Raves about anything, everything and yet nothing at all.

bring, bring the thunder and the loud, loud rain

Life’s changed a lot as of late. For one, I haven’t blogged for over a month, and believe it or not, at one stage in the holidays, I didn’t turn my computer on for over two weeks! That is not to say I haven’t been on the internet for all that time, but I just didn’t do all the things that I usually like to do online. I was too busy doing so many things, or, more realistically, I was too busy doing nothing. It felt great, to not have to do anything for a little while, for a change. But now semester has started,  and everything is already taking off at speeds I don’t dare dwell upon. I’ve got an even bigger workload this semester, doing five papers as well as virtually doing a sixth paper, but not for credit. My exam and recital results all went well enough (the boy would tell me off if I said they were average, because most people would consider them “good”, but they’re just okay to me), and I’ll have to work even harder this semester. By the time I finish my two undergrad (non-conjoint) degrees, I’ll have completed 840 points. A fact which sent people at jazz combo reeling today, considering they were discussing aaaalll the things they have to do for their conjoint degrees.

I have to wake up in less than five hours to try and stream myself into a tutorial, and then I have to board a ferry and do some serious bass practise before having hours and hours of class in a row, so I’ll try and keep this short. Just a summary of what I’ve been up to, through the lens of a generously gifted iphone which I’d gotten for my 21st birthday in May. I can’t believe it’s been two months already…

From left to right:

– Sunset views on my birthday + best birthday meal EVER: the manager came out to see who had ordered the 1kg t-bone steak, haha.
– One of many birthday cakes + beer and burger at jazz school for lunch. Best way to ease oneself into late rehearsals…

– A percussive instrument which you either shake or tie to your leg (I didn’t actually play this), but it’s made of some kind of bean shell + School of Music is beautiful but after three years of university I have finally had ONE class there this year!
– The hardest essay I’ve ever had to write… and it took the longest time, too – I’d pulled so many late/all nights only to have NOTHING written + view of the beach round the corner from the boy’s house.

– Birthday party decorations + lasagne at dinner with the boy and our parents.
– Phone cover + garlic and cheese bread for sister’s birthday dinner.

– Sister’s birthday dinner + hockey.
– Amazing post-game cheese + drinksss.

– The Grizzly teddy bear that has now been transformed into my sister’s driver cover (ref to below) + art gallery with the boy.
– Flakey + Aotea Square

– Waterfront with sister + Flakey not wanting Liv to go back to America.
– Flakey being adorable + Grizzly bear now in Malibu!

– Homemade burgers + belated birthday lunch Christine took me out to – amaaaazing (huge) scotch fillet, yuuuum.
– Beer! + playing Chandeliers – so so so much fun.

– Sushi train dinner with mum + Flakey whilst we watched the Tour de France.
– Sandwiches I mad for lunch yesterday + dreary cityscape
– Deliiiicious lasagne with Flakey + musical education

After this hopefully normal-blogging shall resume… And find me on instagram: pixxybug for a daily stream of adorable-catness, haha.

Saturdays = Youth (but now means exams)

Turning 21; staying-up-until-the-next-day for days on end to complete a painfully difficult assignment; throwing a highly-anticipated and very enjoyable birthday party; now studying for my first ever round of exams in the three years I’ve been at university… just what happens when one has been solely a performance student for two years solid, I suppose. So many exciting, whack and wonderful updates I wish I had time to write about right now, but kicking academic butt takes precedent right now. My brain has made an impressive comeback so hopefully it won’t let me down!

All the epiphanies, rolls of film, party-times and general awesomeness will appear here in just over twelve days’ time. Promise. For now, from Saturday night, where my guests were subjected to 10+ speeches which lasted virtually an hour on the dot. Luckily, the consensus is that they were pretty interesting so people did not die of boredom. I forgot my Nikon F3 with my trusty roll of b/w film in it, but luckily still had a film point and shoot on hand (blessing in disguise, perhaps! So I wasn’t preoccupied with photographing the whole night, even though I took a fair few anyway). Happiness, captured on Kodak UltraMax 400:

say just what you need and in between it’s never as it seems. help me to name it, help me to name it

It’s getting to the ‘business end’ of semester now, and I feel like every day is a constant struggle with trying to get things read, done and prepared for classes the next day, versus writing assignments that are due very soon, and preparing for upcoming recitals and exams. It’s like a “TONIGHT!” to-do list being in combat with lists for “this week” and “this month”. I haven’t found the sweet spot where everything balances yet. Does it even exist? My uni timetable this semester has been pretty cruel (kicking off the week on Monday with a 9am-7pm classes…) especially when I have hockey 2-3 times a week and I’m supposed to find time to do bass practise, readings, assignments, studying for exams… and going to the gym?! I need to go tomorrow night. Yes, I must! I need to find out where that refreshing motivation I had back in March (as seen here and here) has gone, and get it back immediately!

Also, it’s Mother’s Day today, and ironically my mum has spent most of the afternoon scanning childhood pictures of me, for my 21st birthday party, but I guess it must be enjoyable to some extent (once we get past the “Not Responding” thing that the photo scanner was doing earlier), because there are some pretty amusing photos of me, even if I say so myself! Anyway, here are the flowers I bought for mum from me and my sister. I’d gotten them on Friday after uni, and they’ve opened up just in time today, which is perfect. I also got her a sweater thing too…

Speaking of my sister, her school’s golf team has just placed 3rd at the NCAA Div1 Women’s West Regionals, so they have have made it through to the Championships in Tennessee! She came tied 10th overall, which is pretty good, especially because Liv managed to improve her score on every day of the tournament in Colorado. And since she keeps asking me what present I want, it would be the best birthday present ever if she shot something amazing on my birthday! (Might just link this post to her, ahem…)

I know I haven’t posted one in ages, so here is finally a playlist. Some good things to attempt do assignments to, and others just to keep me feeling sane and happy. Or motivated for hockey games and trainings:

1. Spectres de Mouse – Mouse on the Keys
I have a serious thing for this Japanese band’s beats and that’s all I need to say. There’s three of their songs on this playlist for a reason!

2.  Myth – Beach House
Hadn’t even realised that Beach House had a new album coming out until I heard this song used on a video at a blog I was reading. And so of course I immediately recognised the voice and went “WHAT SONG IS THIS?!” and had to get hold of it immediately. The rest of the album hasn’t struck me as much as this one has though. It will probably take some more time.

3. Whale In Da Pain – The Bridal Shop (Not a youtube link, couldn’t find one but you can stream it here)
I’ve been listening to songs #2, 3 and 4 in this precise order all week, I can’t put a finger on why. Apart from the fact that, clearly, this song’s bass line has largely influenced my affinity towards it.

4. Black Hills – Gardens & Villa
I’m not actually sure if I like this dude’s voice at all. I usually hate voices like this. But somehow I like this song.

5. Saigo No Bansan – Mouse on the Keys
Live video with a meaaan, mean drum solo. And just how crazy is that piano head? Holy shit.

6. Alex – Girls
No, I haven’t gotten over Girls (nor Yuck, as you will see below) since the summertime. And in fact, now that it’s autumn and getting bloody cold, the fact that listening to them reminds me of the summertime means I listen to them even more. The sort of song that girls like me wished were written about them…

7. You With Air – Young Magic
I had posted another song by Young Magic in my previous playlist but this song has become a staple go-to song that I play in the car when I’m driving to hockey training on Wednesday evenings. Especially when it’s wet and cold and just all-round horrible.

8. Icrus – White Hinterland
The way the bass line’s been produced reminds me of dubstep. And all those nights spent in dark rooms with it. By the way, this is totally not dubstep, if that makes it any safer to click on. Just a nice song with nice-girl vocals. Too nice, really. I usually don’t like too much of this nice-girl-voice stuff either, but somehow I enjoy this song.

9. Georgia – Yuck
Another song named after another girl. I was named after a song. Does that mean that no songs will be named after me? I hope not.

10. Artichoke – Pandit
Three words: wishy washy shit.

11. Double Bind – Mouse on the Keys
I love this bass groove. So. Much.

By the way – if there are any likes/dislikes to do with my playlist or recommendations please do let me know in the comments! (Or email me, those emails have always been a nice happy surprise in my inbox)

Every photograph and story, trickled through the lengthy web of friends

I’ve still got a handful of handmade invitations to distribute (mostly to friends who are studying overseas and have not arrived back yet), but after that it will be mission complete for phase-one of 21st birthday party planning! I’m going to avoid going into how scary it is to turn twenty one as much as I can – but it just seems like it’s the last pretend-barrier between me and supposed “real adulthood”. The thing that I’ve discovered to be surprisingly daunting yet somewhat enjoyable about the whole party-planning experience is the fact that this is possibly the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever done. And it will probably remain so, until some miraculous day when I get hynotised into thinking that getting married is a good idea, haha. For the time being, I’ve just been absolutely thrilled that everyone who has received an invitation seems to really appreciate the sentiment, and think that they look lovely. It now feels absolutely worth the painstaking hours spent hand-making and handwriting them all.

This whole process of creating a guest list has been somewhat nostalgic. Whilst I’ve invited a lot of middle-ground friends who have darted in and out of my life for most of my adolescent-to-adulthood years, it’s also caused me to put in quite a bit of effort with catching up with people. During the mid-semester break a couple of weeks ago, and even during class breaks last week, I made sure that I tried to see as many of my friends that I hadn’t seen in a while, and to try to deliver as many invitations in person as I could. I had the most lovely lunch-turned-int0-afternoon catchup with my old piano teacher (who has the same birthday as me), who had taught me for about eight of the past ten years, and it felt just like old times again, chatting about everything music and beyond – minus the piano lesson. I’m also looking forward to catching up with another influential figure who helped me out a lot when I was younger – hopefully this will actually go ahead in a couple of days’ time. I really want to make sure that everyone who has influenced me in a significant way will know how important they’ve been to me – and hopefully they will be able to attend and enjoy the evening with me. I’ve also committed a faux pas in not allowing “plus one”s, except for couples whom I’m friends with both people and have invited them together. This is firstly due to the venue having a strict people limit (for fire hazard reasons, etc), and secondly because I don’t want my birthday party to yet again turn into “just another party” where the host hardly knows half of the ‘partners’ there, and so on. It might sound harsh at first, but I’m sure my friends all understand.

The biggest headache I’ve got with regards to party planning has got to be the food. I don’t even want to go into it… That, and scanning childhood photos for a slideshow on the two TV screens at the venue. I simply can’t pick! And it’s going to take me absolutely forever to scan them all. I need to acquaint my mother with scanning…

And here is Flakey, who was a cute feet-warmer last night and caused me to sleep rather lopsidedly because I didn’t want to kick him! For a while last month Daniel’s beer box hadn’t quite made it into the recycling bin and was just floating around by our backdoor… Flakey decided to be a bit of a (cute) hobo, haha:

it’s been at least another year, and I still haven’t got the chance to say

Disappearing from my blog because, oh you know, real life is so much more… I simply have far too many adjectives to insert here that I’d better just quit while I’m ahead. I’ve had an absolutely splendid first three-quarters of this two-week “study break” (aka two weeks off in the middle of a 12-week semester in order to catch up on what I like to call the 3 S’s – anyone want to stab a guess at what they are?) but now it’s all downhill from here since I’m having to face three assignments that I’ve conveniently avoided until now. The main thing that I’ve spent the past few days on has been hand-making and writing out almost fifty invitations for my 21st birthday party. Although turning 21 isn’t all that “special” in terms of what you get to do here in NZ since the drinking age has been at 18 for quite a few years now, it is still considered a milestone birthday where people tend to throw big parties that involve speeches. So, being the super-sentimental person that I am, of course that’s exactly what I’m doing, except that planning it has proven to be rather time and energy-consuming.

I’m not sure if it’s craziness or just my refusal to let facebook take over the my world, but I didn’t want my birthday invitation to just be a mass message put on the internet where people are bombarded by events everyday, and nothing ever feels personal anymore. On top of that, I want to make my birthday nice in the underrated and undervalued sense of the word, and for it to not become just another blur in everyone’s memories of this years’ batch of 21st birthday parties. Because by the time you’ve been to three or four weekends of 21st birthday parties in a row… unfortunately they do begin to blur. So in typical Amanda fashion of all-or-nothing, I made them all myself, only employing mum’s help for some advice, and asking her to ship the cards into the next room for me because I ran out of floor space! I’ve still got the majority of them sitting behind me on my bed though… need to deliver them all ASAP!

Here’s some pictures of the lengthy process. Luckily the only purchase I had to make in contribution to these invitations were ribbons, since mum magically has all the art supplies I needed! I made them by cutting up large watercolour paper into quarters. Painted. Textured. Folded with two ribbons tied on and hand drew a double bass design that I had made into a stencil. Then I wrote, signed and sealed them in wax.

This whole process of planning and inviting people to my 21st has also inspired me to catch up with a lot of old friends that I’ve not had the chance to see in far too long. It’s definitely been a colourful couple of weeks, and on Saturday I had a mini-drinks thing at Daniel’s house where Cara fed us all too much cheese and salami. Definitely not a complaint though! And despite the assignment deadlines, the boy and I have made some lovely plans for the next couple of days/nights; and tomorrow night dad is uploading to dropbox my film scans for the b/w rolls he’s gotten developed in Taiwan for me, so I can’t wait to see those either!

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