A New Hobbyhorse: The Clarinet

Blog-ites, welcome.

Hi there.

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For many years past, I have had an attraction towards wind instruments. As if by some psychomancy and gramarye, I have felt the music sprites calling to me, beckoning me into picking one of them up and giving them a try. However, I had never gotten around to it; it is as if I needed a catalyst to spark the reaction—and luckily for me, this happened last month.

I went to a friend’s house who had started playing the clarinet a few weeks prior. I was excited to get to hear a song, up-close and personal, to really see what it sounded like. I hadn’t heard one played on it’s own since high school. When I got to her house, I was able to sit down, and listen, without any distractions: love at first sound.

After the first song, I asked to have a go at it. I couldn’t even sit back and listen to more songs at that instant: I just wanted to take the clarinet and try it. I got to play—more like producing raucous squeaks—for a few minutes, and then I handed the clarinet back to my friend. I told her ”I wouldn’t be surprised if I bought a clarinet tomorrow”.

And can you guess what I did the next day?

Well, from the title of the post and your utmost enthusiasm, the answer seems quite obvious.

I wanted to give you a chance of guessing!

Why, thank you.

And so yes, the next day I posted on Facebook, saying I was looking for a wind instrument (clarinet, saxophone, etc.). My brother’s friend messaged me the same day, telling me he had a clarinet to sell. I responded an ecstatic yes, and he brought me the clarinet two days later.

He showed me some of the basics when he swung by to drop off the clarinet. Not long after, I dedicated a few 1-2 hour sessions to my new baby, practicing note fingering and learning to blow without squeaking to the best of my capabilities.

I wonder how your neighbors feel about your new baby.

So far, no complaints. Fingers crossed.

You’d better cross them good with all those squeaks you are talking about.

Moving on.

Since then, I have been playing 2-3 times a week, which I know is a pennyworth in the grand scheme of things, but every time I get it in my hands and start playing, time perception seems to warp and shift, as if those occult spirits and kobolds—whom I mentioned in the first paragraph—were thanking me for finally taking note of their plea.

I am happy to have bought a clarinet, and I’d like to learn to play properly before reaching senectitude. I already went to take one class two weeks ago to assure my embouchure and tonguing was alright.

And so to aid in that endeavor presently, I’m off to play a little bit after this post!

What is your favorite instrument? Have you ever tried it before?

Music-note: tuh-tuh-tuhhhh—squeeeak (what I will have a tendency to do for some time to come).

Have You Ever Recorded Sound Effects?

Greetings, Naylor blog-ites.

Greetings.

I spent the past weekend at a cottage, making the teaser trailer for Abyss Crew.

The goal for the weekend was the following:

  • Film the videos for the trailer—I was lending my awesome acting skills for this;
  • Sync up the video and audio recordings;
  • Do the montage for the trailer;
  • Record and edit the sounds for the trailer;
  • Put the created audio in sync with the different sections of the trailer.

Prior to going to the cottage—we went from Friday afternoon to Monday morning—, we planned two long hikes: one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Turns out we only hiked on Saturday. It was a 4-5 hour hike, up Mont-Orford. We decided to skip on the Sunday hike; we had much more work to do than initially planned.

Cottage_2.jpgDamien, Pol, Fanny, and myself, in our ‘office’ – The Famous Abyss Crew Team

With regards to the trailer, here is what we did:

  • Friday late afternoon and evening: discussion about the script, the plans for the weekend, and the video recordings to be done.
  • Saturday: setup of the recording area, and recording of the video and audio for the trailer.
  • Sunday: recording of all the audio in the cottage to be used as sound effects—my favorite discovery of the weekend, hence the title of this post—, montage of the video, editing of the audio recordings, and adding the initial audio effects to the trailer.
  • Monday morning: syncing up the sound effects with the trailer, tweaking of final details and bugs, and final export of the video.

It was a weekend packed with learning, physical activity, laughs, long discussions, debates, early rises and late crashes, board games, and cooking. I’d do it again anytime!

What about the recording of the sound effects? This is a long prelude to your main topic.

Impatient, as always. I’m getting there.

Good.

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We recorded sounds in several areas of the house. Damien (black shirted stud in the picture) and Fanny (in the picture above) experimented for an hour or two, with pots, woks, water, knives, glasses, and anything you can think of.

Once they had finished, we all gathered in the bathroom for the recording session. We recorded water splashing in pots and pans, water falling gently and constantly into a pan filled with water, screeching of pan covers on the bath tub surface, hits and bangs on surfaces dulled with towels, and more.

After, we recorded the fridge hum, glasses hitting glasses, knuckle-flicks on the old-school television screen, knife hits, and more and more, and some more.

I have always wanted to live the experience of recording sound effects, and this was my first experience of this. I lavished in it, and hearing the final teaser trailer was thrilling, sending goose-flesh down my arms. I also managed to learn a good deal about Adobe Premiere, seeing as I was put in charge of doing the montage.

When the trailer is ready, I will write a short post sharing it.

Have you ever done sound effect recording? If so, what was the most innovative sound you recorded? If not, what would be the most innovative sound you would want to record?

Audio-note: hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

What Is Your Essential Kitchen Tool?

All too often have I experienced the following: renting a cottage for a weekend, arriving with all the ingredients to cook some meals, opening the drawers and cupboards, and staring in disbelief, pondering: “Is this really what they have? I should have at least brought a few things from my kitchen”.

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I am someone who cooks two to three meals a day, therefore a decent amount of time is spent in the kitchen, chopping, mincing, tasting, mixing, cooking, dancing, and, obviously, eating.

Throughout the process of preparing a dish, from start to finish, many different tools are needed: knife—sometimes knives—, cutting board, pot, pan, mortar and pestle, pepper grinder, garlic press, citrus press, measuring cups, measuring spoons, colander, strainer, and the list goes on.

Presently, the question I pose is: which of these countless tools is the most important to have in great quality?

This decision boils down to a matter of opinion, and I will offer mine, seeing as this is my blog.

That it is. Glad you remember.

Deciding on a single tool is difficult; therefore, I will list my two most important kitchen tools to have in high-quality—in order of importance nonetheless:

  1. Knife: I cannot fathom cooking without a knife that slices and chops with ease, as if I was cleaving through butter with every downward motion. I own a Kasumi knife—courtesy of my superlative mother, who gifted it to me when I moved—as well as a Global G-56 —gifted to me by my awesome brother on my name day, two years past. Anytime I have been in a situation—as mentioned in the introductory paragraph—where I must use a dull blade to chop, slight annoyance ensues, gradually and swiftly evolving to frustration.
  2. Pan: What I look for in a pan is good heat conduction, spaciousness, and non-stick features. I have a 32 cm Biotan, which is my pride and joy in the kitchen; it keeps heat, has a tremendous amount of space, and nothing sticks to it. I have grown in love, and never have I been a perfidious lover, not once, since I have become its father.

Besides these, my next most important tool is a large cutting board—that does not move and swivel as I cut on it.

How about you: what is your most important kitchen tool?

Foot-note: I do not recommend using a Global Kasumi to cut a Biotan, nor using a Biotan to cook a Global Kasumi.

Codenames – The Board Game

Hello again all.

Hey there!

Being the avid board game player that I am, I felt like writing about one this week.

Can you guess which game that is?

Well, we did read the title.

Smart (alec), as always.

The game is Codenames.

Codenames is a word deduction game, for 2 to 8 players (best with 4, 6 or 8 players in my opinion), created by Vlaada Chvatil.

The players are divided into two teams. Both teams square off against one another, trying to find their own team’s hidden words before the other team does.

In each team, one player is assigned the “Master Spy” title, and all other players in that team are assigned the “Spy” title. The master spy sits across the table from his teammates (the spies in his team); both master spies sit on the same side of the table, whereas both team’s spies sit on the opposite side of the table.

25 words are placed in the center of table, in a 5×5 grid. The master spies have a plastic stand in which they place one of the many “Word Assigning” cards, facing them. This card must only be visible to them; the spies must have the backside of the card facing them, so that they cannot see where the words have been assigning.

This card assigns the 25 words on the table as follows: 9 words are assigned to one team (let’s say blue), 8 words are assigned to the other team (let’s say red), 7 words are assigned to no team (neutral words), and 1 word is assigned as the assassin (your team loses if you pick this word at any point during the game).

Below is the grid of 25 words, the assigning card standing up (bottom left, directly in front of the hourglass), and the coloured rectangle markers (bottom right)—which I will explain shortly—:

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The team with 9 words begins the game (they have one more word than the other team to guess seeing as they have the advantage of playing first).

So, how does the master spy give hints to his spies to help them guess the words?

Great question:

On his/her turn, the master spy is allowed to say only 1 word, followed by one number. The word is meant to orient his/her teammates to some of their words on the table; the number is meant to indicate how many cards on the table relate to the previously said word.

For example, if your team has the words TENNIS, BASKETBALL, and SOCCER, your hint could be as follows:

SPORT – 3.

This tells your teammates that there are 3 words of the 25 words on the table that you must guess that are related to SPORTS.

The spies discuss openly, deducting which words they think are the 3 that the master spy is alluding to. Once they have decided, one player touches the first card they would like to guess—normally the one your team is the most certain of. The master spy then puts a corresponding coloured rectangle marker (blue if it’s a blue team’s word, red if it’s a red team’s word, white if it is a neutral word, black if it is the assassin) over the chosen word. If the team guessed correctly, they now attempt to guess the second word; however, if the team guesses incorrectly, at any point, their turn is over, and they cannot guess any more words this turn. The turn then passes to the other team’s master spy, who must give one word and one number, hinting in the same fashion as described above.

Play continues like this until one team has covered all of their team’s words on the table, in which case they win, or if one team guesses the assassin, in which case they lose.

You mentioned an hourglass?

You don’t miss anything, do you?

Explain!

The 1-minute hourglass is turned over whenever a player feels that a decision is taking too long to be made. The team/player targeted by the hourglass must make his decision before the sand runs out.

Happy?

Grand.

Codenames is one of my favourite, easy-going—yet challenging—social games, and I got to play 7 times last night during the weekly game night that I host at my house. We had a blast, laughed like crazy, and I got beat in almost every time—but it was still a highly enjoyable experience.

If you like games such as Scrabble, Bananagrams, or any other word game, I strongly suggest you get this game; it is loads of fun, for families or friends, of all ages.

Have you ever played Codenames? If so, what did you think of it? If not, what is your favourite word game?

Foot-side: Codename hint for you : SUBSCRIBE – 1.

Binge Watching: Marvel – The Defenders

**No spoilers**

So considerate of you.

Binge watching. Ahhh, such a fun thing to do.

Definitely better than binge reading some blog I know of.

Now now…

Sunday night I had a board game night with a few friends and my little brother. After the games were over—Tokaido and Betrayal at House on the Hill—, everyone left, minus my brother.

It was 10:00 PM, and he was staying over for the night. I was tired, yet he still had a good amount of gas in the tank. So we decided a good compromise would be to watch something on Netflix—me being too tired to game, and him being too energized to hit the sack.

We turned on the Xbox, opened the Netflix application, and started browsing the plethora of selections. We browsed for at least 10 minutes, and we realized we could get lost in browsing the countless shows and movies available.

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We decided to watch the first episode of Marvel – The Defenders. He is a fan of superhero shows and movies, and I enjoy most of them as well.

We found the first episode rather meek and slow, but we decided to watch the second episode nonetheless.

Ahh, we get it: stubborn. Sticking with the initial plan no matter what.

We enjoyed the second episode more than the first, but still, we found it was taking too much time to kick things off, especially seeing as there are only eight episodes in the series.

The next morning, we watched the third episode while having an omelette: that is when I got hooked. I am an easy crowd to please, and with four different superheroes clashing in one show, I was bound to become addicted sooner or later.

I drove Christian to work after the third episode, and told him: “I wouldn’t be surprised if I watch some more when I get home”.

Fast-forward 11 hours: I had done my laundry, recorded my podcast, gone to my swing class, and watched all five remaining episodes of The Defenders.

Overall, I enjoyed the show—obviously seeing how I acted—, except the slow beginning. I don’t want to get into the details of the story line as to not cause any spoilers.

Considerate, once again.

When was the last time you binge-watched a show? How do you feel when you binge-watch?

Binge-note: binge-ing is just so, utterly, binge.

How Does Camping Make You Feel?

Hello again.

Hello, Mr. Naylor. Writing on time I see. Congratulations.

Now, let’s talk about camping!

Or rather write and read about it?

Yes yes…

Camping is one of my favorite summer activities. I try to get away from the city life at least 1-2 weekends each summer, and take in the fresh air, cellphone-less days, and the beauty of nature.

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I just came back from a two day fishing trip where I got to do just that—minus the camping with a tent. We spent the whole time on the boat fishing—and caught zero fish, great—, playing horseshoes, throwing frisbees, playing board games in the chalet, and relaxing in the sun. I always find days such as those very enjoyable, and I feel like I return home with a new outlook.

I have the luxury of going—camping this time—again this upcoming weekend, for three nights, and over 72 hours of non stop music—I will obviously sleep at some times, or else a collapse will occur inevitably. It is less relaxing on the body having to dance for all that time, but my mind will still manage to relax; nature has its ways of soothing me.

The festival this weekend is Eclipse, where there are four stages with music for 4-5 days. It is my first time going to this festival, and I look forward to hearing a lot of psychedelic-trance—fast paced electronic trippy music!

I know I will also take some time to just sit back, read, and stare in awe at the wonders of the trees, those emerald pillars staring down at us.

How does camping make you feel? It is a routine to go every summer, or even winter?

Side-note: it would rock if an Eclipse was set to occur during the Eclipse festival; sometimes, I tend to ask for too much.

Not Enough Time Or Not Taking The Time?

Once again, I’ve been through a busy period and I have not managed to sit down and write once a week like I used to. I miss writing on here, but at the same time I have other stuff taking my attention to a greater degree. Time to change that—or so I will try.

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Actually, that is somewhat of a lie.

What? You lied to us? How dare you.

It was only for about 5 seconds; I am sure you will forgive me.

To be honest, the fact that I hadn’t been able to find a short amount of time made me ponder, and I realized something: it is not that I didn’t have the time, but rather that I did not make the time. (As I write this, this TED talk comes to mind. Laura talks about how we create excuses making ourselves believe we don’t have the free time we desire, when really we simply don’t take and make the time.)

But we love hearing from you…

This thinking made me realize that I was prioritizing other stuff over writing—I have always had trouble sticking to 2-3 things, so I am not surprised. I am trying to have a perspective shift and make the time to be able to sit down at my computer, write to myself, to you, once a week—I have too often set a goal that is too high, and not achieved it. Hence, I prefer targeting a goal of once a week instead of multiple times a week. My goal is to write every Monday. If I write another day over and above Monday, so be it. It makes sense for me to target once a week, seeing as I already had trouble keeping up with writing once a week in the past few months.

If I think about my typical week, I see how much free time I truly have and how I can easily throw some of it away, whether it be through my cellphone or other mediums. It all comes down to organization and the realization that we have much more time than we think.

Since I got back from a camping trip last Monday, I have been using my cellphone significantly less, and that has already made a big difference. When I think about it, I was looking at my phone so many times a day when there was nothing to check on it; it was mostly by habit.

And so, above I mentioned some of the things that crossed my mind during the last few weeks, and they seem to have been slightly insightful.

How humble of you to insert the world slightly.

How about you? Do you feel similar sometimes? Do you feel like you lack free time?