So Long, 2013,

And thanks for all the fish. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist sneaking that in.)

Personally, I never got the whole hype people have about counting down to the end of the year and rejoicing over the start of another new cycle. It’s not as though the sun wouldn’t rise if you didn’t ritually sacrifice enough humans, yes, I’m looking at you, you Aztec folks with your 52 year cycles.

But yeah, 2013 was a pretty good year, I guess. I graduated quietly, after 3 years of university, and left before I got plagued with the honour of writing a thesis. I did enjoy my time in school, it was pretty relaxed and though I didn’t particularly enjoy most of the texts that I had to read, I did like learning new stuff here and there.

I also held my first birthday soiree for the first time in my life, because we don’t really do birthday celebrations in my household. It’s not really an achievement to be expelled from your mother’s birth canal, you know. In fact, most of the hard work was done by your mother… so it should be more of an extra Mother’s Day, haha.

Then I slacked around, doing whatever I want, whenever I want. My main source of income mostly came from pestering children and teenagers about their crappy grammar and spelling, and laughing over silly compositions and comprehension answers.

Well, I did expand my social circle here and there, with a couple of new friends and new faces in my life. I’m not one for people, but I suppose one can hardly expect to sail through life competently without the aid of others.

I’m not the type to make New Year resolutions, because they never work. If there’s something you want to do, well, why are you bothering to take the time to make a resolution instead of getting straight to it, you know?

That said, I know I shall be making little changes here and there in my own lifestyle, because starting small is more reasonable and doable than expecting a complete upheaval. And well, I guess it’s time to grow up a little because hey, I’m really going to be needing to find a proper job already. You can’t walk around telling people that you’re 23 and you’re still bumming around at home. (Well, you can do that but… not with the kind of mother I have!)

An astrology website that I frequent has these words to say of the new year: ‘basically everything triggers the Zap Zone (Uranus square Pluto) this year and particularly until June. Time to get it ON and just bring it with your strongest performance’


In Defense of…

As I type this post up, Billie Holiday’s Blue Moon is playing through my crappy laptop speakers, while I contemplate how I can put down my thoughts into a coherent paragraph of proper words. I don’t mean for this post to be an attack on anyone, but just my opinions regarding music and things.

When I was a kid, and before I attended primary school, my musical education was sorely lacking, since I grew up listening to either classical music that my brothers played or oldies like Eric Clapton and The Carpenters, which my dad liked.

My first taste of pop music came in the form of Britney Spears when her song, Lucky, became super popular in school (for what reason, I don’t know), and suddenly I discovered MTV. Let’s just say I was an avid watcher of one of those MTV Top MV countdowns, even though I didn’t like most of the songs that were on the show, but I listened to it religiously every weekend because I wanted to be in with the crowd. I wanted to be able to drop names and titles, like Puddle of Mudd and Weezer and be able to say things like, ‘Did you watch that MV of that song? No? Wow, you’re so uncool.’

That lasted a year or so, but keeping up the pretense that I liked most of the things I heard was hard, when I still preferred the things my brothers played, like songs from musicals. I especially liked The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables, both of which I had the scores of, so I could enact them out (even though I didn’t even know what was going on because I didn’t read the source material. Also, my poor Pokemon figurines were stripped of their dignity.)

I was 12/13 when I discovered two genres that would shape my musical sense – Japanese rock, mainly visual kei, and symphonic metal. I found both genres from my second brother’s computer. He has the most diverse range of music, so obviously he’s the person I go to when I want something new to check out.

Jazz was something I grew to like, though I used to detest it. I didn’t like the irregular rhythm and the unpredictability of it, I guess. But my eldest brother used to play the jazz standards whenever he was studying and I got used to it and now I like them.

Anyway, let’s just say that from my musical history, I’m obviously not a hipster. I don’t go out of my way to check out new bands (and feel cool when I namedrop bands people haven’t even heard of), or feel particularly pissy towards mainstream music or think indie bands sell out when they sign on to major labels or whatever. If you think about it, I’m definitely someone who listens to mainstream stuff, albeit, slightly counter-culture (am I misusing the term?) as compared to the things played on radio. I say mainstream because bands like X Japan and Nightwish are hugely popular, with loads of dedicated fans, and jazz standards have been around and covered by so many people.

So my point is, I’m less of a hipster and more of a snob. And I guess this post was written with my fellow temps in mind. I’m saying that I detest the music that they play because I feel musically superior and they play a lot of radio-friendly crap.

Seriously, how many times do you want to listen to Passenger’s Let Her Go (is it just me or is his voice really nasal?) or Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball or Jay Chou’s whatever songs in one single day? *facepalm* Yes, I’m angsty not because of the shitty work, but because they play shitty music. Can I even just say that the other lady who sits across me plays even worse things? Like crappy festive Lunar New Year songs. I kid you not. It’s one month away, for the love of Ella Fitzgerald!

Tom Ford; Tobacco Vanille

This is one of the scents that I rarely touch because I have so little of it, not because I hate the scent. At the moment, my tiny vial is only 1/4 filled, and I’m hoarding it like the weirdo that you all know I am.

Description from the Tom Ford website: A modern take on an old world men’s club. A smooth Oriental, TOBACCO VANILLE opens immediately with opulent essences of Tobacco Leaf and aromatic spice notes. The heart unfolds with creamy Tonka Bean, Tobacco Flower, Vanilla and Cocoa, and finishes with A Dry Fruit Accord, enriched with Sweet Wood Sap.

I’m hardly knowledgeable about designer perfumes, but hey, I know what my nose likes, so that’s good enough for me.

Tobacco Vanille doesn’t smell much like tobacco to me, but then again, my only experience with tobacco is the annoying cigarette smell that I detest. If I’m not wrong, the actual tobacco leaf/plant is supposed to smell sweet or something.

Right from the start, I get a strong whiff of spices and sweetness, like chai tea with a huge dollop of honey, there’s also this slight boozy undertone that disappears after a while. This is definitely one gourmand scent, especially when the vanilla takes centre stage and dominates the rest of the drydown. It’s creamy and soft, almost powdery, and I don’t really get the woody or the cocoa aspects. The tobacco note seems to slither in and out, like an elusive shadow.

I can’t really talk about the sillage, since I can only dab the perfume on, but it stays close to my skin and lasts really long, up to 8 hours.

This feels like one of those scents you’d wear on colder days because it’s so warm and cozy. I can imagine someone dressed in a cashmere sweater sitting in a stuffed armchair with a pipe, and the sound of a fireplace crackling merrily.

I highly doubt that I’ll ever be able to pull this look off, but goddamn, those emerald lips are gorgeous and I wish I could look so amazing. Also, that super clean cat eyeliner? Totally awesome, aaaand possibly impossible for me.

Anyway, this image is a promo picture from Melt Cosmetics, advertising their upcoming release of Blow, the matte hunter green lipstick used on the model.

Things I Love Thursday

Happy holidays~ :D Today’s TiLT will also be a short one.

I think I mentioned on Twitter the other day about how adorable the Google Santa Tracker is! I was playing around on it during work, haha, but I didn’t manage to spend much time on it because of the office Christmas event.

And~ I got presents from the staff (not the temp people) in the office, even though I don’t know any of them, which is pretty terrible of me.

Pretty generous of them, you know, since I’ve only worked there for less than a week.

The office party was also more fun than I expected, even though the games were really lame, but the food was decent, and I quite like talking to one of the other temps that worked in a separate division from my area. I’m just glad to find people who share common interests, since my fellow temps are… not the type of people I’d normally socialise with.

Christmas itself was pretty fun, though I did not manage to sleep in as much as I wanted because my mother had to wake me up but not my brother. *sigh* Anyway, good food, really noisy people, and copious amount of alcohol, so not too shabby, eh. I got crappy presents, but then again, I’ve never expected anything much. I do hope that the kids liked the stuff that I got them because I tried putting in some thought there.

Okay, this is going to sound really awkward, but I’ve been rewatching this really old Taiwanese idol drama, which is a retelling of the Romance of the Three Kingdom, set in a modern alternate universe in a high school setting. Yeeeah, the thing is, the entire show has 50+ episodes and somehow I always stop watching midway because things get too serious, and that’s a little weird, because this show started off as a crack-filled series, with really lame puns and bad jokes, and then it somehow became all like politics and people uniting to fight against a main baddie… Idk.

Another fandom that I’ve been returning to is the XMFC, Charles/Erik pairing. It is amazing that there are over 5000 fics on AO3 and well, it has been quite the awesome ride of some really brilliant fic. Of course, I’m super picky sometimes, but it’s still taking me quite a long time to trawl through all the available fanfiction, which is good, when I’m really bored at work, and I don’t want to seem too frivolous by online window shopping, like what the other temp kids do.

I have also been on quite the Serge Lutens kick, and well, let’s just say that I have a sample order of more SL perfumes on the way, and I cannot wait to find out how amazing and carefully crafted the perfumes are. But seriously, if I ever ‘make it’ in the sense that you know, I become rich and successful, I wouldn’t be buying branded bags or what, I’d totally be owning a range of SL perfumes, the exclusive non-export bell jars that retail mainly in France. (or Barney’s or you can get a personal shopper to buy it for you and ship it over.)

So yeah, that’s it for this year’s list of things and the next TiLT post will be in 2014, a totally brand new start to a new year of awesomesauce. (at least that’s what I hope it will be.)

memento mori

I attended a funeral last weekend. I did not know the deceased, as she was the relative of a relative. From my understanding, she was quite old and had lived a rather fulfilling life, in the sense that her descendants have descendants since she’s has at least one great-grandkid. I did not know her condition, but I think she was quite weak, having been in and out of the hospital several times over the past few weeks.

I doubt it would be a surprise if I said that I have a healthy streak of morbidity, since I tend towards the darker side of things. I do not fear my own mortality, and I suppose in some part of my mind, I live with the notion that were my existence to end abruptly, I would probably go without too much angst. Which is probably not a good thing, but hey, I’m well-prepared in that eventuality?

The two secondary school kids that I tutor are very different in terms of personality, and their views regarding mortality are remarkably different too. The younger one wants immortality, and we kind of discussed the idea of gene manipulation to extend the average human lifespan. We talked a little about the things that got mentioned in a particular Scishow video that I remembered viewing some time back. Her desire to live forever stems from her desire to experience the future, of seeing new advancements in human history.

Whereas her elder sister fears immortality, because she would hate to see everyone around her grow old and die. I guess she’s the more sensitive kid of the two, being the type who wants to get along well with everyone/the naive person who sees the good in people etc. Idk, people around us will either die before or after us, and I don’t see the point in being overly emotional. Or maybe I’m just heartless.

My insurance agent, (weird, I know), mentioned that she’d like to die in her sleep peacefully at the age of 65, if she could have a choice. She said that to go in such a way, would require one to acquire a lot of good karma in a past life, as this would be considered a good way to leave, since one is at peace and not suffering from illnesses and such.

Idk, many people overcome their fears of dying through religions. They tell themselves that those who die, will go to a better place where they’d be surrounded with friends and family, while at times, they scare the living with images of a terrible fate awaiting them once they leave this plane of existence to keep people docile. Other religions believe in reincarnation, which is dependent on your own behaviour in this current lifetime, so it works in establishing order since people may be more inclined to living accordingly if they know that they have the chance of advancement in their next lifetime. Of course, I’m simplifying everything and stripping all the nuances of everything that religions offer in terms of their notions of death and the afterlife.

Bitch Facing Through Life and Proud of It

excuse me while I go puke from this lame shit. also, what’s wrong with my frown, it is very awesome too.

I’m pretty sure most people think I’m like the incarnation of Scrooge when they first see me, because I have a bitchy resting face and I don’t really know how to smile without feeling like a crazy weirdo with a bloodied knife hidden behind my back.

So I must say that I have gotten the advice to smile from some people over the years. One co-worker recently told me to ‘smile more because I look fierce’ and of course, my response was to laugh sheepishly and thank her politely. On the inside, I am cringing and mentally crossing you off the ‘nice’ list and handing you lumps of coal instead. Okay, not really, just more of a ‘well, we’re gonna have to agree to disagree there’ because I think that it is ridiculous to expect someone to smile just because they have to look pleasant for your benefit. Sure, maybe there’d be benefits for the person who is doing the smiling, since people would think better of them and maybe even treat them nicer, but still, that’s entirely up to them. Stop trying to impose your wants onto others, that’s what I think of frivolous remarks like ‘smile’ or ‘you should be more sociable’ or ‘why are you so quiet?’ They’re just so rude.

Also, if you too think that all those sayings telling you to cheer up and smile and shit are stupid, bear in mind that it takes more facial muscles to smile than to reach out with your arm muscles and punch someone in the face. Problem solved.

Darling Clandestine; Circassian

Can I just say that I am anticipating the heck out of my latest Darling Clandestine haul? Evonne was having a little sale at the beginning of December and I thought, why not, eh, even though Black Friday already drained my wallet considerably.

The chosen scent today is Circassian, which I bought a bottle of, after having tried a sample the last time round.

a warm chocolaty fragrance with intriguing notes of amber and blossoms.

From the given description: Odd and wondrous, these trinkets the suitors bring—astonishing flowers that look like paper birds, jasmine tea and black coffee, a costly box of chocolates with a red silk ribbon. You once saw a tiger in Bangkok, a riot in Paris, a machine at Coney Island that they said could really fly. The exotic butters in your fantastic hair, the livelihood you’ve adopted and the orchards you left behind. Your love is not a curiosity—it’s a marvel. Make them earn it.

I have to admit that I have no idea where the name Circassian came from, is it from a book/tv show/character somewhere/a proper word with a proper definition, I am completely unaware.

This is a decadent scent, the darkest chocolate intertwined with the sharpness of coffee, smelling absolutely delectable, like that perfect drink warming your insides during the heart of winter where cold freezing winds batter at your windows while you’re curled up with a warm mix of cocoa and coffee and a shot of brandy or something.

After the initial coffee and chocolate overdose, it simmers down to a more subtle floral mix, though the coffee note remains prominent. I’m not that fond of this part, because I found the drydown to be a little plasticky on me, but seriously, for that wondrous opening scent, I am perfectly willing to put up with it.

Circassian lingers close to the skin, and other than the slight throw of scent after the first application, it remains subtle but still very warm and rich, though you will have to be fairly near to smell it. Like most indie perfumes, this one lasts up to 4 hours at most, before it fades almost to nothingness.

The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

I finally got around to watching the second offering in The Hobbit trilogy (which is perhaps unnecessary, but I suppose that the production team didn’t want to waste all the effort put into creating the sets and the costumes/prosthetic things and of course, the studio obviously wants to make as much money as possible from the franchise before wrapping everything up for good.)

It was… good, I suppose. In the sense that it wanted to be an epic movie, and I think to some extents, it was pretty epic. The long takes showcase the scenes really well, although it can be a tad distracting but I suppose they wanted to establish the areas fully. And there were lots of close-ups too, on the characters’ faces. Anyway, this isn’t going to be like some long winded review, because it’s Frivolous Friday, so I present to you the reason why I couldn’t keep a straight face whenever Martin Freeman was in the scene.

Seriously, I love your style, don’t ever change.

Aaaand here is Martin Freeman at the premiere where an interviewer asked him: “Can you tell us something about shooting these films that might surprise fans?”

He’s just so sassy, heh. Lastly, while Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire is a lovely song, and I really do like it, I don’t think it fits quite well with the atmosphere of the film in general. Also, the soundtrack for this one? Does not appeal to me at all. I still adore the first one, especially that one track, Misty Mountains.