Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint



While I was browsing Rambling Librarian's blog, this post, The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint, caught my eye.

The presentation is entertaining and very insightful. I think it delivers the key messages across to its audience in a simple and interesting way. Do start playing the video.

This is the link to the post by the presentator, Coleman: The Princess, the Witch, and the PowerPoint

And it goes:
"Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess..."

Credits: Video taken by Kevin Lim.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Magical Spaces Project

Last month, I put up a post titled The Magical Spaces Project and mentioned that I have submitted a few entries to this project.

The Magical Spaces Exhibition will be held at:

The Asylum,
22 Ann Siang Road.
31st October 2007 to 14th November 2007.
Entrance is free.

Website: http://magicalspaces.fivefootway.com/

Music scores arrived finally

Earlier, at the beginning of this month, I had ordered music scores from Yorke Edition through SpartanPress.co.uk.

I did not choose for the scores to be shipped by express mail, and that was why it took a while for the music scores to arrive via Royal Mail.

Out of my sheer liking for Bottesini's Passione Amorosa, I bought the scores for two double bass and piano. Maybe I could attempt to play the second part, and ask my tutor to play the first part? Otherwise, is anyone else keen to play this with me after I have learnt how to play it?

I have also got the piano reduction for Dittersdorf's Concerto No. 1 which is notated in the key of D major. Interestingly, this very concerto is to be played using solo tuning, and it should sound like it is in the key of E major. However, I did not want to string my double bass with solo tuning strings at this point in time, so I figured that it would be more practical for me to play this concerto in the notated key of D major.

More reasons to practice! For this, I am thankful.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I should be avoiding spicy items

I should avoid spicy items. This evening, I ate a bowl of Korean bibimbap, served with bean paste and kimchi. I should have known better, my body cannot take too much spicy food.

Usually, I would avoid eating more than half of the serving of the bean paste, but today, the bean paste was kind of mixed into the rice, and I ate all the bean paste that was served with the bibimbap. Now my tummy is feeling unwell and I have been visiting the toilet several times.

I have to learn my lesson well, and remember that I should discipline myself and should only take spicy food at moderate or light quantities.

Where my subconscious mind led me

My subconscious mind must have been eager to save up for a better double bass that when I saw one particular post on Ping.sg, I could not help but check out the post.

The post is: Ways to save SGD200 monthly by The Young Businessman.

Then hey, I am already practising all that was taught! Except that I do have to take a taxi at least once a week when I have orchestra rehearsal so as to be in time for sectionals and rehearsals.

It looks like I have to look for ways to save more than S$200 per month, because if I were to save at that rate, it would take me 17.5 years to save up enough for a $42K double bass.

I figured that I may be better off practising and mastering the double bass like Gary Karr did, and play better than him, in hope that one wise and generous patron would present me a good quality double bass as a gift!

My subconscious mind with its most fanciful imagination was thinking of ways to earn myself a fulfilling and high-paying job that would captivate my interests and allow me to make good use of my skills and strengths, and would pay me good enough so that I can save at least $2000 per month. At that rate, I would only need 1 year and 9 months to save enough for a $42K double bass.

Meantime, I shall be happy with my current double bass that cost about the same amount as my one-month gross salary.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My post on Yesterday.sg





After a long period of not writing contributing any post to Yesterday.sg, I have finally found some time and inspiration to write yet another post.

Published today on Yesterday, Growing up in Ang Mo Kio is the first of a series of post which I hope to write about on my personal experiences growing up in this place that is called Ang Mo Kio.

If this subject interests you, do stay tuned to Yesterday.sg.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Needing a mood brightened

Nothing is really wrong. It is just that my mood feels a need to be brightened. Does asking too many questions whose answers cannot be resolved immediately makes one melacholic?

Meantime, there are many people and events to be thankful for. In addition, I am thankful I could seek solace playing the double bass. Admittedly, I am yearning more and more for a better double bass, so that it will be easier to play.

While I was reading a post on Jason Heath's Double Bass blog, I found out how the 'Amati' double bass was presented to Gary Karr as a gift. It made me entertained the idea that if I were to play superbly well like Gary Karr did, could I be presented with a quality double bass as a gift? Meantime, to reach that level of excellence of playing, I shall continue to practise, effectively.

Week 43 of year 2007 on the double bass

21 Oct 2007, Sun: In the morning, before I left home, I practised the first movement of Eccles Sonata in g minor. It is a lovely piece of music.

In addition, I practised the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. I think I would have to practise this concerto at a much slower tempo, so as to refine the intonation.

23 Oct 2007, Tue: In the night, I practised the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major, focusing on left-hand technique and improving my intonation. It feels good to practise on the double bass.

24 Oct 2007, Wed: There was no orchestra rehearsal today. In the night, I continued to practise the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major at a slower tempo to improve intonation and articulation. It was fun.

25 Oct 2007, Thu: There was no double bass lesson today as MJ, my tutor, was overseas. I took time-off from work to be back home to practise. It was mind-stimulating to practise the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. I worked on getting a clearer articulation. I love such lovely stimulation for the mind.

27 Oct 2007, Sat: I think I am fascinated with Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. For much of this week, I have been practising the first movement of the concerto. I have only managed to play about half of the first movement, and I have yet to even start working on the cadenza. MJ said that he has an original version of the cadenza. Meantime, I shall wait.

Do listen to a rendition of the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thJKBinfZHc

Time flies. It is now the 43th week of this year!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What should you be, test

I did a personality test, and the result came as such:




You Should Be a Social Worker


You are deeply caring and empathetic.

You are able to take on other people's problems as if they were your own.

Sensitive and intuitive, you understand human emotions well.

Helping others gives you the most joy in life. You feel like it's your purpose in life.

You do best when you:
- Have a lot of responsibility
- Greatly impact someone's life with your work

You would also be a good philanthropist or stay at home parent.



When I tried to select my second preferred option, the results came out as such:




You Should Be a Doctor



You are practical, sharp, and very intuitive.

Optimistic and energetic, you are a problem solver who doesn't get discouraged easily.

You are also quite compassionate and caring. You make people feel hopeful.

You're highly adaptable and capable. You do well with almost any curve ball life throws at you.

You do best when you:
- Are always learning new subjects
- Use your knowledge to solve problems

You would also be a good therapist or detective.




I wonder what I should infer from the results?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In search for clues to the answers

Questions unanswered
The mind is searching
For whatever clues
That can be seen
That may eventually lead me
Soon to the answers

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Jeremy and Jane in Singapore

Jeremy and Jane visited Singapore earlier this month. Jeremy has a well-written post on his trip to China and Singapore. Please check it out here: Visiting Kunming and Singapore. There are some great photographs.

I particularly like the way that he concluded his post with a photo of a painting titled Kindred Spirits Series No. 5.

The Tembusu tree



Have you heard of the tembusu tree? Read more about it here: The Tembusu Tree.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The double bass concerto now on my mind


Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thJKBinfZHc

I have been practising the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. It is inspiring for myself to be able to listen to a recording of this concerto, with the double bass and orchestra.

My friend, Mystic, had asked me to sing the tune of this concerto for her, and I suppose it would save me some singing if she could listen to this.

Enjoy! I think the double bassist's rendition is pretty commendable.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Week 42 of year 2007 on the double bass

14 Oct 2007, Sun: The motivation to practise the second movement and the fourth movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor is low. I started with practising a study from Bottesini's Method for Double Bass Book I. The studies in this book are rather challenging. Afterwhich time was spent practising the first movement from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. The question asked: Do I have the talents to be a musician? How do I tell?

16 Oct 2007, Tue: About 20 minutes was spent simply practising spiccato strokes. I had tried to play spiccato strokes based on what I had recalled from watching the following videos:

  • Virtual Lesson with Andrew Anderson - Part 7 (spiccato)
  • Virtual Lesson with Andrew Anderson - Part 8 (spiccato)

  • 17 Oct 2007, Wed: During the orchestra rehearsal, we sight-read all other movements of Stravinsky's Firebird except the usual "Infernal dance of King Kashchei". After the break (which I had obviously missed the treat to ice-cream), the orchestra rehearsed the 3rd and 4th movements of Mahler's First Symphony.

    In between the breaks that I have had, I tried to practise the first and second movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor and the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major.

    20 Oct 2007, Thu: I continued to practise the spiccato strokes from I have gathered from Virtual Lesson with Andrew Anderson.

    Afterwhich, time was spent practising practise the first and second movements of Eccles' Sonata in g minor and the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. I could now manage these with slightly more agility. More practice to master these works.

    Meet-up after a decade

    It has been a decade since I have graduated from the junior college. Yesterday evening, there was a meet-up with my ex-classmates from the junior college. We have dinner at Sushi-Teh, Raffles City.

    How fast time can fly. It has already been a decade.

    Thanks to my ex-classmates who were present for bearing with my general quietness. I wasn't feeling in the best of health to wish to converse.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Ease the pain please

    I have been having persistent headaches for the past few days. I wonder what may help ease the pain and address it?

    Strangely, I have been experiencing pain at my finger joints, particularly my left third and ring finger. I wonder why? At times, there is a thought of fear that my fingers may lose their function.

    I don't know what else to say. Please wish me good health and good luck.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    How to weave a Ketupat



    On Yesterday.sg, the RamblingLibrarian posted a link to a post by Jussaemon that describes how to weave a ketupat.

    "Ketupat is a rice cake made out of coconut leave weaved into a diamond shape."

    I remember that when I was a Junior College student, I took part in a one-time activity where participants learn how to weave a ketupat. It was quite a fun experience. I vaguely recall that a few days after the event, I would still weave and unweave the ketupat that I had weaved during the event. Well, practising is one good way to learn.

    So do check out: How to weave a Ketupat.

    You may also wish to read about the process of making ketupat, posted by Jussaemon.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Listen to Childhood Memories



    T.H.E. String Quartet will be performing at Esplanade Concourse next week.

    Here are the details:
    At the Concourse - Childhood Memories
    24 - 25 Oct 2007 (Wed & Thu)
    7.15 p.m.
    and 8.15 p.m.
    Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay Concourse
    Free.

    Programme:
    Medleys from: Pocahontas, Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella
    Reflections (Mulan)
    It's a Small World After All


    T.H.E. String Quartet will be performing a selection of tunes from the favourite animation shows of its members. These works are specially arranged by composers from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. I am sure people who don't listen to classical music would enjoy this concert too.

    Relive your childhood memories next Wednesday and Thursday.

    I was looking hard at the graphic in their poster, and it seems that the cartoon-like character is hugging a double bass.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    16 Oct 2007: Rush Hour Concert

    Tomorrow, at 6 p.m., members of the public can enjoy a free concert of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra playing two works:

    Paganini - Violin Concerto No. 1 in D major, Op. 6
    Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

    Here are the details:
    Rush Hour Concert
    Tue, 16 Oct 07
    6:00pm, Esplanade Concert Hall


    Last Friday, I attended the Singapore Symphony Orchestra's concert, and I enjoyed the orchestra's rendition of Rachmoninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor. So don't miss this chance to listen to the Singapore Symphony Orchestra free!

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Finished reading: now, discover your strengths

    It took me about a week to finish reading Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marchus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton.

    It is quite a sound idea to focus on strengths. While reading the book, I kept pondering what my strengths and talents are.

    I took the online StrengthFinder profile but I did not quite fully agree with the results. However, I can only take the test once and no more.

    Whatever it is, it feels good to read and enrich my mind.

    Untitled

    Lots of words
    Yet finding the way to express

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Week 41 of year 2007 on the double bass

    7 Oct 2007, Sun: The motivation to practise the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major prevails. Time was spent practising selected passages from it. I like the concerto.

    10 Oct 2007, Wed: During the double bass sectional, Mr G. rehearsed "Infernal dance of King Kashchei" from Stravinsky's Firebird with the entire section. I am still trying to manage that right-hand technique required for the beginning bars.

    For the orchestra rehearsal, we rehearsed the 4th movement from Mahler's First Symphony. I was feeling pretty tired by the rehearsal. Anyway, during the break, I had managed to steal some time to practise the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major.

    11 Oct 2007, Thu: The day of the double bass lesson. MJ, my tutor, told me that I should start the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major using short bow-strokes. For much of the lesson, I was trying to practise the 'pinch' method of using the bow to play short and well-articulated bow-strokes. I realised that although the double bass in the music school where MJ teaches isn't in good shape, it was much easier to stop the notes on the higher positions on that double bass than my own. Yes, I ask for a better double bass.

    For the later part of the lesson, time was spent working on getting a legato and musically sound rendition of the first ten or more bars from the first movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor.

    12 Oct 2007, Sat: Although I had initially have the confidence and thought that I had only energy to play the double bass for 15 minutes, once I got onto it, it proved to draw me in. I ended up practising the following pieces for about an hour: first and part of the second movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor and much of the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. I had attempted to play a few bars from Prelude of J.S. Bach's Suite for Solo Cello No. 1, transcribed for the double bass, yet I felt I was not ready for it now.

    **
    Reaching target, and hoping to find more time to practise. Asking the question: How to get a better double bass?

    Free admission to the NHB museums



    It's Hari Raya today, and on Yesterday.sg, there is a short post to alert heritage-lovers that there is free admission to the NHB museums for this holiday weekend.

    Anyway, I did not read that post until this evening. Luckily, my feet brought me to two museums today: National Museum of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum.

    I have enjoyed myself at the museum. I attended the guided tour to the exhibition, The Empire of Nature: The William Farquhar Collection of Natural History Drawings donated by GK Goh, and the exhibition itself. The guided tour helped me understand the context in which the collections were commissioned by William Farquhar. I could vaguely recall myself viewing the the works from the William Farquhar Collection many years ago before the then Singapore History Museum underwent major renovation. There is an activity corner at this exhibition, and from my observations, both children and adults would like it.

    At the Singapore Art Museum, I browsed through the works of The Big Picture Show. There is a series of activities at the Singapore Art Museum to celebrate the Hari Raya festive season. While my ears which have a love for peace did not enjoy the loud volume from the band's playing, I think the activity to allow visitors to paint, draw or sketch on a gigantic board their vision of Singapore as a great metropolis was a great idea. In addition, visitors to the museum were treated to satay. The satay was decent and the satay-sauce was pretty nice. Also on show at the Singapore Art Museum are the exhibitions: From Words to Pictures: Art during the Emergency and Widayat Between Worlds: A Retrospective.

    No photo to show for I am quite tired of trying to seek permission to take even non-flash photography at the museum with its no-phototaking rule.

    Anyway, I presume that admission to the NHB museums this weekend is free, so if you like it, do visit the museums tomorrow.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Less blogging

    Less blogging
    More time for other things in life
    Facing the monitor
    Does not get me too close to my answers

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Bloggers meet

    Here's to welcome fellow bloggers, Jane and Jeremy to Singapore.

    Mistipurple and I had dinner with them at Singapore Zam Zam Restaurant (697 North Bridge Road). I have had some good company this evening.

    Below are some photos to share. Some of the photos were taken a few weeks ago when I was nearby the area where Jane and Jeremy are now staying. The photos of the food were taken during the meet-up, and I have something to share: Jane takes lovely photos of food.

    May Jane and Jeremy have a pleasant stay in Singapore.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Finger's healing

    It has been slightly more than two months ever since I had discover that my little-finger on my left hand had a jerky, popping sensation when I move the last joint. Some refer to the condition as "trigger finger".

    Before I had went to consult Master Ngoh (吴添禄师傅), it hurts even when I bend the finger-joint, and as such, I did not dare to practise on the double bass. Back then, bending the joint had required considerable effort.

    Thank goodness that my mother recommended me to Master Ngoh who specialises in treating arthritis, rheumatism, backache, fatigue, sport injuries, headache & migraine, kneecap pain, muscle cramps & sprains, sciatica nerve pain, neck and shoulder ache.

    After consulting him, I was relieved of the pain, and most importantly, I could practise on the double bass, since I could bend my left fingers with ease, the pain-free way, to stop the notes on the fingerboard of the double bass.

    In the morning, when I wake up, after a long period of inactivity of the finger throughout the night, the popping sensation is still being experienced when I bend my joints. Despite this, at least I am glad that the popping sensation is usually not experienced after I start playing on the double bass for about 5 - 10 minutes. This is the most important for me. I look forward to the day when I need not have to experience the popping sensation.

    I have to learn to take good care of my fingers. They are my tools to play music that moves people's heart.

    Many thanks to Master Ngoh for his helpful and effective treatment. Here are his contact details if you would like to have it:

    少林正宗推拿之家
    Blk 7 Haig Road, #21-441, Singapore 430007.
    Tel: 6841 8537, 9060 7711 (Mr Ngoh).
    Please note: Booking is required.

    Eastcoastlife also has positive reviews of his bone-setting treatment. Please read her review here: I can walk again!

    Saturday, October 06, 2007

    Week 40 of year 2007 on the double bass

    30 Sep 2007, Sun: I practised the 1st movement, part of the 2nd and 4th movement of Eccles' Sonata in G minor. In addition, I practised selected passages from the current repertoire that the orchestra is rehearsing.

    3 OCt 2007, Wed: During the double bass sectional, Mr G gave the section guidance in playing the 4th movement of Mahler's First Symphony. I enjoyed having sectionals with him. He has a systematic approach to making sectionals a fulfilling learning experience. We have a new member, WL, who joined our section.

    For the orchestra rehearsal, we rehearsed selected passages from the 4th movement of Mahler's First Symphony. We also rehearsed "Infernal dance of King Kashchei" from Stravinsky's Firebird. I seem to need more work with playing certain rhythms, especially those which are off-the-beat. On the whole, I could definitely relate better to Mahler's First Symphony than Stravinsky's Firebird though it is helpful to learn new musical language. We were informed that the orchestra's next concert where we would play Mahler's First Symphony and Stravinsky's Firebird would be held at the YST Conservatory Concert Hall.

    In attempt to catch up on practices, I practised the first movement of Eccles' Sonata in g minor during the orchestra break.

    4 Oct 2007, Thu: I love the double bass lesson with MJ this evening. The lesson got me started on the first movement of Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. I love how this movement sounds on the double bass, and the lesson brought me some delight. That was indeed a most welcomed delight that had brought me respite from the tiring and draining week. I felt so excited about having to practise this concerto that its tune particularly rang in my mind for much of the evening.

    I also had time to play a segment from the first movement from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. I still need more work to get a smooth bow-change.

    5 Oct 2007, Fri: The motivation to practise Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major prompted me to practise a section from the first movement of the concerto. A nice concerto which is challenging to play. After which, I played a segment from the first movement from Eccles' Sonata in g minor. Needing more work.

    6 Oct 2007, Sat: For much of the day, I practised Dittersdorf's Concerto in E major. It has been enjoyable practising for the concerto. I did so by practising section by section. Admittedly, I had skipped a few of the most challenging sections. It was quite difficult to stop the notes on the higher positions of the third and fourth strings. This made me contemplate on the possibility of getting a new double bass that would better meet my current practising needs. Would good luck come my way to pave the road for me to afford a better double bass soon? The other alternative would be to send my current double bass for a major overhaul. However to send it for a major overhaul means that I have to make do with less time to practise. May I afford a better double bass soon.

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    Five Factors Personality Profile

    Maybe this test results explain why I have a preference to stay away from crowd and large groups of people. In fact, I have a tendency to avoid friends whom I meet by chance while I am walking on the streets, unless I can simply nod my head to acknowledge the person and then walk away.

    Your Five Factors Personality Profile

    Extroversion:

    You have low extroversion.
    You are quiet and reserved in most social situations.
    A low key, laid back lifestyle is important to you.
    You tend to bond slowly, over time, with one or two people.

    Conscientiousness:

    You have medium conscientiousness.
    You're generally good at balancing work and play.
    When you need to buckle down, you can usually get tasks done.
    But you've been known to goof off when you know you can get away with it.

    Agreeableness:

    You have medium agreeableness.
    You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
    But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
    You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.

    Neuroticism:

    You have medium neuroticism.
    You're generally cool and collected, but sometimes you do panic.
    Little worries or problems can consume you, draining your energy.
    Your life is pretty smooth, but there's a few emotional bumps you'd like to get rid of.

    Openness to experience:

    Your openness to new experiences is medium.
    You are generally broad minded when it come to new things.
    But if something crosses a moral line, there's no way you'll approve of it.
    You are suspicious of anything too wacky, though you do still consider creativity a virtue.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Internal turmoil

    Throw
    Struggle
    Hit the drums
    The internal turmoil
    Feels as if
    A noisy band is playing
    Deep inside
    And I yearn for peace
    Away from the blatant noises

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Falling down

    Falling down
    No parachute
    Nothing to catch the fall
    Feeling down
    No care
    Will I rise again?