Monday, October 31, 2005
Thursday, October 27, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Woke up early today but not to practice piano but to rehearse on my Icebreaker speech entitled "Fast Forward" in today's Toastmasters Meeting. The speech went very well! Too bad I exceeded the alloted time. I couldn't believe I overshot by 1.5 minutes. I could only guess it was the question-answer part that prolonged it. When I saw the red signal, it rattled me a litte and missed a few points in my speech. But still, the feedback from the evaluators was so good, I was ecstatic! The comment I liked best was that I should be evaluated as a CTM already! Thnx to Gina Mapua DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) for gracing the occasion! The text of my icebreaker speech may be found here.
See all my Toastmasters Speeches online here!
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Just for kicks (pun intended), I timed my free laps with kicks and without and I validated what I've suspected all along - that the 6-beat kick makes me faster. A 50m lap was timed at 56 to 58 secs with kick and 1 min 3 secs without. Water's much clearer today with visibility up to 10m.
I've been toying with the idea of increasing mileage in a single go. Maybe it's time for a 100m. This oughta be a relaxed slow swim to go that long. I think I'll blast even just one 100m tomorrow and see how it'll go.
STILL didn't wake up early today. Too tired and sleepy I guess.
- Doodled on the Db Major scale, noting the proper fingering. In the past, I was only drilled on the C major scale so now I'm learning all scales (majors first) as part of my warmup exercises in the future. Think I'll print out the other source for proper fingering.
- This morning I heard Karen playing the Indian War Dance piece from memory. I remember it to be one of my favorite beginner pieces. Guess what. I've been playing it long but it's only now I noticed that a segment was supposed to be played staccato. Ah well... NOW, I know.
Monday, October 24, 2005
The water color was so dark that you can't see beyond 2 meters! It was a weird feeling. I guess this is how it feels like to swim in a lake. Had to be attentive for the wall when reaching the end. There was also a slight drizzle in spite of the sun shining and it was a pleasant sight.
- I use the piano (when covered) to support the kids' school uniforms that I press during Sunday evenings. So they're more likely to be still there Monday morning.
- It'll be my rest day so I don't have to wake up early Monday esp. with the bodyaches and fatigue from the previous weekend's activities.
- Start with the sections that are most challenging. Idea behind this is that you can "conquer" the tough part while you're still enthusiastic and fresh with the piece. You can then blast the easy parts later even if your interest starts to wane.
- Study the piece AWAY from the piano. Study the notes and visualize hitting them. Study the time signature and tempo. This will give you a headstart when you try the piano coz you have some of the piece in your brain already.
Friday, October 21, 2005
I'm now officially putting my notes on piano practice into this journal rather than setting up another journal for it. My swim entries have not been lengthy anyway so I might as well put the piano entries here. Besides, I'm not keen on maintaining 2 separate blogs for 2 journals. I was just explaining to the kids last night the power of journalling. Journalling, is there such a word? Anyway, if there are mispellings in the titles, that's okay, spammers are on the lookout for "perfect" titles. From hereon, my piano journal entries will be separated by the simple divider below with the 2 red eight-notes.
Woke up late - 5am. Still far from my attempt at 4am. It's been 2 days already and I've not adjusted thus far.
Trills as taught by Teacher Rita, C-scales. I also practiced the Czerny 15 and 16 exercises. These are the last drills taught by Teacher Jill.
I've chosen "Love is all that Matters" as my piece for this month. Melody intro of this piece by Digna with just the right hand is so easy the kids do it like nothing. The whole piece looks easy (yah, everything looks easy on paper).
Thursday, October 20, 2005
I tried something new with today's free. Rather than do the usual right breathing where I just looked to where I happened to face, this time I set my eyes FOREWARD. I have a pic of Hackett where he does this. I believe this slight tweaking sets a more foreward direction for the stroke and even gives me a lower and more streamlined head profile.
I've devised a very relaxing and fun routine that combines the Elemback and the Tread (or headup breaststroke). This is a continuous cycle that won't require you to stop, stand or push off a wall. The key is how to change stroke and reverse direction at the same time. Here are the steps to the stroke changes:
Tread to EBack:
- Continue sculling while starting to lean back.
- Continue with frog kick until vertical while maintaining arm scull.
- Once the body is vertical, change frog kick into a walking or bicycling motion that feels like climbing.
- The arm sculling now changes into the double arm stroke of elemback.
- Continue stroking while starting to raise the torso.
- Do sculling motions with both hands to make you upright with the legs in a still "sitting" position.
- You might do 4 or 5 circles of these hand sculls to right you up completely.
- When vertical, stop sculling and put arms forward to start breaststroking.
- Put legs back to frogkick.
The towel's starting to get a musty smell so its time to wash and put vinegar. Algar drops need to be replenished too. Hmmm, why not just keep a sealable bottle of white vinegar. I heard it can be handy too for jellyfish stings if you happened to be on a beach.
On a different note, I'm now in a really good mood to revive my piano practice. All those action items yesterday were all a piece of cake! The answering machine worked immediately and was easy to clean. The bulb didn't need replacement and switched on magically. The switch worked well after taping. No hitch, no hassle whatsoever. Hey, maybe it's A SIGN! The stand's legs didn't require sawing. The setup measured 28.25" from floor to top of keys. Besides, it's too much hassle to cut-off coz it'll require drilling the stop hole. And the standard height is 28" to 29".
Now practice time... hmmmm... Am thinking of rising at 4am for this using my melodious cellphone alarm to gently wake me up. It won't be so bad. I could first fill-up the jugs and then put on the airpot. This'll limber and warm me up and keep me awake. Coffee will be ready in a jiffy. I'll practice until around 5:30. That's the time when Karen and Sandra will be getting ready for school. I'll keep the piano open while I take coffee. I hope keeping the piano open would entice them to practice or play at least. I'll turn it off once they leave. Then it's time prepare to leave for the morning swim.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I've been musing on reviving my piano lessons (for the nth time?). I looked at my piano journal and yup, it's been quite a while. The last real log was Sept in 2004. An "idea" entry was logged Feb of 2005 and that was it. I'll just have to let go of these issues I'm having now and just move on. Some action items related to this musing:
- Re-cable the answering machine to avoid disruptions.
- Fix or replace the score sheet lamp bulb.
- Re-cable the piano switch for convenience in powering off.
- Adjust the piano's height from floor to top of keys to ensure comfort. Saw off stand's legs if needed. Retain adjusting rods.
- Find a suitable practice time. Morning, 4am to 5pm? Occassionally use headphones?
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
It began to rain after I got in the pool. But it felt just fine and the water wasn't cold. It wasn't so dark either so it was a pleasant swim. There's a new girl at the counter: Michelle. So it's now just Cecille and Michelle. The previous one was let off. I wonder why.
Monday, October 17, 2005
I felt tightness with my neck muscles at the back (more like the traps) on both tread and paddle. And that is why I modifed the session a little. It must've been the whole weekend of sawing and chopping. The new hacksaw's holding up really great. We discovered that termites have started chewing on some of the stacked mango wood. So I spent much of my weekend clearing the pile and sawing like crazy. I've now got sore hand, triceps and butt.
It was cloudy today but am glad I still went swimming. Found another sunken treasure and it's a yellow wrist band with the embossed inscription "Battlegrounds" and the Nike logo. I can't find any use for it so it's not really a treasure - just a find.
I saw Manay Cherry today after I got Gemma's keys from Eve at the apt. We talked briefly about her daughter Faith in Italy who now has a second daughter. Throughout the conversation, Manay Cherry had this puzzled look on her face. I'll bet it was coz she was trying to recall my name (or worse, who I was!)
Friday, October 14, 2005
DTPTP: Had another at noon. The water felt weird. It was warm at the surface but cool at deeper than 4 inches. But it was so clear and was fun seeing the hand's shadow below. I couldn't do any back coz the sun's beating really hard and it'll blinding. I think I'll just do a noon workout next time if I can't make it in the morning. It takes lots of self-motivation to workout with nobody else around at noon. I wonder how I got through that seeming boring routine last year. But I did! Looks like it'll be a great sunny weekend. Not a dark cloud in the sky today!
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Putting on the gogs today made me realize that I've been putting them on exactly the same way I've been doing for so long and that is put on the plastic eyepieces first, THEN the straps. I thought of this method originally in order to be careful not to break the eyepieces' hooks. I was then thinking of some kids in several instances who wanted to borrow my goggles. What's up with that? You go swimming, you know what you need in a pool of water, so bring 'em! If you forget your towel, do you borrow mine? So, thinking of the distinct way of putting them on made me realize that they're probly broken by now had I lent them each time. I just tell them politely that I'm USING them even if I have them on my forehead.
Instead of the usual "Y" in starting the elemback stroke, I tried the "I". This is where the fingers of both hands are back-to-back to start the stroke. This with the open hands made a difference. It puts an extra strain on the muscles but it definitely gives a longer glide. I could finish a length in 8 to 9 strokes rather than the usual 10.
I'm doing air blasting and fist drills with more consistancy now. Air blasting at the turn really clears the nose and relaxes the breathing. The fist drill reminds me to rotate the hips in order to move efficiently. It also heightens the feel for the water.
For the longest time, I really need to replenish the shampoo, soap and sunscreen (for those rare dayswims).
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
I've screen recorded some useful swim drills from goswim. They'll be very helpful for giving out instructions to beginners.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Today's session was one of my best workouts. Suddenly, without conscious effort, I revived my kicking in free. It was smooth, narrow and unobtrusive. It was distinctly 6-beat although there were pauses/ hesitations so it wasn't fully rhythmic. The legs do not come out of the water and the kick maintains a narrow profile. Maybe the improved conditioning just prompted the kick? Whatever, I was gasping more than normal at the end of the laps. It took me longer to finish the workout coz I had to rest longer.
I validated the efficiency of the open palm stroke with today's elem back. I swear I pushed much more water when the fingers were farther apart. The glide was stronger and went further.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
- Starfish float - Ok, they can do this already.
- Starfish with Scull: Slowly bring legs together and scull to change position or turn. This teaches the hand sculling motions while remaining afloat. Watch the breathing.
- Back Balance: Scull to bring legs together and bend knees. Cross the lower legs together. To make it a little more difficult, do the table-top. Uncross the legs and bring them parallel to the water line. Scull to turn.
- Tuck and Extend: Do the back balance and then slowly extend the legs. Repeat.
- Sitting float: This is difficult but is good preparation for treading. This puts the body in a vertical position, but you "sit". Simply raise the legs off the bottom. Sculling the hands will bring you forward.
- Treading: This includes the frog kick.
Am still of thinking what to put on the card so that it really gets to Dante and Raymond and the counter girls. Uhmmm... "To the pool maintenance staff (Dante and Raymond)?" Last thing I want is that all those other bozos see the basket and take it for themselves.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Too bad our Toastmasters Club meeting was postponed. I was about to wow them with my Icebreaker speech today. I've practiced it a couple of times with speech timer and it's within time limit. Guess I'll just continue practicing it for next week.