Thursday, 30 June 2016

Eine Kleine Deutschmusik

Last week, I commented that I need to listen to some new-to-me acts that aren't Japanese, as I've listened to a hell of a lot of them for this challenge.

So this week, I've taken a hop, skip and a jump across the globe to check out some of the music Germany has to offer (with a little input from Sweden!)
(Note: did not literally hop skip and jump across the globe. Also did not physically go to Germany. The internet is an amazing thing, and mein Deutsch ist schlecht).

Anyway. Two acts, both heard of through friends. Thanks, friends!

Attempt of Deception
I heard about this band through my friend Rina, who mentioned them online a while ago!
Attempt of Deception come from southern Germany, and their music takes influence from various aspects of the broad metal genre.
On the whole, their music really isn't the kind of thing I listen to, but it was interesting to note the difference in tone between some of their songs. It's nice when a band's music has some variation!
Attempt of Deception on Facebook

My friend Lilia suggested this industrial metal band, which has a lineup comprising of Rammstein vocalist Till Lindemann, and the Swedish multi-instrumentalist Peter Tägtgren, from the death metal band Hypocrisy.
What I heard of their music (and saw of their music videos), there is a lot of dark humour, and some explicit content thrown in for good measure. Hence why I didn't embed one of their music videos here--definitely NSFW! (But they're right there on YouTube, if you're curious).
I like Till's vocals, and the music itself, too. Their videos have an interesting narrative, despite being a little brow-raising at times (though I hasten to add that 'Fish On' was entertaining!)
Lindemann Official Website

That's it for this week! I'll continue to try not to listen to zillions of Japanese bands for this challenge. I can't help it, really. I'm an anime nerd, and a Japanese rock nerd, and most of my friends are nerds of the same ilk, so it's inevitable that these bands keep popping up on my radar!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Obligatory Weekly Photo Post

Usually, I would have posted a photo for a theme challenge this week. But it's been a week where I've achieved very little, so I didn't get around to taking any photos for the themes (I had one idea but it wasn't an idea I could actually do...)

Since I'm becoming accustomed to posting photographs on this blog, here's one I took a couple of weeks ago, of Palace Pier* in Brighton. After chatting recently to a fellow volunteer and photographer, I've  been trying out this 'impressionistic photography' thing, which googling around seems to be a bit of a matter of using a slower shutter speed and continuous shooting to get a blurred, artsy result.

I'm still getting the hang of it, and want to think of more ideas for locations/images! But I'm pleased with how this picture turned out. So here it is, in lieu of any actual theme challenge post.

I'll participate next time!

(*It will always be Palace Pier to me. West Pier still stands!)

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Boot It

For the past couple of years, I've been nagging, nagging, and nagging my poor Dad about doing some car boot sales to get rid of the tremendous amount of unwanted stuff we have knocking around the house. I'd have pestered Mum too, but she doesn't drive, so Dad got all the pestering. Sorry Dad!

Anyway, suffice to say, boot sales didn't happen.
Or rather, they did happen, but we didn't go to them.

And the pile of stuff grew larger...

So you can imagine how pleased I was when last week, my friend Sara suggested doing a boot sale.

Hell yes, I said, wondering how on earth we were going to get all my stuff, and all her stuff, into her trusty little car... (Spoiler: We managed it).

Most of it was clothes: things that no longer fit, things I'd made but didn't like anymore, things that just aren't my style, things I bought but never had anything to wear with them, and of course, those inevitable 'Ill wear it one day' buys.

So we trawled off at a time that is almost inhuman to me, ever the late-riser. We set up, made some money, resisted the temptation of the nearby donut van, and went away with around £50 between us, less the pitch fee.
It was a bit of a disappointing total, to be honest, but it was also Father's Day and the week before Pay Day, so I guess shoppers were really feeling the pinch.
I'd sold a few things for one of my sisters, so after deducting that from my personal total, I'd made just over £10... Not great, really, but that's £10 more than I would've made snoring in bed!

As for my sister, she was pleased with the money I'd made for her!

So pleased that she wanted to do a car boot sale too--no prizes for guessing how I spent my morning!

This weekend being pay day weekend, there seemed to be a lot more bargain-hunters, and this time our combined total was just over £90 (less pitch fee, again). Slightly better there!

Personally I still didn't make an awful lot of money, but still nearly twice what I made last week. This is probably because the majority of my stuff is being sold really cheaply; I don't have any high-value items!
But again, that's more money than I would have had if I'd been sitting at home, and it's great that my sister was able to make some money, as she's trying to save for her wedding!

I've been so desperate to do a boot sale and get rid of some of this stuff, that I'd even made it a goal, right back when I first wrote The List!
067. Sell unwanted things at a car boot fair
And next weekend? My sister and I are doing it all over again... Fingers crossed we'll shift even more stuff!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Music Found Through Web TV

This week, I caught up on a Japanese web TV show, 『秘密のクロヲゼット』 (himitsu no kurowozetto / secret closet) which I keep missing due to it the time difference meaning it's broadcast at 10am here!
It's a monthly music program that features live performances, music-related news and a post-performance talk with the guest artist.
This week, through watching the episodes from May and June, I ended up continuing with my music goal, though the difficulty I found is that one of the new-to-me artists in question doesn't have any actual music videos...

ハウリング (Howling)
This act caught my attention immediately, as three of the band members appeared on stage with skull-like half-masks! I liked their sound and enjoyed the way the vocalist sang, so it's disappointing I can't find much information or any more music online! The band's homepage only contains a (non-music) video and the details of their next appearances, but hopefully more information will emerge eventually!
Due to the lack of media, I've embedded the web TV show above. The band's performance starts at 11:47.
ハウリング Official Website (Japanese)

I heard of this band via Twitter last year, before they even released any music, but had never got around to looking them up. So when they popped up on this month's himitsu no closet, I was glad to hear them!
The set on the web show was acoustic, but after watching I prodded at ye olde internets and found a few videos! I already knew what the vocalist sounded like, as I listen to a number of his previous bands. This band itself seems like a combination of several of them, with a hard, fast drumline and rock guitar alongside more classical elements such as the sound of strings!
When it comes to their style, this band is pretty typical of the visual kei scene, though the vocalist's style in particular really stands out.
I've embedded a live video rather than a promotional one here, because I want to share the sound of those live vocals! 
If you want to hear the acoustic set I watched first, you can see it here (link should go straight to the band's appearance on the show).
SHAPE SHIFTER Official Website (Japanese)

Well, with this little bit of listening, I'm halfway to achieving my goal of listening to 2 new-to-me acts each week for a year!
...which also alerts me to the fact we're halfway through the year already. When did that happen? How?!

Check my goal 29 tag for other musical acts I've listened to for this goal!

I'll try my best to listen to some more bands that aren't Japanese... There have been quite a few of them so far, haven't there!

Saturday, 18 June 2016

I Spy Through a Hole in the Sky...

See Air

For the theme challenge on Delightful Aberrations this week, I opted for the theme of hole.

I ended up with two versions of the final image, the one above, and this one:

I Spy...
They both have a different feeling to them, don't they!
I wasn't so lucky as to catch a bird through the sight of the agate slice, let alone have both in focus (is that even possible?!) so I created this image using two separate photos: one of a pigeon in the sky, and one of the agate/my hand.

Then there's this 'bonus picture', which again is photographed through the agate, but with focus through it rather than on it:

Mountain in Clouds
So these are my three images for this week! If I'd not done this, I would have tried to make some creepy, surreal images instead, but after week 10, perhaps I should give it a little rest ;)

To see the images from past weeks' challenges, check out my photography tag, and remember to keep an eye on Delightful Aberrations to see what other participants are doing!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Female-Fronted Rock

When it comes to music, I almost always tend towards male vocals rather than female. This week, I decided to change it up and check out some acts that feature female vocals!

Bad Seed Rising
I heard this band because their self-titled song was used on the film Spy, which I watched this week.
This hard-rock band comes from America, and boy does the vocalist have some lungs on her! The music is typical rock music but it's typical good rock music, so worth a listen.
Their music videos have a narrative to them alongside showing the band performing, but their official YouTube also has lyric videos that have an interesting visual content.
I enjoyed listening to this band!
Bad Seed Rising Official Website

Azusa Kobayashi
This artist has been on my listen-to list for a while. I heard of her through the twitter of a guitarist I follow (who pops up in the above video!)
Her music is a mix of rock and pop; some songs have a real rocky sound to them whilst others have a much softer, poppy feel.
Azusa Kobayashi has a sweet-sounding voice, and the music is similar to the style of rock I like listening to, with some symphonic aspects alongside the traditional guitar/bass/drums.
Overall, it was easy to listen to. I would play this when I wanted to multitask listening to music and getting other things done!
Azusa Kobayashi Official Website (Japanese)

Monday, 13 June 2016

On Target

I think the last time I fired any sort of gun beyond a water pistol was when I was about nine years old and on a school trip to an activity centre. We piled into the little rifle range and took it in turns to fire at paper targets, and I ended up being the second-highest scorer in my group (the highest was this kid who was a total gun fanatic).

I'd always wanted to have another go, so when I saw a rifle range set up at the South of England Show (which I blogged about recently), I happily handed over £2.50 for the pleasure of firing little bits of metal at a piece of paper. Yay! 
Firing these as a novice is harder than it looks. The sights are tricky to get used to, and being something of a weakling when it comes to arm muscles, I found it difficult to keep the crosshairs on the centre of the target as I was firing.

Despite that, it was fun, and in doing this activity I was able to cross a goal off The List:
085. Fire a gun
 ....Alright, I admit it, I edited one of the goals on The List, so that I could check it off.
I guess that's kind of cheating, but also something of a reality check.
085. Go clay pigeon shooting
085. Fire a gun
Which is actually a suggestion made ages ago by Marcy at Too Timid and Squeamish, but I never added it because it was too similar to the original goal 85.

Why I changed it:
Mainly, I'm not really interested in trying it anymore.
Then there's the fact it costs money (not too much, but enough) and the places that offer it are all a bit out of the way, meaning I'd either need to pester someone to drive me, or pay for a taxi (which is never cheap) just to get there. Which really is too much money and effort for something that I'm not in a mad rush to do.
Therefore, I broadened the scope of the goal.

The rifle range (which I didn't think to take a photo of, or get the name of, because I was on an 'I Did Something Different!' high) was enjoyable and I was tempted to return for another go, but by that point the place was packed!

As for how well I did?

I think I did pretty well! Especially considering I'm a left-hander who was shooting right-handedly!
It was fun to have a go at, and if I see a stand like this again, I'll probably give it another go.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Whispers Across the Veil

Mourning Through the Veil
Once again I participated in the theme challenge at Delightful Aberrations this week, opting for the theme smoke.

I took the two photos here by setting my camera up on a tripod and photographing the smoke coming from an incense stick. Nothing particularly technical, really!

The results were pot luck; I liked half the shots I ended up with, and picked these two as my absolute favourites.

The top image almost fits in with one of the other themes, 'mourning', because the smoke looks like a veiled lady with a bowed head--hence the image title. 'The Veil' is also a term used for the border between our world and the spirit world...

Whispers Across the Veil
...hence my titling of this one. (Honestly, I just thought the picture turned out cool, so thought up a title to go with it haha)

Anyway, that's it for photography this week. For my previous photos for this challenge, check out my photography tag!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

There are Two Types of Horses...

Two years ago, I blogged about the South of England Show, a county show held in Ardingly, Sussex, that I have been going to with my parents and sisters as long as I can remember! I went last year, but it seems I didn't blog about it for some reason!
But it's a great day out, and always worth a mention!

A Little Music

This week, the new-to-me artists I listened to were both happened upon by chance! However, I couldn't find much music by either of them on good old YouTube. The first only has one song there...

This group hails from Japan, and is made up of elderly ladies and was the brainchild of musician Kikuo Tsuchida. The name is a play on the name of the idol group AKB48, and means Kohamajima Ba-chan Gasshodan  - Kohama Island's Granny Choir! Their average age is 84, with the oldest member being in her late nineties!
I found the concept of a 'granny band' really cute and entertaining. Don't let the beginning of the song fool you, as this one becomes more energetic!
KBG84 Official Website

Venice Valley
This electro-pop band comes from Hungary! Their sound makes me think of 80's music.
Their music wasn't really my kind of thing, but that doesn't mean that it's terrible. The vocalist has a nice voice and the music is well-played, just the genre isn't my cup of tea.
It was difficult to find any information on this band, so I can't write much about them either. D=
Venice Valley on

That's it for another week!
Lately, I'm noticing that I'm hearing a lot more new-to-me music, completely by chance...

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Nothing Makes A Walk Quite Like...

Something I am absolutely blessed with is the area I live in. Okay, so it's a pain in the ass to get anywhere and public transport is non-existent on a Sunday, but what we do have is a lot of public footpaths that meander across the countryside.

And what does the countryside mean? Animals! On a single walk, I can encounter sheep (with lambs!), horses, cows and alpacas! (And a goat, which you can see in the picture above.)

What could be more awesome than an alpaca, you ask?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Time Eater

Time Eater

Themes for the challenge on Delightful Aberrations this week included oral and watch. I decided to have a little fun and combine them!

The final image is made from two separate photos, with a great deal of photoshopping done to merge the two.

Unfortunately I have an issue at home in that there is nowhere with a good backdrop. Therefore boring old vertical blinds it is. On the plus side, I had a handy helper in the form of my mum (thanks Mum!) to press the shutter button for me this week, so I didn't have to race between the camera and the frame, unlike the last time I tried self-portraiture!

Would love to do some more surreal/creepy pictures. I just need that perfect background!


Two more new-to-me musical acts this week! Both surprised me: one in a sense that I actually liked a song of the genre, and the other in the style of their music videos!

This act was suggested by my friend Sara. I wasn't sure if I'd like this artist's music, as I don't generally tend to enjoy Kpop! But she has a nice voice and I liked listening to her music despite it being a genre I wouldn't otherwise seek out. Goes to show it's impossible to completely dislike any one genre, doesn't it!
The music videos are nicely shot with a lot of atmosphere, sometimes fun, sometimes serious. 
Doing some prodding of the internet, I found out that she's actually American, but works from South Korea, and is part of a girl group named f(x)
Amber Official Website

Mother Mother
A Canadian band suggested by my friend Lilia (Paracosm of Lilies). Their music is really varied! Just listening to three songs, they sounded completely different. It's nice to hear a band with so much variation. The combination of male lead and female backing vocals is great too.
The videos I saw were as varied as the music, with one thing tying them together: quirkiness! I found them fun to watch!
Mother Mother Official Website