Tag Archives: postaweek2011

My daughter has guts!

So Little Miss 11 is now in High School in Year 7. 

And I think like many other kids who enter High School, or perhaps its the transition from a single stream to a large high school with many new opportunities, she wants to try nearly EVERYTHING!  Yep, she’s actually volunteering and trying out for soooo many things it’s as if the world is going to end tomorrow!

I think it’s fantastic – of course we’re making sure she doesn’t get burnt out and I’m sure the enthusiasm will drop after a while, but it’s so amazing to see your child take that step growth in confidence.

I’m currently reading a book about staying connected to your teenager, and it mentions the “two” people in your teenager – the “child” that you probably see at home, and the emerging “adult” that as a parent you don’t see much, but it’s the one that’s developing at school, etc.

And last night, we had yet another glimpse at the “adult”.

Little Miss 11’s high school was organising a talent night, something like X-Factor, or Australia’s Got Talent.  And Little Miss 11, in her year of trying everything, signed up! 

The first we heard about it was two nights ago, when she told us to come watch her perform her duet the next night (last night).

Immediately my helicopter parent questions started nagging at me – What the?!  Duet?  Who is she singing with?  Does she know the other girl?  What are they singing?  Why is she singing? Have they practised?  I haven’t heard her practise at home?  Will she be OK on stage? Does she have a backing track?

But Wifey reminded me to back off – I need to learn to let go.  Little Miss 11 can handle herself, or at least, needs to learn to handle herself.

So last night we turned up at the school, I’m a little anxious.  We walk in and the whole auditorium of ~400 seats was full!  OMG!!!!!!   And not just of random parents, but mostly students, her friends, her peers!

Little Miss 11 did go on stage, and sang really well with confidence!  It was so cute, she was soo small, compared to the older high school kids. 

When she and her friend finished, the auditorium of school girls all erupted with huge applause, and that was the immense confidence boost that she needed.

Her act didn’t win – but that didn’t matter at all.   I’m most proud of her actually just signing up and having the guts to follow through!  I think I would have pulled out once I saw the crowd there.

All the way home and whilst downing some supper at home last night, she couldn’t stop talking about it.  All this from someone who is usually now subdued or answering in monosyllabic grunts.

The ups and downs of kids growing up…

Advertisements

Screwed by jump in Nikon D700 prices

Aarghh!

My move to a full frame Nikon is complicated!

I’ve finally sold my Nikon 17-55 f/2.8, and Tokina 12-24 f/4 through eBay.  No problems with the Nikon lens, but hit a snag with the Tokina when the first winning buyer decided to change their mind after winning the auction.   Even more frustrating is the delay from waiting to be able to raise a non-paying buyer case and then closing it, coupled with the fact that with eBay now, you can’t leave negative feedback for a non-paying buyer!

Anyway, that’s all done and it’s all sold.

Then I moved onto buying the Nikon D700 body.

I did my normal thing of comparing the prices on B&H, and on eBay sellers like DigitalRev.  Then I decided to look local, and found that PRA Imaging had the Nikon D700 body for only $2295!  What a steal – that’s even cheaper than eBay or B&H! 

Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock last week and I was told that there should be some coming in on Friday.  I thought, cool, I’ll go in and pay by cash.

So I called on Friday, and they said that the shipment will be coming in on Monday instead – today.

So I called today at lunch, and they said that they’ll be coming in this afternoon but I should put a deposit on one if I really want one.

I was scared that they will all be sold out, so I gave them my credit card details and was ready to go ahead with the deposit when I asked to double checked the price.

$2295 right?  NO!!  Apparently that was last week’s sale price!!  It’s now gone up to $2785, practically $500 more – or a ~20% price increase!   It seemed that they would not budge on the price even if I paid by cash, citing the worldwide Nikon price increases due to stock shortages and the impact of the tsunami on the Sendai plant where they manufacture the D700’s.

I was sooo frustrated and angry with myself.  Why didn’t I just pay for it by credit last week at the fantastically low price?

Too bad for PRA, it was straight to eBay for me – I just need to now pay GST/duty when it comes in *sigh* but it will still be significantly cheaper.

The next problem?  Getting back the wide range on my lenses.  I’ve literally just got a 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8 and my 70-200 f/2.8 now! 

I can’t afford the 24-70 f/2.8 yet, so it’s looking like either a third party zoom, or maybe just a prime like the Nikon 35mm f/2.  I can’t stomach buying a 24mm f/2.8 if I will buy a 2.8 mid range zoom one day.

And the next thing?  Selling my good old D80 body as the final part of funding my change to full frame.

Can’t wait until this is all over…

10 year old fashion designer

Probably nothing to be too surprised about.  A 10 year old girl who’s into fashion designing!

Last year, when Little Miss 10 was Little Miss 9, she started becoming extremely interested in drawing designs for dresses and clothes and stuff.  Nothing that I’m familiar with as a guy.

But it’s been really interesting and rewarding to see this interest of hers bloom.  It’s made me wonder – what things are there for kids in Perth to do related to fashion designing?   Miss 10 has already started saying she wants to go Paris to see the fashion there!  Should I bring her to the next Perth Fashion Festival?

Here are a sample of some of her early patterns/drawings – to others they may seem pretty ordinary, but I’m just amazed how unique each one is.   In the coming week I’ll upload her designs from this year which are even more unique!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The last episode of the last disc of the last season of West Wing

Wow! What a journey!

A few years ago, Wifey and I were looking for a new TV series to watch.  I can’t remember what we had just finished, maybe Alias, BSG, another season of 24, or something. 

A friend at work suggested West Wing.  I thought, “What? That show about politics?”  Sounds boring, probably won’t have the suspense of a law drama, or mystery of a police crime series, and definitely not the thrill of an action drama.

So we borrowed the first season on DVD from him – which was in 80s type colours and in 4:3 format!  Yes, not even widescreen.

But we were hooked.  The fantastic writing, getting a peak behind the scenes at the Whitehouse, the genuine acting and interplay between characters, the uplifting speeches, the dizzying single steadycam shots down corridors and through rooms (I’m sure they were walking around in circles sometimes!)   Wifey and I followed the characters so closely that, yes, we formed that strange one way bond with them that TV and movie shows allow.

We did stop at the beginning of Season 5 for a while – I’m not sure what, but the overall storyline stalled and it wasn’t engaging – was it Aaron Sorkin leaving as executive producer?  But other friends said we should persist, and it actually did get better.  I think the whole Santos campaign storyline is so overarching with that question of whether they’ll win or not at the end, that it hooked Wifey and me in until the end.

And last night, we just finished watching the second last episode of all.  7 Series X 22 episodes a series X ~40 minutes is nearly 102 HOURS OF TV!   This leaves the last episode of the last disc of the last season to watch tonight.    I sense a massive TV void about to appear. 

Wifey has already suggested we start all the way back at Season 1 and watch the whole thing again!!!  If so, maybe I should get the Complete Series Collection on DVD (http://www.amazon.com/West-Wing-Complete-Collection/dp/B000HC2LI0)!  For me, I’m thinking of starting Breaking Bad.
The West Wing Unofficial Guide – http://westwing.bewarne.com/

The West Wing Episode Guide – http://www.westwingepguide.com/

List of West Wing Episodes on Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_West_Wing_episodes

Henning plays the Sibelius with WASO

Wow!  My favourite violin concerto.  Henning, a young and talented violinist that I had the pleasure of seeing a masterclass of last week.  Good combination 🙂

Henning played it through effortlessly – letting his violin sing the passion that’s in the Sibelius, as well as hitting the technical work. 

I loved the attention he gave to the conductor and orchestra during the performance (and joining the string pizzicatos in the 3rd movement).  I was amazed at the way he hit the jumps to the high notes and fingered octaves in the first movement and arpeggios in the last movement with no problems.  But I was most surprised by the volume of sound Henning is able to produce from his violin.  I don’t think WASO played with a smaller orchestra for the concerto – it was the full thing.  But I heard Henning with no problems.  

How?  I’m guessing great bowing arm and wrist, full bow hair on the string, and playing next to the bridge but without scratchiness.  The only fault I can give was I wished there was a bit more space in between some of the phrases in the first movement – they nearly rushed into each other.  But the second movement was so soulful and well played it’s inspired me to get the notes back out and learn it.

The Perth audience applause was great, and Henning treated us to not one, but TWO encores!  The first encore was played by Henning leading the string section.  I believe this was “La Melancolie”, composed by Norwegian violinist Ole Bull (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ole_Bull), when Ole’s wife passed away.   Great to hear something not so passionate, and more subdued.   The second encore?  I don’t know – let me know if you know what it was – it was nearly sounding improvised at some bits.   I would have loved to have hear him play the Ysaye Ballade (like Vengerov and Vadim) but it was not to be.
Violin/piano score to La Melancolie here – https://urresearch.rochester.edu/institutionalPublicationPublicView.action?institutionalItemId=4056&versionNumber=1

Henning Kraggerud Masterclass

Our state orchestra, WASO, started an excellent program last year where they get visiting soloists to give a masterclass to local musicians.  

Last night, I quickly rushed from work, dropped Little Miss 10 home, then made my way to Hale School to see Henning Kraggerud give a violin masterclass.  He’s in town this weekend to play my favourite violin concerto, the Sibelius.

It seems that WASO, together with partners UWA, WAAPA and AUSTA, rounded up 4 lucky local violinists to play.

And what a great night it was!

We heard movements from the Prokofiev and Korngold violin concertos, a showy Smetena tune, and Ysaye’s extremely difficult Ballade.

And like Renaud Capucon’s masterclass, much of what Henning was trying to draw out from the players was moving from beyond notes to making music and story telling.   Is that the key ingredient that sets these elite apart from the rest?   There definitely was some “magic” that Henning was able to make when he made his violin sing.

It’s not just story telling and musical interpretation but amazing technical prowess too.  I was extremely excited when it was introduced that Shaun Lee-Chen was playing the Ysaye (and jealous! I wish I had the time and ability to learn and play this!)  Shaun played it really well – his technique is definitely very solid and intonation was really good.   I thought, what could he say to Shaun?

A lot apparently!  Henning knew the Ballade back to front, playing it with even more ease – unbelievable.  The interaction between them and going into details and “tricks” of the Ballade was purely brilliant, insightful and entertaining.  Reading his bio, no wonder he knows it so well – he has recorded all the Ysaye unaccompanied Violin Sonatas! 

And the volume and depth of sound that came from Henning and his violin – amazing.  I wonder if he really was playing on his Guarneri del Gesu last night.

WASO and sponsors (Apache Energy) – thanks for putting this on.  It definitely is a win-win – raising the profile and respect for WASO’s soloists as we get to see them work behind the scenes, but also improving and inspiring the music community in WA.

More info

WASO’s Masterclass program – http://www.waso.com.au/default.aspx?MenuID=292

Henning’s Biography – http://www.imgartists.com/?page=artist&id=207

WASO concert this weekend – http://www.waso.com.au/EventDetail.aspx?ProductID=2485