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Into The Gloss
Grain de Musc
Drivel About Frivol The Selfish Seamstress
Bois de Jasmin Glossed In Translation
Jak and Jil
Worship at the House of Blues
I Smell Therefore I Am
The Natural Haven
Moving Image Source
The Emperor's Old Clothes
Colin's Beauty Pages
Barney's jewelry department
loodie loodie loodie
The Straight Dope
Sea of Shoes
London Makeup Girl
Sakecat's Scent Project
Tom & Lorenzo: Mad Style
Beauty and the Bullshit
La Garçonne Flame Warriors Everyday Beauty
Fashion Gone Rogue
Now Smell This
A Fevered Dictation
You can always find some way to justify absolutely anything.
I'm competent at most things, the lone exception being perhaps video games. I play most of them like suicide missions, the only exception being Pokémon and Oregon Trail. Part of it has to do with horrible eye-virtual-hand coordination, another part of it has to do with getting freaked out about getting my characters killed (I refused to play Word Munchers as a kid because I found the process of maneuvering the little muncher guy around all those murderous troggles much too stressful). And I flat-out refuse to be in the same room when a zombie game is being played. I always tell myself that time spent playing video games is time wasted (like I don't waste time as it is!), which is true to a degree, though there is a distinct reek of sour grapes here.
The only games I'm able to play are the really simple ones, the ones that don't involve the deaths of humanoid figures or cute little creatures. I recently got over an addiction to Minesweeper and Tetris. I've now moved onto Spider Solitaire: it's so repetitive and very soothing in a mind-numbing sort of way... I'm sure that if it weren't for that little arachnid icon on my desktop tempting every time I turn on the computer, I would have better grades.
I've been something of an information junkie all my life, and one of my favorite things to do was to sit in the library digging through the encyclopedia. Now, in the internet age, Wikipedia provides all the access to (often esoteric) information that so thrills me, but in a clickable computerized format without any of the difficulty one encounters with bound volumes. You're reading an article about Byron, then you click a series of links that somehow incorporates Alan Turing and Monty Python, and ended up with the motif of harmful sensation (I've actually clicked on these exact links in this same order, though I've omitted some of the articles I passed by on the way... bonus points to anyone who can figure out which ones fit in the blank spaces)... you could follow these rabbit trails of associative thought forever, and it gobbles up my time like nothing. It's all there: biographies of famous people whose personal lives I really have no business being so interested in, pseudoscientific theories, and even an extensive section about um... unorthodox sexual practices.
Besides having wasted more time than I care to admit, I must also confess to having done much of my research for papers on Wikipedia (though only as a starting point; I make a point of filling the bibliography with "legitimate" sources which I usually haven't read as fully as I should have), which everyone in the academic community sneers at because of its open-source format. This strikes me as a somewhat prejudiced and unfair assumption to make: enough visitors look at the sites each day so that vandalism, mistaken reporting, and even factual errors are usually corrected pretty promptly. And most of the content is actually quite accurate and free of errors, as the articles are usually written by geeks who make it their personal business to be knowledgeable.
WASTING HOT WATER
I love hot showers and baths. I love to just stand there, for no reason at all, and feel the hot water pour over my head, which is why I always take so long in the bathroom (once my mom actually came in to check if I hadn't drowned). I waste a lot of water this way.
SHOUJO MANGA / ANIME
I don't mind being pegged as a nerd, which is why I don't consider my affection for Slayers, Inu-Yasha, and Evangelion to be "guilty pleasures." However, there's something about "shoujo" (aimed at a female audience) manga that makes me shy away from reading the stuff in public. Unlike the relentlessly cheerful, consumerism-thinly-disguised-as-feminist, simultaneously earnest and brain-dead chick-lit churned out for the American market, shoujo manga seem to incorporate considerable doses of masochism with their fluff: feminist statements, you will not find here. Homosexuality both male and female (the former as a female version of male fantasies about lesbians, the latter usually portrayed with codependent intensity), incest, situations that may be construed as bondage, and relationships between young girls and suspiciously older men, and cross-dressing are all common elements of the genre. It's not the sexual content that's disturbing however—it's rarely more than hinted at, nothing explicit occurs—but the use of inequality and violence as the basis for sexual identity. To a feminist's mind, it's somewhat dangerous material... which you can't tear your eyes away from.
My personal favorite of the manga/anime genre is Shoujo Kakumei Utena, a mind-fuck dressed in candy-coated rose petals, twisted sexual politics disguised as an archetypical fairy tale disguised as a gothic romance disguised as an innocent schoolgirl genre story. The eponymous character, who as a little girl was so impressed by the kindness of a young prince she met that she is determined follow in his footsteps and become a prince rather than a princess, is drawn into a series of surreal duels for the hand of a classmate, the "princess" of the story. What makes Utena so disturbing and yet so profound is its own awareness of the politics behind its sexual content: few others in the "shoujo" genre seem to be made with a conscious thought to any deeper meaning behind their histrionics.
Photo of "Coney Island Whitefish" by David Goldes.*
It's recently become "cool" to be "green." Yet, for all the hype environmentalist movements today get (as young as I am, I still remember the days when "global warming" was considered an urban myth), few people think about its deeper ramifications any more than they did ten, twenty years ago. Yes, ethanol burns cleaner, but the effort involved in producing it generates more pollution than burning it saves, and the resulting increase in demand for grains will drive up basic food prices high enough to provoke effective famines worldwide. Easy solutions to immediate problems will not do: eventually, we must confront the hard truth and acknowledge that our civilization is not sustainable as it is and we must either become extinct as a race or suffer a sea change to occur in our mode of living. Petroleum, in particular, is not only used to fuel cars: plastics are derived from petroleum, and as any scientist will tell you, technology and medicine in their current forms cannot exist without abundant access to plastics, the versatility of which cannot be matched by any natural material.
Predictably, this also means that we find plenty of frivolous ways to abuse this increasingly precious resource in our everyday lives. Like popping bubble wrap. (For that matter, making bubble wrap in the first place.)
*Yeah, I know they're usually made from latex, but it's actually increasingly common to make them from polyurethane these days, in order to accommodate (pun intended) those with latex allergies.
And how do I know this?
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The Beauty Primer
On The Label
The Hit List
Color Me In
The Makeup Artist
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