Reducing – ROW80 2019 R4-17

I’ve been really focused on reducing things in my life lately that aren’t bringing me joy. One of those things is formal piano lessons. I gave up on the formal lessons for now. I just don’t have the time and it’s turned something I enjoyed into something less fun. My teacher was awesome, but I need less on my to do list. I’m going to keep playing regularly at home though. I just felt like someone else would benefit from the time with her more and I’m sure someone out there wants lessons as a Christmas gift. With that said, I’m going to focus on learning music I like and using some songs I don’t to stretch my skills. I need to get into playing with a metronome, but I think I’m going to put it at a slower speed just to get comfortable with it. I think the money I’m going to save on lessons, I’ll put towards a Soundbrenner Pulse.

Also, tickets to concerts. I thought I had missed a band I really like. Then it came up in my Facebook notifications and even though it’s not until August, I got myself a ticket.

Another area is extra martial arts. I think I’m past the point of trying new arts or “collecting kata” as my Grand Sensei might call it. Not that I’m disinterested in learning new things, but I don’t want to commit to those new things the way I do with my other two arts. I decided this one in part while I was at a seminar this weekend. There was nothing bad about it, but while a friend was describing one of the kata at dinner, I could see he was really passionate about it. I didn’t feel that way at all about it. In the end, I just missed the arts I do practice.

Though it has been a short time, I like having less formal bookings on my schedule. I feel a little less stressed and like I have more time for the things I enjoy. I also like not having to leave home as much.


I’m working on getting my medical records transfered to my new doctor.

I also want to get back to skating regularly. I briefly thought about joining a gym, but realized I really just need to get back to skating. Skating, Martial Arts, and some home activities like my glider and Rushfit are more than enough for me to get back into shape. And the money I save can go toward a trip.


I haven’t done much on the declutter recently, but will get back to it soon. I have written a little plan to deal with the paper portion. I think that is going to be a huge deal once I get going on it. I think I’ll start this Saturday.


I’m thinking about trying out the chord-based way of learning piano. It’s supposed to be a quick way to learn. I found an online course that is inexpensive and the bonus is that I won’t have to drive anywhere in bad weather or schedule around it.

  • Let It Be
  • Lean on Me
  • Jurassic Park


I’m about two thirds of the way through Stephen King’s Thinner. I’m really enjoying it and wondering how it’s going to end.

  • 2/3


I haven’t done more on this project yet.

  • 9,525/50,000


I’ve been scaling back to be able to do more on this one.

  • 73,744/80,000


Metal Mania

I noticed that when I slow a song way down, I suddenly play it like crap. That’s how my first attempt at playing with the metronome went. But I think I played it at the wrong speed regardless. It’s just interesting that it completely fell apart. I’m now thinking it may be a good idea to play songs at all kinds of speeds regardless of what they were written to be played at.

This sort of complicates my plans. I was thinking that I could simply play metal versions by speeding songs up and adding distortion. I don’t think that’s going to be enough. Maybe key changes will also be needed to make them sound darker. Guess I better dust off my theory books and get acquainted with the Circle of Fifths.

There’s me being all ambitious again. Perhaps overly so. I’m having fun anyway.

Interestingly, Let It Be is written as moderately with a half note equaling 60 bpm. My piano teacher friend says that is basically, “Crap, that’s fast!” When I look up Let It Be online, the bpm ranges from 66 to 71 bpm, which isn’t fast at all. That’s Adagio speed according to my old, non-functioning metronome. Moderato says between 108-120. I have no idea how fast I should be playing it at this point.

I’ve been exploring metal to figure out which sub-genres I like. So far the list includes Nu, Funk, Alt, Goth, Industrial. I have nearly 300 bands to check out, which is super exciting! I’m checking out 5 songs of each to give them all a fair enough trial. I’ve found a ton with minimal screaming, which is fantastic. And yes, I’m aware some don’t think the Nu style is metal, but there are bands in there that reject the label like Slipknot and Disturbed.


I largely stalled in this area. I find I get stuck for a bit wondering what I should do next. I am repurposing another item from my bedroom. A cube storage unit. It will go in my dining room to get more things organized. Incidentally, after dusting it, I feel a lot better, so perhaps it was what was keeping me allergic in recent days.

  • Bathroom: Not Started
  • Paper: 79 pieces


  • R. Card: 63%
  • S. Card: 49.9%
  • Student Loan: 7.76%
  • Savings: TBD


I didn’t get started on working out on Friday. I was too exhausted after losing sleep several times during the week between the neighbour making noise at 3:30 in the morning on Wednesday and a storm waking me up early on Thursday. Hopefully this week is better for sleep.

I haven’t gone back to martial arts just yet because it’s still really easy to hurt my toe. If I flex the muscle by accident or if it sticks to the floor a bit, that’s all it takes. I haven’t been able to trim the nail yet because it hurts to touch there. I misplaced the sheet for the x-ray and I’m really annoyed about it.


  • Charlie et la Chocolaterie: 9/30


  • Memorize: Let It Be – There’s a piece I still trip over. Hopefully I have it down pat in time for my next lesson.
  • Learn: Downtown Abbey – I need to work on this one more.
  • Learn: Smells Like Teen Spirit – I haven’t worked on this one really at all.
  • Practice: C Scale – Getting better. Both hands are pretty good separately. Together is a whole different story.


Despite all the sleep disturbances, I was able to capture a ton of ideas that will help with structure issues and more. I just have to get them written and integrated into the book. Just.

  • The Spark: 72,312/80,000


I’m Back!

I join a lot of groups on Facebook for a short time. I like different viewpoints. Two things determine whether I will stick around longer. One is whether or not the people are friendly and open-minded. The other is whether or not the topics discussed are broad. In some groups, they fall into a pattern of discussing two sides of one issue over and over and over. I don’t have time for that nonsense. They are usually topics like whether or not God exists, which can’t be answered by anyone definitively yet and might never be. Or they’re a hot button topic like abortion, which I don’t enjoy repeatedly discussing.

I guess I also feel like I have a relatively short time on this planet and I could spend it rehashing the same things over and again, or I could learn about a wide variety of things and get busy making memories with loved ones. If others enjoy doing the same thing every day, all the power to them. I just end up feeling like I’m stuck in a time loop and not progressing on my goals.

Dreams only come true if you work on them.

My current read, Origin Story by David Christian, is a fascinating one. I’ve hit the point of the book where it talks about Laniakea.

Science is fucking awesome!

And life is too.

I feel more alive than I have in a very long time. Also more like the me I knew before the crappy things became too much of my life. More like a grown up version of the goth girl I was in high school before some people tried to change who I am. It may have taken awhile, but their plan failed. The sad thing is that most of my friends in Ottawa have never fully seen part of me because I was lost for a bit. And by a bit, I mean nearly 20 years.

Don’t let people change you. New knowledge and continuous self improvement are worthwhile ways to change yourself, but other people don’t know what they’re doing in their own lives most of the time, so just do you. Also, there are a lot more people out there, unfortunately, who would rather see people fail because they think life is a competition with others, when it’s really a competition with the self.


  • Bathroom: Not Started
  • Paper: 79 pieces


No change here yet.

  • R. Card: 59.6%
  • S. Card: 38.5%
  • Student Loan: 7.76%
  • Savings: TBD


Body wise, I’m a little frustrated right now. It’s hard to lose weight when you can’t be as mobile. It’s probably time I busted out my OYO Portable Gym and try the 10 week challenge. It’s 3 days at about 15 minutes each. I might not make it through 4 repetitions, but at least I can feel like I’m doing something. I read that as long as I keep my heel on the floor and don’t smash my toe again, I should be able to do some things like rowing, elliptical, and cycling. I’m not sure what to do about the warm up, but maybe in a chair, I will be okay.

I’m not sure when I’ll start this, but perhaps on Friday. Then I’ll be almost done by the time NaNoWriMo starts. Yep, it’s almost time to think about that. Halloween first though.


  • Charlie et la Chocolaterie: 9/30


I moved my piano so that I can just swivel around from my desk to it. My current musical idol, Viktoriya Yermolyeva, has a similar thing going on. You can find her channel here. It’s more comfortable like this. I can play for an hour easily when my bum isn’t sore.

I leave piano lessons so energized! I can’t wait for the next one 🙂

  • Memorize: Let It Be – Super close on memorization. I ended up trying it on almost every sound type in my keyboard as I was exploring sounds that may be good to distort 😀
  • Learn: Downtown Abbey – Getting better.
  • Learn: Smells Like Teen Spirit – Piano power chords will be helpful to know.
  • Practice: C Scale – Getting better.


Okay, the book had to be renamed as Josy no longer has anything to do with being a Page, because that was just unworkable. I’ve made her a kind of regular office worker as I think that is quite relate-able. I don’t plan on talking about her job a lot anyway. Well, not her first position anyway 😉

  • The Spark: 72,259/80,000


My World is Shrinking

Lately, I’m realizing Ottawa is much smaller than I thought. It began on my birthday when I found the access to the Rideau Canal, which has been close to my workplace all this time. Buildings I’ve known the addresses of for over a year, but never seen are around the corner from my dojo. The sempai, or senior student, at my dojo works in the same building as me. My friend’s dojo is around the corner from the park where Prose in the Park was held a couple of years ago, which is also a short walk from the bus station I frequented during school. All of these things I’ve only discovered this month and many were on the weekend that just passed!

Speaking of the weekend, mine was packed. Friday was spent making a Fukuro Shinai. It took about 4 hours and I still have to finish the handle wrapping. It has been the hardest part to make look nice. My fingernails were a bit sore on Saturday. Some of my fingers still hurt. Leather-working is pretty hard!

Otherwise, this weekend I battled my air conditioner as another heat wave struck Ottawa. For some reason, the exhaust tube keeps coming off and spewing hot air back into my condo instead of out of it. I’m hoping Gorilla tape will settle the matter.

Saturday brought my first piano lesson with my new teacher. She was really nice and I felt pretty comfortable with her right away. I think it’s a good fit. Because I’m only doing lessons biweekly and she has vacation during what would be our second class, I actually won’t have another until mid-August. That gives me plenty of time to perfect the piece and scale she assigned me. I really like the contemporary book we’re working with too.


I haven’t made any progress since Wednesday as I’ve been too busy on the weekend. I’ll be back at it in force soon though.

  • The Page & The Magician: 71,969/80,000


Nothing new here though I think my car might be paid off by now, so yay?

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.


  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: I was nervous for the demo, but I got a bit of practice time before we went up that helped to calm the nerves. It went really well and there were a few interested people, so maybe we’ll have a couple of new students.

*This will probably be in September.


  • General: I’ve got another box of stuff ready to go. I hope to be done cleaning sometime in this millennia.
  • Bathroom: Nothing much yet, but I have started some little things like a basket for the things I use everyday. I plan to get a couple more like it to put on eventual corner shelves. One will be for my hair dryer and flat iron.


No news here.

  • Read: 9/30
  • Class: I’ve reached out about assessment at work. After that, I can find out about training.


  • Piano: I started classes and I really like this teacher. She has me working on Let it Be by The Beatles. Also on my homework list is the C Major scale.


Warrior Wednesday – Pans


Image created using Bitmoji

1. Music

Pan Flute: This music always makes me think of martial arts films. Maybe I’m just weird because it also makes me think of Chinese buffets like The Mandarin. There are probably a few with that same name, but I went to a huge one in Ontario years ago and it’s that specific one. It can be quite relaxing.

2. Film

Jackie Chan: Of course Jackie Chan has used a pan as a weapon in his films. I’ve seen him use bamboo chutes, ladders, and many other household items, so I wasn’t surprised by this.

3. Legendary Martial Artist

Pan Qingfu: Grandmaster Pan was the man with the iron fist. He attained legendary status by age 30 having become proficient in over 20 styles of kung fu and studied with 15 masters of Chinese fighting arts. Pan Qingfu was one of China’s most respected martial artists. He was adept at knocking his opponents out and it is believed he never displayed his full power. He last trained students in Ontario, Canada before his passing.

4. Martial Art

Pankration: An ancient Greek submission style martial art with very few rules. More than a sport, it was practiced by many Greek and Spartan soldiers. It was said to be a combination of boxing and wrestling. Sounds a bit like the first MMA to me. It was also put to use in their mythology. There’s a documentary on it.

5. Tournament

Panamerican Internationals: An international sport karate tournament that is world renowned. This year it’s happening in November in Miami, Florida.


Symphonic Saturday – 11 Ways to Enjoy Music

music1There are many ways to enjoy music whether you have any talent or not.

  1. You can watch a musical or concert on TV. Whether it’s on Netflix or live, they can be a really fun way to change things up.
  2. You can be part of a musical. Okay, this might not be an option for everyone. I was fortunate that my high school was part of a school board where they ran a summer theatre program that performed musicals and I got to be part of Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, and the North American debut of Children of Eden.
  3. Attend a rock concert or music festival. This can be a lot of fun. Sometimes there are people who over celebrate though as alcohol is often widely available. Also, sometimes the weather can be unpredictable, so you might want some rain gear.
  4. Go to an orchestra performance. There are a wide range of orchestra options, so don’t think you just have the super fancy $100 and up ticket option only. Many smaller orchestras charge around $20 for their tickets. One of my favourites is Divertimento.
  5. Learn to play an instrument. Okay, this can be tough and pricey depending on how you go about it, but it doesn’t have to be for any reason other than having fun.
  6. Join a band. If you have mad skillz already, then why not join a band?
  7. Hold jam nights. Occasionally, my friends and I will pull out instruments and just screw around with them. None of us are spectacular, but it’s so much fun to play around with them anyway.
  8. Pop some music on while you clean. The time will go by quickly and you can take dance breaks while no one’s watching 😉
  9. You could try your hand at writing song lyrics.
  10. You could compose some music.
  11. If you’re feeling really brave or you’ve had enough liquid courage, you could do some karaoke.

Bonus: You can read rock fiction, which is a fiction style based on rock music.


Symphonic Saturday – Jung on Music

music1Rather than spending a large amount of time writing my own piece, I thought I’d share this one I stumbled onto about Carl Jung and Margaret Tilly.

It’s also Cinco de Mayo today, so whatever you do, remember to avoid drinking and driving. It may also be Revenge of the Fifth if you celebrated Star Wars Day yesterday. If you just continued partying, you’ll get your hangover this evening or tomorrow.

And it’s the season opener of the newly formed Ottawa Valley Roller Derby tonight at 5:30 PM at Brewer Arena! I’m excited about this as I no longer have to choose which games to go see 🙂

Enjoy yourself and be safe.


Symphonic Saturday – Cold Music

music1So I got distracted by friends and Poutine Fest yesterday. Sorry! In my defense, there was a gluten free truck!

There is an organ in Moscow. It’s debatable how musical it is, but this video is pretty cool.

But this is the one I was actually looking for. Here’s another.

There is an entire festival in Norway on ice music.

The tones that ice instruments make are different than cold instruments. They’re also different than almost anything else. To me, they sound almost otherworldly.

But I can’t imagine that it is comfortable to play most of them with the need for the instrument to stay cold and your hands needing to be warm.

They’re beautiful though and I could see there being a certain level of honour involved in playing them.


Frisky Fraturday – Entropy, Sex, and Music

music1So… I forgot to post yesterday. Sorry for that. I haven’t been sleeping well, or eating well, and there’s tons of homework to get done in these last two weeks. There has been some extra stress in my life recently that I’m not going to get into. Suffice it to say someone wasn’t who I thought they were. And someone else was exactly who I feared they were.

I also have the extra stress of rapidly house cleaning before Monday because they’re doing fire inspections. Why they can’t wait until May, so people don’t have to put their tax papers away only to dig them out again to finish their taxes, I don’t know.

But as my home gets cleaner and as I get an assignment done, I feel a little better.

Entropy and sex. Well, I could go down the rabbit hole of ejaculate breaking apart into individual sperms only to come together again in an egg and create life. That could be seen as entropy, I suppose.

I think it works better as a dating analogy though. Sometimes something busts apart and it can feel like everything is awful, but then it puts you in the position to meet someone that gets you. Someone you actually feel comfortable talking to. And maybe something new and good will be created from it.

Entropy and music? Hmmm, well, we largely learned songs in pieces, put them together, and broke them apart again at troublesome points to get better. I wish I could say I was diligent at learning songs that way today, but playing is more of a soulful stress-relieving thing rather than a thing I see myself doing for a living. It also helps me through writer’s block. Writing songs though? Yeah, I plan to do that.

But I realized tonight that half the songs my last guitar teacher gave us are not my kind of music and I think that’s why I rarely play more than about five of the ones in my book. I should remedy that soon. I love hearing others play things like House of the Rising Sun, but I don’t enjoy trying to play it. Give me some Evanescence, Of Monsters and Men, Blink 182, and maybe some Nine Inch Nails or Manson and I’ll probably be more excited about it.

Anyway, off for food, more cleaning, maybe more homework or work for a client. I have some new plans for my feature film, so I may put some TV on for research purposes.