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Catnap 29 March 2012

Posted by uggclogs in Art, sketch.
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Blogging positive 14 May 2011

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Happiness, Life, Philosophy.
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In conversation with a friend today, I realised that I have more of a philosophy about my blog than I was aware of.

From the beginning, this blog has been about two things. Firstly, a venue for me to write, experiment, and to keep my writing skills up. I write for myself, as a public journal, to amuze me. I never thought I would have a big following (which I don’t). No webbies will come my way. Looking back over my blogging history, I enjoy the depth and breath that has developed in my writing since I started. The first couple of posts are a bit random, a new blogger trying to find her feet, trying to figure out how to be interesting. Trying too hard, even. But I like what my blog has developed into. A stream of consciousness and observations.

Secondly, I write for my friends and family back home, the ones that want to keep in touch with the things I do (I can be hard to follow sometimes. Literally). I try to make sure that my observations are interesting to that audience.

But I have come to realise that I also want to bring something positive to the table. I find that the (quasi-)anonymousness of being on the internet inspires vitriol and bad manners in many. People spend hours pouring their latest whinge about whatever the topic of their blog is onto the internet.

They complain. Loudly.

Maybe in an attempt to be humourous, they rip things apart with particular attention to detail. Maybe it is perceived as funny by their followers.

But that is not what I want for my blog. I don’t want to use it as a forum for anonymous complaining. If I am upset and want to complain, I do so in person. Or to a friend over coffee, where we afterwards talk about good things, happy moments. I don’t want negativity to be my only side.

In fact, when I have nothing good to say, I often (like here) rather not blog than spiral into discontent through writing about it. Of course, not everything on my blog is all roses.

But I also don’t try to (one recent post duly excepted) gush, as a consistent gusher is not being realistic, either. If absolutely everything is wonderful, fabulous, perfect, beautiful, maybe I am trying to convince myself of those virtues more so than my readers.

In general, I am a happy, positive person with normal ups and downs, and I hope the reader can see that from my blog.

Hanoi Boogie 16 September 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Happiness, Vietnam.
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The wait is over, guys. I know you have all been on tenterhooks since I said “watch this space” at the end of June.

But it is finally here – the Hanoi Boogie – with yours truly singing backup vocals.

So go and check it out, and because I cannot help myself, I think you should also go and learn the dance that comes with it!

Blast from the Past 28 August 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Books, Life.
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When I was young, I moved around quite a bit. And English is not my first language. Although that did not stop me from trying.

My friend from back then uncovered an old stash of letters yesterday, and scanned them for me to see. It is mostly cringeworthy, an insight to the capacities of a nine year old child. But the poetry!

I simply must share with you what might be the first poem still extant that I ever composed in English.

Whrait upp end down

Den jou see

Dat i’m love jou

love jou mee?

Oh yes. True class. Thank you for sharing, old friend.

It’s theatre, my dear 8 August 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Life, Vietnam.
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I spent Friday and Saturday night backstage for a wonderful set of short absurdist plays this weekend. They were put on by the Hanoi International Theatre Society (HITS) and they were amazingly fun.

My contribution was but small – I baked cookies and applied make-up. Hopefully, I also prevented the spread of a very nasty case of pink-eye.

But yet again, I find myself in awe of the people that do get out on that stage, and bare it all for the world to see. There must surely be an element of exhibitionism to doing theatre. But there is also that willingness to entertain, and to through those means, make others… feel. To entertain the audience, make them laugh. To share with them.

And the talent available in the expat amateur theatre community in Hanoi never ceases to amaze me. The actors (most of whom, I must admit, for the benefit of transparency, I can probably count as friends) had developed their respective characters into believable, exciting and entertaining (often funny) personalities.

I am so lucky to have been able to have been involved in some way. Thank you all!

Books vs. everything else 28 July 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Books, Philosophy.
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A Pair of Ragged Claws recently went through the self-indulgent exercise of determining what is more important – books, or other things. The exercise was to determine whether you would give up books, and what it would take?


what things would you give up before you gave up books? This is one of those completely hypothetical, it’s Friday on Ragged Claws questions where someone comes along and says to you: I have bad news, you have to give up either books or sex. Unless you give up one of them entirely and forever, you will die. Which do you choose?

Some of his assessments were interesting (most of them funny), and all of them reflect the things he is spending time on in his life (TV, betting on horses, sex, +++).

It got me thinking. I love books, too. I am a slow reader, but I love the experiences books can give you. For the most part, I would choose books over most other activities (except for sleep!), as long as choosing books would mean a limitless supply of them. The libraries of Alexandria to my disposal? I would ditch laser tag for that!

But I also know people who have true passion in their lives, apart from books. Like music. I do not personally understand it (as shown by our esoteric discussions about whether, if you had to choose, you would choose going blind or going deaf, where I chose deaf and they chose blind). But I do recognise it – that true yearning for music, the enjoyment, the creation or the experience of it with their whole beings.

This particular person, however, also has an immense appetite for books and they are the most widely read person I know. So what would this person choose –

Books or music?

Or, if you are not musically inclined – books or your other passion? What would you choose?

Zombies 19 July 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Zombies.
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As promised almost a month ago, I am going to provide you with 10 amazing pictures of zombies.

However, it has taken a lot longer than initially expected, because I thought I should present you with 10 originals. Whether they will be ‘amazing’ is still a little doubtful. But I have spent the weekend drawing and drafting, so I expect to present the first result to you during this week. I hope it will be successful.

But at least I am having lots of fun, they are zombies with a twist.

Doo-whop-a-doo 27 June 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Vietnam.
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For someone who has, on several occasions growing up, been told that I cannot hold a tune to save my life, today was an extremely ironic moment.

I spent my Sunday afternoon in a recording studio. Singing into a microphone! And it was an absolute blast.

We did the back up singing for a friend of mine, laughing and singing our way through the track. Great fun, and the end result is rather catchy.

Will let you know if it becomes a huge hit. Again, watch this space 🙂

Gossiping is bad 25 June 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art.
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I have been drafting the Human Resources Manual for the past couple of months.

Therefore, I want to remind everyone that gossiping will not be tolerated.


Art, like love, cannot be forced 31 May 2010

Posted by uggclogs in Art, Happiness, Life, Philosophy.
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In the name of Phil Collins;

You can’t hurry love.

And I have come to realise that the same goes for art. I love art, and I often feel inspired to make something, create something. I have been a prolific drawer since I was a child, and I have taken drawing classes since the age of 7. My mum once told me that I used to sing, hum and whistle when happy, and I never used to sing more than while sitting quietly, drawing.

But since I have arrived in Vietnam, the will and the inspiration is just not there. For the past two years, my sum output has been two (average looking) paintings and maybe a handful of sketches. I have tried many a time to sit down with a canvas, but all I see is white. Nothing to create, nothing to paint. No possibilities.

It is a horrific feeling. I can imagine it is like writer’s block, when the muse is not there, you just feel empty.

Initially, I thought it was because there is so much art here everywhere – most of it cheap and nasty, some of it amazingly inventive, but soon to be copied by everyone. I thought I might feel like I couldn’t live up to it, that my surroundings were so prolific that it drowned out my little voice inside.

But being back in Australia, even just for a week and a half around Christmas, made me literally itch to draw, and I kicked myself for not bringing a sketch book. It had been so long since inspiration had struck, that it hadn’t even occurred to me that it might be something i would need! The moment I was back in Vietnam, though, all that inspiration vanished.

Soul searching last week on why I have been sick more often here in Vietnam than I ever used to be, I think I am starting to understand. I think my physical and mental health (the latter of which is contributing to me feeling uninspired) is intrinsically linked to this one pivot:

In my life in Vietnam, there is never a moment of serenity.

Have a think about that for one second.

There is constant noise. There are constant crowds.

There is constant self-awareness, about being different in so many ways. People always stare, and tell me I am fat and tall.

There is always something happening, people to see, parties to go to.

There is constant effort in trying to understand the language.

As exciting as Vietnam is, and as much as I love it, and as much fun as I am having here, I don’t think I am ever at peace here. I find myself having more road rage here than I have ever had in my life. The constant navigation (physically, mentally, culturally) is making me a very un-zen person. I try so hard to always smile and be understanding and culturally aware, politically correct. I try to do well at my job, and I like to please everyone.

But the closest I have been to being at peace was on the motorbike trip I did in the mountains last year, where there were large, open spaces, and the population was (relatively) sparse. Even with a urinary tract infection.

I think I will have to start making some serious changes to my down time, find a way to relax better to keep myself sane. First, I will need to stay away from the television more. Perhaps I need to improve my personal relationships, spending more time one on one with people I enjoy spending time with. Perhaps I need to find the right music to listen to. Second, I need to stop fretting so much. Or rather, being a natural worrier, I may have to find a way to block out my inner chatter.

And third, I need to rediscover a way to see the wonder in it all – like this blogger has. Maybe I need to head out with the camera, and see it all with new eyes. And perhaps then I will again find my muse to draw and paint and create. I certainly hope so.