Made this recording really just because I wanted to break the dry spell and get back into it.
Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything,” pretty close to the original - meant less creativity/energy/brainpower necessary to arrange it. (Sorry, guys, for the laziness.)
Same problems - rhythm, ends and releases of notes/phrases, clipped vowels, over-enthusiastic consonants. Future homework for when I become an income-earning adult and can afford to pay for voice lessons!
Skyped with my parents this morning, and my mother said - of my blizzard pictures - that it looks pretty. She declared it pretty (“Mm. Pretty.”); it was a unchallengeable statement.
It might look pretty enough from the windows of a warm, safe home, but walking around in it post-blizzard… not so much.
I didn’t bring my camera out today, but I wish I had, so I could document the carnage. It basically looks like someone went around with trucks of white sand-crap and dumped it all over the neighborhood. It looks like those termite hills in Nigeria, just white: (this picture probably wasn’t taken in Nigeria though)
It’s crumbly and messy and everywhere. I passed a front-loader, shoveling snow, on my way to the library. An front-loader. Like this:
Can you picture how much snow there is now?
For the next 2 or 3 months of winter, everyone’s yard will look like a white dump (or a tip, for British-English speakers), no one’s floors will be clean, because everyone’s boots will track in salt and dirt and snow and it’ll all melt into these gross puddles. There’s even snow in my mailbox. My mailbox! Ruining things like the CD that Elliot sent to me from the UK. Nothing will be safe or tidy for the rest of winter! Nothing, you hear me! Nothing!
(Cue melodramatic roar of thunder.)
All I’m saying is, given how clean and neat my Mum is, she would not appreciate it.
Eleven days into this eleventh year of the millenium, and I still have to fight my habit of calling it the “new millenium.” That descriptor expired while I wasn’t paying attention - yet what is ten years, in the span of human history? With thousands of recorded human history behind us, and still forty more years of the “early 2000s” to live out, ten years is hardly something to holler about, objectively-speaking.
Subjectively-speaking, this past decade is the first I’ve lived through with full-grown - or at least approximating full-grown - awareness and understanding. Being between ages 11 to 22, I have a continuous cache of memories for the entire period of the naughties, beginning with the moment we crossed into the millenium in Singapore, throwing a “chicken pox” party with my godsiblings at their house (one of my godsisters caught it, the rest of us caught it from her intentionally, to get it over with - well, at least I know I did). Most of our parents were out, on standby shifts at their offices, just in case the much-feared millenium bug hit, which we now know was a non-issue. It seems the bug decided to stay dormant for 10 years and manifest only in iPhones, to the anti-climatic effect of silencing their alarms. How peculiar.
I crossed into this decade in completely different circumstances - ones that I couldn’t have imagined at age 11. In the EST timezone, in the company of a dear friend and her loved ones in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, watching the ball drop in New York and Dick Clark speak on TV, over a glass of champagne (that would take me at least three hours to finish, naturally). I was a college Senior, and had spent most of the past three and half years living outside of Singapore. I had found friends from around the world, and seen my Singaporean friends and family spread across the world (true story!). Most incredibly, I was wearing long sleeves and long trousers, and thankful for heating. A far cry from shorts and air-conditioning, I’d say!
If the past few years have been an adventure, 2010 was its climax. I did so many things I either dreamed of or didn’t dare to dream of, whether it was watching concert after concert of favorite music acts, or travelling Europe, seeing world-famous artwork, going to an internationally-renowned university. I took pictures, I cycled (big deal in my book!), I hiked, I ice-climbed, I skied - and ate so many meals so awesome that I can’t even justify complaining if I never have another good meal in my life. In one year, I got to sing Liturgical, Classical, Avant-Garde, Pop, Folk, Contemporary Worship, Jazz and Gospel music. With help from housemates and other adults, I moved into my own apartment. I also wrote several papers, burrowed through countless academic texts, oversaw numerous events, sent invitations, coordinated RSVPs, and had many 3-hour or 3am nights, for reasons both productive and anything-but. Now, I’m capable of keeping to a (loose, but existant!) research schedule, without anyone to police me - instead of descending into non-stop TV-watching, no-sleep/no-food chaos. (Freshman winter break, this is not!)
All in all, looking back on these 10 years brings me to one very convincing conclusion: God is faithful, powerful, and above all good. Did I think I’d ever get to live anywhere else but Singapore? No. Did I ever think I’d be anything but a lazy, unmotivated, distracted-dilly-dally bum of a person? Definitely not. Did I ever think I’d get to go to Oxford, travel Europe, try athletic things, eat mind-blowing cuisine, sing all kinds of music, make new, true friends? No, on all counts. If it wasn’t for Him, who put me in my loving and supportive family, who opened doors and paved ways, who sustained me and molded me and accompanied me, I would have experienced none of the above. None.
So, looking forward to graduation, to finding a job, to looking for a place to live, possibly relocating to a new city or country, do I have any reason to fear?
Based on His track record, for these past 10, even 22 years of my life, I don’t have any reason to think that He would fail to take care of me, or fail to make me a better person. There’s so much work to do in this world - He’s on it, and He’ll definitely get me in on it too.
So bring it on, 2011! This year, I resolve to live joyfully. Laughing, having fun, spending time with people, being active, taking on meaningful projects, reading for pleasure, making music - because life is a gift to be enjoyed, in all of its ups, in spite of its downs. I resolve to take care of myself, my possessions (please don’t let me break another phone/laptop/travel mug), and people around me. I resolve to leave behind headless-chicken scrambling or insomnia, and respond to panic or anxiety with productive work or rest.
This year, I resolve to live well, placing my trust in the Hope of the world.
Hebrews 12 (GOD’S WORD Translation)Faith Directs Our Lives1Since we are surrounded by so many examples of faith, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up. 2We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of Him, so He endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought Him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God. 3Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up.
Second to words, I’m a numbers guy. I like significant dates, digits, and planetary transits. I’ve been drawn to the number 1134 since I discovered while dangling upside-down with a calculator that it read, HELL. Seeing 1134 on the clock, odometer, or as the total on a receipt always makes me feel, if sadistically, like I’m in the right place at the right time. The same with 11:11. I always make a wish. Of course, whether or not it works is all just a story I made up, but it shifts my attention back to that of synchronicity and universal harmony and I’m okay with that. I try not to be too superstitious, and find these brain games are much more fun than fear.
I was born on June 23rd. My Best friend Stevie was July 23rd. We both got tattoos of the number 23 on his birthday at the Chelsea Hotel, which happens to be on 23rd Street. 23 has always been a number I play in Vegas.
Tristan Prettyman’s birthday is May 23rd. We first met at pal Anya Marina’s birthday party - September 23rd. We hit it off instantly by syncing our interest in this magical prime number. Whenever she or I come upon it, whether being sat at table 23, or assigned seat 23 on a plane, we almost-always and/or involuntarily think about the other. We currently live 23 miles apart. She too has the number 23 inscribed on her body, and on November 23rd, I bought her a diamond ring.
Nova, my astrologer, was over the moon. She knew I’d just entered one of the best cycles for marriage, that being Saturn 1 (of 12 possible houses. Saturn being a 29 revolution that weighs heavily on our emotional/spiritual journey – each house lasting about 2.5 years.) I’ve checked in with Nova for nearly 9 years now and she always confirms my intuition and offers great data, which is wise to consider before ever losing your marbles completely. You’d be surprised how many cosmic forces there are pushing you this way or that. I love astrology for the way I get to experience a deeper connection to EVERYTHING.
Nova’s advice for the proposal: “Don’t do it during Mercury in retrograde!” Oh sh*t! I thought. December 23rd is smack dab in the middle of retrograde. (Retrograde being a period when the Planet Mercury’s revolution is at such an odd angle, it appears to reverse directions in the sky. It last about 2 weeks and happens every couple of months. During this event, it’s typical to have breakdowns, especially in the areas where we rely on gadgetry and/or technology.) Long story short, I had breakdowns in all areas of communication – namely, a missing fed-ex package containing one very purposeful engagement ring.
I had hoped to propose at our favorite beach during sunset on the 23rd, and the no-show ring was a setback that meant I couldn’t leave my house for 2 days. On the 22nd, I woke up and the power was out. GADS! Any delivery person needs electricity to get buzzed thru the gate. I freaked out thinking I’d missed it. I cursed myself for not having battery storage on the solar! After I’d opened the gate manually, I hung out in the driveway ALL DAY. I was too nervous to even go to the backyard afraid I’d miss the drop. I went through every emotion, cursing Fed-Ex two days before jolly Christmas. “Who do they think they are?! Don’t they know I am a valued customer? This is the last time… Blah Blah Bah Humbug!”
I had frustration, stress, chest pain, you name it. It was the result of having an expectation versus possibility. When an expectation fails, you’re rewarded with a good old-fashioned upset. But when a possibility fails, all you’re left with is more possibility. This Possibility vs. Expectation is a simple transformative tool that can keep you from bloodying your knuckles when something goes awry. I highly recommend it.
At 4pm on the 23rd, I went into a Zen state in total trust that the ring would somehow arrive on time. I kicked back and enjoyed the sunset from my home, alone. All was and is perfect. The universe was asking that I take a few more hours to “get it.” I laughed as I saw how waiting on the ring is just like waiting on her, which I’m quite used to by now. (She’s not primping. She just doesn’t do short goodbyes. Reason 823 to love her.)
The ring finally arrived at dusk and just before the 23rd hour of the 23rd day of December I proposed to Tristan Ann Prettyman by the sea under a blanket of stars and a watchful bright moon. And she said yes.
I designed the ring to hold 46 stones - 23 for her. 23 for me. The section surrounding the main diamond is laid out with 11 on one side and 11 on the other. This way, it’s always 11:11. The stone on top, that which symbolizes our coming together as one, makes 23. The Carat Weight? What else: 2.3.
We both see this being a long engagement, but would love to get married within the next 2.3 years. She will likely retain her beautiful name, but should she decide to hyphenate, Tristan Ann Prettyman-Mraz makes 23 letters.
(So does Mr. And Mrs. Jason Thomas Mraz.)
Happy Holidays from Me & TP.
P.S. Mercury is no longer in retrograde. Live it up.
I’m well aware that ‘tis the season for reflection and goal-setting, but while sitting here in the living room of the Williamses, watching the Rose Parade on TV for the first time in my 22-year life, I read the two very sweet blog entries of Tristan Prettyman and Jason Mraz respectively, about their recent engagement, and I figured - oh, heck, my self-centred obsessions and opinions about my own life can wait. These should be shared.
So the next two entries will be reblogs of their words.
Adding my voice to the rest of the world’s Prettyman-Mraz fans - congratulations to the happy couple!