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Archive for the ‘Introspection’ Category

Coz I’m (not) just a girl

So.. my rant for today is: make-up.

I seriously do not understand why girls feel the need to always wear make-up on a daily basis? I was pondering about this recently whilst out on the weekend with some friends – one was wearing sunglasses and being quite reluctant to take them off because she hadn’t applied any make-up that day. What’s with that?? What’s there to hide? Why be ashamed of your own face/eyes?

Personally, I hardly ever wear any make-up.. unless I’m going out in the evening for a special occasion or going clubbing. I mean, I do enjoy wearing make-up (it’s quite fun to experiment with), but for 90% of the time, I just Can’t. Be. Bothered! I’m quite happy with how I look au naturale, and to be honest, I’d prefer to let my skin (and eyes) breathe naturally without having my pores clogged and chemical gunk on my eyes 12 hours a day. I admit my eyes are a bit sensitive and prone to irritation from make-up, which probably plays a part in my reluctance to incorporate make-up in my daily routine, but still, even if that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t feel the need.

Beh. It’s not like I don’t care about my looks – I’m still quite the girly girl. I love wearing dresses/skirts and I always blow dry my hair for example. But I guess I just prioritise comfort over pandering to looks when it really doesn’t matter whether you have that bit of eyeliner on or not. On most normal days (eg going to work, casual socialising on the weekend, going to the park) my make-up routine includes all of “apply some blistex whilst on the train”.

Am I unusual in this mindset? It just struck me that it seems to be the social norm for girls to have some form of make-up applied in “everyday life”, because.. god forbid anyone see their real skin/eyes/lips! Seriously, if you want nice skin.. eat healthily, drink healthily, stop wasting time/money smoking & binge drinking and do something positive & productive like exercise!

/rant!

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Now playing: Polo Montanez – Un Monton de Estrellas

more » Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2009 | 6 Comments »

Thoughts on the British Pub Culture

Recently I tweeted this fairly bold statement:

A txt in todays London paper completely sums up an attitude I despise in British culture: “Coffee shops are a poor substitute for the pub”

And recieved a questioning response from a follower:

Why’s that cause you such offense? Coffee shops are becoming the new pub after all and not everyone will be happy with that.

It made me ponder – why did that txt in the London paper create in me such a strong response? Perhaps I’m just becoming more opinionated in my old age. πŸ˜› I was about to tweet a reply and then realised I most definitely would not be able to fit an adequate response within 140 chars. Lol. So seeing as it’s an issue I’ve often mulled and ranted (to my bf) on in the past, I thought it would be worth getting these thoughts written in a more succinct and coherent form here. Besides, I’m well overdue for a new blog post. πŸ˜‰ But enough waffling.. what I really wanted to do here was answer the question.

I think initially it has much to do with my background and cultural upbringing. I come from Sydney, Australia, where the “cafe culture” is alive and thriving, and more specifically grew up within the ABC (Australian Born Chinese) sub-culture. If we wanted to meet up, we would first suggest any of the numerous cafe’s to meet for a coffee or meal and a chat. Although drinking is quite rife amongst many Australians, my circle of friends weren’t really into it that much – and if we wanted to go out and “party” we would go to a club to dance (like myself, many of my friends were also very into dancing). For me, socialising has always been about food (oh how we love good food), non-alcoholic beverages (eg coffee, hot chocolates, fresh juice smoothies etc) or some form of physical activity (dancing, sports, going to the beach, bush-walking, having a bbq.. whoops that’s food again).

So compare that to Britain, where first and foremost the average Brit’s idea of socialising involves alcohol and the pub. I have been here for nearly 4 years and still do not feel like I fit in with the whole drinking/pub culture. Everytime people mention the they’re going to pub.. well, to be honest I find the going to the pub extremely dull and boring. This is also largely due to the fact that I actually dislike the taste of almost all alcoholic beverages. So why go and force myself to drink something I dislike whilst watching others get roaring drunk and generally making fools of themselves? I would much rather sit in a cosy warm cafe on comfy chairs (who wants to stand the whole night?) and relish over some good coffee and great conversation. Heck, I’d rather sit and watch paint dry. πŸ˜›

I also have a very strong disapproval towards binge drinking. It’s a chronic problem in this country and it’s not something Brits should be proud of. Just this morning I read an article in the Metro that stated in a recent European poll, a survey of 35 countries, found the UK had the third-highest number of 15 and 16-year-olds with an alcohol problem. And I believe this problem is inherently due to the mindset of the British culture. The mindset that drinking to excess is cool and fun and even something to boast about. If this is the impression adults give, what other model do the younger generations have to go by? And that txt sent in seemed to really encapsulate this thinking.

To put some additional perspective on my rant, it’s not that I never drink or completely disapprove of drinking. I can enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage over a meal (have started to enjoy a spot of wine with some good pasta or meat, and am not adverse to a bit of Italian Limoncello following a tasty italian meal). I might even go for 1 drink at a bar/pub occasionally for the sake of conversing with friends or to celebrate a birthday. And if I go clubbing, I may enjoy a drink (preferably something tasty like a mojito) to kick off the festivities of the night (though no more than 1 or at most 2 because drinking and (serious) dancing most definitely do NOT mix). But I think my idea of alcoholic beverage consumption is more closely aligned with that of much of continental Europe. Probably one of the reasons I seem to always feel more at home when I’m over there. It is something to be enjoyed on occasion, in small amounts, and usually to complement good food.

more » Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 | 10 Comments »

Blogalicious

Don’t ask me why I decided on that title for this post. It just sprung up in my brain and wouldn’t leave. Anyway.. it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I don’t want this blog to completely die, having been around for all of 6 years, 11 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (you won’t believe how long it took me to figure that out).

So I’ve recently been trying to resurrect some of my online presences. Since I’m just not going to be able to vlog very regularly (it’s just too time-consuming!), I’ll have to fall back to the good ol mediums of text and image. I’ve even resurrected Kazzart Cam! Albeit using a new web 2.0 service called Daily Booth. The whole concept suits me to a tee (once they get their rss feed fixed of course) afterall, it’s exactly what I used to do with my webcam.. except manually.. without all this new-fangled web 2.0 rss, social networking, technological flash webcam schtuff. πŸ™‚

I recently had a look at my blog as it was “back in the day” using this really cool tool on Internet Archive called The Wayback Machine. Basically it is an archive of the internet! From as far back as 1996! Of course it doesn’t contain *everything* but there is a lot there.. and I found a few archived versions of kazzart.com from 2003 to 2005. Was rather amusing to take a glimpse back in time.. *sighs*

I’d forgotten what I used to do with my blog.. how on top of my blog entries, I also kept this “Meme” sidebar regularly updated (manually!) – it contained a latest snapshot from my webcam that I kept at work, my current mood, a timestamp, what I was listening to, what I was reading, what I was eating & drinking, what I was wearing, what I was doing, what I was thinking, and upcoming tasks to do! I also had a separate box for my current “wishlist” of shopping items, and another for upcoming events! Basically, it was pretty much Facebook, Twitter & DailyBooth rolled into one… manually kept up-to-date. Gee it’s no wonder I’ve “hit the ground running” so to speak.. and taken to the sites mentioned above like a fish to water. It’s exactly what I used to do.. but made easier! *ruminates over the memories*

I have also recently found my webcam archives which I thought I’d lost! I’ll add those pages to this website at some point too. But that might take a while coz I’d created them using tables for the layout… *eek*! Yeh.. I’m so glad I’ve moved on from those dark days…

more » Posted on Monday, February 16th, 2009 | 3 Comments »

Can it ever be?

So I was listening to Keyshia Cole whilst writing these lyrics. Anyone wanna come up with a melody? I suck at writing melodies.

Can it ever be?
Will it ever be?
Am I wasting my time?
Wasting your time?
I just got this feeling tonight
A distance between us
That you ain’t really there
Not really there

Boy I know you got commitments
A greater love before mine
And maybe I’m just being selfish
But I just can’t get over
This feeling that u ain’t ever
Never gonna be truly mine
Only mine
The way I wanna be
And I just don’t know..

[Chorus]
Can it ever be?
Will it ever be?
Am I wasting my time?
Wasting your time?
I just got this feeling tonight
A distance between us
That you ain’t really there
Not really there

Boy will u ever be free
Can we ever be, you and me
A family
Boy I don’t want half of you
I need you, your love, your all
Can we ever be
The way we oughta be
I just don’t know..

[Chorus]

more » Posted on Monday, October 20th, 2008 | No Comments »

Le sigh

The above title pretty much sums up how I feel right now. I don’t know what has come over me over the past day or two. For some reason I’ve just been feeling this melancholic blueness wash over me. I don’t know where it’s coming from, or why.. but I just feel kinda.. sad. I mean yesterday evening I was bawling my eyes out. Is it PMS on its way? Surely not.. it’s too soon.

Le sigh.

Maybe it’s the weather. It has taken a definite turn towards winter. The days are noticably shorter and quite on the chilly side. Maybe it’s SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder. On that note.. I do feel like a hot mug of Chamomile tea about now..

*2 minutes later*

So.. I’ve been thinking about my past.. and that’s kinda gotten me down too. Past relationships.. and inevitably, relationship failures.. particularly the most recent one. I guess I was just remembering a few things, the good things, and that made me sad. I guess I’ve spent so much time dwelling on the bad things.. the reasons why it didn’t work, that suddenly remembering those good moments felt.. unexpectedly sad.

Not only that though.. I feel like I’m constantly trying so hard to keep it all together.. to be successful at everything I do, or even just to be able to juggle everything on my plate (and boy is there a lot).. that sometimes, I just end up feeling drained (as I’ve mentioned before in past blog entries). Maybe I expect too much from life.. and from myself..?

I still feel lonely too. Even though I have a new bf (and things are going very well with that.. he is wonderful). I guess, the friendship/social part of my life is still a little.. lacking. It’s progressed a bit – at least I have one solid girl friend now, with whom I am on close enough terms that I can call her just for a chat or call her up just to hang out (simple things like that really do make a difference – though I need to make sure I’m not so busy all the time with my overflowing plate that I don’t end up having time to meet her – yeh, constant struggle that one). Anyway.. there is that feeling of.. aloneness. Adriftedness? Disconnectedness? I feel kinda displaced.. particularly when I see/hear about friends back home moving on in life.. getting married, having kids etc etc. I told a friend recently that I felt like me and my friends back home were on two different travelators.. moving on in life, at the same age, yet our lives are so different.

Le sigh.

I dunno.. I was hoping blogging about this would help clear my head a bit. It kinda has.. but at the same time, I feel a bit confused about what I’m actually sad about now.. probably a complicated mixture of things as always.

Anyway.. tis my bedtime now. Gnite all.

more » Posted on Tuesday, September 16th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

Meh

Feeling extremely deflated at the moment. Sometimes I don’t know why I bother putting so much effort into trying to do (and not only do, but excel at) so many things at once. Sometimes I am so busy I don’t even have the time to pee. Life (not to mention my bladder) would be much more relaxed if perhaps I stopped trying to be superwoman. Stopped trying to have my cake and eat it too. (But I do so love a good vanilla cheesecake.. mmm…)

Meh. It’s late.. again. I never go to bed early enough. I’m always tired. I don’t have time to go to the gym anymore – I haven’t even been to my once a week yoga class in 2 weeks (which means I’m wasting money on gym membership fees). I haven’t been to hiphop dance class in a month and a half (which means I’m also wasting money on my dance studio membership fees). My neck and shoulders have knots the size of large boulders and are a constant discomfort/pain. I am struggling with RSI in my right wrist (the tendons are inflamed). I am almost constantly stressed. Still get sick too easily. I am really struggling financially. Plus my parents don’t approve of my life or choices. I never have time to do the things I need to do.

I just want a break from it all. Sometimes I feel like I’m on the brink of not being able to handle it.

Perhaps part-time music college + demanding full-time job + playing in a band + other hobbies/activities = It Is Not Possible.

more » Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 | 6 Comments »

Looong time no blog

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 πŸ™ 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. πŸ™ 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. πŸ™‚

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!

more » Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2008 | 12 Comments »

The Balancing Act

Life is quite a balancing act. I’ve noticed this fact seems to become more and more true the older you get (as more “adult” responsibilities pile on).. and heck I’m only 29. (Yes, I only have one more year of being in my 20’s… *cries*) I’ve also noticed this balancing act seems to be more of a struggle the larger and more metropolitan the city in which you live. I’ve found life in London, for example, to be much more of a challenging balancing act than life in Sydney. I have to say, London would probably rate near the top as one of the most demanding & stressful cities (in the western world) to live in. I’m not the only one to make this observation.. I have heard it from many and varied people who have also lived in other cities around the world and can make the comparison.

But I guess you get used to the additional burdens over time and you get better at dealing with them as they come. It’s still a constant struggle because its like, as soon as you get used to one thing, something new comes along to challenge you – but I guess that’s what makes life interesting?

I always feel like there is so much I want to do and never enough days in the week, or hours in the day to fit in everything. Maybe I’m just particularly.. ambitious. I’ve never wanted to have a boring life. At the same time, I’ve never wanted a stressful, too-busy-to-stop-and-talk life either!! But there are so many wonderful, cool and interesting things in the world to try and experience! I don’t want to be a “pleb” – who just goes through life as expected, goes to work and goes home to eat and watch tv like a couch potato, has no time or energy for anything else, no other passions or hobbies they love, no inspirations to challenge themselves with, no new experiences to try and learn from. Having said that.. I also want to be someone who takes care of themself.. with all these things to do be it career or hobbies, I don’t want to be an overworked zombie whose health and body suffers because they just have no time to exercise or cook or eat healthily. I like my body and I think it deserves some T.L.C! It’s hard to strike that balance. I know I’m still learning…

Hm I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. I started it months ago and never got around to finishing it. So I have completely forgotten where I was going with it originally. Sorry. πŸ˜› Hopefully you get the general sentiment. πŸ™‚

more » Posted on Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 | 2 Comments »

Self-expression

It is interesting the things we turn to for self-expression when we feel down. I notice this in myself.. that I automatically turn towards creative avenues.. such as music, dance, video creation, or blogging. Funnily enough all these things are often combined into one – eg when I create a video, it can involve a combination of music, dance and/or blogging. Probably why I love making videos. Because there are so many possibilities with it.. there is so much freedom of expression, with many different avenues to choose from and combine into that one final creative piece.

And so it is when things get me down, I fall back to self-expression. I guess this also holds true when life goes well.. when something good happens, it is nice to share your joy over this medium. What is life without the ability to share it with others? But still I find myself more drawn to self-expression when I feel down. Same goes with writing music.. I always find myself more creative & more inspired, when I’m down. Is it some unwritten requirement that an artist must be of the “tortured soul” variety?

Meh.. enough meanderings for one day. It’s been a while since my last blog entry. A few good things have happened since then. I got a promotion at work yesterday.. well starting as of next week I suppose. Nice to know that hard work really does pay off sometimes.. πŸ™‚

more » Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2008 | 3 Comments »

Fake

Reality checks are a painful but necessary part of life. Particularly when they involve ‘friends’. So I’ve decided I’m not gonna waste any more of my time or energy on fake people. I am who I am, and if my genuine upfront mindset about friendship doesn’t mesh well with the “London way”, so be it. I’m sure I will eventually find like-minded genuine people in this maze of superficiality. Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong place.

For now, I think I will just focus on what’s important.

Note to readers: Try not to make too many assumptions about what I may or may not be talking about here. I was quite deliberately cryptic πŸ™‚ talking more about how I feel and my particular insights, than any details of my situation, or even my overall opinion of London. Of course if I have personally messaged you about this, you are exempt.

more » Posted on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 | 5 Comments »