7 #Relatable Clarinet Things

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I’ve played the clarinet for a couple of years now, and I love talking to other clarinet players about all the clarinet things. So HERE ARE A FEW. Also, whilst I was writing this post I I realised that this was kinda similar to An Overthinking Teenager’s #Trumpeterproblems post so do go and check that out, it’s excellent! I mean, I’m not actually a trumpeter, but I DID ENJOY IT NEVERTHELESS.

1. Wait, how many ledger lines?

As you can see here, you can get a whooole bunch of ledger lines on the clarinet. I’ve got a pretty solid hold on the lower ledger lines, but in the higher register? (The weird altissimo one.) Yeah, just no. I am that person who sits there counting them all out. TOO MANY LEDGER LINES, GUYS.

2. There are approximately 30172907 other clarinet players out there

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally glad so many people choose to play the clarinet, because clearly the best instrument out there. *coughs* It just means that there’s a lot of competition for the few clarinet spaces there are in orchestras. (Like, at least there are about a million violins. Compared with THREE CLARINETS, I tell you. THREE CLARINETS.) (This especially sucks when you have, like, a clarinet prodigy at your school. RIP me.)

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3. Playing 3rd clarinet in the school orchestra

Even when you do manage to get a place in orchestra, if it’s a lower part then it’s often just minims or crotchets plus 40 bars rest. I’m still pretty bitter from my 3rd clarinet days, to be honest. But it means that you can be SUPER HAPPY when you move up a part.

4. Trilling over the break

Some composers obviously just…do not understand how the clarinet works. BRO, I CANNOT TRILL FROM AN A TO A C. I JUST CAN’T. For non-clarineters: that means going from leaning on one key with your index finger to having all your fingers down! Plus another key! THE HORROR. I mean, there probably is a trill key for it. (See below.) But when you have to do it in like a scale of really quick notes going over the break and it’s just asdgyjhakeflkw.

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5. SO MANY DIFFERENT KEYS

I’ve played the clarinet for a good while now, and even I don’t know what all the little keys along the side do. (I think I know most of them. But I might have to experiment a bit if you actually asked me to tell you.) It also means that if you knock one of them slightly, it can send your entire instrument off kilter and then you have to improvise with cling film and blue-tack to try and get the notes out.

6. Cleaning your clarinet is just…no

There are a variety of different clarinet cleaning things out there that you can use, but I have a weird cloth with a weight on the end. It used to be white, but now it’s brown and ripped and just in general extremely disgusting. I used to barely ever clean my clarinet, so when I did it would come out with loads of brown stuff, but now I try and clean it every time I play to minimise that. It’s still pretty gross.

7. Your one good reed always chips

Reeds are just really weird and mostly out to hate you. (It always seems like they’re especially out to get you when you are a wee tiny clarinet player.) They’re dry and they chip really easily and sometimes you find a 2 year old one somewhere and it is super super manky. And then when you get out the one reed you trust to play it at the concert…IT GOES AND CHIPS. Because of course.

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do you play an instrument, or would you like to? (the clarinet maybe?!?) can you relate to any of these struggles?

Are YOU the Chosen One?

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Think that you might be the protagonist of a YA Fantasy? Find out here, and discover whether you actually need to save the entire world or not!*

You’ve always been a Normal Plain Jane. You’re totally average looking, which is to say that you could be a supermodel. Which is to say that you are a straight white female with dramatic red hair living in the USA — and you have an improbable name like Satchel. Or Canada. Or Sage. Because why not. You’re kind-of-but-not-really in love with your quirky guy best friend.

If you are not a Normal Plain Jane-slash-supermodel, then you are likely to be Harry Potter 2.0. (Because every fantasy novel ever must be compared to the first fantasy series ever. Obviously.) This time around you are a straight white male with green eyes and messy dark hair living in the USA. You might have a slightly less stupid name, but you can’t be sure.

Anyway. Whether you are Normal Plain Jane-slash-supermodel or Harry Potter 2.0, you have recently been thrust into a brand new world at the tender age of 16. Whilst looking through your recently deceased grandmother’s attic (you just inherited her grand old house) you found a mysterious magical item that suddenly caused strange things to happen around you. Well, strange things have always happened around you, but you’ve only started realising it now because you’re super smart.

The strange happenings build up. Something dramatic happens that tips the scales. You can’t lie to the people in your tiny boring town anymore. You run out of your kitchen with tears streaking down your face. But just when you think everything is beyond fixing, a mysterious, beautiful, brooding boy with green eyes turns up to help you. (Only you’re Normal Plain Jane-slash-supermodel. Harry Potter 2.0 does things all alone and kisses the pretty girl at the end. There are no options except outdated gender roles and m/f couples.) He saves you but is also very rude to you. He told you that you should mind your own business and he doesn’t know you can see all the magical creatures. You’re confused and distressed — you insist that you’re just normal. Despite his rudeness, you find him mysterious and intriguing. You think that he probably has a tortured backstory that causes him to be this way.

You feel guilty about your guy best friend who you’re kind-of-but-not-really in love with. Whoops. But Brooding Boy is just awfully intriguing. You think that you might be the only girl to get behind his snippy façade.

Anyway. Somehow along the way here you manage to pick up a wizened mentor. This old bearded dude tells you that you’re actually the prophesied chosen one. You’re not any normal kind of magical being — no, you are a Special Combination that allows you to save the whole magical world from the Raving Evil Villain. The wizened mentor possibly gives you a bit more advice, but as soon as it’s convenient he dies.

Who even knows where your parents are at this point. Oh no, I remember: you’re an orphan! You’ve been living with foster parents all your life. Except they’re not around either… huh. Weird. Oh well, you have bigger fish to fry right now.

Like that dramatic prophecy. You have no idea how it could be true. You’re just a normal teenager! How on earth will you save the whole magical world? Ah, now you remember: the wizened mentor instructed you to find the a special magical object that will be integral in your defeat of the Raving Evil Villain. (He’s really evil, is this one. Wants to take over the entire world. What an original plan.)

You embark on a long and dangerous journey. Although this probably takes up a decent chunk towards the end of the book , it’s mostly walking and sexual tension with the Brooding Boy. The boring/mysterious forest just outside your boring/mysterious town is a lot further away than you had thought. But let’s just gloss over that because it’s not particularly interesting. (Though it would have been a lot easier if Wizened Mentor hadn’t conveniently died, to be honest.)

Yes. Once you find said special magical object, the Raving Evil Villain appears. Your heartbeat gets so loud that you are sure he can hear you from your hiding place. But it doesn’t matter, because you selflessly decide to reveal yourself and save everyone else. There is a dramatic showdown.  Potentially you are injured, but odds are that you live. (There are still another 2 books in this series for you to star in, after all.) The Raving Evil Villain explodes in a poof of darkness and evilness. Exhausted, you fall into the arms of Brooding Boy. Just as he professes his love to you, everything fades to black.

When you reawaken, you are preparing to leave. You have been unconscious for several hours but experience no serious health effects, which is dubious considering most people only faint for a few seconds. Anyway. Then you return home in a way quicker time than it took you to arrive. Everyone hails you as a hero, except for a few token pessimists who think you’re a fraud. You have been changed forever. You’re still struggling to deal with your whole situation. But whatever’s wrong inside you can be instantly fixed by the love of the Brooding Boy. Somewhere in all of this your best friend found his soulmate and he is happily dating her. The book ends on a final bittersweet domestic scene as you are recovering with Brooding Boy. Turns out he does have a heart of gold after all.

are you the protagonist of a YA fantasy? (if so, WHAT ARE YOU DOING STILL HERE?! you should be saving us all!)

*Not entirely serious. I am, in fact, a big fan of YA fantasy. 😛 If you enjoyed this, you may also want to check out its YA Dystopia counterpart! And just as a reminder: this is a scheduled posts, and I am currently away with no wifi.  But I would love to meet any potential Chosen Ones when I return on 4th August!

7 Languages I’d Like to Speak // struck by linguistic love

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I HAVE SO MANY LANGUAGES APART FROM ENGLISH THAT I WANT TO LEARN. Literally all of them. There are way too many languages in the world. And let’s remember that I’m still on my way to learn English. I just…LIKE LANGUAGES A LOT. ❤ I have such a busy summer ahead of me. Even though I probably won’t end up doing all the work I want, but hey!

1. Spanish This is probably my favourite language at school! I want to be able to read the Spanish copy of Eleanor & Park I bought. Don’t ask. There’s also a lot of Spanish literature I’d love to read in its original language, but… HOPEFULLY. Someday. I’m going to make this happen.

2. Old English The language of Beowulf, Merlin, and the maybe the basis for Elvish. (Which makes an appearance later.) I have basically no knowledge of this language at all, unlike most of the others on this list, but thank Maggie Stiefvater. The Raven Cycle inspires unknown language-learning, okay?

3. Japanese Yes. I am in theory learning this, but I’ve basically only learnt the hiragana and katakana so far. So I can read some things phonetically! But I can’t tell you what they mean. The hope and the dream is to watch a Ghibli film in its original language (and without subs). Because I am a nerd, and I like Studio Ghibli.

4. Latin The textbook we have is kind of silly — yeah it’s the Cambridge one with Caecilius and everything, hi to anyone else who knows what I’m talking about — but this would be awesome to be able to know it a bit better. I could be Ronan Lynch. With a bonus of obscure words definitions.

5. British Sign Language Obviously BSL is different to the other languages here! There are no opportunities at all to learn it at school, so I think I should at least learn some basic phrases. It’s really cool. And then you can speak in all sorts of situations where you can’t vocally say stuff.

6. French I just handed in my options to give this up next year. *sighs* I have to many subjects that I want to study and it’s awful. I still hold my Les Mis/living in Paris fantasies in my heart, though, and I AM GOING TO MAKE THEM HAPPEN. Even if it means visiting with another person who, you know, actually can communicate. I will not give this up.

7. Elvish I’m not going to lie here: I went through a phase of researching constructed languages (i.e. made up languages) and it was all very nerdy and academic. But being able to speak Elvish would be awesome, no?| IT WOULD BE LIKE A SECRET CODE. I wish I could learn Morse Code as well. I know it’s not really a language, but can we just put that as the honorary eighth? I don’t want to break the seven tradition, guys.

do you speak more than one language? which ones would you like to learn? are you torn in WAY too many different directions like me? 😛

 

Starting Revolutions in Dystopian YA: a 7-Step Guide

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Revolutionaries, are you secretly the protagonist of a YA dystopia? Find out by checking yourself against the symptoms below!*

You have always played by the rules. You know everything you do is for the good of society. You are going to do your parents proud. Your think your life is going to be nothing special, predictable, and you will probably marry your nothing-special, predictable best friend whom everyone thinks you are in love with for no apparent reason.

But you are Different. Nothing about your actions or thoughts suggest it, but you know it deep in your bones. You go along with the others, yet you are somehow…not like them. You try to quell this individuality. Because if you try hard enough it will go away.

You are about to come of age. Soon you will be that magic special number which means you are a functioning adult in society. A little like a debutante. In fact, you might actually be a debutante. During this coming-of-age-ritual, something important will probably happen in relation to your love life. (Because the government holds a deep interest in the love lives of teenagers.)

But now something has gone disastrously wrong and ripped a hole in your nice predictable life plan. The nice plan that you didn’t really trust anyway went wrong — how is this possible?!? Well, anyway, you have now seen the light and know that you’ve been living under oppressed rulers all your life. You have vowed to get out of that dark place.

The Different and brooding love interest — possibly the same as the ‘something disastrously wrong’ — has awakened a flame inside of you. Your latent Differentness has started to show itself. You are In Love, now the most beautiful and amazing couple anyone has ever seen. You are made for each other. Your love is far more powerful and Different and world-changing than any other teenage love. You are, of course, just like every other teenager in love.

Some fighting happened, but other people did it. You didn’t get to see that much actual revolution-ing. You were probably too busy making moon eyes at The Love Interest, or maybe feeling guilty about spending too much time with The Love Interest. Anyway, one of your dearest friends who you only met like a week ago died in the fighting. You have spent the required amount of time crying and being meaningful, and currently you are angry enough that you might even do something reckless. (Like the reckless thing everyone told you not to do.)

You have done the reckless thing and freed the country in one heroic blow. Despite not actually doing anything other than the reckless thing everyone told you not to do, you have been greeted as a hero. the whole world is free and peaceful and happy. Suffering will never again happen, all thanks to you. You said you were only doing what your instinct told you, and The Love Interest congratulates your modesty but says you really should get some kind of reward.

You finish on a bittersweet note, standing over the grave of tragic friend holding hands with The Love Interest as the sun sets. Finally, you realise that you need to get over the death of tragic friend and move on in your life. To show you have done this you kiss love interest. You ride off into the (improbably still setting) sun. The End.

*This is not a medically approved list. (It also does not apply to all YA dystopian novels ever.)

7 (Mostly Stupid) Nostalgic Computer Games

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So, when I say ‘nostalgic’ games, I’m not actually referring to Pac-Man kind of games. Sorry. I AM NOT OLD ENOUGH TO CLAIM PAC MAN IS MY CHILDHOOD. And I am also still in my childhood. But luckily for me, the internet changes fast enough for this to seem Sufficiently Old. *nods*

Don’t tell me I’m the only one who knows that coolmaths.com is the site to go to if you want to fool the system into thinking you’re on an educational site. (Let’s just pretend I’m not writing this list during NaNoWriMo. I HAVEN’T BEEN PROCRASTINATING AT ALL, what are you talking about?!?)

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1. Fireboy and Watergirl Oh my goodness this game was my favourite. It’s…still my favourite two player game. It’s pretty much the only decent one, in my opinion. 😉 Because I’m really bad at Minecraft and ‘Actual Video Games’. The two-player element was especially useful when there was practically a bloodbath over the two computers in the library after school. (In retrospect: why is the boy the fire? But anyway, yeah.)

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2. Bloons Tower Defense The sound of computerised balloons popping is weirdly stress-relieving. The best part is when you get, like, the robot laser eye monkey right at the end and raze through all the rainbow coloured balloons. (It was actually quite a violent game, to be honest. And who even thought of ninja and sniper moneys? Are they a metaphor for humanity? What did those weirdly sentient balloons ever do to the moneys? Is there a whole backstory to this game? *gasps*

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3. Cookie Clicker SO SO POINTLESS. Probably the most ridiculous game on this entire list. I don’t know. But it’s really fun. Just. Even more pointless than all the others. I think there are copies of it with other items, too? Ah well. Someday I’ll look it up.

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4. Papa Louie Evil pizza monsters, duh. And what is more important than delivering pizzas whilst being attacked by evil pizzas??

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5. Circle the Cat This is actually a pretty clever game, even now. Stopping the cat from getting out requires actual thinking. (Some of it is luck where the starter squares are placed. But it’s more intellectual than, say, Cookie Clicker.)

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6. Celtic Village AHAHAHA. This game is the weirdest. It wasn’t ever really a popular-at-school thing like some of the others, but my cousin and I would play it at Christmas at the same time and see who could last the longest. It’s weird as hell, and it has terrible graphics, and it glitches all the time from what I can remember: random children would just turn into green aliens?? And then, like, the gods would come and age all your people up? Who even knows? *shakes head* Anyway, I just liked naming all my villagers. I had some pretty cool ones. Even if they all ended up dying at the end or something.

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7. Shopping Street OH MY GOD the competition with this. Way to introduce children to the retailing market. It was another kind of stress relieving one, though — maybe listening to money chink from all the little people pass is less good than balloons popping, but hey. (Not that balloons are particularly normal either. Oh well.)

What computer games did you used to play? Recognise any of these? I’M SO BAD AT ALL VIDEO GAMES NOW PERSONALLY. Except for Wii Sports. 😉

7 Pointless Ways to Procrastinate

7 pointless ways to procrastinate

Procrastinating is an art. Though social media is excellent, to be a true procrastinator you must also be able to perform your art in a variety of different ways – and if you have yet to embrace these during the joyful exam period, then here! Have a list that will effectively finish all productive revision!

(If you, like, me are actually in exam period right now then I’d probably advise not implementing any activities mentioned. Just saying.)

1. Play some oldey-timey games
Don’t tell me there wasn’t a fight for the one library computer in after school club. Seriously. That one with the green pipe and the bouncy ball one was my childhood (I’m very upset that I can no longer find it). If your memory is mysteriously blank then I’d suggest starting with Fireboy and Watergirl, Circle the Cat or Bloons Tower Defence. The sound of popping virtual balloons is strangely therapeutic.

2. Do some dumb calculations
‘How many books are in the library?’ ‘How many DVDs do I own?’ ‘How many teachers are teaching in my school at any one time?’ etc.

3. Find out dumb records
Again, the nostalgia from endless Guinness Book of World Records. What, you don’t have the newest edition? Never fear. The internet is your friend. My search history favourites include ‘longest piece of literature in the world’ (a Super Smash Bros fanfiction that clocks in at over 4 million words) ‘most married person’ (Linda Wolfe, with 23 marriages) and ‘farthest squirting of milk from the eye’ (279.5cm by Ilker Yilmaz).

4. Visit some pointless websites
My suggestions are Dot on the Horizon, Click to Remove, How Many Goats Are You Worth? and Please Wait.

5. Watch Pointless
You can say you’re watching ironically and because of my excellent pun, but we all know the truth. Pointless is the only game show worth any one’s time.

6. Find a playlist for every single action of the day
‘Saturday morning’, ‘Saturday breakfast’, ‘shower’, ‘getting ready’, ‘homework’, ‘making lunch’, ‘Saturday lunch’, ‘Oh look it’s started raining’, ‘Good job I don’t have to go out now’, ‘Let’s stay inside and watch Doctor Who instead’ ‘Wait, I have to publish this blog post first’ etc.

7. Learn how to say something in a language you’re not fluent in
This is probably the most productive items on this list. Quotes from your favourite books are especially fun – if you don’t want to buy a whole book and compare editions then you can get lots of sample chapters from Amazon.

I’m getting along well with my revision, as you can see. 😉 (No, seriously. I really am sorry for the lack of posts and such. It looks like this month is going to continue in this direction, unfortunately.)

Are any of you revising for exams at the moment? Is your studying going better than mine? 😛

7 British Words (That Aren’t ‘Bloody’)

British words that aren't bloody

(WordPress is really not liking me at the moment. I hope this posts. Otherwise, come over to my actual blog page and view everything from there.)

I am tired of ‘bloody’ and ‘mate’ being the only words used to identify a person with a British accent in books. I hate to tell you, but there are actually other accents in Britain and not all of us drink tea. As such, I have a compiled a* list of words used by a knowledgeable Londoner such as myself, which authors should endeavour to use in their writing.

*(not entirely serious)

1. Naff Ooh, I’m feeling quite urban here, aren’t I? Naff is a curious word which means the opposite of tasteful, but not the same as distasteful. Synonyms include gaudy, trashy, a large proportion of Camden market.

2. Term I know I’ve said this before, but THE AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM IS VERY CONFUSING. (And maybe other places too. I haven’t read enough books to make judgements, really.) In this wonderful country, we have three terms instead of, like, two semesters, or whatever they have across they have across the Atlantic. I’m not really sure.

3. Converse It took me several re-reads and a film to discover that when Hazel Grace wears Chuck Taylors, she means converse. I just call all of those shoes converse, even if they’re actually £4.99 fakes from Primark.

4. Nick Something that will happen to your Liberty bag if you leave it on the bus, i.e. get stolen.

5. Train Do they even have much public transport in America? Characters seem to drive or fly everywhere. I know the USA is crazy big, but I managed to take an 8 hour train from London to Aberdeen. (On which I left my pencil case and books, by the way. Never going on it again.) And, just to confuse everyone, you’ve got the Tube and the Underground and the Overground and the Eurostar and the DLR. Fun times.

6. Shops Yes, I am going shopping to the shopping centre to visit the bookshop. IT’S IN THE VERB.

7. Lessons Because school does not deserve to be classy.

Oh, and one more: “Isn’t it just chucking it down?”

Dear authors, I hope you have taken note and will do your best to include these in your next novel, undoubtedly set on this glorious island of ours. Old chaps, thank you for reading, and cheerio; for those fellow Britons of mine, are there any I have missed out?