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Looong time no blog

1:50 pm Fri, 16th May 2008

Dayamn. It’s been over a month since my last blog. Hmm.. sometimes I wonder if it is worth keeping this up seeing as social sites such as Facebook appear to be taking over the (virtual) world and even the blogosphere. But on the other hand… it makes for a quieter blogscape. Which means a little more freedom to express. I think I likey.

Anyhoo. Lots of things have been happening in the life of Kazzart. The biggest would be my break up with Kwai (as of about a month and a half ago). There were many reasons and as always, these things are complicated. But I can definitely say that it had been a long time coming. It may have seemed a sudden thing to many people, but outsiders can never see what is truly going on under the surface. (I’m not going to get into the nitty-gritty details.)

Ok so what else has been happening. Life has been up and down, and as always busy as ever. Sometimes I almost feel like I’m drowning in all the things on my plate. Let’s list em out shall we:

  • Work – this in itself would be enough to keep me busy as I’ve taken on a technical lead role part time (getting into scoping, estimates and functional requirements) as well as still a senior web developer the rest of the time!
  • Music college (3rd and final term of my first year in Certificate of Music Studies) – for my Monday night class, the final musicianship assignment is due this coming Monday… I am SO not gonna have time to do this by Monday – I haven’t even started it yet!!! And we have to compose, arrange and score out an entire song of 3-4 mins length.
  • Also my other module (the jazz performance ensemble class on Tuesday night) needs a lot of work. I’ve decided to do an arrangement of the old jazz standard “The Nearness Of You”. So far I only have a basic idea of the head arrangement – as half ballad and half gentle bossa (think Joao Gilberto). We had our first run through last Tues which went fairly well, and my teacher kindly suggested some reharmonisation of the chords for the ballad section – he even came up with some chords to use which was extremely useful! I am also imagining an intro of only 4-part horns harmony, based on the reharmonised chords, which I started last nite and am kinda halfway through writing. Then I will also need to write some simple harmonising/counterpoint horn lines for the bossa section of the song. Ack. I suck at writing horn lines. But I really want this arrangement and performance to be good because it’s gonna be a concert which we can invite people to – and I’ll be inviting my parents and friends along this time!
  • Speaking of parents – my parents are also in London! They arrived last Saturday and will be here until end of August, travelling back and forth between London and various European destinations. It’s been nice having them here, staying with me, and they have even been cooking and cleaning! My flat sure is a lot cleaner now lol. But for some reason I’ve been getting less sleep and have been really tired this whole week. Guess it’s just affecting my regular schedule and sleep patterns.
  • More with music – I’m playing in a jazz trio now (with people I know from college – and we actually have a name.. we’re gonna be called “The Sheridan Trio”). We have our first gig next Saturday 24th.. and so this weekend we’ll be rehearsing on Saturday AND Sunday to get the two sets down solid. If you’re interested the set list is:

    Set 1

    • Cantaloupe Island
    • But Not For Me
    • Freddie Freeloader
    • The Nearness of You
    • Blue Bossa
    • Autumn Leaves
    • Cry Me A River
    • Straight No Chaser

    Set 2

    • It Could Happen
    • Ain’t Misbehavin
    • Blue Room
    • Softly As In A Morning Sunrise
    • Since I Fell For You
    • All Of Me
    • Corcorvada
    • So What

    This gig is just at a private party, but we have a possibility of a public gig at an italian cafe in Soho called Piada, just a couple doors down from Ronnie Scotts! (I know the owner of this cafe because there is a Piada near my office too and I’m quite a regular there).

  • I’m also still attempting to keep myself active, fit and healthy – though I haven’t even been to dance class in probably a month :( and have only barely been able to make my weekly yoga class at the gym. I have, however, been trying a few new things – last week I tried an adult gymnastics class for the first time in like 20 years! I was able to do a front hand spring, but failed miserably when attempting the back hand spring (still have a bruise on my knee a week later for my efforts). I’m also intending on getting more into salsa.. particularly cuban salsa. I’ve had an on-off affair with salsa for the past 2 or so years and I keep meaning to get myself going regularly to a class, but I’ve just not found time in my ever-busy and ever-growing schedule. Hm.. and I’m trying to find the time now? LOL. One can only try eh.
  • Travel – I still LOVE to and intend on travelling as much as finances will permit, which unfortunately atm, is not much at all. :-( I did take a recent mini-break to Madrid, Spain over the May long weekend (4-6th). It was a wonderful trip, and Madrid is a beautiful city, esp at that time of year. Not too hot, but pleasantly warm and sunny. We were quite lucky too with the weekend averaging a pleasant 28 degrees and plenty of sunshine! Took lots of photos too. Below are a sample of photos taken on a friend’s camera. I still have to upload the photos from my camera, but these will do for now. Enjoy. :)

Well I think I’ve pretty much listed most of things keeping me busy at the moment. Obviously there are the usual household matters like grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, looking after bills and finances, look after Ella etc etc.

Anyway… I was kinda feeling a bit depressed today for some reason (which is what prompted me to blog). I think I get this way when I think too much about my life.. and the decisions and mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever learn from my mistakes. And even though I’m doing a lot, “achieving” a lot and keeping myself mega-busy all the time.. I feel quite alone a lot of the time. Perhaps thats why I keep myself so busy.. so that I don’t notice it. I still don’t have many friends here in London, and no real, close friends. Sometimes when I really feel the need to talk to a good friend, to share the burdens on my mind, it just strikes me that I actually have nobody here I could do that with. All the people I would turn to and talk to are in Sydney – and even then, I’ve been away for so long (it’s been 3 years now!) that, well, people just forget about you. You lose touch, you’re on the other side of the world, you’re not a part of their lives anymore, and I think people just stop caring as much. It’s understandable for sure.. but it’s just.. a bit depressing when they are the only people you consider real friends and they’re just not available (or perhaps not interested) for the short time you catch them on msn. I’m really not sure what I can do about this. Of course I want to make friends here and I know I need to do this – but I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me. Maybe I just shouldn’t expect the same level of friendship that I have with those I spent many years growing up with. But even so.. I met people there that had quickly become close friends in only a matter of weeks. Why don’t I meet the same sort of people here? I still believe that it’s a cultural thing – that there is something about the culture and people’s mindset in London (and I hear this from other expats about British people in general too) that makes them more difficult to get to know, to form a close friendship with and have meaningful conversations with.

Meh. I dunno. I am possibly going to be staying in London a lot longer than I originally planned, so I think I really need to sort this issue of loneliness out. *sigh* Anyway.. well thats the latest (minus a few details ;)) from the life and mind of Kazzart. Bit of a mammoth post I know.. sorry!

Posted in Introspection, Life, Travel | 12 Comments »

  1. 12 Comments on “Looong time no blog”

  2. Jonathan
    May 16, 2008

    Blogs and social networks have completely different purposes. If you only used Facebook, I wouldn’t know anything about you. Blogs are public, Facebook is just for your “friends”. So which is better for making new friends? I mean new friends, not just friends of so-called friends, who will only ever be acquaintances to you – just because they know your friend doesn’t mean you’ll have much in common.

    I’m not a fan of social networks at all. I’ve touched on it on my blog before, and I should do so again. I hope they will be a fad that soon passes. Already things are moving away from Facebook to “microblogging”, e.g. Twitter. Hopefully it’ll come full circle and blogging will be the norm again.

    I don’t tend to get on that well with other British people as I dislike the small number of things they tend to be interested in. Even so, I think what you are experiencing is due to the stage of life you’re at, not because you are in the UK. At university and when you are young, it’s easy to meet people and make friends. When you move on to the real world of work, there’s little time for that. That’s why it’s best to find your lifelong partner and settle down (sorry to say that in the current circumstances, but hey you’re actually lucky going to Madrid – I haven’t been able to travel for a long time other than for work as it’d mean being on my own, and that’s miserable).

    Again, sorry if it seems insensitive, but how will you manage at a salsa class? I’ve had to quit similar dance classes on a number of occasions as I’ve found the “no partner necessary” bit to be rather inaccurate.

    I’m quite familiar with loneliness, so I do feel for you. Yet it sounds like you have a great life, with interesting work, and keeping yourself busy. There can’t be much time for you to feel lonely. I know the worst time can be when you are alone in your flat, but that’s what the internet’s made for! I suggest you sit and read a few blogs! :)

  3. Kazzart
    May 17, 2008

    Thanks for your comment Jonathan. I know that blogs and facebook are very different. (Afterall I do work in the industry.. its my job to know!) What I was writing about more personal – the fact that the people in my particular blogosphere.. my friends who used to blog have almost all stopped since they joined facebook. Some of them write notes instead. But I think it is because facebook makes it so easy to keep track of what your friends are up to (via status updates, photos etc), that people no longer feel the need to blog/read blogs to find out. In this particular example, the people I’m talking about do also all know each other and are or have been my friends in real life.

    I personally quite enjoy using facebook, but for different reasons to why I blog. Facebook is a friend organiser of sorts. I only have people who are *actually* my friend on my friends list. Except for 1 or 2 exceptions of adding “internet” friends, everyone there is someone I have been friends with in real life at some stage. None are merely “friend of a friend acquaintance”. I reject those, and other stranger requests. I like FB because it allows me to easily keep in touch with people I would otherwise have very easily lost touch with.. even going a step further to put me back into touch with old friend I’ve completely lost touch with. It also gives me that little glimpse into the lives of my friends back in Sydney or elsewhere in the world.. I can see who’s currently travelling.. eg a friend is in London, I’ll message her so we can swap numbers and arrange to meet up. It’s how you use Facebook that makes it good or bad. If you use it like a MySpace and go about adding any acquaintance/stranger who friend requests you, then your news feed will be filled with junk about people you couldn’t care less about. Same goes with apps. But if you are selective in who and what you add, then you maintain control and the information you recieve is actually of interest to you.

    I use neither facebook nor blogging to make new friends. :) The only medium I’ve found in which I’ve successfully made new internet friends on (by success I mean they have become friends in real life, I have met up with them, talked on phone etc etc) is a combination of Youtube & Stickam. I also have a feeling “social network” sites won’t ever pass.. they’ll only grow and evolve. Heck with googles recent release of “add you own social networking components to any site”.. its only gonna grow. I’ve been twittering for a while.. it’s cool but it has it’s limitations. I think these different sorts of social networking sites (microblogging, blogging, facebook, youtube) all serve a different purpose, and I use them for different purposes. The only one I’m really not bothered with is MySpace. The amount of n00bs with crap pages on there annoys me.

    Regarding my stage of life. I wouldn’t quite agree with you there. The reason I say this is because I have been in this stage of life (finished uni and now working) for 8-9 years. It’s not new to me. And through the past 8 years I have realised that working is different from uni, but I had still managed to meet many new people and make new friends who became good friends, in a way that I have just not experienced yet in London. So my stage of life was the same. What is the difference then? Location and culture and circumstances perhaps. I know its probably a combination of a few things, but one of them is the culture of the people. I suppose it helped that my particular ethnic group (ABC – australian born chinese.. or any other australian born or raised asian group really) is HUGE in sydney. Almost everyone I knew there was ABC. Whereas here, its tiny. Most people I meet are white or european or another culture other than asian. I think that adds to the culture difference on top of the whole “british” type thing.

    Regarding finding a lifelong partner, I just want to comment that I think that even if you have found a lifelong partner, it doesnt exclude the need for friends. I’ve learnt that it is still very important to maintain good friendships and social circles and have a life in order to have a healthy relationship. Too much exclusivity is a common mistake, and one that I know I’m prone to, and I have made the mistake many times in the past.

    Regarding salsa – I’ve have always gone to salsa classes without a partner and have found no problem – sometimes there is shortage one way or the other but u manage. And in my experience, the people in those classes have been mostly singles. Maybe depends where u go? :)

    And your final point about loneliness. Well firstly.. I’m female. We multi-task remember. πŸ˜‰ So I am quite capable of being busy and feeling lonely at the same time. :) But seriously, no matter how busy you are, the feelings in your heart are always there. And no amount of keeping busy doing things can ever replace what human relationships can give you. What object can replace a real person? Oh I do find using the internet helps a lot. Probably even is one of the reasons for my huge amount of activity on my many and varied social websites.

    Ok this comment is mammoth. I think I might make this into a blog post….

  4. Jonathan
    May 17, 2008

    What I really don’t like about Facebook is the fact that my “friends” would be able to see who is on my friends list. That’s an invasion of privacy too far. It also implies that I should be able to look through my friends’ friends and make new friends (hence “networking”). If you aren’t using that capability, all you need is a bookmark list in your browser and a feed reader! You don’t need Facebook. The other issue is that whereas people once put photos on a public web page or photo sharing site, they now use Facebook so that only “friends” can see them. That might be fair enough for personal photos, but suppose I am looking for a photo of a particular palace in Spain or whatever. Once I would have found it easily. But if everyone has used Facebook, I’ll no longer be able to see it. That’s a great loss to the world wide web.

    As an aside, a while ago I was wondering what I could invent that could be the next big idea on the web. I came up with the idea of a protocol that would allow social networking to be added to any site. Now Google have got there first, damn it!

    I still think there’s a big difference between a 21 and just out of university, and 30. The former people are still young, living in shared houses, going out a lot. By 30, they are settled down, maybe married, have their own flats, etc.

    If you are insisting on meeting people who are ABC, then I see the problem. I think London, other cities, and the whole world would be a better place if people would mix more with people outside their own ethnicity or nationality after coming here as immigrants. Thinking of BBC people I’ve known, the happiest and most successful are the ones who see themselves as British and have friends of all backgrounds. I’ve seen your videos and don’t see why you should be any different from non-ABCs (you don’t have language as an excuse), but if you really feel you are – and only you can know that – the only solution is obviously to go back to Australia!

  5. Kazzart
    May 17, 2008

    So you have a problem with your friend’s knowing who your friends are? Hmm. I don’t really see what the problem is with that honestly. I mean when you’re out with friends in real life, its obviously in a group context, so your friends will all know each other and know that you know so-and-so etc etc. Thats how social networks work in real life. *shrug* And its also strange that you freely write on a public blog but complain about facebook which is a restricted website in which you yourself have control over who sees your profile. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone seeing your friend list, then to put it bluntly, don’t add them as your friend!!!

    Regarding age.. I was more thinking of my life when I was 25/26 compared to 27/28. Not a huge difference in age and life circumstances.. both would be settled in work, and been out of uni long enough for the whole “uni lifestyle” to have kinda worn off. True more in the latter group will have started getting married. But as I mentioned before, marrying and settling down doesn’t mean you cease to have friends. You might also have misunderstood me – by meeting people and making friends I am not talking about drunken nights out partying.

    So when I say I want to meet people… I’m talking about meeting people for lunch or dinner or a coffee and having a decent conversation in which you genuinely get to know the other person/people. No I am not insisting they are ABC. I met a bunch of people when I was around 25/26.. before i came to london.. who very quickly became really good friends of mine. They were a great bunch and they weren’t all asian either (tho the majority were.. it was a mix of filipino, chinese, malaysian/singaporean, australian, indian) – full of energy for life, positive, seeking to achieve things and improve themselves, very active in their hobbies (eg was into dance classes, photography, working out at the gym, starting their own businesses, played competitive volleyball etc etc) and geuinely wanting to form deep, positive friendships with others. I guess people with a very similar mindset to myself. And i think this is something that is somehow a part of the culture over there, at least amongst the social circles I hung around. To have that positive and active attitude towards life. In comparison, the culture here seems to be all about going to pubs and getting drunk every weekend – which I am TOTALLY not into. This is the difference in culture that I feel. I’m not into drinking or smoking and most of my friends back in Sydney weren’t either. We prefered going out to the beach, having a bbq, doing something active and sporty, going out for dinner together, sitting in a cafe chatting over some coffee in the afternoon.. sharing some sushi.. or even just hanging out at each other houses and cooking a decent meal together.. we sometimes went clubbing (for the purposes of dancing, not just to get drunk) or went to karaoke for some fun (thats more an asian thing). I guess this is something you probably would never understand because you have not lived this. (I am assuming you are british and have grown up here?)

    I do still believe that I can find similar minded people here. I think it just takes time and effort – and I don’t have the benefit of having grown up here with a foundation of social networks already built. I have gotten to know some people so far, and they have been from all different cultures, which I do love. However they seem to be mostly from cultures OTHER than british. For example, I have found that europeans from the “continent” (eg germans, italians, spanish etc) are definitely easier to get to know and more open to friendships. I enjoy the variety of people here though. And actually the only thing missing in the mix of people I know now are asians! I barely know any! And i think that the ABC/BBC culture is really quite non-existent here. So I guess what I’m saying is that I just kinda miss it. Because it is nice to have that immediate bond with someone – as much as you are able to mingle with people from other cultures and friends of all different backgrounds, there is something that just clicks when you talk to someone of a similar cultural background to yourself. There is almost an automatic understanding and likemindedness there. BUT even if they’re not the same culture, if they still have a similar mindset and attitude towards life, then I think culture/ethnicity really makes no difference to me at all.

    Anyway, I think I have spent too long trying to explain something to you that I think you probably will never really understand. So for now.. I need to get cracking on important things.. like my dinner and my assignment!

  6. Jonathan
    May 17, 2008

    “the culture here seems to be all about going to pubs and getting drunk every weekend – which I am TOTALLY not into.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. The trouble is for me, as much as I tried to meet people from other nationalities or ethnic backgrounds, they didn’t want to know. There is a real divide between white British and everyone else. Therefore I now have to do my photography, go to the gym, and enjoy my music on my own (and as I said, I quit dance classes).

    My suggestion is still the same: leave this country. Neither of us likes it here, but unlike me, you have no reason to stay here. Escape while you still can πŸ˜‰

    I wish you all the best with your assignment!

  7. Jonathan
    May 17, 2008

    By the way, if you find a good salsa class (where partners aren’t essential), once you’ve finished going, let me know the details. I could do with a recommendation. (I can worry about whether I can afford the time and money it’ll take to get there later…)

  8. Joe Miller
    May 18, 2008

    Good to see a new post from you, and I wish you all the best in your search for some good friends in London. As you point out, being busy does not necessarily take care of one’s feelings of loneliness. Just continue to take care of your health, stay with the music, and all will be sorted out. Perhaps a trip back to Sydney for a vacation might help.

    Joe

  9. Stew
    May 25, 2008

    Karen! Hello to you.

    Since moving to London by social circle has shrunk beyond belief, I put it down to two main factors, it’s London, London is huge and anonymous ( has been for a centuries ), I’m getting older, ok – three things – and people here already have their established groups and don’t see the need to get many new friends. It’s not a british thing at all, it’s a combination of all sorts. And the fact that you’re getting on with those from mainland europe could be as much to do with sharing the whole being in a different country type of thing.

    Jonathan – how do you try and meet people from other countries etc ? I know it’s always a good thing but sometimes forcing the issue doesn’t work.

    Anyway, Karen, make sure you do the gig at Piada, I need an excuse to go eat there.

    Stew

  10. Kazzart
    May 26, 2008

    Hey stew!! Wow your first comment on my blog! (I think) :)

    Yeh I agree its probably more to with being in London than Britain itself as I’m sure other parts of Britian have a very different social culture from London. However, I still think it is general consesus amongst almost anyone who comes to Britian from another country (eg europe, america, australia) that they find British people on the more reserved side (and hence seemingly harder to get to know, at least initially) in general comparison to people in their country. True? Sure there is something in what you say with being able to share the whole “being in another country” thing as a contributing factor, but I still think there is something in the british culture (the reservedness) in general that also contributes to it all. Not saying you guys aren’t friendly at all, coz i have made some lovely friends here… though I found that someone as open as yourself seems to be a less common occurrance than in other countries I’ve lived.

    Note to all:
    As with anything there is always more than one side to the issue. I’m not saying its all bad all the time, I’m only addressing one aspect of life here that I feel sometimes. I dont always feel this way abt living here and abt british ppl.. and I’m not always down and depressed abt life here, contrary to what it may appear like from what I write on this blog. Treat these blog entries like a snapshot into my thoughts at a particular moment in time. :)

  11. Tony
    May 26, 2008

    Hi Kaz! (If that IS your real name…)

    Hmm… Quite a philosophical debate. Lots of varied opinions. It appears that all of these viewpoints may be valid, depending on time, chance, ethnicity, professional status, social status, character, personality…

    Different cities have way different vibes about them. Even countries, as far as that goes.

    But as for cities, London is perhaps the epicenter of a tremendous amount of business action. Like New York, it carries the reputation for being cold and impersonal, with the people being way too busy chasing the next dollar/pound/euro to care much about their fellow humans. And the British in general have carried the stigma of being perceived as arrogant and snobbish from as far back as their colonizing activities.

    But the city itself is a magnet for over-achievers who desire to make it big in their chosen field. The over-achiever mindset is one of working long hours to get ahead of others and a very competitive nature. These aren’t necessarily ideal qualities for making fast friends. They are actually kinda repulsive in the friend making area. And very stressful, (which may account for the amount of pubs… :))

    Sydney, however, and Australia, too, has a reputation for being laid back and mellow. The people not easily excitable and friendlier than your average bear… Those are pretty attractive qualities and go a long way toward making fast friends.

    I know there are exceptions to these generalizations, but I’ve travelled a lil bit myself and can easily tell that different cities can have very different characteristics from one another.

    from the former colonies of America.
    Tony

  12. JMaruyama
    May 28, 2008

    Hello Kazzart,
    I’m sorry (and shocked) to hear about your recent breakup with Kwai as you guys seemed so happy during your Italy trip. I hope that you are still friends and it wasn’t a bad breakup. I’m glad that you are posting again but it certainly sounds like you are busy with work, school etc. Congratulations with your performance gigs with the Sheridan Trio. Definitely curious to hear/see some performance video of your group. Looks like your studies at Goldsmiths are proving to be invaluable. I hope you return to posting to YouTube again as I’m sure other subscribers like myself would love to hear how you are doing and coping with life in London. Good luck as always and hope to see your updated vlogs soon. Cheers!

    I hope that

  13. Chris S.
    Aug 17, 2008

    “Almost everyone I knew there was ABC” Hey! πŸ˜› Hope everything is going OK Kaz. Sorry, don’t use MSN, so haven’t been able to catch up. I was wondering if you were going to come back and visit Oz any time soon?

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