caught between dreaming and waking

– 春日醉起言志, 李白

ah, it has been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been putting off getting the computer fixed, which remains my go-to excuse for having sporadic posts.

the boss is away for her very well-deserved sabbatical break (5 whole weeks of radio silence!!) – I feel like I’m on spring break too~ there are no long-ass meetings scheduled, no sudden meetings called, and definitely no random interruptions when you’re trying to focus on something. (not that I’m focusing on work, considering that I’m here typing up a post, but it’s the thought that counts.)

I’m not at the age where I’m particularly worried about my own mortality, and to be honest, I tend to live life on the more lackadaisical side – if I should die tomorrow, then so be it, since there’s nothing you can do about it, you might as well go with some grace. indeed, I think I would rather die in a flash than in a prolonged battle – a battle that you will lose, along with any semblance of dignity you thought you had.

Ignorance is bliss – but isn’t withholding crucial information simply cruel? Sure, you might say that we don’t know when we are all going to die. Technically we could die tomorrow in a freak accident or you could have a fatal heart attack randomly. However, if you have a medical condition and your doctor makes a prognosis on your life expectancy, do you have the right to know what are the estimates? Or should you remain unaware, so you can believe that a miracle may happen for you, and death goes back to his domicile instead?

What is the correct action here? To provide all the necessary information and risk causing a mental blow to the patient, or to withhold the painful knowledge and pretend everything is fine?

I know my own preference – to live with the unvarnished truth, and to know that all is mortal; to have an end date to the pain and suffering that you would face when dealing with a terminal illness. It’s easier to hope for a painless death than to dream of a miracle, after all. In fact, I’d rather to be put out of my misery than to cling on to the wispy threads of hope, because hope is more treacherous than an enemy in the dark. You are merely extending your own suffering for the slimmest chance.

But of course, this is my opinion, and I can’t assume that everyone would subscribe to my fatalistic approach. I know that my relative doesn’t. He is still hoping for a cure – he believes that the doctors would be able to come through with a solution. He doesn’t know that the doctors can’t do much – won’t do much? In terms of having a lot of options available, few would help, and most come with a great risk attached. I can’t help but feel sorry for him.

Putting aside the medical issues, there’s also the whole messy complication of afterlife arrangements to consider. As always, with any disaster, vultures flock to the scene, waiting, scavenging, seeing if there are any avenue of weakness to exploit. And it’s easy for accusations or bad blood to flourish, to bring up resentment or to push signs of blame to another person, rather than admitting that you had any faults or that you were a prick to the person when they were still well. We are kinder to the ill than to the whole, aren’t we?

All that remains is a waiting game – and for some to pray for a miracle, like snow in July.


Serge Lutens: ‘Perfume is potentially a carrier for the imagination’

I seem to have fallen out of the habit of reviewing perfumes, even though perfumery is still a major interest of mine. (But being the space cadet that I am, I cycle through interests and get all weirdly intense about one thing before losing focus on it and moving on to something else completely different)

Hence, here’s another 30 day (of sorts) challenge in which I review mainstream perfumes that I currently own in my collection. Think of it as a cross between a long-overdue perfume wardrobe 2018 update and a Autumn/Winter Indie Perfume Collection review challenge, if you will.

This will eventually be the master post of the perfumes that I’m reviewing over the course of October, and because I am not a monster, the list will be arranged alphabetically in terms of perfume house and perfume name.

Continue reading “Serge Lutens: ‘Perfume is potentially a carrier for the imagination’”

doctor appointments

I suppose while I am not fond of visiting the doctor, and generally knowing about my own health conditions, I should feel better about the fact that at least I would never ask a doctor something as silly as that, and in a way, you can also see it as no matter how stupid or whatever shit you tell them, technically it’s all meant to be under patient confidentiality, and even if they do go home and tell their spouse about that weird patient they had that day, they can’t mention your name and all… and if you think about it, whatever strange question that you want to ask, probably had already been asked by some other patients. They see so many patients daily that everything is probably routine by now, and very little would phase them anymore. I mean, that’s what I hope. Even if they’re judging me inside for my dumb questions…

be kind.

Sometimes you wonder if the universe is trying to tell you something:

This is my body
And I live in it
It’s thirty-one and six months old
It’s changed a lot since it was new
It’s done stuff it wasn’t built to do
I often try to fill it up with wine
And the weirdest thing about it is
I spend so much time hating it
But it never says a bad word about me

This is my body
And it’s fine
It’s where I spend a vast majority of my time
It’s not perfect, but it’s mine
It’s not perfect

This is my brain
And I live in it
It’s made of love and bad song lyrics
It’s tucked away behind my eyes
Where all my screwed up thoughts can hide
Cause God forbid I hurt somebody
And the weirdest thing about a mind
Is that every answer that you find
Is the basis of a brand new cliche

This is my brain
And it’s fine
It’s where I spend a vast majority of my time
It’s not perfect, but it’s mine
It’s not perfect, but it’s mine
It’s not perfect
I’m not quite sure I’ve worked out how to work it
It’s not perfect, but it’s mine
But it’s mine

Things I Love Thursday

a short post but let’s get back to the hang of things.

On the work front, I suppose I should be glad that because of the monthly deadlines thanks to payroll reasons, my boss has not been keeping me entrapped in meeting rooms. (My coworkers call it a dungeon or prison cell, and any break away from the routine is deemed as prison break. To cheer myself up, I think of myself as the savior figure who has to take one for the team, so they don’t need to get trapped inside instead.)

So yeah, quiet days are A+ when you get to go home at relatively good timing without having to suffer through a whole bunch of shit. Yeah, I know that the good days won’t last beyond next week, but any break from the terrible routine is appreciated.

Additionally, new coworker is coming in tomorrow, so hopefully she focuses more attention on the new guy and stops hounding me D:

While people around my age are giving into the Crazy Rich Asians hype, I’m the kind who goes to watch Teen Titans Go! instead, maybe because mentally I’m like 12. But yeah, I don’t advise going into the theatre fully sober, because you’d find the jokes funnier if you were just a tad tipsy, which is what I did with my friend – we had some sake before heading in.

Plot-wise, you’d see everything coming right from across the road, and the jokes tend to be as subtle as Thor’s hammer, but I did enjoy the movie. It was fun, they dropped so many references and weren’t afraid to poke fun at themselves, and Marvel as well.

But considering that I grew up watching the original Teen Titans – Teen Titans Go had a different sort of charm to it, what with the super deformed chibi art style that is reminiscent of the Powerpuff Girls series – I still prefer the original. Also slightly disappointed that they didn’t pay any tribute to the awesome theme song from the Teen Titans heyday!

Within Temptation seems to be dropping a new single soon, because we got hit with a pretty cool teaser.

If you accessed their site on a regular browser (i.e. Chrome), this is what you see below:

You need to erase the words on the first layer to see the hidden layer, where it’s all Matrix-like, green/white words against the black background, with certain words being highlighted to show their ‘secret’ message. Things like, ‘are you really free’/’we are the faces with no names’. It’s kinda Alan Walker-esque, in a sense, but still cool.

And if you accessed the site via Incognito mode, you get a teaser video instead!

On a more frivolous note, Starbucks is getting a lot of my money. I recently got the tumbler from their Siren collection, as pictured above, because it’s just too pretty to resist!

the final countdown

I think I was in a pretty bad place the past few weeks, and most of it was probably work-related stress. To the extent that I thought of quitting my job, and going back to teaching piano or working retail in a bookstore. Both of which would mean taking a huge pay cut, but they might be better for my mental health. I even reached out to a couple of friends, when ordinarily, the thought of discussing unhappy real life events would normally make me cringe and throw away my phone. But yes, thank you for kind words and being rational when I temporarily lost my ability to do so.

The title of this post is The Final Countdown, after the Europa song, because I drafted this at the peak of my dark moments, and I was so ready to throw in the towel, but I didn’t manage to be able to put down my misery into actual words. You know that feeling of extensive dread and sadness and pain just inside of you, underneath your skin, thrumming at your veins and the shrieking beat inside your head? But how exactly does one express these thoughts coherently? That feeling of being lost adrift and wondering where you fit in the puzzle and what is the greater scheme of things when all you know is being:

Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
Then someone will say what is lost can never be saved
Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage
– Smashing Pumpkins – Bullet with Butterfly Wings

But really, some things that make me really unhappy:
– constant daily looooooong meetings, think 9 am to 12 nn, 2 pm to 6 pm kind of meetings
– super micro-management, the kind where you can’t even send an email without letting someone else run through the contents and telling you what exactly to type
– constant revision of documents, where every single line must be scrutinised to death
– perfectionism when you’re not the kind of person to be good at meticulous detail-oriented tasks
– being made to step in and do other people’s work, basically not trusting the other party to be able to deliver and so you’re doing their fair share of things as well
– being made to watch over what other people are doing and following up to see if things are delivered by due dates
– making you sit in for other things that don’t have anything to do with you but because your boss can’t be bothered to type their own notes or flash things on screen

ALL of the above? Drives me completely batty and decreases job satisfaction.

To be honest, I think I’m in the wrong line of work and I don’t enjoy anything in this field but what can I do at this point in time, you know. And you may say, it’s the mindset that’s causing me to feel unhappy, and that it’s easier to change your attitude than to find a different job (especially with the current state of the job market) but I think that’s like lying to yourself, in a sense or being untrue to yourself instead.

Capitalism is Equal

So recently Sephora launched the news that it will be selling Pinrose’s Starter Witch Kits, which would include crystals, tarot deck, and herbs. Cue feedback of all sorts, although to be honest, I haven’t really heard anything positive. Mostly negative or indifferent opinions.

Firstly, I have no clue what Pinrose sells. Google tells me that it is a fragrance and perfume brand, but it has never appeared on my radar before, even though perfumery is a hobby of mine.

But that said, how is their witch kit supposed to be linked to perfumery? If properly done well, this can be an interesting concept. After all, we have the anointing oils and the ritual incenses, and perfumes (provided that they are blended thoughtfully and appropriately) can fall under this area.

I think my own interpretation of what I am has changed a few times over the years. I used to identify as Wiccan, and the term ‘witch’ is seen almost as an insult, as though you were just play-acting and you aren’t taken seriously enough. These days, I would hardly call myself a Wiccan. I use the term pagan occassionally and practitioner more frequently, depending on the audience. I still don’t think of myself as a witch though? To me, the connotations of the word remain as childish as when I was first starting out.

Am I offended or unhappy that Pinrose has created their witch kits? Nope, not at all. What is witchcraft anyway? For most solitary Wiccans, what kind of rituals and beliefs are in their practices? I think different Wiccans have different approaches, even if you say that most of them would be working with the same Wheel of the Year and honoring similar deities. But Wicca or paganism can be extremely personal, even as a deity is traditionally recognized to have certain traits or preferences, their manifestation in our lives can be completely different. There’s really very little concrete or specifically ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in most pagan paths, I believe.

And let’s face it, with these witch kits – do you think they are meant to be more than a novelty item? It’s a gimmick for Halloween, it’s tapping into the witchy tumblr aesthetics, it’s riding on the witchy gothic trend, and there you see capitalism at its finest – exploiting and ripping off everyone’s beliefs and cultures without a care for anything more than the profit margin.

I mean, there’s the typical outrage regarding appropriation of Native American culture (feather headdress/dreamcatchers), of black culture (cornrows/big lips trend), of exoticizing the ‘Oriental’ culture. We get it, you don’t know enough about your own culture or you think the grass is greener on the other side, but as long as there is money to be made, there’s no difference to you, innit.

Ultimately, what makes a Wiccan or a witch ‘witchy’? Is it these kind of tacky tools mass-produced by large companies for the mainstream audience? Or is it the tools you’ve been working with consistently, with the correct mindset? Also, I would think that a real witch would be able to pick up any broken item and use it successfully to perform whatever they want because the power is innate. Items are a way for people to channel their energies/powers/minds etc, but the will to make the change comes from the individual. That’s why you have people who wrote about how you don’t need a fancy athame or a gorgeous wand made from the oldest tree. Sure, it’s like having a sports car to drive around – you get to your destination faster and you look cool doing so. But a broken down Jeep or a secondhand car can also get you there, but you might not enjoy the journey as much since you can’t put edited Instagram photos online of your crappy ride. But will the universe move for you? Sure, if you did the right thing regardless of what tools you used.

Things I Love Thursday – Products Version

soooooo this is supposed to be more than just material things, but eh, I’m not in the mood to wax poetic about work and pretending that I’m enjoying it, so here’s a list of some recent buys that I enjoy.

01 IGK – Dry Shampoo in First Class
I bought this on a whim while queueing at Sephora. Because the people at Sephora know how millennials’ attention spans work. We want to be constantly entertained, to the extent that if you put products near the cashier, we will browse as we wait and inevitably, more things will find their way into our baskets, and it’s usually these tiny things like dry shampoos or lip tints or sample sized mascaras since they make easy impulse buys.

As for the product itself, well, I suppose I don’t really have any complaints. It does its job remarkably well – my routine of using dry shampoo is for days when I don’t have the time to wash my hair and wait for it to air dry completely before I head to bed (this takes about… 2 hours minimum if I sit under the fan, and longer if I don’t). I usually do a few sprays to the roots and scalp , wait for 30 seconds before massaging/finger combing through my hair. The next day – zero grease is left and my hair feels as good as though I’ve washed it normally with regular shampoo. The scent is pleasant enough, and doesn’t exactly linger beyond the initial sprays. Of course, I wouldn’t advise skipping regular shampoo because the climate is super hot and humid here but if you need to go between washes occassionally, then this is a pretty decent fix.

02 Clarins – Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil in Raspberry
I haven’t touched lip gloss in ages – even before the trend of matte lips looking drier than the Sahara, I have never been really a fan of the wet glossy look. Especially when you tend to wear your hair down and loose, and the winds would just blow strands of hair everywhere. You’re basically just asking for hair to get stuck on your lips constantly, and that’s irritating.

However, while Clarins’ Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil (what a long name to type out =.=) has the same consistency and texture of a lip gloss, at least you get to tell yourself that it’s good for your lips. It’s not like a regular lip gloss that does nothing, but hey, this comes with a bunch of plant oils that promise to nourish and hydrate your lips. Also, it smells pretty great! (Doesn’t taste good though… >.>)

And I guess as some sort of a throwback, I like to dab a bit of the oil onto my eyelids for that old-school glossy gleam. Hurrah for super low-key makeup looks, amirite.

03 Chanel – Stylo Ombre et Contour in 02 Bleu Nuit
Roughly translates as ‘blue night’ (though I suspect it’s supposed to be more like midnight blue), this was a birthday present from a friend who is totally enabling my Chanel habit. (Though, to be fair, it’s not as though I have that many items from the brand… I mean, I can always do with more?)

A dark blue, slightly greenish hue, this eyeliner is part of the Fall/Winter 2018 collection Le Mat de Chanel. The collection comprises mostly of matte items, and I have already picked up a couple of other items, including the Lip Crayon and Rouge Allure liquid lip colour.

Being the lazy person that I am, I don’t really wear any makeup beyond eyebrow pencil because my brows need all the help that they can get. (Okay, let’s face it literally, pun slightly intended, I need allllll the help I can get, but it’s just the desire for sleep outweighs any other consideration. Besides, I’m not the one who has to look at this stupid mug of mine, so I don’t need the eye bleach.)

So first things first, the most basic criteria here – I like the colour. Says the girl with the blue hair, amirite.

Thanks to hooded eyelids, there’s very little point for me to wear eyeliner unless I go for a super thick look. If I do a normal thin line, the eyeliner will simply ‘vanish’ whenever I open my eyes basically. Instead, I tend to just line my upper waterline directly, so as to create a fuller lash line. Since it’s on the waterline, it wouldn’t last further than a couple of hours, but at least there is no transference here. However, I wouldn’t say the same if you’re lining the lower waterline because the colour will migrate to the skin beneath your eyes, and it will look pretttttty weird…

If used as a regular eyeliner (that is, to line the eyelid normally), the colour has quite the decent wear time, and it doesn’t smudge too much. I think it can last for up to 6 hours or more, considering that I didn’t try with any primer, and my eyelids can get oily at times.

Hopefully, there would be better things to write about for next week…

crystal flowers blooming in the shadows | a mixtape on romance

recently finished watching The Ancient Magus’ Bride, and… okay, not the healthiest portrayal of a relationship there, but sue me, I enjoyed the show a lot, and I definitely shipped Elias and Chise even while I saw its problematic elements, some of them including:

– power imbalance
– super huge age gap
– lack of boundaries
– unstable mental health
– unhealthy jealousy

but yeah, still vaguely romantic in my opinion, because Elias puts Chise above all to the extent that he is able to sacrifice another person’s life in the hopes of extending her life. Perhaps it’s my chaotic neutral alignment speaking but while I understand that it’s wrong, I don’t really see why it’s not a viable option? I mean, Elias isn’t technically a human, and morality to other creatures can be something completely different… And in a way, Chise seems to be able to accept every facet of Elias (be it his monstrous forms or mysterious past or unhealthy emotions) without flinching away

01 apocalyptica – farewell (instrumental)
02 orden ogan – come with me to the other side (feat. liv kristine)
(come with me to the other side | leave the pain of this world behind)
03 within temptation – see who I am
(I’ll come into your world, see through your eyes | I’ll try to understand, before we lose what we have)
04 stratovarius – 4000 rainy nights
(you give me hope when everything is so dark)
05 xandria – in love with the darkness
(I’m in love with the magic of the new | and the darkness loves me, too)
06 kamelot – fallen star
(you are my reason to stay | even if daylight’s a lifetime away)
07 nightwish – forever yours
(my time is yet to come | so I’ll be forever yours)
08 amaranthe – endlessly
(I’ll be there by your side for a lifetime)


does wanting to walk into the sea and never turn back count?

these days, it feels like the bad outweighs any good, and as always, I’m tired for too many bad reasons and I don’t know whether there are any other solutions beyond just going for the metaphorical nukes.

I’m in awe of those people who can tolerate and handle and cope and last. But let’s face it, I’ve never been one of those people. Every memory I have had, I think I’m constantly just running away. Away from situations, away from people, away from problems, away from myself. Sometimes the demons catch up, sometimes I’m lucky enough to outrun them for a while, and gain some reprieve, but ultimately, it all comes back and I end up trying to find other ways to end it.

what’s the grown-up way of doing things? I ask this, but I think what I really want to know is, what is the right way and who decides this? Am I wrong for running? Is running not a valid solution? Why not?