Sunday, May 30, 2010

Don't you just love

When your life decides to go crazy on you, with no warning? In the last week I've gotten a job interview at a really upmarket jewellry store, a job trial at an even more upmarket bag shop, been informed I can't sponsor my Compassion child any more, and had my wallet stolen from my current job. I only have a bankcard, and I called and got it cancelled pretty quickly, so I didn't lose any money. It was just A) really craptastic because I had to borrow $5 from my assistant manager just to get the train home, B) more craptastic because I really liked that wallet, and C) now I have to go about replacing all the stuff that was in it. And get a new wallet.

This week: 
*Monday I'm working 9am-5:30.
*Tuesday, jewelry place interview, after which I will be able to get a replacement bank card, do something about my Medicare card (which was in my wallet) get a new Smartrider (again, in my wallet) and if I have any energy left, I'll run over to the movies to replace my member's card. All the other stuff was just coffee loyalty cards (ironically, I had about 5 of them), a bowling card which I don't think I ever used, and some photos which I have digital copies of, so I can reprint them.
*Wednesday, handbag place job trial. After that I have to go into uni to get a new Student I.D. card, because I need it for my exam on the 8th, and it's also my university library card.

I got in a little retail therapy the morning my wallet was stolen. I found the first installation in a new comic series featuring Vala Mal Doran from Stargate SG-1, placed an order for a bunch of other comics, and managed to get my hands on two discontinued Mode polishes, namely Tree Hugger (grass-green) and Bubblegum (sheer pale pink with blue-purple iridescence). Links are to Vibrant POV's reviews. In all the craziness I've hardly looked at the polishes, barely touched my Sassy order, which I want to review, and my camera batteries are flat, so I haven't gotten any further on the Concrete Minerals primer review either. I ordered some more shadows from both Sassy and CM, so I might even wait til those arrive before typing up my thoughts. I haven't done nearly as much exam study as I should've. I need to organise posting a goodbye letter to my sponsor child... that's going to be so hard. I don't really know the situation in his village; I've been sponsoring him for close to three years and there's been no trouble that he's told me about, or any delays in letters back and forth. He's sent me many letters and pictures that he's drawn. He's a delightful, intelligent boy and I'll never forget him. I will definitely sponsor another child, I just need to wrap my head around losing Lucky first.

Fingers crossed for my job stuff next week. I'm trying to stay focused and positive. And studious. I had a sort-of day off today because I was just feeling crappy and stressed. I played some Red Dead Redemption with my boyfriend (it's not multiplayer so we take turns; I'll admit there's a bit of backseat driving, hehe), had a cry and a cuddle, and I'm feeling alright now. Just a bit tired! Going to bed right after Castle finishes at 10:30, and I'll be studying on my lunch break tomorrow instead of the shopping I had planned. Yay inadvertent saving? :P

Some proper writing will be along by the end of the week, pinky promise.

Friday, May 28, 2010

You vs Your Job

In the last fortnight, my job has become pretty darn crazy. There's a buttload of construction going on in our street, which is impeding the already tiny amount of foot traffic we get each day. Fortunately, when the construction finishes, there'll be more shops and cafes opposite us, which means we'll get more customers.

Unfortunately it means our rent is going up. So not only have both my assistant manager and my manager provided resignation notice, but head office is letting us know by the end of July whether or not our store is still going to be open. Fun times!

In light of all the insanity, I bit the bullet and searched out every retail outlet looking for staff. If I saw a "casuals needed" sign, I went in, even if it was a store I'd never consider entering otherwise. So I did venture into a few stores I knew I wouldn't feel comfortable working in, let alone shopping in. You see, I don't tend to have a lot of luck with jobs. This is probably the third time in as many years I've been looking for supplement/replacement employment. Every time I hand out at least ten CVs. Every time I hear nothing back. So it was to my utter surprise I got a phone call from a local jewellry store asking me if I was free on Tuesday for an interview. Which, y'know. Yay, employment and such. But... I don't own any jewellry that could have come from somewhere like that. Everything I own is indie, handmade or cheap costume stuff. The only expensive/contains 'real' gold/stones type thing I own is a beautiful teardrop necklace my boyfriend bought me for Valentine's day three years back, with my birthstone in it. The chain broke a few months ago (which we both knew would happen since it contains high amounts of gold and is therefore quite fragile) and I still haven't gotten around to getting it fixed.

What I'm getting at here is that I don't want to be one of those people who absolutely despises their job. Or feels silly being there. I am firmly and utterly an indie, vintage and bargain shopper. Terms like "investment purchase" and "paying for quality" just aren't a part of my vocabulary. Jewellry, for me, is about being unique, and fun, and colorful, and supporting your own and others creative ventures. I make a lot of my own jewellry. The stuff I don't make comes from antique stores, online indie places, or from friends and family. My current favourite pieces include a pair of white lego block earrings, iridescent purple guitar pick earrings, a vintage metallic button choker I made myself, and a gold mesh buckle bracelet I bought from Etsy. How am I going to feel trying to convince women/boyfriends/husbands/children that they need to blow a few hundred bucks on something that's OMG real silver with some OOH sparkly rocks.

Now don't get me wrong, I think that gold and silver and gemstones are important in the context of say, wedding rings and engagement rings. But in an everyday context I'd much rather have something affordable, with a ton more personality and colour than something mass-produced. My broken necklace does have colour, and its subtle, and pretty, and meaningful because it has my birthstone in it, which is also a colour I really like (purple).

I guess what I'm trying to get at is, how do you overcome that sense of... wrongness, when your job clashes so hard with your ideals and your values? I'm still going to this interview. Job > no job, as one of my  friends very succinctly put it. I like jewellry. I just don't like paying $299 for a cute ring, and I don't know how I'd feel about trying to sell it to someone.

NOTE: Sassy Minerals review incoming, just checked the mail and did a little happy dance. I also bought some empty jars on ebay to de-bag my various other samples. I fail at using bags. Also bought a bunch more Mode polishes, if anyone's interested in a picspam of those, please say so, else I won't bother.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Webcomic review - YU+ME: dream

As a recently-indoctrinated comic book fan, I know well the trials and tribulations associated with the medium. The agonising wait (monthly, for some series), the slender size (and yes, a lot more work and effort goes into a comic page than a page of plain words, especially when you have 2-3 people working on the same comic) and (for me at least) having to make trips to the few places that carry comics as well as regular books.

Webcomics are not as forgiving a medium to the artist. Updates are expected with far more regularity - the few I follow are updated daily, 5-6 times a week. Others with more intensive artwork update more irregularly. The major impractibility of webcomics are their most exciting aspect: they're free. Most artists have a store with merchandise, and sometimes a PayPal donate button, but paying to read isn't mandatory. Thus I have a huuuuge amount of respect for webcomic artists, who not only do their work for (mostly) free, but usually do it themselves - the same person writing, drawing, coloring and lettering.

Also you can read my previous post about comics/webcomics here.

The actual review:
I was reading my usual Girls With Slingshots when I happened to scroll down. I don't remember if I clicked directly on the ad or clicked around a few other places first, but I  found it, and I'm so glad I did.

YU+ME: dream, as described by its creator Megan Rose Gedris, is "part high school romance, part journey/adventure story, and part total-mind-fuck". Megan started the comic straight out of highschool in 2004, so as her disclaimer posted under the first comic frame explains, the storyline matures and expands as the comic goes along. As does the art! Megan experiments with many, many different styles and colour palettes, starting from a few hundred pages in, when she starts using color, all the way up to a roundabout page 500 where she starts using photo-manipulations, watercolor and even clay figures. If you like consistency in your comics, you might be a little bit put-off. Some of the change in style/medium is symbolic, helping represent different planes of reality (dreams, memories, imagination etc) and some of it is just plain experimentation. Personally, I think that the different mediums enrich the story, but I recognise that it might be a bit off-putting to some people.

What starts off as a really adolescent, coming-of-age type fantasy story turns into a complex, twisted tale about acceptance, love and the shifting boundaries of reality. The comic is divided into two parts, and a total of fourteen issues (still going at the time of this review!).

Let's get this out of the way with first: the main character of this comic series is a lesbian. She finds friendship in a gay male couple, as well. So if you're a homophobe, this comic isn't for you. This comic also deals with the struggles of the GBLT community - not heavily, but in a way that is relevant to the characters and storyline. The main character is, after all, struggling with her sexuality.

The comic starts off following the main character, a 17-year-old girl named Fiona, who is basically an outcast at her school, with a depressing home-life consisting of an almost entirely absent father, and an aggressively indifferent step-mother. Now, don't let the modern-day Cinderella beginnings fool you. This comic has layering, planning and intricacies of plot which have left me breathless. In part one, it's mostly high-school level drama (which I in no way intend to belittle with this statement, I did not enjoy my school years much and I know firsthand how the issues can dog you and damage you all the way into your adult years) and the tediousness of growing up in general. Things are compounded by the issue of Fiona's sexuality, and the hostility of her environment to any kind of 'abnormalities'. She also starts to learn about her mother, who died in a car crash when Fiona was three. Fiona was in the car, but she doesn't remember her mother, and her father not being around means she can't ask him questions. Around issue 9, which is the last issue of part one... massive freaking plot twists. Out-of-the-blue, but in a really good way. If you can stick around til the end off issue 9, I guarantee you will not want to stop reading. Not only does Fiona learn the truth about her mother and the events surrounding her death, but  issue two is where the adventure, fantasy and surrealist elements of the comic really come into play. But never fear, it doesn't in any way become all show and no plot. On the contrary, here's where Megan's incredible storytelling skills come into full play: events from the past are thrown into new light as the readers are treated to a view from another angle. We learn about things that we hadn't thought about, or only really noticed in passing.

The only way that I can explain the intricate, thoughtful plot here is to take a real risk. I'm assuming most of you will have read Harry Potter. Well, you know how J.K. Rowling laid down little things throughout the series, which became hugely significant later? How you never saw things coming, but when you went back and re-read the previous books, you could see the clues, and you smacked yourself in the face and said "Of course! It was there the whole time and I didn't notice!" Well, at the risk of genre-crossing and doing a bunch of other artistic no-nos, this is exactly what Megan does in this comic. The story unfurls like a piece of dazzling brocade, with shifting hues, finely detailed work and rich texture. It is truly amazing and you can tell she put so much thought into the storyline before putting pencil to paper to start on the artwork. By issue two, any preconceptions you might have had about the simplicity of the story and plot will be blown rather violently out of the window. I'm roundabout issue 12 at the moment and still having head-spins from all the reveals.

I've been reading this comic voraciously since I found it; I'm almost dreading getting to the last panel and having to wait for the updates like all the people who found this before me. I reccommend this comic to anyone who has a heart; even as a completely straight girl from an un-broken family, I absolutely related to these characters. I fell in love with some characters, and completely despised others (although Megan doesn't let the bad guys be cardboard-cut villains for too long... or the good guys be pure, either!) The end of issue 9 had me gasping and close to tears. The page could not load fast enough to tell me what was going on next. I'm enthralled by the twists and turns and revelations. I'm still having trouble tearing myself away from the computer, all the way down the tracks in issue 13.

Now go check it out before I blab everything in my excitement and spoil it for you! GO!

I'll be back when I finish reading,

EDIT: Megan plans to have Yu+Me: dream finished by the 19th of June this year; she's got it planned, plotted and written. I think she's just finished off the artwork and of course, she wouldn't want to publish it all in one big lump when it's a 6-year project. It wouldn't be fitting.

I am sad to have discovered this comic so late, but I am incredibly glad to be here for the final stages. It's such an amazing story. I just got up to today's update and WAAH cliffie! This is one webcomic I am definitely saving up to purchase in hard-copy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

WriMo, PoWriMo and... ScriFre?

No, that's not some nonsensical pseudo-language like pig latin (which I used to speak fluently, FYI)! It's a collection of abbreviations. NaNoWriMo, if you haven't heard of it (which is entirely forgiveable) is the shortened form of National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in November every year, and has done since 1999. Basically the crazy idea is that you sign up to write 50,000 words of prose, somewhere between the 1st and 30th of November. PoWriMo and Script Frenzy are derivitaves of this creative endeavor; PoWriMo being an informal offshoot that entails writing a poem every day, in I'm not sure what month. Script Frenzy has participants writing a 100-page screenplay or stage play in April.

By now I'm sure some of you are scratching your heads, asking yourselves "but what's the point?!" Well! Allow me to enlighten you: writing is hard. Writing well is even harder. So what happens when you stop worrying so much about writing well and you just, well, write?


In all seriousness, turning off your 'inner editor' (term from the genius behind NaNoWriMo, name of Chris Baty) and just letting your mind run wild over the page is both freeing and productive. There's no worry, no inhibitions, no self-censorship (at least if you're doing it right). What stops so many people from writing, whether it be poetry, prose, songs or even a recipe book, is that their writing isn't going to be "good enough". That it'll be boring. That they'll be driving another sharp pointy object into the corpse of the English language (interesting mental image, there). Chris Baty wrote a guide-book for NaNoWriMo called "No Plot? No Problem!" which I think, even if you don't plan on doing NaNo ever, you should pick up and read. In it, he says these wise words: "what you have spent the last thirty days creating amounts to a large, knotty wooden stump. It's a powerful, brute object, and it's absolutely amazing that you conjured such a dense mass out of thin air. But it's also likely too unwieldy at this point to take outside of the home. In the editing process, that stump will get whittled into a lithe, diabolical instrument that will eventually leave literary agents clutching their hearts in fear and wonder".

Another favourite saying of mine is "you can't edit a blank page"; sadly I can't remember where it's from. To me, this is what NaNoWriMo and other such writing exercises are about. Getting your words out. Spitting, hacking, dragging, throwing and sweating them onto that page so that you can see what they look like, taste them, feel them, now that they're free from the confines of your own niggling doubts and the chokehold of 'yeah I wrote a few good stories back in school, but I could never be published'.

Who are you to doubt yourself? Who are you to snuff out your own creative potential before even giving it a chance to see daylight?

Whether your passion is prose, poetry, songs, scripts, comics or films, there are annual events to help you shove a sock into the mouth of that little voice in your head which stops you from picking up the pen when you get inspired. There are people just like you, there to help you through the experience. Click here and scroll down, or Ctrl+F to "NaNoWriMo-style Events On the Horizon".

This year, I'm doing JulNoWriMo with a few friends. I haven't decided if I'll be writing something completely new or sitting down to work on the 50,000 words I wrote during NaNo '08. Either way, it's going to be a crazy, hard, exhilarating experience and I'm looking forward to it very much. If you're finding yourself lacking in inspiration, having doubts about your creative potential, or just need a challenge, I encourage you to join me. Write, draw, compose, whatever. Just get your fingers working and get out of your comfort zone. You might just surprise yourself.

If you need more inspiration, one of my favourite things to do is read books about writing by published authors. I own four:
The Rivan Codex by David Eddings
On Writing by Stephen King (which I have actually reviewed)
Why I Write by George Orwell
and of course
No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty.

Remember, Terry Pratchett says, "The first draft is just you telling yourself the story". Even if you disagree with me, you can't disagree with Pratchett (too loudly)!

Monday, May 24, 2010


Uni semester is over! Well, I do have an exam, but I have two weeks to study for it, so I'm not worried; I even had a lovely long sleep-in this morning. I'm more worried about what I'm going to do with myself in the holidays! I definitely need a second job, I've been at my current place of employment for over two years now. Not only am I really, really tired of all the problems that never get fixed, and the continual bombardment of the same questions and horribly annoying traits that our customers have, but they've really cut down my shifts, and I need something to keep me busy. I don't plan on trying to find something full-time for the two months (mid-year break is looooong) because I do have a lot of creative things planned.

I am still working on the Concrete Minerals primer review, but taking a clear eye close-up is proving ridiculously difficult! I have the draft review done, I just really wanted some pictures to go with it. I got some EcoTools brushes for 15% off last week, they're really nice. I wouldn't mind picking up a few more, I need more brushes in my life. And probably brush cleaner, too. I'm waiting on orders from Sassy Minerals, Meow Cosmetics (they had a free shipping sale which I pounced on [haha, geddit?]) aaand maybe a Concrete Minerals order as well. Quick note for CM fans, eyeshadow samples are being discontinued this Sunday night to make way for new shades being released on Monday (!) Which was of course very confusing for me, being in Australia and thus one day ahead of all the Americanos. I also have some hasty indoor snaps of my new Mode polishes. Yeah, I'm an addict! A few of them - Glitterati, Chillax and Frenemy - Vibrant Point of View has already reviewed, so you can check out better pictures on her gorgeous nails there.

Besides reading a lottt of books (and reviewing them), in the next few months I am going to really crack down on my own writing. My 2009 NaNoWriMo novel has been sitting on my hard drive since, well, since I finished it. I love the concept. My writing, not so much... so I plan on finally sitting down and attacking the silly thing. I was also thinking about churning out a few more scripts, and maybe running my own NaNo during July, since I didn't do it last year. I want to do more photography, make some more jewelry, and I have some clothes I've been meaning to dye.

Oof, and next time someone complains about Facebook, tell them it saved a university student. I thought that re-enrollments wouldn't be opening til after exams but turns out they're TONIGHT... I could have gotten the worst schedule ever if I hadn't have been on Facebook and found out! Phew! I had just enough time to double-check my schedule, too. *Wipes brow* crisis averted by your friendly neighborhood social networking site. And my habit of staying up way too late, reading blogs of authors I've just discovered, like Karen Miller. I'll be reviewing her series, Rogue Agent, right after I re-read it. It's three books long so far, and I'm pretty darn sure she'll be writing more. I really like her style, I'm hoping to get ahold of her other series as well.

One last note: I finally visited the infamous Archetype website. It's really badly put-together and the photographs of the actual eyeshadows are really craptastic. Yeah, some of the descriptions were intruiging, and $0.25 per sample was tempting... I'm really glad that international shipping is $13+ because I honestly think that was the only thing that stopped me from throwing my money into that glittery abyss. Never mind the plethora of horrible experiences I've read from people who have ordered from them. Sassy have $0.75 samples which come in jars, they have a huge range of colors and finishes, and lots of great reviews, which I hope to add to when I get my order. If it's glitteriffic-ness you're craving, just go to Fyrinnae. Hello, free shipping internationally for orders over $20?!

Well that was a ramble! Primer review soon, I promise. And maybe even something more srs; goodness knows I have a huge list of stuff I want to write about.
Until next time,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kill Shakespeare, issue 1

I heard about this new series on Comic Vine and was immediately intriuged. Their summary reads: " This dark take on the Bard pits his greatest heroes (Hamlet, Juliet, Othello Falstaff) against his most menacing villains (Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Iago) in an epic adventure to find and kill a reclusive wizard named William Shakespeare." The English student in me gasped delightedly and I pre-ordered it at my local comic shop.

Issue #1 came out last month, so I am a little late in reviwing it, but I wanted to read it a few times and mull it over before reviewing. Here's a link to the original cover. This isn't the one that I have, which is the variant cover. I think I like mine better, it's a little more relevant for me as it has some of the characters on it, and is more true to the art:
Image from Kill Shakespeare's website, so all rights belong to them, it's nothing to do with me, etc etc.

Artwork: wow! I haven't read a huge variety of comic books, but I'm pretty confident in saying this is very unique artwork. I really like it. The colors are muted, but not in a dull way. It has a very deep, rich palette. The shapes and lines are really strong and bold. The characters have amazing clothing, quite textured and 'heavy'-looking. So, period-appropriate!

As I said, I haven't got a huge range of other comics to compare this to, but the way the panels are laid out in this issue is really different. The frames are thick and lopsided, not the smooth thin-bordered rectangles in most comics. It's not jarring or intrusive, but it definitely lends flair.

Storyline: Honestly, I was expected a big 'amazing race meets survivor' type deal, with all the villains and all the heroes of Shakespeare running around and fighting on this epic quest. Really, it's a bit more like an MMO. Non-spoilery summary: Hamlet, our main character, is exiled for semi-accidentally killing someone, and then Richard III offers him a deal, which involves Hamlet killing the 'dark wizard-god Shakespeare'. There's also a typed version of the prophecy that the series is based around at the back of the issue.

A little slow as first installations go, nevertheless I'll definitely be following this series to the finish. The concept is just awesome and I really think the artwork A) suits it, and B) is gorgeous. The next issue came out yesterday (May 19th) but being in Australia it'll probably be a week or two til I can get my hands on it. I'll probably review the next issue in a few weeks.

Until next we meet,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

At last, Mode Cosmetics Nail Enamel - review with pics!

I finally have a day off (never mind that I should actually be writing an essay...) and found my camera. I'm a bit excited, this is my first time doing pictures for this blog, and a proper sort of review! A much more extensive and thorough exploration of Mode's polishes can be found at Vibrant Point of View's blog. I have a few polishes she hasn't reviwed yet, though.

So the 9 polishes I have are : Diamante (pastel yellow/orange/pink/green glitter), So Parisian (white), VIP (gray), Party Crasher (bright purple), Totally Hot (light red), Party Girl (shimmery jungle-green), Ooh Baby (pastel pink), High Fashion (navy) and Blackjack (black). I have seen a few floating around eBay, but I got all of mine from Price Attack in Perth City. They cost $2.45 a bottle (!) and come in a massive variety of shades. I haven't been able to find any official website or retailer for them. If you Google it, whether to buy or to find out information, check the pictures carefully. There's a few other brands called Mode, but their bottles are very different. Look for the flat-bottomed teardrop shape with the lip-print 'O' in Mode. You can see it in my pictures.

Now most dedicated polish bloggers have long, shapely nails, are well-versed and experienced in application and types of polish, and do a huge variety of swatches. I'm a uni student whose nails break often, doesn't have a lot of time or money, and before buying these 9 polishes owned 6 bottles, including cheap $2-shop polish, and Avon. So I look for polishes that dry fast, wear for ages, aren't expensive, and don't require a top-coat or a base coat, because I have enough trouble waiting for 2 coats of a colour to dry, let alone doing fancy stuff like that! So don't be expecting too much. Again, if you want more in-depth, pro stuff, go to Vibrant POV. Also, me not using a base/topcoat means that when I say this stuff lasts 3-5 days on me without chipping, that's pretty freaking impressive. I'm pretty careless and clumsy, and I do a lot of typing. Mode polishes come with a long, thin brush, which suprised me at first, but it makes application a lot easier than the short-and-wide brushes I'd previously seen and used.

Ok, I've done one finger in each color because I'm way too lazy to do a whole hand 9 times over.
Left hand, from pinky to thumb: Diamante (2 coats), So Parisian (4 coats), Totally Hot (2 coats), High Fashion (2 coats, but could easily have gotten away with 1) and VIP (2 coats).

Outside in sunlight:

Indoors, artificial light:

The bottles:

Diamante is gorgeous, it looks fantastic over other colors or just on its own. It's one of the easier glitter polishes to remove, too.
It's hard to see in the photos, but So Parisian still wasn't entirely opaque, even after 4 coats. It's my first white polish, so I don't know if it's just the color, or because I applied it kind of fast. It's a little streaky in the centre.

Totally Hot is a bit on the thin side, fomula-wise. It's a very light, clear red. Mode does a few other darker, sparklier reds which I plan to get my hands on soon.
Totally Hot looks shimmery in the bottle, but once it's on the nails it's pretty much a flat satin. It's a very dark navy,  but it's definitely a navy. It goes a little bit shimmery in direct sunlight, but nowhere near what the bottle promises.
VIP is also my first gray polish, and I LOVE it. Totally opaque and smooth after 2 coats. I smudged the tip of my thumb a little :(

Right hand! Please keep in mind I am extremely right-handed. Therefore these swatches are going to be a lot messier! From thumb to ring finger: Party Girl (2 coats), Ooh Baby (3 coats), Party Crasher (1 coat!), Blackjack (3 coats).




Ok, so indoor lighting on Party Girl and Party Crasher made my camera make them wonky and BLUE, so I fiddled around outisde for a bit and got these, which are way more accurate:

Also here's my nail with Party Crasher, and the bottle, to show you how much darker it dries:

And Party Girl on and in the bottle, for comparision:

Party Girl dries to an almost-matte shimmer. It's awesome. Reminds me strongly of Aromaleigh Rocks! eyeshadow in 'jigsawfeeling', which is one of my favourite green shadow shades. My pictures have washed it out a LOT, so for much more accurate colour, I reccommend you go visit Vibrant POV's review.
Ooh Baby looks pastel pink in daylight. Having worn it previously, I know that it looks much more peachy in artificial light/at night. It's a lovely girly neutral color and under Diamante it's simply amazing. You can layer it up for complete opacity, or you can wear it sheer for a hint of color and shine. It's a very versatile, wearable colour. In my pictures it kept showing up with beige tones, which it doesn't have at all in person.
Party Crasher was my first Mode polish. It dries a bit darker than the bottle, but for a cheap one-coat polish it's absolutely fantastic. Lasted a full 5 days on me.
Blackjack, I knew from Vibrant POV's review of it, is a slow-drying shade that needs to be built up. After the opacity of the other dark polishes I'd already used, the first application was disappointingly sheer and streaky. I would say it's got almost the same formula as So Parisian. It does take noticeably longer to dry than all the other polishes. It needs 3 coats to be completely opaque, even after 2 it was still not properly 'black'.

Phew! That took me a lot longer than I thought! Hope you enjoyed, it was definitely a fun little learning experience. Now that I have my camera, I can finally do the Concrete Minerals Electric Eye Primer review. I'll use it tomorrow and do my utmost to take morning and evening photos for you. Now I have to go write my essay and decide what eyeshadow to wear tomorrow. Also I need to do something about my messy, mutli-coloured nails, haha.

Until next we meet,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Invisible Children

News - both print news in newspapers and now online, and TV/radio news - is incredibly subjective. It's not entirely their fault; at any one time, there's so much happening in the world, to report it all would take up more time than TV stations have and more space than newspapers can spare. Unfortunately, because TV and radio news is free for the audience, the margin left for actual news once all the necessary advertising space (and the weather reports) have been squeezed in is not enough to cover even the important local, national and global events. Because TV stations are constantly fighting each other for viewership, they feel (and often are) compelled to put in bulletins which are (in my opinion, anyway) absolute fluff; "fluff", for me, meaning anything to do with the life of a celebrity or an animal that does something supposedly unusual. Important political, economic, social and legal matters - both local and international - should take priority over such trivial matters. I feel quite strongly about this issue with the focus of news media, in part because of Invisible Children.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say most of you haven't read or heard that name before. Allow me to explain: in Uganda right now there is an organisation called the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA. Headed by Joseph Kony, this group hides in the jungle, emerging sporadically. The people of Uganda fear and despise Kony and the LRA, whose numbers continue to grow: at night, every child in Uganda is at risk of being abducted by the LRA. These captured children are sometimes killed, but usually, in the case of the girls, are made to become an officer's 'wife'. The boys are physically and emotionally abused, threatened with violence, and eventually become one of Kony's mentally disturbed child soldiers.

This issue didn't make it to the news. Nobody wanted to talk about it. It may have remained a secret swept under the rug of the global community, if it had not been for three American boys, Bobby, Laren and Jason, who decided they were going to go on holiday in Uganda, and take a video camera with them. In conversations with locals, with children who left their homes every night to sleep in warehouses and underground car parks because it was safer than sleeping in their own homes, and in one hasty escape from a village the LRA was raiding, the boys uncovered this horrible situation. And they decided to do something about it.

The film Invisible Children was released in 2006. In 2009, the organisation started a global campaign to ask governments to do something to help the children of Uganda. On May 12th, 2010, after a petition garnering over 200,000 signatures and a camp-out of 11 days and 10 nights outside of American senator Tom Coburn's offices, a bill entitled The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act was introduced in the congress of the United States of America.

It passed.

The issue is far from being resolved. There is still so much to be done, and other countries need to get involved. Please visit their website, and learn about this tragedy happening right under our noses. Even if all you do is pass the message on, it's better than doing nothing. By making someone else aware of this issue, you're doing something to help make these children visible.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Unfortunately I haven't had time to write ANY of the blog posts I've been meaning to, so I thought I'd tell you what I've been doing instead:
  • Reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Now, my general reading habits include reading all new books twice, so I can get a proper feel of the characters and an understanding of the plot. I haven't done a second reading of Graceling yet, but I'd have to say I sort of agree with my boyfriend's summation of it (I borrow it off him): the story ends before the book does. It's a little... odd. It kind of sets itself up for a sequel, but at the same time it... doesn't.
  • Reading Changes by Jim Butcher. Oh em gee, cliffhanger/weirdness at the end of THAT book. I somewhat freaked out because I saw this comic before I read the book. Fortunately, a friend of mine had already bought it, so I didn't have to spend loads of money on express post to get it through eBay. It has probably the most twists in any one book of the Dresden files series. I'm really anxious for the next book, I've no idea where Jim's taking Harry after this!
  • Buying and wearing lots of Mode Cosmetics Nail Enamel. I picked up a bottle of this stuff in a local hair/beauty store, not expecting much as it was only $2.45 (that's Australian dollars). I got Party Crasher, which is a beautiful medium purple colour, and WOW. The stuff went on beautifully (they have a long, skinny brush which surprised me, but I quickly got used to it), dried so fast and was totally perfect in two coats. Then it lasted FIVE DAYS. This is five days of work and uni, carrying lots of stuff, doing dishes and typing and other handsy things. It didn't chip. By day five there was a teeny bit of tip-wear; I actually only removed the polish because I wanted to put some red on for a party I was going to. After a fantastic experience with ridiculously cheap polish, (and becoming addicted to Vibrant Point of View's blog which is doing a spotlight on Mode) I went out and bought a whole heap more: Party Girl (shimmery jungle green), Totally Hot (a light, bright red), Diamante (a greeny-gold glitter), So Parisian (white), High Fashion (a shimmery navy-blue), Blackjack (black, duh), Ooh Baby (a soft, peachy-pastel pink) and VIP (a creamy gray). They are better-wearing and faster drying than my $12 Bloom nail polishes! Oh and P.S. - Vibrant Point of View is having a give-away of Mode nail enamels, just head on over to her blog, become a follwer and send her an e-mail if you want to enter!)
  • Embarking on a 'get-fit' trip. If I try to tell myself I'm 'going to' do excercise for a certain time, at a certain time every day, it doesn't work. So I've been grabbing it where I can for the last three days - jogging/power-walking around the city on Saturday running errands, ten minutes on the cross-trainer at home on Sunday evening, and today (Monday) I decided to walk the half-hour to the train station instead of waiting for my bus. My shoulders are a little sore from all my books, but apart from that I'm feeling pretty good.  
  • Searching for my crimp beads. I have two gorgeous glass spiral beads (I should try and photograph them, they're really gorgeous) and I found my black plastic-coated beading wire. I really want to make a necklace but I've misplaced my crimp beads which are necessary for this kind of project! I think this  is a sign that I need to re-organise my jewelry supplies... I just did my make-up after I got my nice-sized order from Fyrinnae :)  
  • Raiding the university library for Emily Dickinson-related books. I'm doing an essay on her. If you haven't read any of her poetry, I reccommend it. She's quite unique, both in writing style and her imagery. My (current) favourite poem by her is "I'm Nobody". Rather, that's what it starts with, she didn't give any of her poems titles. They were numbered in rough chronological order when they were published posthumously. Also, be careful of which edition you are reading - the first publication was very heavily editied to fit with the popular poetic conventions of the time, and isn't the 'true' Dickinson spirit.
My Concrete Minerals Electric Eye Primer review is coming up soon. I wanted to take 'beginning-of-the-day' and 'end-of-the-day' pictures to show it worked as well, but I'm having trouble finding time to do that. Just means that when I do finally get around to it, I'll have made up my mind very definitely on whether or not I like it! 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tortured Artists

I'm in the middle of doing research for my in-class poetry presentation (tomorrow, eek!) and it's got me thinking. Many poets, musicians, actors, filmmakers, heck even fashion designers, have a history of depression, bad upbringings, romantic misfortune and general unhappiness, that leads to a significant portion of brilliant, artistic people choosing to end their lives. Without so much as touching Google I can already name names: Sylvia Plath, Alexander McQueen, and Kurt Cobain.

What is it about the burning drive to create that leaves so many lives deccimated? Even those artists who died natural deaths had miserable lives. From a literary perspective, there's Keats and Eliot. Keats' naturalistic style and gentle disposition attracted abuse and public belittlement through his shortened life. Eliot's first marriage was miserable, causing him to turn to alcohol until his wife died from a vareity of (physical and mental) issues. Emily Dickinson lived life as a near-recluse and nary a word of her work was published until after her death - even then, the first available tome had been heavily edited, removing nearly all of the quirks that characterises her writing.

The gruelling conditions of the professional music and acting world has turned so many to drugs, alcohol and similarly damaging habits. The scrutiny of the paparazzi, difficulties of long-distance romantic and familial relationships and social pressures of 'being famous' are bad enough for those who choose not to partake in the almost-expected substance abuse. Is the 'tortured artist trope' some psychological of physical malady which strikes only 'creative types', or is it a product of the demands and perceptions imposed on them by society? Yes, there are numbers of celebrities and notables from various spheres who lead content and almost ordinary lives. But personally I think the list of those with problems culminating in suicide, social retreat and/or professional retirement are is a little too long to ignore. Generally I don't advocate the use of Wikipedia for research, but it looks like I'm not the only one who has thought along these lines:
Wikipedia page of writers who committed suicide.
Wikipedia page of actors who committed suicide.
Wikipedia page of musicians who committed suicide.

Creating can be awfully lonely and the stress of professional artistry... I can't imagine it. Having been involved in amateur theatre as crew, writer, director and actor (as various times for various projects) and volunteer magazine writing (contributing poetry, prose and articles), I have a vague idea of the pressures, fears and processes involved in making your work public. I don't know what it's like to receive criticism, worry about making money from your work, fear competition or plagiarism, or be under scrutiny. It seems like every creative profession comes 'under fire' at one time or another. As an avid reader of blogs and an online shopper, I witness scandals and shady dealings with alarming frequency. Attacks, secrets and bad business happen often. There's was the Mineral Makeup Mutiny movement (now sadly abandoned), which attempted to warn people against independant sellers who repack wholesale pigments and products, and try to pass them off as something they 'created' through hard work and innovation. This is differnet to mainstream labels purchasing private label cosmetics because the independant companies are actually lying about the products, and often charging a ridiculous amount for something that could very easily be obtained from the wholesaler directly, for a margin of the price.Unfortunatley now there's the in-rank fighting, with companies and individuals attempting to discredit others through underhanded and frankly appalling tactics.

Why do artists get such a hard time? Every time I dream of being published, or wonder if I should start up an Etsy store to sell jewellry, I think of the drama that will eventually accompany it, and I think that I should probably finish my uni degree before I set myself up for more trouble (that doesn't stop me from biting off way more than I should in the theatre club, though)!

Until next we meet,

P.S. I promise I'll get to the planned posts after I finish this presentation! I was going to make banana bread today and take photos for the post, but I accidentally over-slept this morning and ran out of time :/

Sunday, May 2, 2010


More posts will come soon, on the following:

  • Concrete Minerals Electric Eye Primer review
  • Kill Shakespeare first issue 
  • Being backstage vs. being on-stage vs. doing both
  • Lost Genius part II
  • Banana bread recipe

Apologies again for the absence, my show finished last night and I have a uni assignment due tomorrow I haven't actually started yet!

Back soon,