HobbyHarri











While Valentine’s was uneventful (except for the incident), today was delicious. After my morning lecture I wrapped up in 5 torso layers plus two sets of skinny jeans and 2 pairs of socks, filled a thermos with tea and headed to the Bay again…

 

Cardiff is finally warm! Summer’s coming! The sun was out! They were selling ice-cream! I had one with a flake and strawberry sauce – at the Bay in February! Kids everywhere, laughing and running and staring at me (I probably did look a bit funny all wrapped up with my coat, scarf & leather hat)! And, ok, there were a few annoying youths out & about on their scooters (are those cool now?) who use their speedy entrances & speedy exits from your zone of attention to get away with being rude to strangers. But most everyone was lovely, and that was only a few of the many young people. Ah. Maybe I really could bring my guitar next time.

I’m going to avoid the Bay for the time being – the half-term busyness plus the fact that I don’t have many guitar tunes memorised makes me think I should stay back here & blitz the practice. You know what? I’ll promise – if there are any days next week that are as good weather-wise as it was today, I will take my guitar down on one of them. Regardless of how good or bad I think I am at it or how many things I have memorised or whether I’d have the confidence to sing along to anything, I am gonna do it. Yeah.

 

While I was down there, I came up with a good basic premise for next week’s creative writing project: I’ve decided to write a short story (not script) in the Doctor Who world. I’m keeping things simple so that it’s the storytelling I’m focusing on rather than inventing believable, original characters and entire alien societies and so on, so here’s the brief I’ve made for myself:

  • Write every day of next week
  • Minimum of 500 words per day (you don’t get words off the next day if you go over the limit (I know you too well…)
  • Doctor: 11th
  • Companion: **** (an own character (OC) I’m very familiar with)
  • Setting: Present day Cardiff
  • Situation: Haunted House
  • Additional Characters: Small group of kids/teens, challenged to spend a night there.

I figured out a bunch of important things like the nature of the Haunted House and why they go there, and playing through the scenarios it looks like my OC actually complements the Doctor really well. I was kind of nervous about the idea this morning, but I’m really looking forward to it now. I might even get started early… No! Get to guitar practice!

 

And lastly, the casting website I’m signed up to has started to pay off. While I haven’t heard anything back from the acting jobs I’ve applied to (probably due to my profile picture not being a professional headshot), I have received an offer for modelling. I’ve been offered a free photoshoot with a genuine (I’m good with research) & fairly experienced photographer. He gets to increase his portfolio & practice his art, I get a professional headshot and full-length photos for my acting portfolio – it’s win-win!

 

I’m on the up.

 

Night night. xox

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{February 13, 2012}   Catching Up & Valentine’s

My world has been lagging a bit recently – but no more! *Superhero pose*

 

I’m training myself to have more energy and drive during the days by gradually setting my alarm earlier & earlier. I’m only getting up at 8:30 at the moment, but it shouldn’t be too long before I’m back into my school routine of getting up at 6 and doing yoga or something for an hour before going about being generally proactive. If you find yourself feeling like you’re on a low ebb on a daily basis, try this (at least the alarm part) –  it really works wonders for me.

Also, I thought I was getting ill, so I took the ultimate precaution and stayed in bed pretty much all day on Saturday eating 12 of my 5-a-day. Sorted. My skin has a healthy glow besides the tired eyes & unexplainable spots (maybe if I ate more fruit…).

And Uni work? Well thankfully there’s not much yet – coursework begins later, but we do have lecture & seminar work, which has been a bit of an uphill struggle this time. In journalism, we’re learning how to deconstruct media to see how everything is designed to manipulate people into buying the product. I love it – practical psychology. But I’m really struggling to get the terminology right and analyse media properly, which is tiring because analysis is the sort of thing I really want to do well in and usually would… Wanting and trying but not succeeding is such a depressing experience. But I’m gonna get through it! Yeah!

 

Anyway, I noticed that I haven’t done a lot of writing recently (besides the blog) despite the fact that I want to write screenplays and books for a living. I think I’ll design a writing exercise for next week. Something like I have to write a short story next week and post it on the blog… I make no promise, but I will definitely have a proper writing project on the go.

 

 

Valentine’s day is rolling round tomorrow, so I’ll let my friends have their… fun, and I’m going to spend my day at the place I love – bonny Cardiff Bay! I’d bring my guitar but I’m sure it’s still to cold to sit & play, so my notebook & my thermos of tea will be my companions. Maybe I’ll have an early night too, just in case one of my flatmates & their love want to… have their fun. Whatever, I think it’s going to be a lovely day for me. Cafés, tea, lovely snacks, a notebook and some scenic beauty – what more could I ask for?

 

A house there I suppose. And lots of money. And a job with Doctor Who – Oo! Can I help with a new series of Doctor Who Confidential? Yeah, those are the unreasonable extras I’d ask for.



{January 26, 2012}   Me, Beauty Queen? No, Me Actress.

I’ve made the best of a rather down day by sorting out all my remaining admin, which included signing up to a casting website. There, I’ve created a profile detailing all my interests and experience in the worlds of acting, music & modelling and can apply to any of the many related jobs they have on offer. For a long while I fretted about not getting a good enough-looking profile photo – this would need to be a professional-looking headshot which shows my face at its most attractive. So eventually I just gave up and posted a pretty good one, amateurly photographed, in unnaturally yellow lighting with me looking a little bit sleep-deprived, but relatively handsome. I then applied to a couple of interesting-sounding jobs and left it to practice guitar.

 

6 hours later and I check my emails. I’ve received a message – sent 3 hours after I posted the photo. Not from the people I applied to. On my profile I see that it’s had 2 more views since I last looked. The message essentially told me this:

‘We’ve looked at your profile and pictures and would love it if you would enter our pageant – Cardiff’s Dazzling Beauty.’

On the application form they seemed pretty good, asking not just for pretty girls, but girls with grace, charisma, intelligence & talent. Within 3 hours of posting an ‘ok’ photo, I got an invitation to apply to become the Beauty of Cardiff. Huh.

 

As complimentary as that is, I won’t enter. It is a beauty pageant after all. And anyway, I’m sure the offer wasn’t a selfless, ‘I really think you could win’, one. Aaaaand… yes, here it is – the entry fee for this competition is £65. Nice con, lady.

 

 

Besides that, I’m really looking forward to this site. It may be flooded with the more inane jobs, like ‘Has your boyfriend impregnated someone else? Sell us your story!’, but I reckon I’ll finally be able to get some small, semi-professional local jobs now. I’ll be able to see what it’s like working as an actress towards a finished, filmed product, or (when I’ve improved in guitar & singing) join a good band or sell my own solo career, and just expand my experiences in general. As much as I love being a student and being able to stay in one place all day reading or noodling on my guitar, I want to start getting to know the outside world. I want to know the kinds of places I could be going to one day. I want to be where the people are! I wanna see, wanna see ’em dancing. Walking around on those… what d’you call them? Oh! Feet.

 

Damn, that’s song’s in my head now. Shut up Ariel. Thanks. Now – shut up! – I’m going to go to bed & read, and tomorrow maybe my throat won’t be so sore & I can leave the house. Real shame so soon after renting a practice room in the music school. Ah. Right now I can only dream. Makes sense to say goodnight then.

 

Goodnight. o



{January 24, 2012}   While My Guitar Happily Hums

It feels simultaneously like the days are flying by and slowly dragging on & on. The only way that I can convince myself that it was yesterday that I most recently went to the Bay is to look at the calendar good & hard & try to let the thoughts sort themselves out. Wow. I’ve done an awful lot these past few days, but at the same time, it feels like nothing. My latent perfectionism wants to convince me I’ve wasted my time, just because I’ve spent loads of time practicing guitar and yet only have 2 simple tunes memorised. It expects immediate excellence wherever there is effort. The rest of me knows I’ve done good.

 

While I’ve only memorised 2 out of the 20 or so that I’m interested in, my general proficiency has gone WAY up. I can actually pick up a piece and play it so it’s recognisable, and even adequate, without prior practice! It feels great. My friend’s given me an unwanted acoustic guitar, which is much lighter than my electric & I’m sure will sound a lot better than it (without the aid of amps) when I’ve re-stringed it. A bit more practice, some more tunes memorised and some good weather, and it won’t be long till I’m taking my music out with me. I’m feeling accomplished, and sounding pretty good.

 

Oh yeah, and a couple of interesting things happened on Sunday.

1) I discovered that the best day to visit Cardiff Bay (as a local anyway) is on Sundays, because that’s when everyone goes & the place feels most alive. Go any other day to clear your head, get some peace & focus on the beauty of the place, but go on Sunday for beauty with a bit of buzz. While passing by the front door of Torchwood, I overheard some confused non-fans, so stepped in to become the helpful informer & tell them about the TV show & why it’s decorated the way it is right now. Might strategically loiter around there next time & see if I can’t enlighten any more people.

2) That night I had a dream in which I sang an original song. I dreamt it was a song by Kate Bush which she sung & orchestrated in the style of Florence & the Machine. To make sure I remembered it I wrote down all of the song I could remember… while I was still dreaming. I tricked myself into forgetting the original song that I composed in my sleep by writing it down (& therefore stopping it praying on my mind) in an imaginary notebook! Agh, self-deception is wonderfully bizarre. I have the tune to the chorus at least & some lyrics that fit but I know aren’t the original ones. I should keep working at it though.

 

All good. Was going to watch something before bed but think I’m too worn out after a long day of errands (and aching back from guitar usage). Will read my bedtime book, ‘Gods Behaving Badly‘. Wish I had some proper bedtime tea – peppermint’s good for clearing the mind & Earl Grey’s good for focus… but will do in a pinch for bedtime. God I’m Tired. Must’ve worked hard today. Clap.

 

Goodnight o

 



{January 21, 2012}   Bout of Freedom

Had my last exam yesterday & now I have 9 (now 8) days of total freedom before lectures start. It’s amazing how revitalising that concept is to me. I’ve made a big list of things I want to do & have spent most of today reading in my favourite café & playing guitar, which is really the basic model of my week coming. My guitar playing’s a bit funny, because I really enjoy it normally as well, but I’ve had a series of fantasies recently that some time soon, my guitar playing skills will be called upon by someone – the most normal fantasy is the very reasonable taking it down to the Bay with my friend to casually practice & maybe teach her some chords, the least normal fantasy… well it’s complete fantasy except it stays in Cardiff and I’m still the protagonist. Anyway, should anything between A & B be about to occur, I don’t want to become the instant klutz I usually do when performing guitar to others or to a computer that’s recording me, so that’s all been making my practice a little more intent & frequent.

 

One thing I really appreciated on the morning of exams was fun videos. Each exam day I got up early & went through revision notes & then got high nerves in some form or another (1st day I was feeling ill & anxious, 2nd day just generally a bit depressed). What really cured me was watching funny videos on Youtube – in particular, ones with lovely famous people in them. I’ve always found they boost bad moods more because, with famous people you like, you can really identify, empathise, go ‘Oh, they’re so lovely/silly/witty/brilliant/funny and they’re having such a good time!’ and that can trick you into feeling contented, much, much faster than videos of people flinging themselves at walls & footballs being kicked, quite brilliantly/accidently into the goalie’s face after rebounding off the goal posts. Anyway, here’s a few of the videos that cheered me up. Mostly from Doctor Who Confidential (please don’t go). Not in any particular order, except that I saved the best for last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Barrowman…



{October 17, 2011}   Back To The Blog!

According to the statistics section of my blog, two people found my blog by using this search: “6 year old kids drawing with teeth and interpretation”.

Huh.

I got curious and decided to try it out myself. I got as far as page 14 on a Google search and gave up. Whoever they were, they must have really cared out finding results to do with “6 year old kids drawing with teeth and interpretation”.

———

Well, my 3 day weekend of no blogging had a lot of success and just a little fail. I did next to nada on Friday and Saturday, just a little writing and my laundry – my first time so I made a big deal out of it. Sunday on the other hand was almost my ideal image of my life at Uni. I got up late for a human, early for a student, and after I had my breakfast I spent the whole day staying strictly to a timetable I wrote over Shredded Wheat & banana slices (in my ideal image there are no timetables). This meant that I spent between 8 and 9 hours of that day actually doing things (in my ideal image someone adores me for this).

 

I worked out that the best way to organise it was to spend 1 hour on mental activities like reading, writing, brainstorming, and 45 minutes on more physical activities, like juggling and guitar, and alternate between the 2 kinds. This way, each new activity is taking a break from the last one. The only problem was that with writing I usually felt like I didn’t want to stop, but then an hour’s a long time to be writing, so it’s probably for the best overall..

 

Now that I’m back on the blog, I’m wondering whether I should keep at doing this daily, or whether I should cut down on my posting. I’ve realised that, with all these hobbies and my increasing workloads, the time I’m given never seems enough. My guitar’s good, but I still can’t do that solo. My writing’s good, but I haven’t finished my fairy tale or those exercises, and I want to do more. I did loads yesterday, even exercise, but I didn’t do any art, or spanish, and I didn’t actually produce anything (nothing I’m willing to share anyway). I think I will cut down the blogging. That way I’ll be able to be more interesting when I post and I’ll get more done. This all may not look like much, but thinking of it during the day, what to write, actually writing it, editing bits, phrasing things properly… it’s an art I’m not yet used to. I think that like all my hobbies, it just needs constant practice. But if practicing this is getting in the way of improving my other hobbies, then I’ll just have to cut it back.

 

Basic summary: I now blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

—————-

 

It’s another lovely Cardiff night, but something’s not quite perfect… hold on, I have it…

 

I want a celebrity lullaby

Oh my god I love learning.



{October 1, 2011}   Smoke & Mirrors

Today was going to be a magic day. When I’m in the practicing hobbies mode, I tend to allocate individual days to specific hobbies depending on certain things. It tends to go that if I have lots of energy it’ll either be juggling or guitar, and if I’m just mentally alert it’ll be either magic or art. So today was supposed to be for reading up on magic history and/or learning/practicing tricks. I did the shopping (1st time in Lidl – they are darn good you know, great prices but the bread’s solid as Memory Foam), had another walk and supped a mini pot’s worth of Earl Grey while people-watching… all of this helps to get me in the creative-inventive-artistic mood.

Today was going to be a magic day, but then I realised how expensive socks are. That was my one big quest for the shopping day; to buy some more socks so that I wouldn’t have to do my laundry quite so soon. The first place was selling bad socks at a blistering £5 a pair. ALL the other shops had no socks – I got lost in one place for a while, apparently trapped on the bottom floor from which you can only get out using the hidden escalator. I don’t know how to explain this… but personally I find there’s something particularly panicking about being stuck somewhere, surrounded by bland, large lingerie. I guess some part of me remembers that episode of Father Ted a little too vividly. But also I think there is something inherently spooky about a section of a store filled with near-naked faceless mannequins and wispy, weird-shaped clothing that comes in mostly white, some black, and the rest in old-ladies’-stockings-brown. Even La Senza had that problem, extending their colour range only to include the occasional flash of red or purple – and they’re meant to be specialists in that area! It’s like hearing of the greatest magician in the world, and then going to his show and finding that he only does tricks with sponge balls, cards and the chinese linking rings. Mostly I’m left asking why it has such a reputation when all it sells is mundane, boring, and in some cases actually kinda repulsive?

 

Today was going to be a magic day, but all the walking and the searching and the getting lost and the scary bras and scary prices and the cig-smoke smell of the flat I retreated to and the fact that according to BBC iPlayer I can’t watch Doctor Who until tomorrow… I just feel quite glum now. I just want to sleep and get rid of this blue mist and neck-ache and start over again in the morning. I just don’t understand why anyone would smoke anymore. Is it still cool in some places or in some groups? We all know the harm it does now; real permanent, life-shortening damage. And not to mention the cost of the damn stuff. I bet students that party lots and smoke have a lot more trouble with their money. I just don’t understand what could draw people to it, and to stay with it, when we know what it really is now. I just can’t see how you could start, and how you could bare to continue. I wish I was strong enough to confront people about things like this, because if they can’t confront themselves with the reality of what they’re doing to themselves, then maybe what they need is for someone caring to tell them they’re wrong.

 

One interesting thing that I did notice with all that walking was how everyone seemed to be drawn to reflective surfaces. It seemed like just about everyone who passed a reflective surface, be it a mirror or store window, looked in to check themselves. I don’t really understand that personally – is it something vain? Or insecure? I mean I think I’d only do that if I was on the way somewhere important and needed to make sure that I looked smart before I arrived. But with everyone else… they’re just so attached. There’s no conscious need to check, they just see it and for a few seconds they can’t look anywhere else. I like mirrors. I like to see myself in them too. But getting briefly transfixed by myself while I’m out and about? It’s like looking at photos of a friend when you’re spending time with another friend; it’s nice to see, but now is in no way the right time. You can stare into your own eyes and turn about and smarten yourself up, sure. If you want to appreciate the moment though, shouldn’t that be pretty well confined to being on your own, prepping for the day ahead or when you’re bored or getting philosophical about what it means to be you?

 

I guess it was a magic day after all, even if it was a little convoluted.

 

I just don’t understand how anyone could find any magic in their smoke and mirrors. But then again, I’m sure many of them won’t understand how I can see magic in coins and roses.



{September 30, 2011}   Performing Nerves

I want to talk for a bit about nerves. I’d like to say ‘specifically the subconscious kind’, but I’m not even sure that that’s getting it right… I’m talking about the nerves that you can’t feel, you can’t understand and you can’t compehend why they’re even there. You didn’t think “Oh, that bit’s so tricky, what if I screw up…” You didn’t feel butterflies in your stomach or your heart beat raise. You didn’t feel or think anything, and you have no reason to be nervous anyway.

And yet it happens. Whether it be because this time you’re recording the guitar piece that you’ve practiced and perfected, or because you’ve hardly performed magic in front of anyone before (no matter how good friends they are and how well you know them and they know you), or for no reason you can discern, it will happen. Your hands shake. They fumble at the chords and picks that, seconds earlier were flowing perfectly as though you’d known them for years. Now it’s like some weird game of tag where you have to plot ahead to get a chance at cornering and grabbing them so that you can hear them squeal in annoyance. Now that simplest of card tricks is something quite extraordinary, but not in the way you’d have liked, as your hands tremor with such a magnitude that everyone laughs nervously. The trick gets done, and all are amazed you could pull off such a feat when your fingers seemed so compelled to grant the cards their freedom. The speech that you were so proud to be giving suddenly becomes something to be nervous about… now that your vocal chords are chattering like novelty plastic teeth.

I hope that somewhere in the world of science, where the most intelligent of people are dedicated to research such topics as what chemicals will reduce the appearance of ageing and how can we make a hotel in space, there is someone trying to figure out what these phantom nerves are, where they come from, and whether practice really is the only cure.

———————————-

Prompted by my day of guitar practice. I’ve finally worked out how to play this lovely piece; ‘A Girl, A Boy And A Graveyard’ by Jeremy Messersmith. It’s one of the most beautiful songs I know, so it’s really great to finally have it worked out. Very difficult to play and I certainly can’t sing along with it just yet, but it’s pretty much there. I wish I could share it now, but there’s something about the guitar that makes it very hard to record normally. I think I may need to buy specialised equipment for it because it either comes out very quiet or horribly distorted. Not to mention the phantom nerves!



{September 3, 2011}   The Joy Of Pickle

The productivity today is the kind that puts other days to shame. Woke energised, happy to leave my comfy warm bed, went downstairs & sorted out everything! I’ve sorted things with Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs and filed about a wardrobe’s worth of papers, books & folders from school, haaa..

I’ve got the same hunger pangs as yesterday, but I guess this time it’s brain food. I had hoped to make it a day for magic trick learning, but after all that I’m plastered to my guitar & paying intense attention to the TV. HUgely looking forward to Doctor Who in an hour in which there are monsters under the bed for real. I Love Doctor Who, that’s one of the fundamental things you need to know about me – I will work for that show some day somehow. I will.

Mmm, Cornichons… that’s the 3rd thing I’m doing now, eating mini-pickles straight from the jar, very vinegary, could hardly be happier right now – wait, Bowie music on the tele! Ah, happiness! Shit, out of gherkins, must hunt/gather.

Well, perhaps if I get more sorting out of the way today while I’m still in the mood then I can have all of tomorrow to focus on either hobbying or blogging about preparing for Uni… I may do both.



et cetera