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A whole new world ♪

Since Lin ZX taught me how to breathe properly, I feel like I've discovered an entirely new organ for singing. I feel my singing skill has improved 200% - I'm just capable of so much more now, it's like only using one eye for your whole life and suddenly you open your other eye and things are in 3D now! Which is kind of why I'm very excited and obsessive about singing now. Also exacerbated by falling into the utaite fangirl craziness well recently.

Here is my understanding of how I used to use my voice. I have no actual vocal training so I'm just going to use terminology as I please, and most likely incorrectly. When I'm speaking, I mostly use my throat, therefore it's the most well-trained at controlling expression and tone. When I'm singing, I also mostly use my throat. Obviously your speaking voice only has so much range, so for higher notes, I use my head voice. Which is itself composed of different parts, but generally this means pushing the note out from my head region.. ok this sounds weird and totally incomprehensible. Anywayy, when I use head voice I prefer the style with actual full tone rather than the breathiness that I call falsetto. That's the kind you get when you're humming something, and I generally don't like it because it sounds like it has no strength.

Now, I have discovered that there is a third region of voice generation. I call this chest voice, but it's really pushing the note from your diaphragm and letting it resonate in your chest. This is how Keiko sings all the time, and it gives her that deep, powerful, smooth tone. This is also related to how Terry Lin breathes, because it uses much less breath and gives a stronger tone than using your throat.

Importantly, it's also much less damaging. When I used to use my throat for everything, after singing for a while my throat would get tired and start to hurt. And I'm pretty sure that's how a lot of people get nodules. The throat region isn't very well-suited to generating power (at least mine isn't), and I know that proper singing technique requires pushing from the diaphragm. And now I know why - you get much more power for the amount of breath used and it doesn't hurt at all!

However, I realised that I can't purely use chest for lower range either. Because it's really hard to stay on pitch. And I can't change the tone colour. I have to use some throat to be able to control the pitch and the expression well. I think it's ok to use some power from throat, it's just bad to use 100% throat power like I used to. I'm now trying to relearn to sing with this throat/chest mix all the time. I need sing with my throat as I always have but transfer the power generation to the chest region. Also, using chest voice makes holding long notes so so much easier. Using purely throat, because of the lack of power, can be unstable unless I really push or prepare well. Now, with chest I don't even need to prepare and I can hold notes for a very long time. I'm still struggling with keeping the pitch stable though, especially on belted notes. I think I'm not used to the chest contribution, so I just need to learn to control pitch better with this new type of voice.

Chest voice has also helped me learn two new kinds of head voice too. My past head voice, which I still really like to use, is like the throat/chest mix described above, except it's a throat/head mix, so the note is controlled by the throat but the power is mainly head. I can get really powerful clear notes with it, but sometimes, especially if my throat is tired, I can't do it properly. I think because of the high range, I do need strength from throat to do it, but using diaphragm (ok I guess it isn't really chest voice) to support it helps. Particularly on the higher end of my high range, if I don't use diaphragm, the notes are thinner and weaker. So this is kind of a chest/throat/head mix, where I'm using power from both chest and head to support the high notes. I think this is how more operatic style singing works too. And as a side note, this style and LinZX have also taught me that mouth shape is important! Open your mouth for high notes!

The other kind of head voice I've recently acquired is the Kogeinu style head voice.  Unlike other male utaite who sing/scream ridiculously high, Koge keeps a clear, powerful tone. I can do it by pushing the throat/head mix very much to the head side, and getting a more pressurised, narrow note. This extends my high range quite a bit without stressing my throat more, though I'm a little worried that it may not be good for my voice though, because by pushing even more you can get high screams.

Even higher that that would be whistle notes, where you essentially try to sound like a dolphin. Whistle is weird because it doesn't really use head power and is more of a falsetto extension (at least the way I'm doing it, which could be wrong), but I don't practise it much because it's difficult and stressful on my voice.

Other vocal techniques to work on:

Chest-head transition
One thing that LinZX has been praised for his mastery of, is his consistent chest/head mix throughout his whole (very large) range. Wakana is also very good at this. Basically, they use the same kind of head voice mix for both low and high range, so you can't tell where their chest voice range ends. It's really good for keeping the flow in passages that skip over that break in your range between chest and head, and keeping a consistent tone. However, I can't do it because my chest and head voice sound very different to each other. And I'm not a big fan of the way my head mix sounds when I use it at chest voice range. I think because I lose the head power at lower range so it sounds too weak.

Shouting/screaming/growling
I don't know what this is called actually. Like, when you get a bit of a rough edge on a belted note? After Rib's nama where he was trying to scream like Sekihan (low death metal growls) (lol) and then demonstrated his rough edge on a held note, I really wanted to learn this. Actually, I've always wanted to be able to do this, but I can only do a real one, like clearing your throat, which is really bad for your voice, rather than the technique version, which is the same effect but you use your diaphragm so you don't ruin your throat. However, I've given up for the time being, a) because I think people that can do it have to find a little natural roughness somewhere in their voice and I can't find any, my voice is too clean b) even if you do it the technique way, it will make you voice rougher over time, and I prefer to keep my clean tone. Funnily enough, when I was trying to push my diaphragm to get a rough tone, I accidentally learned how to vibrato instead. I've always sung fairly vibrato-free, which I do prefer, but being able to vibrato when I need to has been something else I've been wanting to learn. Now I can do the 'vibrato at the end of a long note to hide pitch wobbliness' which a lot of people do.

Overtone singing
One singer, multiple notes. I first encountered this wtf technique a while ago, but I always thought it would be impossibly hard to learn. Or just impossible full stop. But yesterday, I saw this video, and it's actually quite easy to learn! Basically, you sing a low fundamental note (has to be strong and stable), and shape your mouth/throat to resonate at harmonic frequencies. Because I can whistle, I have some idea of the shape needed. Now to get them louder and actually control them..

Random gripe
I can't pronoun certain words properly. Like 'just'. The vowel disappears and I can't get it to appear and not sound forced lol. Very annoying.

Terry Lin

Recently, I discovered the Taiwanese singer 林志炫 and I love his clear, gentle tenor voice. Another guy showing me that a clear and light type of voice can still be emotive and powerful.
He's also taught me many things, mostly about singing.

1. His thoughts on using the range and clarity/stability of the falsetto voice mixed with the strength of the chest voice are exactly what I've been trying to improve in my own singing. And particularly, he talks about using breath/diaphragm more efficiently to support the high/extended notes rather than trying to force them with your throat, which is exactly what I've been trying to learn! I feel that he was worked very hard to achieve the mastery over his voice over such a wide range that he now has.

2. I was watching another singer expressing sadness/agony by deliberately letting his voice go rough and break a little, and scrunching his face a lot. I realised that Terry Lin doesn't do that. In fact he doesn't move his body around a lot while singing or make exaggerated facial expressions. He is able to convey so emotion with just his voice and how he connects with the music, while still keeping a clear and beautiful tone. He really puts his entire soul into the music via his voice and that's what I love about him. Of course, you also need the talent and mastery to do it, but this is something I aspire to. To express emotion and reach the audience purely through singing, without needing to act it out as well. It's a type of intensity completely different from the intensity I admire in rock bands such as Muse and Panic, which I never appreciated before.

3. It is great to fangirl over a Chinese singer because I can actually understand the interviews and such for once! Also he has the most baby face. Still can't believe he's 48 years old! I would have believed you if you told me he was in his late twenties D: Especially since he's been in showbiz for so long, which generally ages you more quickly. (It's my pet theory that ice skating has the opposite effect)

I first learned #1 from my absolute favourites Kalafina, but only now do I realise they also do #2 so well. It's probably part of why I love them so much, I just never thought about it.


EDIT: After watching so many videos of him, here are some more reasons I love him:
- His breath control is amazing. Not only can he hold long notes, and quiet notes, and belt, but at what I would expect to be the end of a big/long note, he can get more power out of seemingly nowhere!

- I really want to learn to do the inaudible breathing he does. Even when quickly taking in a big breath before a big note you can hardly hear it. And during normal verses, you can't even tell where he's breathing. I assume he is breathing.. surely even he can't sing continuously for that long, right. It really makes a huge difference to the seamless flow of the performance, and it's something I never paid much attention to before. (Wakana is very bad at this.. and so am I. Breathing in big audible gasps :( )

- He is such a pro. The way he sings is technically so difficult but he is such a master that he doesn't seem to strain at all, and all his lives are so consistent. And he sings with such emotion! And the falsetto/head voice - which I know now is actually difficult for guys to control. But he has such confidence over his whole range ahh I love him. Actually I really love the fact that, although he does have a naturally beautiful voice, considering natural talent alone, he isn't as amazing as many others. But combine that with the hard work and training and constantly trying to improve and taking care of his voice - he is probably one of the best singers I know.

- I also love his personality (a necessary part of fangirling). He's so humble and shy and a little awkward but also funny and dorky and self-deprecating. He's quiet and polite but also chatty and intelligent and has many thoughts about singing and music. And he loves singing and music so much - he only thinks of how to create the best performances and best songs, and doesn't care about fame or awards, only that there are people that appreciate his music. I'm so happy for him that he lives a life that lets him do that - create music for the love of it and not for profit or competition.

I love watching him on bai wan ge xing because firstly, regardless of where he is, he always sings 100% properly. Even in rehearsals or humming a tune, it's like he doesn't know how to sing half-heartedly. Apparently he kept making people cry when rehearsing during wo shi ge shou. And secondly, on bai wan ge xing, you can see that he does spend all his time singing because he really knows a lot of songs and can remember even the most difficult of lyrics. And can sing in different styles - he totally deserves his nickname of 'original singer killer', because his covers really are often better than the original.

Things my dad says

D: I think I may be starting to get wrinkles.
Me: *dad you're 60 you've had wrinkles for 20 years*
Me: *trying to be nice* No, I can't see any.
D: So you are short-sighted! Doesn't the doctor keep telling you you're short-sighted?

No, the doctor doesn't tell me I'm short-sighted because I'm not! Gah. I think he gets a kick of out how annoyed I get when he just makes up medical problems for me. Like telling people I broke my foot (I didn't) from ice skating (I was on land) and the doctor told me stop jumping around (he didn't.. he even explicitly agreed that it was ok for me to continue skating because it's just a sprain).

Just an average convo with my mum

M: Take the rubbish out.
Me: But it's not even full yet.
M: I don't care, it has to go.
Me: *consoling the bin* Aw, poor rubbish, you're not even full yet but mummy doesn't want you anymore.
M: Have you gone crazy? How could you say something like that to the bin?
Me: Shouldn't you be concerned that I'm talking to the bin at all?

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IKE ganbatte!

The first time I listened to SPYAIR I distinctly remember thinking 'wow IKE is a really good live singer but how does he sing with such a gravelly tone all the time and not ruin his voice?' I felt worried for a while, but then a little reassured when I heard his speaking voice and realised that it's naturally a little husky. So maybe singing like that all time was ok for him and not killing his voice.

And now my fears have been confirmed. IKE has developed throat/voice problems because the band is getting more and more popular and they have more engagements/stress etc and he finally lost his voice in the middle of a tour. They took a short break but he didn't get better and now the band is on hiatus until he does. Poor IKE, I really feel for him because I'm pretty sure he must be feeling very stressed and depressed and that he's let the band and staff and all their fans down. I want to send supportive and cheerful thoughts to him everyday, and most of all, tell them to take as much time as they need for IKE to be healthy (and maybe change his technique!).

SPYAIR, please take strength from the passion and faith of your fans and fight on! Don't break up and don't let IKE leave for silly reasons! You've been through so much together, and each of you is now an irreplaceable component of a unique and talented band. You will get through this!

And now I'm worried my other favourites who don't always treat their voices well - Hikaru and Hyesung I'm looking at you! It's probably a requirement to achieve such a range of emotion and unique tones to be pushing your voice sometimes, but don't overdo it please! And stop smoking already Steve!

As I mentioned in my last post I'm now trying to change my own singing technique to use more diaphragm and less throat, which will reduce strain, but I'm having a hard time getting the same depth of emotion. Need to keep working on it! (In related news I bought my first microphone! Recording time wheee)

SINGING WHOAA OHHH OHH

I've picked up many hobbies over the years. These generally go through a period of fanatic obsession, then sort of fade to the background, probably overshadowed by new obsessions. But I never stop loving things I've fallen in love with, even if I only think about it now and then. I've often lamented how this pattern prevents me from ever being super super proficient at something - I pick things up quickly but also plateau quickly and lose motivation.

I'm hoping that my new obsession of skating will last a long time though, because it's one of the only things that I haven't learned quickly. Perhaps having to put in the long hours and hard work with incremental improvement will keep me motivated for a long time.

But I'm actually here to talk about singing. Last year, a stranger asked me what my dream is. My dream for my life. Throughout my life, whenever I've tried to consider what career I should take, I've always thought I had no idea. I'm a jack of all trades, I'm sort of good at everything, and I'm sort of interested in everything. There's no one thing that I'm super passionate about that I could just focus all my energy on. And I'm so jealous of those that do know what they want to do, and who they want to be. I've always wanted to have that. But when I was asked that question, I immediately thought that my dream, my ultimate fantasy, is to be a singer.

I never realised this before, but singing is the one hobby that has never faded into the background. I have always loved to sing, and have always been obsessed about singing, good singers, and improving my own singing. I love bands and from early high school I would fantasize about being in a rock band. Which most people probably do, but I tried to make it a reality with some friends. Just as a hobby in our spare time. I thought I would be happy with that, but recently I abandoned the band, because I don't care for just being in a band, the thing I'm truly passionate about is singing in a band. When I lost the position of singer I had no desire to rehearse at all. There are other reasons why I feel the band isn't working for me, which I suppose would count as 'creative differences' - namely, that no one else in the band loves the same music I do or is particularly motivated to push the band forward. I also feel bad because I feel that the majority of the effort comes from a particular member, who I feel is only doing it for my sake. And I'm not even putting effort into it anymore because I'm not singing, and we're not doing songs I love.

Hookay I think I had to get that off my chest because just before I lost motivation for the band I was ranting about how much we should be thankful we even have this opportunity, this great group of good friends, and the musical equipment and space, to live out this dream. And that we should try hard to find the time to make it work, so we can create amazing memories and leave our mark. Because otherwise we would regret it when we're older. I actually entered this mindset after missing fusion band so much for so long. Wishing I could go back to the best days of my life, wishing I could have made more of it or kept it going. And I told myself, that the only way to stop wanting to live in those memories, is to create new memories, and new amazing moments.

Well, even though I've given up on the band, I still want to sing. To be a singer. Particularly as I feel I have improved so much from my fusion days. Of course, it's impossible for me to make a career out of singing, because the reality is I just don't have what it takes. I'm not talented, unique, pretty or confident enough. But I want to do more with this hobby than just sing in my house every day. Now I'm thinking of recording myself with instrumental tracks, like the utaite. I have no equipment (but I have a room with fantastic acoustics), but I can record crappy quality audio. It's actually really good for my singing, to hear what I actually sound like. I can hear just how thin certain voices are, and how I always pf into high notes. I never knew that before, but it's so annoying and I need to fix it. And my jazzy low tone that I'm so proud of is not actually very jazzy or low.

Recently I feel that I am learning a lot and evolving my singing, mostly from watching and listening to famous singers I adore. Hayley Williams of Paramore and Ike of Spyair and many rock band singers taught me how electrifying power and energy is, so for a while I tried to push power into my voice. I always hated how sweet and light my voice is, and wanted more texture in it. But Shin Hyesung of Shinhwa taught me that a sweet voice can be energetic too. Emotions and rawness can be conveyed through a sweet, clear voice too. So I shouldn't fight my natural tone so much.

My absolute favourite singers are the girls of Kalafina. They have such strong, unique vocal personalities, and really sing from the soul, using their whole bodies. I guess that is what I appreciate the most in singers - unique voices, and ability to produce emotion, which comes hand in hand with mastery over their voice. Wakana and Keiko taught me a lot about strength and pure tone by using diaphragm support. Although using the throat appears to give me a wider range of textures/voices, I believe that mastering diaphragm support can get you so much more. As a long time throat voice user, diaphragm voices are hard for me to use now, especially to get variations of tone, but I definitely feel that tones are stronger and eventually I should be able to control them. It means I won't strain my throat so much either, which I have had problems with in the past from over-training.

Speaking of tone variation, Hikaru's voices are so unique and sometimes she is capable of conveying so much emotion, although her mastery isn't quite to the level of Wakana and Keiko. She's not as consistent, but when she's on, she's amazing. Consistency is something else I'm starting to realise the importance of. I guess I'm a bit of a Hikaru in that I have my amazing moments, where I know I'm good, but then I have a lot of average days too. I used to justify this by saying to myself that I shouldn't be judged on off days, because I know I'm capable of good days, but I realised recently that this hit and miss is merely the sign of a bad singer. Being good means being consistent enough that even your off days are still good, and your on days are amazing. That's what the girls in Kalafina can do. I need to become consistent. Skating has taught me this too - it doesn't matter if you can hit your jump amazingly 1 in 10 tries, it's only with consistency that you can be considered successful.

Wakana and Keiko have been so inspiring to me particularly after I read a certain interview. I consider them masters of the art of singing, but in an interview, Wakana stated that there was a period of time when she wanted to quit Kalafina because she felt she wasn't good enough. Wakana always stresses about live performances, and she has the most exposed parts (high descants) and receives the most criticism from Kajiura. I sometimes hear the tension in her voice, which is when I feel that she is worried about hitting those high notes properly. When I read this story, I cried, because I felt the exact same thing about fusion. I loved fusion so much, it was really the best thing that had ever happened to me, but at the same time I felt I couldn't do it anymore because I couldn't live up to the standard I set for something so amazing and special to me. It's such a conflicting feeling that's difficult to explain, and no one around me could understand it, but it was a huge source of stress for me. And it sounded like one of the most talented, consistent performers I know, had gone through the exact same feeling.

Keiko stated in her interview that she feels a little strange about her background. Unlike almost all the professional singers around her, Keiko did not receive formal musical training or grow up in a musical environment. In fact, it sounds like she decided in high school to become a singer and joined a performing arts school out of nowhere. I believe Keiko managed to become a singer through a combination of youthful naivety, recklessness and luck. She does have an amazingly unique and powerful alto tone, but back then she probably didn't make full use of it. It was only when working with FictionJunction for a concert, that she felt discouraged for the first time, because she couldn't read music and couldn't keep up with the other singers at all. Her range was limited and she couldn't sing most of the melody lines. But even when it seemed like she was so impossibly far behind everyone else, instead of quitting, Keiko became extremely hardworking and determined to become a better singer, and now look at her. She is a master and, according to Kajiura, one of the best altos in Japan.

Something else I love about Keiko is her stage presence. She is so full of energy and so in tune with her body, she totally could have been a dance singer. But even when not jumping or moving around, she is so expressive with her face and body language.

Stage presence is so important when you want to connect with your audience, and is something I'm absolutely crap at. It's really a confidence and mental game though, and I think I have changed a lot in that area since the last time I performed (maybe two years ago.. wow it's been a while). I was always frustrated that I could never perform to even 50% of my normal ability. Due to nerves and doubt. I used to constantly stress over how badly things could go in a performance - I would always tense up and worry every moment there was a chance I could miss the pitch, or use the wrong voice, emphasize the wrong words. I thought I was going to choke on all the saliva building up in my mouth while my throat was dry and tense. But now, I want to look at performances as a way to give all of myself, with no holding back and no second guesses. A moment to engage in emotion as much as possible, with no room for thoughts of technique or embarassment. No apologies, just own it. (Ah, Johnny Weir you are so wise)
I'm trying to take this philosophy into my scientific presentations too, and I think it's working.

Oh wow. I actually only wanted to say a few lines, but it appears that, as I don't post here much anymore, when I do, it becomes mega wall of text. Sorry. I intended to say that Hanataba is the new Gloria to me, in that I'm super obsessed with it and really want to sing it. (As an aside, this song and Sound Horizon made me finally appreciate accordians.) Hikaru's voice here - I don't even know how to describe it, it's kind of metallic and nasally - ok those words make it sound really bad, but her tone and emotion here is so unique and I love it so much. I love the chorus too. As I mentioned before, Hikaru is the member whose normal is slightly below the other two, and is the only one who uses tones I actively dislike (but less often now), but her spikes of genius are just breathtaking. The other two also have many moments where they take my breath away, but maybe because it happens less often I'm more obsessed when Hikaru does it? I think it's also her unique voice and singing style too. Right now my top four Hikaru genius songs are: Aria, Hanataba, Gloria, Sprinter. Then there's songs with her deep rockish voice like progressive and magia.. ahh if I was to continue to talk about breathtaking moments I think we'd have to go through the whole Kalafina catalogue. Clearly I'm a huge fan. Will not be happy if I can't see them live before I die (or they break up, which is more likely to happen but makes me feel more sad).
Life as a scientist really is a rollercoaster. I guess life in general is a rollercoaster. I hate rollercoasters.

When you've done a particular type of experiment many times, you become more efficient at it and obtain nicer results. Over the last week I did an experiment that I have done so many times that it should have gone very smoothly and given me nice data. It's a pleasant change from doing new types of experiments and screwing them up multiple times before you can get anything vaguely usable. But it's so much more frustrating when a reliable assay doesn't go well, for no apparent reason other than the universe hates me.

Here are potential things that can go wrong with this assay that should be resolved by now:
1. T cell prep. At the start, I was getting purities of 60-70%. You're supposed to get around 90%. Eventually we figured out this was due to an issue that wasn't my fault, and after fixing that issue and improving my technique, I can get 90% pretty consistently. This time, I got 98.4%. That's a record for me! And I had a good yield. I was happy.
2. Injections. Although I picked up the technique straight away when I first learned how to do injections, I've never been confident with them. I have good days and bad days, and I'm really slow. But I am improving, and this time I actually did pretty well with the injections. Almost all of them I hit on the first try, and the few where I had to try again, definitely managed to get the full dose. So I was happy with these too.
3. Reagents. I had to throw out almost a month's worth of experiments because nobody told me the reagents had to be kept frozen, rather than in the fridge. Even frozen reagents, I suspect lose activity after 2 freeze/thaws. But a lot of the stuff had 2 freeze/thaws already when it was given to me, and I can't just throw it out. Because I had such good purity from my T cell prep, I decided to use fresh tubes with no freeze/thaws, that should have full activity.
4. Mice. Sometimes we have to use whatever we have, and they can be of various ages and genders. We haven't seen signs that this has any major effects on the results, but it's less than ideal. This time, the mice were all of the same age and same gender. Another reason why this was going to be the perfect experiment.

When I went to get the results from this experiment, instead of the expected beautiful data, I see.. no cells. Where are my super pure T cells?! How can they just disappear?? Luckily, it seemed to be a problem with the machine, as I could see them perfectly fine on a different machine. Phew. Until I realised, I could only see the first 6 samples fine. For the rest, it looked like half had no cells. WHY. At this point, it was quite late, as I had wasted so much time trying to figure out why I couldn't see anything on the first machine. So I just ran all the samples and went home, refusing to think about it until the next day.

I've now finished analysing the data, and it's clear that it's completely useless. With half my samples written off, there's not enough left to compare anything to anything else. After thinking about it, I also think I know why it didn't work. And the reason is so stupid that I actually feel more depressed. Basically, to save time, I loaded 2 injections in one syringe. I've done this before when I've had to do a lot of injections, and I found that saving time actually improves the quality of the injections. The more time I spend in the injection room, concentrating, the more fatigued I get and the harder it is to do the injections properly. You also only have to load and keep track of half as many syringes. But that was with a liquid solution, not cells.

I think that the cells settled to the bottom of the syringe, so that the first mouse got nothing, and the second mouse got a double dose of cells. That would explain why exactly half the samples, in an alternating pattern, are useless. Why were there cells in all of the first six samples? Because they were injected first, and there wasn't enough time for the cells to settle.

I know it's better to know what went wrong so you can change it, but I'm so upset that what would have been a rare experiment where everything was perfect was ruined by such a trivial decision. At least now I know not to do that again. I also promised myself to cut down on consoling myself with food, because I am currently the heaviest I have been in my life, so all I can do is sit here and be depressed. Hey, isn't that what lj is for?

DOG PEE PAIN NIGHT

I hate it when I'm about to go to bed and there's a puddle in my room that smells distinctly like dog piss. I had to clean up the offensive puddle while wearing old rubber gloves. The insides of the gloves didn't feel particularly clean either. So I took them off to wash my hands, and reflexively brushed my long-overdue-for-haircut hair out of my eyes. The following then occurred:

ARGGH I TOUCHED MY FACE!!!11!!!!1!!
Run to bathroom
NO I CAN'T TOUCH THE LIGHT SWITCH MY HANDS ARE FILTHY
Stumble to the sink
OWWW WTF MY FOOT WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST STEP ON
ARGHHH I CAN'T TOUCH MY FOOT MY HANDS ARE FILTHY
Hastily wash hands while hopping around enduring excruciating pain in left foot
Remove sock
OH GREAT THERE'S A FREAKING SPLINTER IN MY FOOT
Good thing there were tweezers nearby
Remove long, thin splinter from foot, examine to determine identity and origin
Unable to identify splinter
OHHH GREAT MY FOOT IS BLEEDING WHERE I TOOK THE SPLINTER OUT
AND IT STILL HURTS
AND THERE'S STILL PEE IN MY ROOM
T____________T

(After sulking for a while, I summoned the courage to cross the probable forest of splinter awaiting my tender soles and hobbled to bed. Yeah, I forgot about the pee stain.)

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Organizing...

Oh how I've changed. I actually feel obliged to keep my stack of papers in some kind of order at work. It's mostly to avoid those embarrassing situations when I try to show my supervisor something I read and have to dig through piles of papers, scattering them all over the desk (and other people's desks >_>), trying to buy time by simultaneously attempting to explain what I am trying to find (and usually failing - the whole can't-multitask thing) and most likely shoving the intended paper across the desk because I can't remember the title.

So one day, I went and scavenged some folders from the 'free folders' pile. I took one because it came with relatively clean sheet protectors, and the other because it looked the most clean and working properly of the thinnish folders. I placed some printed images in the sheet protectors, and that was all good. I decided to holepunch my papers and put them in the other folder. That was when I realized that folder was a 3-ring binder. Actually, I realized after I'd holepunched half a dozen papers. Great. Well, I thought, I'd just move them to the other folder and swap the sheet protectors into the 3-ring binder, since they fit most kinds of normal ring binders. Including 4-ring binders, as I discovered that folder was. How did I manage to pick the two most annoying types of ring binder when it comes to holepunching? Well, probably because people had taken all the good stuff by the time I could be bothered to go down to rummage through the free folders pile, and also probably because I hadn't actually considered the number of rings in the folders.

After work that day, I went to Officeworks, determined to right these wrongs.
I spent most of the time picking up things that looked cool but were pretty useless in my situation (like a display folder that, instead of being ring-bound, had a strip of holes down the side like a sheet protector. it's cool! but pretty not very useful). I was also looking for folder dividers, even though now I'm not sure why since that doesn't do anything for my awkward number of rings in the folder problem. I ended up buying 25 manilla folders, in 5 different colours. I'm not sure if I actually need that many. Not much I do makes sense, really.

So papers get sorted into broad categories and go into the appropriate manilla folder. Yes, after a while I realized this doesn't really solve my problem either. I still have have to rummage through stacks of papers, they just happen to be stored better.

OK, so I need to narrow down the papers inside each folder into more specific categories. Bulldog clips! Paperclips! And paper! Yes, I got an A4 notepad just to use the paper to divide up my papers. Which works pretty well in conjunction with my paperclips. The bulldog clips added too much width to fit inside the manilla folders, so they are now a sculpture on my shelf.

Of course, all this still doesn't prevent me from being unable to find the appropriate paper when I need it. I just like to feel like I'm organized. The moral of the story is, Rey attempting to organize = FAIL. I was not meant to be anything but the laziest of slobs.

Toothbrush abduction??!

I am so super tired right now. I am about to collapse. Which is why, naturally, I am on lj instead of sleeping for the last few hours before I have to get up to go to work.

I had just managed to convince my face-down-on-the-bed semi-conscious self to get to the bathroom to brush my teeth. That's the hardest part; once I'm there, years of routine kick in and my brain can just idle until it has to expend a small amount of effort to guide myself back to bed.

I instantly knew something was wrong. My hand had just groped empty air where my toothbrush should have been. My toothbrush was gone. I believe I may have stood there for some amount of time until my brain could fire up and actually process this to decide on a course of action.

"MUUMMM, where's my toooothbrush?"

Surprisingly, her main reaction was to start laughing. Beckoning me to follow her back to the bathroom, she took out a brand new toothbrush in its packet and handed it to me. "Here, use this." It was actually more like "Hahahaha here use this hahahaha"

"But, but, where's my toooothbrush? Where's MY toothbrush?"
More giggling. "You don't want to know. Just use that and go to sleep."

After some more lethargic whining, she said to me: "Well, we ate abalone at dinner today, didn't we?" Followed by more laughing.
"You didn't." (Cue shocked jawdrop. It probably looked more like retarded than shocked though, since the top half of my face was still in sleepy mode.)

My mother. Used my toothbrush. To scrub clean abalone shells. For dinner. MY toothbrush! (I am still so indignant that I can't type out 'toothbrush' properly)
WHAT. WHAT... WHAT. WHYYYYYY?!?! WHAT. etc etc was my response.

Why did it have to be MY toothbrush? Why not her toothbrush, or Dad's toothbrush? Or even actually, the white toothbrush sitting next to mine that NO ONE USES! (Her reasoning was that mine was old and useless already, they both have electric toothbrushes, and laughing, respectively. My response to that was WHAT I JUST GOT IT [whenever it was that I posted about it], pft, and wailing as I left to brush my teeth, respectively.)

AGH. Now I have this new toothbrush. Which has a tiny head. And is really soft. (In a bad way. I feel like I'm wasting my energy since it doesn't appear to really clean anything out of my teeth.) And is baby pink. WHY.

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