Purple Ombre

Kind of an EOTD, since I don’t do selfies, because what else would be next, spamming Facebook, signing up for an Instagram account?

Shiro Cosmetics: Day of Reckoning & Mother of Dragons
Fyrinnae: Mephisto

Day of Reckoning: intense, metallic deep burgundy
Mother of Dragons: silvered royal purple over a blood-red base
Mephisto: deep royal blue with a vibrant metallic red sheen that’s quite striking when the light hits it


Things I Love Thursday

And hello, Thursday, right before a festive Lunar New Year~ and here’s a totally graceful segue into the first item on the list tonight:

Long weekends are always tres fabulous when you’re working, because all you do is to count down impatiently to all the public holidays and do a little fist pump of joy when you realise you can get at least one and a half day off. Or is it just me?

Plus, it being the Lunar New Year, it practically screams ‘time to feast and stay up late and collect money from relatives and generally be the lazy person you are and dodge awkward questions if they even ask you things’.

I had a pretty good reunion dinner with the family, even though I’m not a fan of steamboat, because I think it’s too troublesome! (I also dislike cooking my own food and am unable to really tell when something is thoroughly cooked and thus safe to eat.) I wanted to link to this hilarious episode of Gintama, where the main cast are eating nabe, which is the Japanese form of hotpot, and the main characters are desperate to get the meat for themselves. The episode is basically parodying Death Note’s serious business showdown between Light and L with their srs bzn of nabe shogun.

And coming up, a list of new things I bought, because I have money in the bank :D

Shopping with friends who are bad influences results in you going home with a leather jacket, which you find that you can’t really wear in this country and its limited weather range. It’s either hot as hell or raining. But hey, it was on sale, so yeah, why not, amirite?

And because you can take the emokid out of the emoworld, you can’t take the emo out of the kid… I present to you my new water bottle from Typo. Mainly bought it for the tea infuser, because I want to switch to loose leaf teas and I don’t have one of those tea balls, so I thought I’d just kill two birds with one purchase, you know.

Next for something really frivolous, I got new earrings, and isn’t it just so cool that they’re mismatched? I like the idea of wearing non-matching earrings, like with socks, a little disorder that you can control, and doesn’t make you feel all weird. Like wearing a monocle instead of glasses.

The fact that my workplace is really close to a sistic counter means ‘why not pop down there during lunchtime and buy some tickets’. But yay~ I found someone who wants to watch the Sumi Jo concert with me! Even though it is with the SSO… ah well, I do have high hopes because Sumi Jo does have a fantastic voice. I saw her a couple of years back and I remember being very impressed with her lyrical tones, expressiveness as well as her fabulous dresses. She changed dresses at least three times!

And since we’re on the topic of music, let me just say that I am enjoying Within Temptation’s latest album, Hydra. I mean, sure, the new album doesn’t feel very them or symphonic metal, but I think it still sounds pretty decent, and I like the fact that they’re experimenting with their sounds, instead of staying stagnant. It’s like with AFI, I still prefer their old albums, but I’ll still listen to the new stuff, as a show of support.

In particular, I’m really digging Dangerous, which is a collaboration with Howard Jones. One lyric that caught my attention was this: ‘it’s what you’ll die for to live this life’. Idk, I thought it was poignant, in the sense that, is there anything that I’d die for?

And instead of ending on a down note, here’s a parody cover of Hey There Delilah, made awesome by Eben Brooks, who has decided to sing to Cthulhu instead of some random girl. Definitely a million times better than the original :D

Fic Rec 001

Title: Four Things that Weren’t Adequately Covered in Mulan’s R.A. Training
Author: NaomiK
Fandom: Disney (Princesses)
Summary: Mulan is a Resident Assistant on a dormitory floor at a college. Gosh, some of the students on her floor come from really screwed-up families.
Excerpt: Sometimes I kind of felt like Merida was my co-RA. She seemed to understand the people with crazy parents a lot better than I did.

I mean, it’s not that my parents didn’t drive me crazy sometimes. They wanted me to be a lot girlier than I was. (My senior year, my mother and grandmother took me out to the mall to try on dresses for my senior prom. What can I even say to sum up that disastrous trip? (1) If you squeeze a girl into a too-small flimsy dress, don’t blame HER if a seam bursts when she’s trying to get it off again. (2) No one TOLD me to wash my hands before we got started. (3) I went to visit the Army Recruiter the next day. That probably covers it.)

This is definitely not the usual fandom that I’d hang around in, but I think this was a really fun attempt to bridging the Disney universes together in a modern alternate universe sort of thing. And I really enjoyed the portrayal of all these princesses being together, doing normal silly things and solving problems. Also, maybe it’s just me, but I find the personalities of the characters pretty spot-on too :D

Spoilers and the Element of Surprise

It may come as no surprise (hah) to some people that I do not like it when things are unexpected. I don’t like entering into things blindly not because I hate spontaneity, but mostly because I do not react well under that sort of pressure.

There are different sorts of pressure, you may ask, and yes, to me, there is a difference. The first type of pressure is the ‘oh dear gods above, I have to write five thousand words in half a day?!’, which is completely doable, if one were to put one’s mind to it and start hacking away at the keyboard like a certified lunatic and perhaps with ten cups of coffee. The second type, which I do not deal well with, is the one where you are dumped in a new situation where you have no idea what to do, sort of like being transported to a whole different continent where the language is entirely foreign and the culture is a complete mystery and you have to figure out how to comport yourself immediately as the leader of said continent proceeds to grill you on topics like their country’s economy.

So it is completely reasonable to also infer that I am a fan of spoilers. While I may moan and grumble if someone spoils the ending of a tv show or a book, I actually don’t really care so much. In fact, most of the time, I’d go ahead and spoil myself by reading the wikipedia page very thoroughly, at least twice. Yep, that’s the sort of terrible person I am.

When I go to movies, I only have two approaches, either I have read up extensively on the plot and/or did further research, or I go in entirely blind, only knowing the bare bones like the title and perhaps a couple of actors starring in the film.

And of course for books, my go-to website would be Goodreads, where I’d look at the reviews before buying them. I’m less choosy with library books, given that I’d only be bringing them home for a short period of time, and commitment on any level isn’t required. Heavens know the countless books I’ve lugged home and returned without having turned a single page in them, because they didn’t pique my interest enough.

And well, actually, there isn’t a point to this post, only me wanting to put something of myself down in words, for the sake of quantifying my personality or something, I suppose…

Sticks and Stones

Am I being presumptuous when I think about whether or not the things I say or do have an impact on the people around me? As though I could evoke an emotional response from others merely by my own actions. Or do they simply slide off people’s backs, like water on ducks.

I guess I’m thinking about this because I feel as though I’m losing my bark, though it’s not as if I had much bite to begin with. I’m easy to irritate and annoy, but I think I’m pretty slow to real anger. You really have to be a first class asshole to piss me off most of the time.

But seriously, I think I’m much much nicer nowadays, and I miss the caustic abrasive side of my personality. I’m less inclined to snark as much in a vitriolic manner, and it feels like I’ve been de-fanged.

I find myself wanting to regain that caustic side of my personality, because there are just so many times I want to snark at my fellow temps, especially one of them, who annoys me the most, but my stupid brain has to think of the possible consequences of falling out with people that I work with, at least until the end of February, unless she decides to extend her contract, then I suppose until I leave. But really, I do wish I could just destroy her with a proper snarky comment that would convey just how little I think of her and her attitude.

Ah, fuck it, like what is the point of telling her how I feel about her, right? She wouldn’t give a flying fuck, because of the person that I have portrayed myself to be: which is definitely not mean, maybe slightly antisocial and introverted, but not a bitch.

Perhaps I have never really been bitchy, but damn, do I wish I had the ‘gurl, you didn’t, I’mma gonna cut a bitch’ attitude that comes so effortless to some people.

But really, this is 2014, I should re-learn how to be fierce and stop being such a violet about frivolous things like other people’s feelings.

Deep Midnight Perfume; Blood and Donuts

If you were to look at my collection of perfumes, you’d peg me immediately as a gourmand lover, though I am leaning towards creamy florals nowadays. But when doing blind buys online, and only armed with a few lines of notes and descriptions, I tend to pick out foodie scents, mainly because they sound absolutely delicious, and well, I can imagine them better than something along the lines of ‘gardenia, carnation, tuberose’, having never smelled these flowers in real life. But the taste of a sugar laden pastry or the aroma of freshly brewed coffee? Duh.

dark Egyptian amber and gaharu wood, well blended and served with creamy vanilla, cinnamon spice, rich chocolate, and a splash of Turkish coffee.

Today’s choice is Blood and Donuts from Deep Midnight Perfume. I made a really small sample purchase a couple of years back and never really got into testing them out actually. I usually do a small sniff and sample and if nothing catches my attention, I move on. Yeah, I like buying things for the sake of buying them, it seems.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I was amused by the description on Etsy, so I got a sample on a whim.

The smell of humans is strong in his nostrils. He longs to be with them, to caress them, to be one of them again. Another scent drifts in and awakens older desires, of pleasures long forgotten, and then he sees it… the Donut Shop on the corner.

Earl: So where you from?
Boya: It’s a long story.
Earl: I’ve got all night
Boya: You’d need all night.
Earl: Well I’ve got all night.

Despite the donuts in the name of the perfume oil, it’s not really a sweet gourmand scent at all. At least not on me. You can clearly smell the cinnamon and chocolate in the vial, but upon application, this combination of spicy sweetness doesn’t last beyond a few minutes, and quickly morphs into something darker and perhaps almost wet and woody. I have no idea what the heck gaharu wood is, though Wikipedia tells me that it is the Indonesian name for Agarwood, also known as oud. Also, I don’t know what sets Egyptian amber apart from other ambers.

I think I’d like it a tad more if the sweetness had lasted a little longer. It’s rather boring, and linear on me otherwise, and the longevity of this scent is pretty strong, going on for almost 5 hours, though the sillage is fairly low.

Things I Love Thursday

This week has been pretty crap, buuuut hey, there are still things to feel happy about, otherwise, life would be pretty terrible.

This anime series, Darker than Black, caught my attention recently. It was originally aired way back in 2007… so that’s 7 years ago, whoa. It’s a shounen title, with sci-fi and supernatural elements. So far, I’m half way into the season 1 and I’m very intrigued by the various loose plots cropping up in the story, and for some reason, it also vaguely reminds me of Durarara!!!, another anime series that is really quite brilliant.

Darker than Black doesn’t only focus on action, even as the main character, Hei, fights in almost every episode. It also asks the universal question of ‘what it means to be human’, and we see a lot of different characters from various backgrounds forced into certain situations as a result.

And since we’re on this topic of anime, I just bought a new manga today~

The title’s kind of tacky, ‘Card Master’, like seriously? What is this, Yu-Gi-Oh? Or is your goal to become Card Master the same as Luffy’s dream of being Pirate King? But anyway, it seems to be related to one of my pet interests, the tarot. So it’s not about duelling monsters and the such. I haven’t actually gotten around to it yet, and well, I actually know nothing about the series, since it was technically a blind buy. I bought it because well, tarot. And… bishounen on the cover. Yes, I am this shallow when it comes to manga. You should come and check out my collection. Every single character is most likely to be extremely pretty, or else the story is amazing and the art then becomes irrelevant.

And while I was in Kino buying my manga, I thought to myself, why not go down to Sephora and check things out, you know? Do a little light browsing. And I ended up buying things, of course.

Here’s Tarte Cosmetics’ EmphasEYES, a brow pencil made from Amazonian clay. I went for the darkest available shade, which is rich brown, because I want my brows to be fierce, damnit. It seems to be working pretty well, I like the application and the colour, which is more than I can say for some of the other brands’ brow pencils/brow kits.

Idk if anyone cares, but I was slightly bummed out when I checked that the Olafur Arnalds concert was sold out. That is, until Esplanade announced that they’d be doing a second show, and duh, I went out and bought myself a ticket, because eh, it’s like much more affordable than going for the rock festival thing for Black Veil Brides. Heh.

I’m also thinking of going for two more concerts, soprano Sumi Jo with the SSO and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Now only to wait for that one friend to consider if she wants to go with me… Kim’s probably the only other person I’d ask to go such concerts, I think. But yes, picking up a copy of the Esplanade Diary is very bad for my wallet.

So all of this spending spree is kindly made possible by the fact that I got paid again the other day. (The annoying part is that they pay me twice a month, when I’d rather get it once at the end of the month… because it makes me feel as though I’m not really earning much. Which is kind of true.) And when I have money in the bank account, I start making a list of things I’d like to buy, which pretty much coincides with my list of birthday gifts that I purchase myself.

Since the lunar new year is coming up really soon, my mother bought me new bedsheets~ and for once, it isn’t pink/yellow/orange! It’s purple, which is one of the colours I like more than the others, even though I think having favourite colours may be a little tacky at my age… though I really do like purple. And green. And black… So yeah, new stuff, yay~ though I have to wait for another week to actually get to use them.

Oh and, I had the pleasure of dropping by Sofia’s house with Faza after work, to bask in the presence of her cats. Four cats is like step one to being a crazy cat lady. And since Sofia reads my drivel from time to time, I am going to nominate a name for her latest stray, (and check subtly if she really reads everything that I write, totally passive-aggressively.)

My suggestion: Himawari, which basically means Sunflower, since her coat is orangey and she’s a spunky kitten~ And also to appease my ocd side, since she has two cats with normal English names, and the other kitten has a Japanese name, so this one has to match too. *facepalm* What am I saying…

And with that, I think it is time I show myself where the bed is, and stop moving my fingers randomly across the keyboard, smashing keys like a drunkard trying to walk in a straight line while slurring to the police officer testing his breath on the breath analyzer thing that he isn’t drunk… right.

If you read till the end, well, you guys are awesome. Stay cool. … And stay in school. Because work is such a bitch, like who the hell wants to wake up at the crack of dawn, guys! Here, have this as a parting soon, because Mood Whiplash (pssst, you should totally click on this if you want to waste time and analysing pop culture is a fun thing in your opinion) is totally a thing!

Last of all, I promise! I’m totally not putting off going to bed, just you know, me being verbose. Here’s what I’ve been chilling out to, at work, so I can focus on doing my own shit, and giving no fucks what other people are saying since I’m plugged in and I don’t hear them gossiping about whatever. And if you don’t know what Cowboy Bebop is, well, there is a reason why it is a classic, and there is a reason why you haven’t heard of it: You’re like streets behind. Community reference ftw.

the portrait of the artist as a disgruntled citizen

So lately, if you’ve so happened to browse Youtube and its offerings of popular videos in Singapore, you may have noticed a vlog (?), loudly proclaiming that the vlogger was not proud to be Singaporean. Now, I have no issues with that, I mean, fair enough, I’m hardly patriotic.

(It’s not the education system or my familial upbringing, just my personality. I have no school spirit, can hardly care about any sports teams and I’m definitely not someone who’d go to the National Day parades and wave flags around. Hell, one of my biggest wish is to be able to migrate to another country.)

I do have some other issues with some of the points she raised. I can’t really comment on the minimum wage system thing. Sure, it works in Australia, where the minimum wage is really high. I’m sure the government had something to do with that, in which they adjusted the minimum wage accordingly, so that people could earn enough to support themselves. However, if you look at US, from what I know, the minimum wage system can be really low, and instead, tips may make up a big portion of their salary. Idk about how it really works, but I assume tipping is not really a reliable marker since it depends on too many variables – the paying customers/worker’s own attitude/number of customers daily/idk, man. So, hey, maybe both sides have their own pros and cons, but I have not experienced both situations, so I am in no position to really comment on this.

She also mentioned something along the lines of Singapore not being a place for artists, that creativity was not taught in schools and there was no room for alternative career paths.

I would like to point out that the whole idea of alternative career paths, is that it is the road less taken, and as such, you have to painstakingly carve your own way. It’s not going to be rainbows and unicorns where there is a set path to take, if you want to be an artist, whether it be in the fields of music, dance, art, writing, film-making, etc, just go down route a, b or c. Not everyone has to go to school to learn to be an artist, many of them are self-taught. The fact that we live in a technologically advanced society means that we are not bound by our geographical location. Sites like Coursera offer courses from all over the world, and you can learn just by sitting on your armchair, as long as you have the internet.

Furthermore, if you’re worried about not having a space to exhibit your works, like I said, look no further, because the internet is your fucking oyster. Put your music on Youtube, start a writing blog, open a Deviantart/Tumblr account for your art, or even set up an Etsy store if you make crafts. Just by putting your works online, you’d be able to get an audience. The only thing that matters then would be your talent and your ability to market yourself. Can you make a living from it? Maybe, maybe not. I mean, there are so many Youtubers who earn money from their videos, and bloggers who get free things/sponsored by companies in exchange for reviews and some even bring it further by starting blogging workshops. I know many Deviantart users who do commissioned work and they go to big conventions and have booths there. Even Etsy owners can make their online store a full time job.

Also, isn’t the whole appeal of being an artist the romantic starving artist who cares not for money but creating authentic masterpieces? Isn’t the tortured poet with the sunken eyes, the musician with his instrument busking in the subway, the hiphop dancer who practises in the darkened studio the ideal? Sure, these may be too romanticised, but isn’t suffering, the pursuit of art?

I doubt we are the only society that neglects its non-STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathathematics) students. Being on Tumblr/Imgur/Reddit, I see a lot of people with degrees in English and other humanities fields bemoaning their lack of vocations, and complaining about research grants, about having to move states to get funding from colleges, and wondering what to do with a Masters in English, for instance. I probably may face the same problem, since I majored in English literature… so I don’t know who wants to hire me either. And if you say ‘be a teacher’, I will punch someone in the face and thus disqualify myself from teaching altogether.

So why aren’t we taught creativity in school? Maybe I’m being mean, but I like to think that creativity is something innate. We either have it, and we nurture it, or we don’t have it and nothing we do can make us creative.

I’m not one who believes in the education system, despite doing pretty well, considering that I took the traditional route: primary school – secondary school – junior college – university. Was I book smart? Hardly, my math and science grades were abysmal and I didn’t fare much better in other subjects most of the time. But I think I was exam smart, in the sense that I knew how to write convincingly so that the examiners thought that I knew my stuff, even when I was actually grasping for straws. Sure, it also helped that my memory was pretty decent, and I know how to spin details.

According to Noam Chomsky, ‘Education is really aimed at helping students get to the point where they can learn on their own because that is what you’re going to do during your life, not just absorb materials given to you by the outside, and repeat it.’ And I agree with him, in the sense that if you think that the schools are not teaching what you’d like to learn, then go out of the way and explore on your own.

Don’t depend on your country or the government to help you. Why would they? What’s so special about you, that they’d want to take a particular interest in you? Instead, why not help yourself and find your own way of doing things? If something doesn’t work for you, discard it. If it does, stick with it. Other people are transient, and the only person who has your interests at heart, is ultimately yourself.