Sunday, 11 March 2012

Taylor Swift 'Speak Now' Concert

Yesterday I attended the Taylor Swift 'Speak Now' concert. Two years when I attended her 'Fearless' show I was relatively near the front but this time I wished to be a little closer to the stage. Truth be told, I wasn't very excited about attending the concert originally as I felt as though I had 'outgrown' her music. Her songs were lovely but I found I connected more with other artists such as Ingrid Michaelson, Allie Moss and Amy Kuney.

I arrived at the arena earlier than I had expected (2.30ish) and sat in line. At this time, there was a lot of groups scattered in the line, most sitting next to the fence or the wall (so they could lean). Awkwardly I asked the group of girls nearby if I could sit there, worried that I was taking someone's spot but alas I was not.

At around 6pm the gates opened and like cattle, we were herded through security. Compared to the previous concert, the security felt a little more lax; last time the security guy went through my bag whereas this time I just opened it and he barely glanced and waved me through. Alternatively, I may have simply gotten a stickler for protocol on the previous occasion. I was fairly nochalant waiting in line before but seeing everyone really excited was, well exciting for me too. It was at this stage that I lost my friend and her friend. In the meeting room before heading to the floor, I made a friend. Now this is where it gets random. I asked him if he had come with anyone because he was male (yes, it was a presumption but usually accurate) and he told me no. Shock #1. He then asked me if I spoke a certain language and I told him no so I asked him if he was an international student and he told me yes, from China but was studying in Canberra. Shock #2 (he drove all the way from Canberra and was going to leave straight after the concert). Trying to make small talk, I asked him about the merchandise bag that he had and he pulled out a 40cm x 20cm sign which had LED lights that spelt out 'Taylor'. Shock #3. It was just so unexpected. We decided to be mosh buddies then and there. (Side note: when I am happy, I tend to be very very random. After he told me that he was studying the same degree and with the same major I hi-fived him. I don't know what compelled me to do that). People slowly got let in and obviously there was a mad rush where, I am sure, that I had at least 6 different bodies touching mine. This was when I grabbed onto his arm (because we said we would stay together) and then he held my hand. For the first little while it was 'okay' because I was too busy trying to breathe but then it got awkward so we just linked arms. I also got given a glow stick necklace from him! We got onto the floor and we were second row behind the barricade but off to the left of the stage (which was the angle that I wanted to be at). At this stage I was so excited I think I sent a text to my friend that said 'I am so ducking close!!!' because I don't have the f-version in my dictionary. Oh auto-correct. Thankfully as I was so close to the front I was able to put down my bag in front of the barricade and the security people were able to squirt water into our mouths which was much needed.

Hot Chelle Rae was the opening act and I admit, I had not heard of them or their music. But it was pretty good and the lead singer was incredibly attractive. Surprisingly thin too and the girl to my right knew all the words and was singing; she was probably one of the few people who knew all the words to the songs.I didn't get too many good shots of the band as I was still trying to figure out the camera settings.

(Once you get past the amusing blurred face, look in the bottom left hand corner of the security guard. LOOK AT HIS EYES.)

Finally Taylor Swift started with 'Sparks Fly' and cue screaming. The worrying part was that for a few seconds, I couldn't 'hear' the screaming (or more accurately the true extent of the screaming) so I had to cover my ears but then my ears were fine after that.

(The light glare was terrible, but there is just something I love about this shot even though you can't see her)

(If you look on the underside of his guitar he always had extra picks to give to the crowd. The girl next to me got given a pick!)

After she went to the mini stage, there was this massive push at the front and the girl in front of me was being incredibly annoying. Since she was at the front she intentionally used the gate to push herself back and subsequently push everyone else behind her. Around this time till the end of the show, I was pressed up against the girl's ass in front of me, someone had one hand around my waist (or maybe their hand just got stuck there), someone's elbow/ face was on my left shoulder and my head was resting on someone's cheek. The girl's shampoo (or conditioner) in front of me reminded me of coriander. It got to the point where whenever I lifted my arm to take a photo, I couldn't bring it down completely and more often than not I just my arm resting on my head. There was no air and there was a moment where I felt sort of weird but I just pushed past that. At that time, I was immensely grateful for working at the pie shop where there was no air-con and it was permanently incredibly humid and at around 30 degrees; it taught me how to breathe when there was no air.

But it was totally worth it! The last time I went to the mosh, it was fun but definitely not as fun as last night. Being around so many people who are just singing and jumping is just really infectious. On a side note, I couldn't for the life of my understand why the two girls in front of me had their long hair down. Everytime I had to lift my hand/ was moved my hand got caught in their hair and I was so tempted to offer them a hair tie but they were just so annoying that I didn't really care in the end.

The night was amazing and it reminded me why Taylor Swift is so truly amazing and she is gorgeous beyond words. I've said it before, but hearing her talk made me realise how 'American' her accent is. Which doesn't make sense because I know that she has an American accent, perhaps it just gets warped a little in recordings (interviews and other recorded audio). Or maybe it is because it becomes even more evident surrounded by Australian accents.
Friday, 17 February 2012

Wentworth Falls - Blue Mountains


The Blue Mountains is region just outside of Sydney and approximately 2 hours away by train. My highschool friends and I travelled to Wentworth Falls for some bushwalking through various tracks in the area. This summer, the weather has been a bit temperamental - raining for weeks on end and having moderately warm temperatures for the rest. However, yesterday was a gorgeous sunny but relatively cool day which was perfect for bushwalking. We first started walking on the Charles Darwin Walk which was fairly easy path. It followed the Jamison creek and eventually we reached the top of Wentworth Falls. The look down was breathtaking and also scary as I am a little scared of heights. Despite the lovely weather, it had rained probably the night - if not day - before and hence the steps carved from rock were very wet and possibly slippery. walking down those incredibly steep stairs were a little scary, especially as you would be looking directly down at the trees hundreds of metres below.

Wentworth Falls

The view from the bottom of Wentworth Falls was breathtaking and the spray of water was very refreshing after the steep descent.

Valley of the Waters

This is probably my favourite shot from the entire day. For some reason, it reminds me a little of a scene from The Land Before Time

Blue Mountains - Wentworth Falls

Leura Water Skink

We then followed the National Pass and saw waterfalls such as Lodore Falls, Empress Falls and Sylvia Falls in the Valley of Waters. For our lunch break after a difficult climb, we took a break at one of the lookouts and there, I saw a Leura Water Skink.
Weeping Rock


After our break, we took a shorcut back to Charles Darwin Walk and went to the Weeping Rock. There we took off our shoes and waded in the water for over 30 minutes. The day was relaxing and provided a much needed break from Sydney and the life back there.
Saturday, 11 February 2012

35mm Film

For the past few months, I have had two rolls of 35mm film sitting on top of my bookshelf. Finally I brought myself down to the local store to develop them. I had used two different cameras, my trusty and yet bulky Minolta Dynax 300si (or ╬▒-101si as I have the Japanese version) and trialing the compact Olympus Trip 35mm.

Olympus Trip 35mm

Minolta Dynax 300si

Evident from the batch that I developed, the quality from my Minolta is far superior (as to be expected) however it is simply too bulky to bring out with me. The film that I used was relatively cheap; rather than purchasing on higher quality film from Ebay, I settled for the only brand sold at the supermarket. As I do not develop the photos myself, film photography is an expensive hobby. Yet in those first moments after receiving the package from the photo lab, the anticipation and excitement of 'discovering' those captures is an experience unlike any other.
Friday, 10 February 2012

The End of Summer

Main Walkway

For the duration of the summer break, I have been interning at my university's law centre and they are now drawing to a close. Despite my incessant complaints, this experience has been worthwhile; it has opened my eyes to the alternative paths that a law degree may offer. After three months of exposure to such an environment, I believe that it has confirmed my belief that this path is probably not one that I would pursue. I suppose it is in my nature to be pragmatic and cynical - although that may have been exacerabated due to the degree that I am studying- hence my discovery.

With only 2 weeks until university semester starts again, the summer has definitely gone by too fast. However I plan on spending it out next week and to visit places that I still have remaining on my 'to-do' list for summer 2011-2012.

However, for the remainder of this week I shall be spending it in front of my laptop, rewatching season 1 of House and doodling in my empty diary. In the end, I decided not to purchase a Moleskine and I regret it to a degree. The diary's paper is too thin as the ink from my favourite type of pen bleeds through the pages.

Hakuna Matata

.. just knowing the difference