D: Digital, Dell, Drums
I simply love digital stuff—whether it’s a computer, my camera (Canon PowerShot SX120IS, yup), my amazing Yamaha Clavinova, or even my wrist watch, and lest I forget, the humble CD. I was so glad when the compact disc came out in the 80’s because I listen to a lot of classical music, and it’s a sheer annoyance when the record warps, or I’m trying to find the third movement of a Mozart symphony on cassette tape (ah yes, remember that? And that unbearable hiss?) I’m just knocked out with the CD, where one can simply jump forward and backward to any track. And not only that, recordings are clean as a whistle (most of them anyway) without the annoying hiss.
I’ve mentioned enough of my Yamaha Clavinova digital piano in previous posts. Suffice to say, digital pianos beat acoustic pianos flat (excuse the pun) because of several things:
- No need for tuning and maintenance (yes your piano tuner will hate you for buying one) Just remember that it needs some electricity.
- The sounds are sampled from a concert grand piano costing more than my house, my car, and all my other worldly possessions combined.
- Recording can be done on the spot for burning to a CD or uploading to a blog, as I’ve done in My Music page.
- Lots of other sounds available, plus drum accompaniment, etc. A built-in metronome is included too.
- Large LCD display for viewing parameters.
- Now what I need is the kitchen sink.
All I can say is, live long and prosper, digital!
Truth be told, I’ve been contemplating getting a Dell laptop for the past year, and kept putting it off. Now it seems unavoidable that I get one, because I need it for teaching students advanced music theory when I’m out of the house. I’d originally planned on getting the Dell XPS M1530 but that has been discontinued and moreover it was a little on the pricey side. Now I’ve set my sights on the Studio 15 and it comes with Windows 7 to boot. And *snigger* next time when I spend a night or two at the E & O Hotel I can just bring this baby along—no more Internet withdrawal symptoms!
Yup, believe it or not, I was pretty good on the drums when I was a kid. My dad used to conduct a big band at home, and although I was intrigued by the piano and other instruments, it was the drummer that had me swinging along. When the rehearsal was over, everybody left with their instruments except for the drummer. Then it was my turn to groove. I hopped onboard, imagining myself playing with the other musicians, and pretty soon I was lost in my own world. My folks were amused and mom used to put on a record or two and I’d play in perfect time with the music. I remembered one of my favorites was Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman. I could play a wide variety of drum styles including the rumba, tango, fox-trot, bossanova, etc. Although my dad was pleased with my drumming talents he rightfully had my future in mind for me and steered me back to the piano. However, I’m still a pretty good drummer!
E: Eyes, E & O Hotel
Don’t get me wrong, but I don’t like my eyes. They’re small, they have been giving me trouble since 5th grade and as a result I have been wearing glasses and contact lenses ever since. My vision remained quite stable during my 20’s and 30’s. However, it began to deteriorate after that—I was having a hard time seeing faraway objects. A checkup with my optometrist and ophthalmologist confirmed my fears—cataracts were developing in both my eyes (this was about 10 years ago).
I had thicker glasses made. I wore contacts with a higher power, it reached a point where I was wearing contacts with the highest power available! And everybody knows that you can’t reverse cataract growth, it has to be surgically removed. I put it off until earlier this year, when a visit to Valerie (my optometrist—she’s great) became the straw that broke the camel’s back. My glasses were like bottles already and she said it was pointless to make new ones which would be even thicker—yuck!! She advised me to see my ophthalmologist saying that now would be the right time to have my cataracts removed. Guess what, this time I didn’t put it off. I went straight to see Mr. Lee, my ophthalmologist.
To cut a long story short (see my Eye to Eye posts for the details) I had the cataracts from both eyes removed in June and July of this year. And what bliss it was to be able to see well without those hideously thick glasses! Nonetheless I still had to wear reading glasses because my intense myopia had actually masked my long-sightedness. But reading glasses are fine with me. I just thank God when I wake up every morning that I’m able to see well without reaching for glasses. It has truly been a wonderful blessing for me this year.
Sir Noel Coward has stayed there. So has Douglas Fairbanks, Hermann Hesse, Rudyard Kipling, Somerset Maugham, Charlie Chaplin, and Joan Chen. I’m talking about the E & O Hotel, Penang’s Grand Old Dame. P/S I’ve stayed there too! I feel like I’ve known this hotel all my life. After all my parents were entertainers there for over 40 years, and I used to visit the hotel regularly when I was growing up. During my teenage years I would often take over playing the piano for my dad when he desired a break (but actually he wanted me to gain experience playing in front of an audience, thanks, Dad!) Of course the hotel has changed over the years. Its last refurbishment was in 1997 but due to the Asian financial crisis this had to be put on hold for a few years. The hotel finally reopened in 2001 and the refurbishment has really brought back the shine to this renowned establishment.
I started work at the “new” E & O in December 2004. I’ve been playing there ever since, on Friday and Saturday nights. It’s a wonderful job, I have a fantastic boss in Mike, and need I mention that the food is glorious (yes, Food Glorious Food!) The rooms are unlike rooms found in any other hotel. You just have to stay at the E & O Hotel to experience and bask in the ambience and glamour of this fine lady. And…I gotta cook up an excuse to ask the boss for another night’s stay again, hee hee!