Arte, arte!

Hello, blog.

Just an update (especially for those two of you who reads this).

So I have been doing some commission work for friends, nothing massive but enough to keep me busy all this time. Recently, an Indonesian who introduced himself as a font designer asked me if I could make him an exemplar in modern script (meaning, my calligraphic style), for a fee, of course. While I was flattered that I got offered to do this kind of job, I declined as this is not actually what I want to do or make. I found this guy’s online shop and — lo and behold — he is selling these kinds online! Tsk, tsk… these guys!

Anyways, I’m currently experimenting on gouache paint. It’s similar to watercolour paints, but it is more opaque and the texture more powdery or chalky. However, I like the colours though. Here’s one example:

Mixing gouache paints
Mixing colours is fun! These are pastel blue and pink. You can also see the bottles of drawing ink on the upper right hand side of the picture; I use them for calligraphy.

My younger brother requested for pastel colours. Since there is no pink nor any pastel colours on the gouache, I took it upon myself to mix colours. YouTube is a fountain useful of video tutorials, I found out. Choosing one tutorial to use is quite a challenge. Thanks to these generous people who upload their video, they are helping newbies like me! So, what do you think of the result?

Of left-handed people

Me: Hello, blog! How are you doing?

Blog: *cricket sound*

I know, that question just ricocheted off the wall and flew back, hitting me on the face.
Many months have passed and my blog is in hibernation. Sorry. I’m still here alive and kicking and there are a lot of happenings in real life that I have not blogged about. I got so busy (and LAZY!), if you know what I mean, lol.

So, yeah, aside from domestic matters, I also got occupied with calligraphy. So happy to say that my skills have improved a lot. The muscle memory has returned and my confidence just got upped. Also, I met friends who are also venturing into calligraphy and lettering adventure. I am happy to have like-minded online friends who are in the same journey with me. I am also happy to meet lefty-calligraphers, wow. I can imagine the difficulty because most calligraphers are right-handed and the resources and tools are geared/shaped towards right-handed writers. But I’m really happy to learn from them that there already are resources and tools that are available for left-handed writers! Yay!

I believe it is the same for musicians, like guitarists, for example. Think Kurt Cobain, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix — they are all left-handed. If you want to know more about left handed acoustic guitar check it out at GuitarCenter.

Bye for now. Ciao.

Can’t get it out of my head

I am not a fan of Adele but her song Hello is in stuck in loops in my head, for some reason.

This song’s been going on and on in my head and the kids in school weren’t help at all as they keep on singing the chorus. When I got home, I sat down and watched/listened to it properly (on YouTube) and it made me think that the song’s not bad actually. It’s pretty good. Her vocals are great. You know what… I don’t know much about pop music – or music in general – but I’ll surely take her over Taylor Swift anytime.

Blue Monday: Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink

Hello, friends.
At the outset, sorry I was not able to visit your posts last week. So many things happened and, yesterday, I was informed that a cousin’s son died suddenly. We are all heartbroken – so young, at 17. The last time I saw my nephew was when he was only a six-year old boy, a shy but sweet one, always hiding behind his mum. It pains me to think that I will never see him again. May he rest in peace.

On a lighter note, I have been practicing more calligraphy at night time, when everyone is asleep. I devoted one hour each night since I could not go back to my regular daytime schedule. I find it hard to do with all the household chores, errands, and dogs to mind. I’m not complaining, though. When you want something, you have to work hard to achieve it. My husband also bought me some stuff – his Valentine present, if I may say so. He bought me a Pelikan ink 4001, in Royal Blue. Along with the ink, he also bought me these Japanese coloured cards for my craft projects. How sweet is that.

Grateful to my thoughtful husband. Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink (right) and coloured papers from a Japanese shop.
Grateful to my thoughtful husband. Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink (right) and coloured papers from a Japanese shop.

The Pelikan ink is designed for use on fountain pens but can also used in dip pens, as told by many season calligraphers. So, of course, I sprang to action right after we got home. I wanted to test the Pelikan ink with my Nikkon G nib.

blue  monday calligraphy quotes on blue
So much inconsistency in the shapes of the letters. Need to practice my strokes more.

The Pelikan ink has a beautiful, vibrant blue colour! Too bad my camera could not capture the vibrance of the colour. Although loading it on my nib was a bit challenging, it has a smooth flow and dries easily. However, the paper I used to write it on was not the proper one. As you can see, there was substantial bleeding on the paper. When I wrote in another paper, a printing paper I snitched from my husband’s printer, it wasn’t the case. So, I have to test more to find out which ink works best in what kind of paper.

bluemondayicon

Saturday 9: Lucky Star

saturday9

Madonna-Lucky-Star-132302-1-Welcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: Lucky Star (1983)

Unfamiliar with this week’s song? Hear it here.

1. Have you ever wished upon a star?
Oh yes! I’m forever a dreamer.
When I was in highschool, did I wish for a lot of things, which included a nice moog sub 37 synthesizer that I thought was cool and useful for the music enthusiast in me. I was in a youth club way back and we have this weekly activities that included sports, music, and the arts. It was just a passing fancy for a teenager like, as were most in my wishlist at that time.

2. In the 1980s, Madonna considered her wrist bangles one of her fashion trademarks. What’s one of your fashion trademarks?
I like wearing tribal bracelets. Plus, I have three piercings on my left earlobe.

3. Though she got good grades, Madonna could be disruptive at school, known for turning cartwheels in the halls between classes. Can you do a cartwheel?
I still can do cartwheels plus front and back walkovers, handstands, and many more. But never in between classes nor in halls. Always in our uni’s gymnastics room.

4. Her high grade point average earned her a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, home of the Wolverines. Do you follow college football?
American football – no.

5. Madonna co-starred in the movie version of Dick Tracy. Do you enjoy comics?
Yes, very much so. I first got hold of Archie (Andrews) and I was hooked. Then, of course, others followed like Superman, Spiderman, Xmen, Constantine, you get the picture. There is a geek inside of me 🙂

6. She played Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron in the biopic, Evita and directed a movie about Wallis Simpson. What famous 20th century woman do you wish you could meet/could have met?
Hillary Clinton. I just would love to listen to her talk covering many topics and see what goes on in that mind of hers.

7. Madonna authored a children’s book called The English Roses. Tell us about a book that had a big impact on you when you were a kid.
Okay, I read this when I was in university – so technically, no longer a kid. The first thing that came to my mind was this book by a Filipino writer, Lualhati Bautista, who is a feminist through and through. It’s called Bata, bata… Paano ka Ginawa?;  Loosely translated to Child, child… How Were You Made?  The title might give you “scandalous” thoughts but it actually refers to how a child is shaped or raised in society. The story revolves around a strong, liberated single mum, Lea, who defies society’s conventions (having two children with two different men, double standards against women) and how she addresses her marital and familial concerns in the context of a flawed and judgmental society.

8. One of Madonna’s “vocal idols” is Ella Fitzgerald. Who is your all-time favorite female singer?
No one in particular.

9. Madonna once did a Pepsi commercial. What beverages are in your refrigerator right now?
There is a bottle of low-fat milk and a carton of organic, unsweetened hazelnut milk. And of course, water.

Saturday 9: The Main Event

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BabsWelcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: The Main Event (1979)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This is the theme from a romantic comedy set against the backdrop of boxing. Sam admits she’s not crazy about boxing. What about you? Do you enjoy boxing, martial arts or wrestling?
I was in our university’s judo club way back 🙂 It was great fun! Also knowing a little self-defense is useful so it was all worth the body pains and bruises (due to sparring).

2) If you went to a dance club on a Saturday night in 1979 or 1980, you might well have danced to this. What are your plans for this Saturday night?
Saturday night is barbecue night! I’ll make a potato salad as well as mango salsa while my husband takes care of the meat for the barbie.

3) Gilda Radner was one of the original Saturday Night Live performers and in 1979, she parlayed her TV popularity into her own one-woman show on Broadway. Who is your all-time favorite SNL cast member?
I haven’t seen the old SNL cast so my favourites are immediate past cast members, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

4) Sally Little and Nancy Lopez were at the top of the LPGA in 1979. Do you golf?
No. I think it’s a boring sport (pardon me, golf-enthusiasts). You whack the ball as hard as you can and then walk a fair distance to pick it up. Not my thing, really.

5) The movie The Main Event co-starred Ryan O’Neal. He is better known for Love Story, and saying the line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” When did you last apologize?
About a week ago. For acting stupid and saying stupid things. Maybe, it was due to the raging hormones, lol.

6) O’Neal got his big break on the nighttime soap opera, Peyton Place. He played Rodney Harrington, the handsome golden boy that all the girls dreamed of dating. Tell us about your big high school crush.
My biggest crush was when I was in university! He was in senior year and I was in junior year. He was skinny but tall and was a varsity basketball player. We were staying in the same boarding-house. He was nice and oh-so-cute. One day, we got out of the house at the same time and walked to school together. I was the happiest gal that day! I could not stop smiling. My classmates, who knew about him, teased me no end when they saw us entering the campus together.

7) In researching this week’s Saturday 9, Sam discovered that The Main Event is a popular name for sports bars all across the country. Do you enjoy sitting at the bar or do you look for a booth or table?
I prefer having a table, having a bit of space for conversation without getting disturbed.

8) The Mane Event was the salon Sam went to for years. She switched when it got too hard to get Saturday appointments. As a consumer, what’s more important to you — convenience or price?
I’d say convenience.

9) More than 50 years after her first million-selling album, Streisand recently had a #1 hit with her current CD, Partners. What’s the last song you bought/downloaded?
There’s this brilliant group of musicians on YouTube called the Postmodern Jukebox which I recently discovered. Oh how I adore them! They produce covers of pop songs in the style of jazz, ragtime, swing, among others. I downloaded their songs, of course! More details from from this website:

Postmodern Jukebox. Check out one of their videos on YouTube:

Saturday 9: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?

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derbingleWelcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (1932)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Bing Crosby wants a dime for food. Adjusted for inflation, 10¢ in 1932 is now worth $1.69. Can you think of anything you could buy at the grocery story with $1.69?
A pack of chips.

2) This song was originally released as a 78 rpm record. Have you ever seen a 78?
Yes! When I was in uni, taking up Mass Communications, we had a course on Radio Production. We produced several music programmes and we had this nice music library. There were loooots of vinyl records. I am always interested in anything analog and wanted to collect some but they cost a fortune these days. I heard that my father-in-law has a decent collection though but I have yet to see them.

3) In 1932, Jean Harlow was Hollywood’s glamor queen. Who do you think sets the standard for glamor today?
I don’t know. I’m not much of a fashion/glamour watcher.

4) One of 1932’s best selling books was Agatha Christie’s Peril at End House. She remains popular today. Are you familiar with her work?
Yes, of course. I read some of her books- and also of Erle Stanley Gardner, Arthur Conan Doyle, etc. – when I was in high school. I think I began with Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series 🙂

5) This week’s featured artist, Bing Crosby, worked as a caddy when he was 12 and continued to enjoy time on the golf course his entire life. What type of exercise do you do most often?
I have an on and off relationship with yoga. After stopping for two years, I’ve recently began attending yoga classes last month.

6) Bing had twin sons, Dennis and Philip. Many people believe that the propensity for twins is hereditary. Are there twins in your family?
No.

7) Bing’s daughter, Mary Crosby, has her own place in TV history. Do you know why?
I’m afraid I have to refer to Google on this one!

8) In the mid 1970s, Crosby and his family did commercials for Minute Maid. Do you have any orange juice in your refrigerator?
We ran out of OJ today 🙁

9) Now for something completely random: Do you like beef jerky?
No, not really. There is something about beef that I don’t like.

Saturday 9: Welcome to My Nightmare

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220px-Welcome_To_My_NightmareWelcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: Welcome to My Nightmare (1975)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Tell us about a bad dream you’ve had.
The really bad dream I had was when I was in high school. I dreamt that Freddy Krueger was in my neighbourhood and he was after me. Then scenes from that film interspersed with my dream that my mum had to wake me up because I was groaning and moaning in my sleep. I woke up really terrified! How could I forget that? I know a lot who have seen this movie were terrorized by Freddy Krueger in their dreams. Still, I enjoy watching horror movies, from time to time 🙂

2) Sam is not crazy about spiders. What frightens you, or gives you “the creeps?”
Snakes, clowns.

3) This week’s featured artist, Alice Cooper, has always liked to dress up. Performing as Alice, he wears garish eye makeup. In his first group, he and his bandmates dressed as the Beatles. Will you be wearing a costume this weekend?
Good heavens, no. The expat community here usually hosts Halloween and other costumed parties but I’m not really into one. Just the kill-joy in me, I think.

4) Alice says his makeup was inspired by Bette Davis in his favorite horror movie, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? This Halloween weekend, will you seek out horror movies and scary TV shows, or will you avoid them?
Oh yes!! Horror movie-marathon weekend it is for me and my husband 🙂

5) Born Vincent Furnier, Alice used to tell reporters that he and his band got the name Alice Cooper from a Oujia board. Have you ever tried a Oujia board?
Several times when I was younger. My friends and I, out of curiosity, a bit of adventure and a whole lot of stupidity, attempted to contact a departed classmate. We were caught by my friend’s mum in the middle of the, errmm, activity.

6) Alice and his band (also called Alice Cooper) were discovered by music manager Shep Gordon while playing in Venice, California. Have you ever visited Venice, California or Venice, Italy?
Neither. Hopefully I will get a chance to visit, either or both, in the near future!

7) In 1970s England, a morality campaigner named Mary Whitehouse persuaded the BBC to ban Alice Cooper. The ensuing publicity resulted in such a bump in record sales that Alice sent Ms. Whitehouse flowers. Do you believe in censorship? Or should adults be able to choose to see/hear whatever they wish?
I believe in freedom of choice.

8) Today Alice has a popular syndicated radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper. Listeners all over the United States, Germany, Denmark, New Zealand, and the UK hear him introduced as, “a man for whom even Dr. Phil has no cure.” Do you watch Dr. Phil?
We don’t get Dr. Phil’s show beamed in Asia. We used to enjoy Oprah and Ellen though.

9) Did you get many trick or treaters this year? What candy did you give them?
It is not something the locals in my neighbourhood would do. I live in a neighbourhood with mostly middle-class families whose children go to private schools and and language schools where they study English. Now these kids know about Halloween, mainly because of their Western teachers, and readily associate it with trick-or-treat . They get to enjoy this in their schools (English language centers) but don’t actually do in their community.

Saturday 9: Moon River

saturday9

riverWelcome to Saturday: 9. What we’ve committed to our readers is that we will post 9 questions every Saturday. Sometimes the post will have a theme, and at other times the questions will be totally unrelated. Those weeks we do “random questions,” so-to-speak. We encourage you to visit other participants posts and leave a comment. Because we don’t have any rules, it is your choice. We hate rules. We love memes, however, and here is today’s meme!

Saturday 9: Moon River (1962)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is featured in a Dove candy bar commercial. What’s your favorite way to enjoy chocolate (cookie, candy bar, ice cream, hot cocoa, etc.)?
I love anything that has chocolate in it – nomnomnomnom.

2) It was originally written for the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Where’s the best place to eat breakfast in your neighborhood?
At home, definitely. My husband makes the best French toast.

3) Were you able to see the moon last night?
Nope. It was raining cats and dogs last night.

4) When Andy Williams’ show was first telecast in color, viewers commented on how very blue his eyes were. What’s the first thing you notice about a person?
What they say.

5) The Andy Williams Show gave the Osmond Brothers their first national exposure. When younger sister Marie joined the act, she made her debut on his show, as well. Let’s say you have just been bumped up to first-class for a three hour flight. Which Osmond would you prefer as your seatmate, Donny or Marie?
Neither.

6) Even though Andy was a millionaire many times over, he was still careful with money, once saying he would never pay more than $50 for a haircut. This leaves Sam shaking her head, because she spares no expense when it comes to her hair. What’s something you splurge on?
Books and crochet yarns! Ssshh. Don’t tell my husband 🙂

7) Andy’s Moon River Theater still draws tourists to Branson, MO. Have you ever been to the Ozarks?
Never.

8) Andy had a discerning eye for Native American art. His collection of Navajo rugs was sold at auction for nearly $1,000,000. Have you ever bid on an auction?
Yes, I did on eBay. It was for a vintage wooden postcard. Lost the bid by a mile.

9) Andy told an interviewer that his earliest memory was hiding from a storm in the cellar of his family’s Iowa home. What’s your earliest memory?
Celebrating my birthday party at my grandparents’ house. Everything I remember about that birthday was in black-and-white tone, for some reason.

Dumb ways to die

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die.
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie
So many dumb ways to die.

My husband looked at me strangely while I was singing these lines today. Actually, I’ve been LSS*ing on this chorus for three days already. The lyrics are part of a campaign jingle launched by the Melbourne Metro Train last week in their efforts to raise awareness about safety in trains.

I watched the video that was shared by a friend in my twitter list several days ago and couldn’t get it out of my head. I laughed out loud at the adorably foolish lyrics of the jingle!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/4qMykLW4AXs[/youtube]

See what I mean? The chorus is so catchy (no fancy Bigsby vibrato effect in the instrumentation) and the animations are super-dooper cute. Cute.But.Violent.  So I think parental guidance is needed, for children below 13, lol. It is a brilliant ad campaign by the Melbourne (Australia) Metro Trains – what can I say, McCann Erickson hit the target with this jingle.  This video ad apparently is part of a larger multi-media compaign that includes radio, giant posters, and a website. This was video was launched only a few days ago and has became viral, already hitting the 4M mark on Youtube. The lyrics are in my head playing over and over. How can I dismiss it? Here goes:

Set fire to your hair
Poke a stick at a grizzly bear
Eat medicine that’s out of date
Use your private parts as piranha bait.

Dumb ways to die,
So many dumb ways to die.
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie,
So many dumb ways to die.

Get your toast with a fork
Do your own electrical work
Teach yourself how to fly
Eat a two-week old unrefrigerated pie.

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die.
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie,
So many dumb ways to die.

Invite a pyscho-killer inside
Scratch a drug-dealers’s brand new ride
Take your helmet off in outer space
Use a clothes-dryer as hiding place.

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die.
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie,
So many dumb ways to die.

Keep a rattle snake as pet
Sell both your kidneys on the Internet
Eat a tube of superglue
I wonder what’s this red button do?

Dumb ways to die
So many dumb ways to die.
Dumb ways to die-ie-ie,
So many dumb ways to die.>

Dress up like a moose during hunting season
Disturb a  nest of wasps for no good reason
Stand on the edge of a train station platform
Drive around boom gates at a level crossing
Run across the tracks between the platforms
They may not rhyme, but they are quite possibly…

The dumbest ways to die…
The dumbest ways to die…
The dumbest ways to die-ie-ie…
So many dumb…
So many dumb ways to die…

***

This post got me thinking… could we have something like this, but instead of singing about the dumbways to die, it describes the dumb ways of driving in Phnom Penh? Just saying.

*LSS – Last Song Syndrome