i had a birthday since the last time i did a proper update... i'm now 34 years old. I had a rostered day off on the actual day, and spent it at home, on my own, under a doona on the couch with my cat, and then went to guitar class in the evening... twas perfect :)

Soooo... thirty four and what do i have to show for it? Not much really, but that's ok. On the usual swings and roundabouts of my life the desperate depression of a month ago has abated somewhat now, and I'm feeling a bit more optimistic about life.
this post contains vague optimism, some frustration, lots of rambling, and more ellipses than you can poke a stick at! )
My intermediate guitar class started Monday last week, so I've now had two more lessons.

There's 13 people in the class, 6 from my beginners class, 6 from the thursday night beginners, and one "yeah I play bass in a band and have been figuring guitar out so thought I'd come along for some pointers".

Week one we started on the 12 bar blues in A. 12 bar blues is apparently the foundation of blues (obviously), country, rock, and pretty much half of all popular music. It looks and sounds simple, but I'm struggling a little... not with the fingering, more with the being able to strum only two strings and get an equal sound from both without hitting any other strings... that bit's hard. We also had a look at the cool version of the turnaround, which includes the "James Brown Chord" (E9). The cool turnaround is hard, but after a week and a half of practice I'm starting to get it, mostly, if I do it slow. There's technique stuff to it that is new and requires slightly nimble fingers... I'm getting there.

This week we spent more time on the turnaround, a bit of time reviewing the 12 bar blues, and were introduced to A minor pentatonic scale. Knowing pentatonic scales is apparently the key to being able to play solos. Find the key the song is in, and play random notes from the according scale, start and finish phrases on the lead note, and you will sound like you are an ace lead guitarist improvising like a fiend! Apparently. The teacher got us to play A minor chords with the classic rock strum, and demonstrated this, and he did indeed sound like an ace lead guitarist improvising like a fiend. He then played the same chords, and got us to improv on the scale, and it sounded like a hideous ghastly cacophony. However, when I blocked out everyone else, and tested his theory by just playing the scale with funky timing, it actually sounded good, if a little boring.

He gave us Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison) to start learning, although he gave that to my beginner class last term, so we're ahead of the curve, huzzah! To be fair, he only gave everyone the chords-only version, so the rest of the class can get acquainted with that before we all move on to learning the recognisable riff. Because it's a 3 chord wonder, and I'm well bored of playing it I hunted chordie.com for the riff notation and started learning that tonight... it's kind of hard, and when I looked at it between the end of beginners and the start of intermediate, I thought phhhfffft too hard, but now he's explained the technique, it's not nearly as hard as I thought, and in an hour of practice tonight I managed to get a recognisable (if slow) version. WOOT!

I am getting slowly better, although I'm probably towards the bottom of the class in ability, but I love it. I am completely in love with playing my guitar, and spending even half an hour each evening playing stuff stops all the noise in my head and helps me unwind a little, and when I actually manage to play something perfectly, I feel this massive sense of pure accomplishment, that I am not finding anywhere else in my life at the moment.

Finally, this is such a geeky thing to be joyous about, but when I started learning, I'd play for 10 minutes and my fingertips would HURT, for a while they were just super sensitive, all the time, then the skin kept peeling off the tips of my fingers, then finally I noticed that I could play for a good hour and they didn't really hurt, and I noticed that I have calluses on my fingertips. Tonight, after playing for an hour or so, I noticed that I have black lines... on one finger at least... I HAVE GUITAR PLAYER FINGERTIPS!!!



My guitar needs a name. I'm usually good at deciding names for things, but I haven't named her yet... I'm thinking maybe Lola...
I finished my beginners guitar course Monday before last... it was good, although I want to be lots better than I currently am because I am impatient, I now know enough to be able to read tabs online and figure out how to play songs on my own, which is very cool... I spent a bit of time over the Easter weekend on Jolene (because Dolly is awesome and Jolene is the easiest of her songs to play) and have had a stab at many others as well... I totally can't sing and play at the same time, I completely lose my strumming rhythm whenever I try and do that, but I'll get there eventually and then be able to TORTURE everyone by playing and singing daggy classic rock ballads (Every Rose Has It's Thorn anyone??) :) Also, thanks to an incredibly kind and generous and lovely someone** I am now booked in for the intermediate course which begins on 3rd May and runs for another 8 weeks, so that will no doubt help me improve even more :) I love my guitar, I love having the ability to make something that sounds like music again :) i love chordie.com and hunting for songs I can play and fiddling around until what I'm playing resembles the soundtrack in my head, it's very cool :)

** Not sure if it's ok to mention who, so anonymity reigns, but they know who they are and, again, thank you so much!!

Work is insane at the moment, we move to the new building next Monday, which means that there is absolute chaos in the current building as people try and pack and organise and keep doing work at the same time. While the new building is brand new and spiffy and lovely, I am dreading the move because my "manager" will be sharing the office with us and I seriously do not know how I am going to cope with that. The woman manages to consistently push every single button I have, and I find it really hard to not react. So yeah, that will be interesting. It's also going to be interesting in that all of population health , ie all the inpatient AND outpatient services for Drug & Alcohol, Mental Health & Community Health will be in one building... which is going to make for a very interesting concentration of clients in one area. Also, the building has not really been designed with security in mind, which will add to the level of interesting once everyone is in and all services are operating fully from there. We do have two full time security staff just for our building, which is a good thing.

My mum was in town last week and came over to my place for lunch on Sunday... she spent a lot of time autowittering on about my brothers pregnant wife, seems they're still together at the moment, dumb girl. My mum is very excited having another grandchild and had clearly spent a lot of time with them on this visit, so yeah, that was pretty much all she had to talk about... she even brought along the blanket she's embroidered for the baby, and clothes she's bought to show me... I was very well behaved and kept my mouth shut, and I even managed to not cry until after she'd left. None of it was helped by rampaging hormones of course, but yeah... aside from hating my brother and not being remotely interested in hearing my mother sing his praises every fucking time I see her, I want to have a baby, and I'm really unhappy about the reality that I probably won't ever have the chance to have kids, and it makes me furious that that fucking asshole is having another one.

Aaaaanyhow.

After the doctor told me last month that my womens troubles were psychological, I thought "right, well then, in that case i am deciding that henceforth I will have normal, regular periods". Bugger me if it didn't work... exactly one month since the last one, this one turned up and only tried to kill me for two days and then became civilised (well, as much as bleeding from the hoohoo can be) and is now almost gone. Most normal period I've had in... oh... YEARS...

I've been intensely antisocial recently... well.. not that I don't WANT to see people, I just... find it... hard. It's odd, I'm doing the thing I do when my anxiety is really bad, wanting to just be at home on my own, living in my own little world with as little external interaction and stimulation as possible... in the past when I've been like this it's been accompanied by intense anxiety when I have to leave the safety of home and my own world, and i don't have that the moment, I'm just... happier when I'm disconnected.

I think maybe I'm a bit depressed. I think I need to take care of myself as though I am and see if things improve.

Hmmm...

Anyhow... off for limited social contact with best boy and then home. And hopefully an early night... very tired.
I am unsure if i am content with my life at the moment, or just apathetic... either way I have no strong feelings either for or against the way things are... they just are, some are good, some aren't ideal, but that's just teh way things are... and listening to 80's music makes everything better :)

Work is ... yeah... we move to the new building in about a month or so, and my "manager" (hereafter known as Vinegar Tits) is going to be sharing the same office with us... we had to nominate where we want to sit last week and I've managed to swing it so I am at the opposite end of the office to her, the office is kind of long and narrow, so there are four desks all along one wall and I'm in one corner, then potplant, the other tammy, and vinegar tits in the corner near the door... but even so, I really don't think I'm going to be able to cope with her in the same room as me all day, even just the three days a week that she works... she was in our office this morning and just driving me NUTS, going through our reference file thingy on the desk and pulling stuff out coz "it's out of date, that shouldn't be there, why have you got this? why aren't there any dates on these? what is this for? why do you need that?" ... I was literally biting my tongue to stop from screaming "CAN YOU JUST FUCK OFF AND LEAVE THINGS ALONE?!?!?! DO YOUR OWN FREAKIN JOB AND LET US GET ON WITH OURS!!!!" ... my tongue hurts now... I'm not going to cope. She's taking two months leave from the end of April, thankfully... *twitch*

I had a call an hour or so ago from a guy I think is my second cousin... or third cousin... or something... so... Evil nanna had a brother, Jimmy, who had a son, Teddy, making him mum's cousin... and I think this guy I spoke to is Teddy's son... they used to have a dairy farm in Bega and I remember staying there when I was really young, and Uncle Teddy had three boys, all older than us... and I remember that uncle Teddy and his wife split up when I was a teenager, and they sold the farm and him and two of the boys moved back to Mudgee... and I don't know what happened since then... anyhow, this guy is the right age bracket, and the right surname (and right SPELLING of the surname), and he's just moved to Sydney from Mudgee... I really wanted to say to this guy on the phone "Are you Teddy's son? Do you remember Aunty Shar? I'm her daughter" but that would be inappropriate...

We were introduced to bar chords in guitar class this week... that's where one of your fingers holds down ALL the strings at a particular fret, and the other three hold positions lower down... it's REALLY HARD. I canNOT make my fingers do it, I think my hand is just not meant to bend that way... apparently it's non-negotiable though, there are some chords you just cannot play without using bar chords... sucky :( Also, I cannot change from G chord to C chord with anything approaching smoothness or swiftness... *sigh*
A few years ago I swung my arm sideways against a wall, very hard, in a fit of anger and frustration and self-harm, it turned black and blue all down the side of my hand and wrist and was swollen and sore, and ever since then the sensation down the side of my hand and in my pinky finger has been replaced with a kind of numb pins'n'needles feeling and motor control of my pinky is not so great... anyhow, it's my left hand, which is the one needed for making chords on guitars... and it's really making guitar learning a challenge for me... but it's not impossible and I'm kind of hopeful that the more I practice and put that finger and that hand to work it will get stronger and more dextrous... I like being able to play my guitar, even though I'm not very good at it yet...

Went and saw Alice in Wonderland last weekend... it's awesome!! I want to go again ... this time I want to get there early so we're not sitting in the front row, because front row for big screen 3D movies is really not ideal... by the end I had a bit of a headache from trying to focus and take it all in and keep my head tilted back ... but yeah, it's beautiful and colourful and magical and classic Tim Burton... and Cheshire Cat voiced by Alan Rickman is purrrrrfectly delicious :)
I'm watching Footloose... I was 8 years old the year this movie came out and I LOVED it... I don't think I've seen it since I was 10 or 11 and my brother taped over my precious taped-from-tv VHS copy... I found a double disc DVD a few weeks ago, Footloose and Flashdance, WIN! Baby Kevin Bacon and SJP ... fabulous 80's fashion... even more fabulous 80's dancing... love :)

I'm on holidays this week... I do love being on holidays :) I have been sleeping in and faffing around the house and reading a lot and spending quality time with my kitty... sooooo nice! I've also been dedicating lots of time to practicing my guitar... I suck :( I'm actually struggling now to stay motivated because I just cannot seem to get the hang of playing chords, I can't remember them, I can't seem to make my fingers do the right thing, and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. Also playing chords makes my fingers hurt :( I suspect that my fingers are too short and fat to manage guitar playing particularly well...

Ooooohhh they're up to the chicken race with tractors!! LOL soundtrack for the race is "I need a hero" :)

Corset-making course is going well... I went shopping yesterday for the boning and fabric and whatnot... ohmigod Metro Fabrics at Tempe is awesome! it's essentially a warehouse/wholesaler that also sell to the public, and they specialise in lingerie supplies... I need to go back when I have more time to explore stuff... they have powernet... that's the stuff that girdles are made from... I could make sexy vintage-style girdles.... mmmmmmmm :) Anyhow, corset-making... we now have custom-fit pattern garments, and are up to putting together the actual corset fabric and lining, next week we do the boning, huzzah!! It's so exciting :) I am loving that i can make my own corsets now :) And now that i know exactly how much the materials cost, I may never buy one again... materials for my corset have set me back $50. And there is a bit of work in making it, but not THAT much really... not enough to justify quite how much places like Gallery Serp and House of Fetish charge...

Fair Day last week was good... although I did not love having to get up at 7am on a Sunday morning... Shane was an absolute darling and also got up early to drive me and all the stall stuff in, he rocks :) I got the stall pretty well all set up by the time the boys arrived at 10am, and once the first vollie shift were installed and everything was under control I headed off to wander the rest of the stalls and attractions before it got entirely too disgustingly hot... for once it didn't rain on Fair Day but oh lawdy it was HOT! I spent the rest of the day lounging on a rug under the tree behind SLPA stall in between helping out in the stall... was actually quite a lovely day, saw lots of people, and all the usual fabulous sights of Fair Day... The Femme Guild stall was the best stall there in my opinion, oh my but the lovelies all looked so gorgeous, and they had awesome merch and cupcakes!

I'm thinking I might go along to Aquaporko, the Fat Femme Front Synchronised Swimming Troupe, and check it out. It sounds like lots of fun, and ... confession time... when I was younger (and maybe not even that much younger) whenever i was in a pool I'd get this overwhelming urge to pretend I was a synchronised swimmer... and besides the girl who was telling me all about it and saying "You should come!!" was really cute... and she said it's more Esther Williams than Olympic Gold, and I am so down with that :)

I am not going in mardi gras parade tomorrow night... I was going to go on the back of the SLPA truck but... there's many reasons I'm not doing it, but principally I have nothing to wear, I couldn't afford to make anything, and I'm not feeling particularly self-confident or fabulous at the moment and I would be on the truck beside Leesa in her fabulous new leather nurses uniform, and a bunch of leather men title holders and i would feel hideous and self-conscious in comparison... also, Dad might be going to watch the parade with his wife and they don't know i'm kinky and seeing me on the leather pride float is not how I want that conversation to come up... I'd actually rather it never came up at all... Aaaaaaanyhow, I may go and be part of the crowd along the barrier, I haven't done that in quite a few years...

I am VERY much looking forward to being part of the Spencer Tunick thing on Monday, although needing to be there at 4am is painful... and pretty well impossible for managing on public transport... fortunately Ms Lesley is also going and has offered to pick me up and give me a lift in... just in writing this, I realise it seems strange that I'm too self-conscious to go in parade, clothed, but completely excited about being naked for photography... the distinction makes sense in my head.

I'm loving how much cooler it is these last couple of days... I was amazed this morning actually after I opened the window for Macy to go out, she came back in five minutes later and did the very cute thing she does when she wants under the covers, I didn't think it was THAT cold, but apparently she did!

Enough rambling... I might ring my neighbour-flatmate and see if she has dinner plans...
Monday evening i went to my first beginners guitar class, there's about 12 people in the class, an interesting mix of people... the eldest is probably the middle-aged NESB man who keeps interrupting to tell the teacher that he has a disability, most of the class I'd guess between late 20s to late 30s, a few others like me who got their guitar as a gift and finally got around to learning to play it, a lovely irish girl who sings in a band and writes songs but can't play an instrument so decided to fix that, and another girl who sings and plays various other instruments and wrote her first song when she was 4 and now feels the need to add the guitar to her repertoire. The teacher's name is Dylan and he seems nice, he reminds me of someone but I'm not sure who... anyhow, he's a good teacher, good guitar player, and very laidback and casual. He explained he's not going to bog us down with theory and stuff, it's more about actually picking up guitars and playing ... which is good for me! So to kick off we learned the Peter Gunn Theme (you'd know it if you heard it) and Smoke on the Water... i can play both recognisably but not super well... I'm practicing each night and paying my neighbours back for all the screaming children with the smoke on the water riff over and over and over with interspersed swearing when I fuck it up!!! I'm so ROCK!!! \m/

I think I'm already playing better than I did after months of trying to teach myself! I suck at learning from books, I need to see and do...

Tomorrow evening I'm off to my other community college course, Corset-making!! I'm very excited :)

In other news, this afternoon I saw the final 20 from So You Think You Can Dance, they danced across the intersection at Taylor Square and off down Oxford St... no cameras in evidence, so I figure they were on their way somewhere and the dancing across the intersection was just what happens when a bunch of young enthusiastic dancers cross the road together??? It certainly wasn't coordinated dancing...

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quiregrrl

April 2014

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