Tag Archives: 2011

2011 Gone!

Wow, I can’t believe another year has drifted by!

A few personal thoughts on 2011:

One Post A Day is too much!

Yep, I started with a noble but in the end, unrealistic goal of one blog post a day.   I think I burnt out so much that it partly contributed to little to no blog posts for the rest of the year!   I’ve been thinking lately about the purpose of my blog – it was really to document things/tricks that I’ve found/done/learnt or taken time to figure out so that I can refer back to it in the future and possibly help others.   And this seems to correlate to the posts I get the most hits from and the people who comment about my posts.   In 2012, I definitely want to go back “to my blog roots” 🙂

Youth Church Band and Guitar!

One great community give back in 2011 was getting involved in the Youth Group Band at church.  OK, I don’t’ really consider myself a “youth” anymore, but it was fantastic to get involved, see other youths get involved, introduce more “youthful” music/repertoire at church, and do it all by playing the acoustic guitar more!   So much that I even had 2 guitar lessons towards the end of the year that really inspired me to do more in 2012.

Date Nights

This is something wifey and I have been struggling but I’m happy with how this went in 2011.   One date per month (minimum) on the anniversary of our wedding date.   Now that the kids are older, we tend to go out with the kids rather than without since it’s “easier”, but when we do go with the kids, we’re missing out on our own couple time.   Definitely something I want to continue in 2012!

Photography Returns!

I think 2011 was the most successful year so far in getting something back from my photography hobby.  Enough to partly upgrade my DSLR to a D700 anyway.  But I wonder now whether I should start actively pursuing paid work or continue the “for fun” aspect.   There was a time near the end of 2011 where photography started becoming a “chore” which is definitely NOT what I want it to be.  I started losing that creative/inventive spark and I don’t want that to happen again.   On the other hand, I now thoroughly recognise having to charge a reasonable amount for my time and “talent” 🙂

Giving The Kids Space

The hardest thing I did in 2011 as a parent was giving the kids more space and trusting them more, especially Miss 12.   I definitely struggled with the concept of actually NOT helping with her homework, trusting that she’ll study for school tests without my help and complete her homework in time.   There’s still this hidden urge in me to want to help her, help her do her best, force her to tell me how school went – but this never worked out the way I wanted.   Time and time again in 2011, I found that it was the moments when I didn’t say anything and just let her be, that she would be happier and there would be those magic moments when she would make her own effort to open up and talk – often just before bedtime.    Parenthood doesn’t get easier as the kids get older – it just changes 😉

Finally, thank you readers, friends and family for coming and visiting my blog!  I really hope you find it informative, sometimes entertaining, and sometimes thoughtful 🙂  May 2012 bring much more happiness and joy into your lives!

 

 

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ANCA WA Choral Festival Concert Photos

ANCA is the Australian National Choral Association – an organisation which aims to encourage and promote choral music and choirs in Australia.   The WA chapter has just been reformed and they had Choral Festival Day to mark this occasion.

No, this was not a “concert” – it was a festival where for a few hours, everyone first did a warm-up, then different choirs sang for each other and it all finished with a big “sing” – where everyone learnt a song together.

It was a fantastic session – the age range of participants ranged from Primary School to people in their 70’s-80’s!  So many choirs and people were interested attending that there weren’t enough seats in the venue!

I was there to take some snaps to document the day.  The hardest part was choosing the right time to click the shutter button as many of the items were quiet – so I had to time my shots with louder parts of songs, or right at the end just before or with the applause.  Maybe I need to investigate a mirror less camera body one day or some noise dampening for the Nikon D700 🙂

Here are some shots from the day!

Devastation in Japan

Like most of the world, I spent a lot of time on the weekend just shocked at the amount of damage done and the number of lives lost in Japan.    My thoughts and prayers are with all affected.

I seriously can’t fathom how they will rebuild the many towns lost.   It just seems like too large a challenge.   Surely there must be a number of small communities or small towns that no-one has accounted for yet?  *sigh* 

And then my heart sank even further when I heard that after the earthquake, then the tsunami, that there are problems with their nuclear reactors too!  What else can go wrong at once!   Why did they build nuclear reactors on land where there would be a high percentage of earthquakes?

And why is 2011 starting so badly?  The cyclones in Australia, bushfires in Perth, flooding and cyclones in Queensland, earthquake in Christchurch and now this.  

And to add to the bad timing or coincidence – last night, Wifey and I just watched the West Wing Season 7 episode last night where the San Andreo nuclear plant nearly had a meltdown.

Today I stumbled across this blog post by Dr J Oehman, a research scientist at MIT, describing the nuclear reactor situation in the most clear way I have read yet.    It’s definitely worth a read.

Donations can be made here:

Save The Children: http://www.savethechildren.org.au/what-we-do/emergencies/japan-earthquake

Red Cross: https://www.redcross.org.au/Donations/onlineDonations.asp

Mobile World Congress 2011

This week, the Mobile World Congress is being held in Barcelona, Spain.   How I wish someone would fly me there to cover the event!    The Mobile World Congress is one of the biggest trade shows and exhibitions for wireless devices.  Yep, mobile phones and tablets are the big focus here.

Unfortunately, Apple chooses not to have a presence at this show, but other companies like Samsung, Sony and LG have already made many new product announcements.  

Sony Ericsson's Xperia Play (photo from Sony Ericsson)

Check out Xperia Play, the new PlayStation phone from Sony.  It runs Android, but I’m guessing that it must run some PlayStation or PSP type OS as well for game support.   I love the slide out PlayStation Dualshock type controls!   It sounds like this will be like a PSPGo with mobile capabilities – sort of like how the iPhone is an iPod Touch with mobile functions.

CNET has a review here:  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-20031432-78.html.  There was also a preview of the Xperia Play done by Engadget last month here:  http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/26/sony-ericsson-xperia-play-playstation-phone-preview/

LG Optimus 3D (image from Techtree)

 

Another cool announcement is the new LG Optimus 3D.   It uses similar technology to the new Nintendo 3DS to provide the illusion of 3D without glasses.   It seems lots of people were playing 3D games on the phone at the expo – but apparently the battery life was extremely poor!   It sounds like a bit of a gimmick at the moment, but I’m sure one day, nearly all screens will be 3D – just like how they’re all colour now instead of black and white.

Check out the pics and write up here:  http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13970_7-20031804-78.html, and by Engadget here – http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/14/lg-optimus-3d-hands-on/.

More info

Mobile World Congress official website –  http://www.mobileworldcongress.com/ (you can even watch videos from keynotes from Microsoft, Twitter and Google!)

Coverage from CNET – http://reviews.cnet.com/mobile-world-congress/?keyword=MWC+2011&tag=mncol;tags

Coverage from Engadget – http://www.engadget.com/tag/MWC+2011/

Wondering if I should enter the Freo Eisteddfod

Well, it’s come to that time of the year again – I’ve looked up the Fremantle Eisteddfod website and they have the 2011 schedule online!   The closing date is 18th March and the Eisteddfod will be held between the May 12-21.

For the past 2 years, I’ve dusted off my violin, and used the Freo Eisteddfod as a goal to work towards – to learn one of the great violin concertos.

In 2008 I learnt the Wieniawski 2nd, but didn’t compete.   In 2009 it was Sibelius.  In 2010 it was Tchaikovsky.  

Both experiences created MUCH stress in my life.  But it actually helped me keep up my violin.   You see, after the month of May in the past 2 years, I really haven’t picked up my violin at all (except for the YouTube Symphony thing).

So I’m wondering if I should do this again in 2011?   Learn another movement from a great concerto in 3 months? 

I really have left it quite late this time around.   I was hoping I could do the Brahms, Barber or Beethoven, but there’s really not enough time.   I guess I could learn the 3rd movement from the Sibelius or Tchaikovsky?    Or tackle something different like the Carmen Fantasy?    Or maybe play something with less notes to learn like a Mozart concerto.

Or shall I just leave my violin in its case this year…

I’m a finalist of the YouTube Symphony! Vote for me!

I can’t believe it!

After receiving the email about being a potential finalist, and some musings that it doesn’t necessarily mean that I could be an actual finalist, I got the email from YouTube saying that I really am a finalist in the YouTube Symphony 2011 competition!

Woohoo!!!

What does this mean?   It means I’ve progressed to the voting round.  It seems they’ve whittled down the field to 80.  If they are choosing 8 desks of 1st and 2nd violins, that’s 32 to get through.   Although the fine print says that the number of votes doesn’t totally govern who gets through, it sure would be nice to get at least a few votes!!

So, if you have a spare minute, just log onto the YouTube Symphony website (http://www.youtube.com/symphony), click on Vote then Orchestral Auditions, click on the Violin section (bottom left next to the conductor) and then scroll to find my video (Jason Chong), click on it then click Vote!

What do you get?   I can’t offer you much unfortunately, but maybe a shout out on my blog!

Potential finalist of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra!

For the last few days, I’ve been checking my iPhone constantly for new messages from YouTube.  Yep, it was the time range when entrants to the YTSO 2011 competition would find out if they got chosen to progress to the next round.

So I was extremely excited when my iPhone pinged me on Saturday morning with an email from YouTube.

I have been chosen as a potential finalist or potential alternate! 

I can’t believe it!!   Wifey thinks I’m mad, that I’m suffering some mid life crisis.  Must be like how I’m the oldest (nearly twice the age) of entrants in the Fremantle Eisteddfod.  I wonder if I’m the oldest entrant in YTSO 2011?   Surely not at 35!

For me, I’m secretly glad that being a non-professional musician means I don’t have a “reputation” that I need to uphold and prevent me from doing random things like this 🙂

But I’ve been playing back my recording for the last week and am actually embarrassed that my intonation is a little shaky, especially in the Mozart – the first piece in my video!   Luckily, intonation is not the only criteria used for judging and I hope musicality and interpretation are just important.

Anyways, I think I now have to wait until around the 10th December when official public voting starts, and then see what happens.   If I do get through, then it’s a week over in Sydney to hang out with other musos from around the world, and hopefully some top notch professional musos too!

*Fingers crossed*