minutes though...I was completely out of it until about 11pm, just after they'd gone out. I was in the mood for going out, so that's a bit the end though, I made myself a bowl of porridge, watched the 2002 Italian GP and went back to sleep at about half 12.

To basically make that entire paragraph redundant (apart from telling a nice story), I find myself able to sleep at any point during the day for up to about 2 hours. Yet I'm still going to bed at roughly the same time as I have been. To me at least, that's rather strange.

Exam timetables are up now, so I've been able to view that. It made for interesting reading. I have one hectic week with four exams in it, but by that Thursday evening, I've finished all of my exams. Since that Thursday is May 19th, it gives me about a month and a half before the accommodation contract in my flat expires. I plan on spending large parts of it here since I've paid for it. It should be an interesting few weeks. I've got some ideas on things I can do to keep busy and start learning some new/different things, we'll see how, if and when they come to fruition.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Sometimes being open can leave you feeling more closed than before

So technically, this is two blog entries in two days...but in a convoluted world, it's not. As you know (if you read this regularly) then last night's post was written a few weeks ago. This post though, is being written now. It's Friday March 4th, it's about 2.30 so I've handed in my essay and I'm listening to Joe Rogan. Life is pretty good.

It's been a very strange 24 hours. It really has...if I may, let's rewind back 24 hours or so.

I did a load of Spanish work, and it's something I'm quite proud of. That may well sound ridiculously weird, but for....well, perhaps the first time this semester definitely, I put a lot of effort in. I went and found a load of worksheets and went through them, did a bundle of listening and I felt like I'd achieved something regarding my Spanish education. It was good, and then I went into the tutorial in the mood to continue the learning process and had a fairly productive session where I got more from it than I have in the past. To be brutally honest, fucking awesome.

It turns out Morrisons does sell coconut water. This little piece of news has quite possibly made my week and means that I'll be a much jollier person in the long run. For 40p a can, it's a pretty decent product. Obviously, if I wanted the top notch product, I'd end up paying anything up to (and possibly over) £1 per can, so if I can pick up two cans for that, I'm much happier. Maybe as a treat every now and then, I'll splash out. Who knows.

The Honeydrum AGM was last night (03/03) and was pretty productive. Some great conversation and ideas coming from it, and I was voted in as Treasurer/Vice-President for the forthcoming year. That's pretty cool. The trip to Liverpool is getting geared up too. I'm waiting back on some phone calls, but we're looking good for it. I can't wait. It really should be a very good weekend of music and being able to relax at home and whatnot.

So then we hit the slightly crazy. I got a message on Facebook from Sophie asking if I was free to go on Skype. To be brutally honest, I wasn't. I had an assignment to put some finishing touches to which was due in today and I quite fancied an early-ish night after a couple of draining days. But no, I decided that I like the Skype conversations with Sophie and we could chat for half an hour or so before she goes to bed and I can work and then go not long after. It didn't quite go like that though...we were talking for 4 hours. That's right. FOUR hours. It was about half 2 by the time we got off Skype, and I think we both drained each other of a lot of emotion and conversation. I'll be honest, I woke up this morning with a bit of a tender voice after speaking for so long.

We talked and talked for so long and we covered so many topics. Seriously, we went from the comic, light-hearted highs of joking about life and uni and bizarre things to planning future trips to Sheffield/Leeds to see each other to the unknown, muddy waters of emotional conversation. There were a couple of tears from her end as well. Not sure why, we'll put it down to the lateness, but we were on some really personal and intimate themes. It sounds so ridiculously soppy and...I don't know, it's a bit strange. There are times in life when you need to hear certain things. You might say them yourself as advice, but you need to have them told to you once in a while for you to really understand what's happening in the world.

Everything you want in life is right there in front of you. All you have to do is see the wood for the trees, reach out and take it. Once you've taken it, enjoy it while it lasts. Nothing lasts forever...that's the point of life. It's a finite thing. But while you've got something, whether it's something like a really good sandwich or great conversation or even love and being in the company of someone you're really close's important to enjoy every single moment that you can while you can. Otherwise, you get to the end of your time and you realise you made an error. You've not made the most of what you had...and you'll regret it.

Think about might make sense. It could be the incoherent rambling of one close friend to another at 2am. I hope it's the former.

Things are looking up...

Brief blog entry: I actually wrote this on February 13th, but never got round to posting it. I'll keep it short and as it was.

It's good to know that there's a readership out there. I've had some good discussion with people about this blog over the last few days, and I'm yet to hear anything negative about it...or at least, anything so negative that I've deemed it to be negative and thought about not blogging anymore.

Life has picked up in the last few weeks, and things are heading in a positive direction. It's strange...I remember when I put my last post up about 2 weeks ago, a friend (Sophie) commented that it seemed far too happy to have been me writing, which may well be true. Not that it wasn't me writing...that it was a bit too happy. Who knows though, I've found some good form at the moment and I'm enjoying the experience. Every now and again, you catch a good wave. I'm just riding that wave as far as I can and making the most of the time. Things might hit a brick wall very soon and I might have a really rough patch for a few months...but I might not. Who knows?

I think I'll have a good patch for the foreseeable future though. Everything is starting to look good and maybe life is turning a corner. I just have to wait and see what lies around the corner. Hopefully it'll be something good.