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Happy (Belated) New Year

11:36 am Fri, 22nd January 2010

Hm… 6 months no blog. Oops. Bad Kazzart! Well I wanted to continue with my tradition of writing a happy new year blog post. Granted this one is somewhat belated, but hey, better late than never right? :)

So.. Happy 2010 one and all! Hope people are having a good start to the year. Actually (if anyone is still reading this blog) I’d be very interested to hear about your new years resolutions. I’ve been giving mine a great deal of thought and I’m not sure I’ve come to a concrete resolution yet. Maybe by the end of this blog post I’ll have a better idea?

One thing I am sure of is the general idea of what I want this year. My focus for 2010 will be on quality of life. To prioritise my life so that I don’t end up ignoring what is important to me because I’m spending so much time on things that creep and take over my life. For example, last year I ended up working late much too often and that had a negative impact on my health and body – I was tired and sick a lot, and I never had time to exercise (which is really important for my back problems), either because I was too busy, or too tired, or sick. Well, enough of that!! I’m not getting any younger, having just turned 31 (argh!!), and I refuse to give in to age. I refuse to settle for a mediocre life with mediocre health & mediocre fitness. I refuse to spend most of the year trying to combat my colds and/or combat the pain in my back! (Actually I’ve become quite good at back pain and cold management now).

To help me flesh out my idea of having a better quality life, I recently purchased a book called Brilliant Life: How to live a brilliant, balanced life. I’ve only just started reading it, but will report back on it when I’ve read more.

For now, my idea of having a better quality of life includes achieving some (hopefully all!) of the following:

  • No more workaholic Kazz! More focus on personal activities (the things I actually love), less focus on work.
  • Get fit, get healthy.. stay fit, stay healthy! This includes regular yoga, cardio/training, and swimming at the gym. I know I can’t do it all straight away, but the plan is to gradually increase my workouts from once to twice to three times a week.
  • Dance more often with more variety – keeping up my samba and salsa, getting back into hiphop and jazz and hopefully lambada (if my back/neck issue gets fixed by improving my fitness)! Of course I can’t do it all every week, but over the first month I hope to attend a good selection of different dance classes to start, and then I’m sure I will settle into a regular pattern of those which I enjoy and benefit from most, interjecting them every now and then with something different to keep me on my toes (so to speak ;))!
  • Get back into playing piano – and then later this year, start some sort of music project (either by myself or with other musicians)
  • Sleep earlier on work nights – VERY IMPORTANT! I can’t function if I don’t get enough sleep which renders the 3 previous points incapacitated
  • Make vlogs again – I have been looking over some of my old video blogs and the creativity I put into them. I realised, I don’t want to stop being creative! I enjoy it and I take pride in my creations. So my youtube viewers should be happy with this one. πŸ˜‰ But yes, I want to continue to create videos.. especially now I have a shiny new 16:9 digital camera to play with.
  • Nuture and develop the few female friendships I have. I don’t have many friends in London, and I realise now that it is unrealistic to expect the same wide circle of friends that I had in Sydney, seeing as I spent 20 years of my life growing up there. So my aim instead will be to nuture the rare friendships I *have* made here – at the moment there are 2 or 3 girls with whom I plan to make sure I spend time with and get to know better. Maybe even organise a regular girls night out with the 4 of us. Oooh.. maybe even a girlie club of sorts.. Γ  la Jane Austen Book Club.

All of these should be made easier now by the simple fact that I have just moved in with the boyf. Yep big news! We did it the first weekend after NY. I’ve now moved into a house recently purchased by my boyfriend, in central London. This will make my life SO much easier – no more going back and forth between my place and his, splitting my time, packing overnight bags.. no more daily commute from the outskirts of London. I’m now much closer to work, to my dance classes and to the salsa nights we attend. :) Of course it’s not gonna be all smooth sailing – we have a myriad of home rennovations to complete – we’re re-doing the kitchen and bathroom, we have to furnish the living room and tennants room (we’re renting one room out). I’m up to my eyebrows in home improvements right now. Learning all sorts about kitchen laminate work tops, cabinets, where the boiler can and can’t go, the inordinate cost of modern bathroom sinks and ceiling halogen spotlights etc etc etc. So that is the main reason it’s been a slow start to 2010 for us. But believe you me, I WILL achieve what I want this year!

This is Kazzart, signing out. See ya’s in the blogosphere. :)

Posted in Introspection, Life | 2 Comments »

Love, hate and itchy feet

12:30 pm Thu, 13th August 2009

Yet another month and two WordPress upgrades have passed between blog updates. Oops. Well to be fair I’ve been absolutely flat out with work for the past couple weeks. Late nights at work have become common place, and I’ve not even blinked an eye at the possibility of working on the weekend (luckily for me it didn’t come to that.. only went as far as receiving a phone call waking me up 11:30am last Saturday by the few unfortunate ones who did have to go into work, needing some web dev advice to fix some random issue).

Anyway I’ve contemplated blogging a few times over the past week or so. Been having random thoughts about dance, life in London, and people, going through my mind lately. Maybe I’ll get it all out in this blog post. First.. we come yet again to the topic of life in London. I was contemplating recently that I seem to have a bit of a love/hate relationship with London. Though I know I mostly come across as hating London in all sorts of ways, there are many things I also love about London. And I seem to yo-yo between the two fairly often. Not sure if it will ever resolve into a peaceful acceptance of life as a Londoner. And maybe thats what I want.. a more peaceful life. Which brings me to itchy feet. I’m starting to feel a bit restless here… starting to feel there isn’t much reason for me to remain in London. For example, there are very few people here that make me feel like there is a reason to stay. My boyf obviously.. and one girl friend. Other than that.. I consider everyone else an acquaintance.. people who would say their goodbyes and then forget about you within a week.. maybe two. I don’t even think many would miss me at all here. Is that a bit sad?

I’m also starting think I’m becoming a bit of a workaholic. Sometimes I actually feel happier being at work because it means I’m too busy to think about other things… like my lack of social life.. and lack of true friends. Maybe it’s even a sub-concious reason as to why I keep myself so busy with so many activities, as well as loving them of course. Speaking of which.. I might just list out all the extra-curricular activities I’m currently cramming on my plate:

  • lambada dance classes/club
  • salsa dance classes/club
  • samba dance class
  • learning italian (evening course tues nights and self-study)
  • playing piano & The Sheridan Trio (admittedly we haven’t rehearsed as a trio since last year)
  • yoga & going to the gym/swim

Also a few things I wish I could still do/am contemplating doing:

  • hiphop dance class
  • jazz dance class
  • another music course at Goldsmiths/attempt to finish my Certificate in Music Studies
  • try to find more gig opportunities/other bands (jazz or latin) to play with
  • write music and/or work on existing songs and record a sample demo
  • get back into vlogging and making videos for YT regularly again
  • change vocation.. ok only half serious about this but sometimes the thought does occur to me either because I’m sick of the back issues.. or I feel like I’m more suited to different work

So errr… yeh that’s quite a lot. And having jotted it all down.. I’ve noticed almost everything is artistic in one way or another… dance.. music.. video creation. My problem is I just don’t have the creative talent to actually be able to succesfully create things of worth (ie good enough to make a living.. and I’m sure if I tried I would probably lose the love for it). I’ve tried writing music before and I just don’t have it. I’ve tried designing, and well, I can’t. I’m not good enough at dance or playing piano to make a profession of it.. and anyway I really don’t think I could live on a “struggling artists” income – I’ve had enough experience of the reality of that path already. They’re all just hobbies. I don’t particularly want to make a job out of them. Anyway most dance teachers I know don’t do it full time – they all have “day jobs” too.

Hm I’m starting to lose track of where I’m going with this rant.

What is this about anyway… Friends? London? Vocation? Life? Everything I guess. I’m sometimes half inclined to just pick up and leave.. find somewhere new and exciting to go. To start afresh again. To have the opportunity of really making friends. To be someone new. Or to become again that positive & energetic girl I once was.

Posted in Introspection, Life | 5 Comments »

Ciao!

5:40 pm Fri, 17th July 2009

Hm.. I really need to update this blog more often than the once-every-one-or-two-months that’s currently happening! I mean seriously, you know you’re a lazy blogger when your blogging software gets updated more frequently than your blog posts.

So I was playing with my blog recently, and during some updates I decided to have a play with the Last.Fm Records WordPress widget. I didn’t like how it was displaying the recent tracks album art (bit buggy too).. and seeing as it was written using jQuery (my hands-down fave javascript library), I customised it with a bit of css & js magic to fit better with my blog style. I also added a bit of extra functionality to display the song title/artist info as text (on mouseover). Quite happy with the results now (its the box in the right side bar called “Kazzart Tunes In”). Also I’m quite happy with the fact that doing this sort of thing is now relatively easy for me, due to the amount of experience I’m getting at work. I’m rather enjoying creating cool jquery animations and impressing account managers, designers and flash developers alike. :)

So.. enough about work/tech talk. It’s been taking over more and more of my life ever since my recent-ish move in the past few months onto this current client account (which will remain nameless). I am enjoying the work though, which is interesting, creative and challenging (all must-have’s for me to not get bored at work), so I guess I can’t complain too much.

In other news.. got back recently from an amazing week in Sardegna, Italia. It is so amazingly beautiful there and the weather was perfect every single day – blue skies, sunshine and a perfect low 30’s deg C. I am made for the heat. Every day was spent in the sun, either relaxing in the Mediterranean sea or by the enormous pool of our apartment residence. I really wish I were back there right now. Le sigh.

More pics and a holiday vlog to come soon!

What else.. well, I’m still dancing both cuban salsa and zouk lambada. I love both. I’m more experienced with salsa – now I can dance that quite confidently with any partner in the club now, or participate in a rueda de casino. Gone are the days of nervous anxiety, fear of screwing up the steps or worrying about not being able to “follow his lead”. I still screw up sometimes of course, but I recover much better as my sense of the clave “timing” is much more instinctive and natural. I even get son timing. (This is where being a musician becomes an advantage πŸ˜‰ ) Lambada however is not quite at the stage of being able to confidently follow the lead of a partner. However I don’t have the “hang ups” I used to have when I first started salsa. I also have yet to try a proper night out dancing in a lambada club. Not just “have a couple dances after class”. I’m going to try this tomorrow at the London Dance Congress! Going to do the workshops and then go to the party night afterwards. Should be fun!

On the music front.. it’s been a bit quiet, other than jamming with the trumpet player in the London street piano’s festival. However this morning I just managed to arrange a date The Sheridan Trio’s first gig for summer 09 – on Saturday 15 August! I’m really looking forward to it – I really enjoy playing with our trio and it’s been too long…

Another new thing is that I’ve recently completed a 10 week italian language course! (Beginner Plus level). I’ve signed on for the next level (elementary) and classes start next week. It’s tough learning italian, and I don’t practice nearly enough. But I am learning loads, and hopefully will get to a stage where I can start having conversations with the boyf in italian. Not quite there yet!

Well, that’s the latest on the Kazzart news front. Ciao e ci vediamo presto. :)

β€”β€”β€”β€”β€”–
Now playing: Milk & Honey – Didi

Posted in Arts, Life, Tech Talk, Travel | 5 Comments »

Coz I’m (not) just a girl

4:28 pm Mon, 15th June 2009

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!

—————-
Now playing: Polo Montanez – Un Monton de Estrellas

Posted in Introspection, Life, Rant & Bitch | 6 Comments »

Thoughts on the British Pub Culture

9:19 pm Thu, 26th March 2009

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.

Posted in Introspection, Life, Rant & Bitch | 10 Comments »