Aug 21, 2017

To Read or Not to Read

Taken from Google,com
https://img14.deviantart.net/e306/i/2015/312/5/9/
a_song_of_ice_and_fire_by_ertacaltinoz-d9fzd8e.jpg
Like many others around the globe, I'm excitedly following the series Game of Thrones in HBO. I have heard a lot about the books, have seen them in the different bookstores I visit, but never really felt like reading them. Though I enjoy the series, the truth is that this kind of literature is not really my kind of literature. It just doesn't reach out to me. For instance, back when there was this huge hoot about The Lord of the Rings, I did go to the movies, I did saw them, but I never got the books nor ever felt inclined to read them.

Then, today I was talking to a coworker of mine who is also crazy about Game of Thrones, and we were talking about the next episode (episode 7) will be the last of this season (season 7), and how rumor has it that the series has deviated from the books, and curiosity got the best of me: maybe I should read the books to get the other side of the story. The idea seemed appealing in the spur of the moment, and I even went online to Amazon.com and the site of my favorite local bookstore to compare prices, and started debating. You see, I'm normally not into book series. I trilogy I can still manage, but longer series are not my thing (except, clearly, in the case of LGBTQ romance stories, like Alessandra Hazard's Straight Guys series). So, as I was checking the series of "Songs of Fire and Ice", it turns out not only that there are 5 or 6 books out, but that there might be 7 or more. This put a halt to my intent on getting them and reading them. So, basically the story is unfinished and nobody knows when will it be finished? Are readers supposed to spend years in suspense? And how well could a story be held up in such a condition? Will it have the backbone required to hold up so much story?

I'm back at considering, pondering, clicking the pages of the online libraries off and considering getting from friends one of those free pdf copies that pululate around, just to see if it is actually worth my time. To try, to rest, to attempt to minimize the risk of getting involved in something that might cut the path of other readings and yet leave me perpetually on a cliffhanger.

To read or not to read, that's the reader's dilemma.

Aug 16, 2017

Bloggers Fading

Screenshot by Stormberry
I think I need to go exploring again, finding new blogs to follow and read, but where should I start? Back in the day (oh yes, do you remember those golden days in 2012 when I used to blog every day?), one of my main sources of daily information was the "to read" segment of my blogger, where the many posts of the different blogs I followed were lined up to be read. It was fun, I must say ^_^. It was like having a little window into the lives of many, many people around the world, where I've got to peer into the tiny windows of their lives, and see what they set on their windowsills.

But then came the draught, and I went away for extended periods of time, hardly even made it back here for the Sabbaths - which are quite important for me, mind you, from an inspirational point of view - and then... then I forgot about my peering window. I must indeed tell you, that breaking time for blogging isn't necessarily easy when you are studying, and working. Of course, it can be done, as so many #studyblr blogs and sites show it, but it got a tad complicated for me. And then I didn't feel like it either, so why force it? There are so many things you have to do - like work and such - that imposing more chore on yourself is completely moronic. Blogging must be a joy, something that flows out of you because you feel like it, because you really want to... not because you have a schedule you feel you have to stick to.

Screenshot by Stormberry
My rutine - like many other things in my life - morphed, and I picked up on another thing I had abandoned a while ago: now my days start with me checking the news on an e-mail address I keep only for newspapers. My days thus fill with news, though curiously I do not read any news from my own countries (have yet to find a newspaper I would trust, which would send me an e-mail with the headlines), and then go on with my day. Blogs and blogging pretty much fell off my schedule, and even when I came around here, I just wrote some and then was off on my way. It wasn't until recently, these days that somehow I was bit again by the blogging-bug, that I noticed again the "to read" list only to notice that all my to-reads come from one source: philofaxy's blog.

Picture owned entirely by Stormberry
My list of followed blogs is extensive, but as I scrolled down on them I noticed that most of them were already quite inactive. Perfectly nice blogs had not been updated in 8 months, a year, five years... what's happening? Is the era of the blogs dying? Are we going to retreat into archaic blogs, maybe kept alive by their thematic nature, and those of us, writing blogs in the shape of personal journals, will retrieve into the safety of paper? As one glances through remaining blogs, they are looking less and less like logs of text, stories and thoughts, and more like websites with lots of pages and segments dedicated to different media, almost building up like online stores where you can purchase whatever things you probably don't need. Even the old journalers are prefering pictures, slowly moving their outpour of ideas into other social networks where words are less commanding, and pictures and videos make the bulk of it.

Are we hating words now? Are we picking a fight or parting ways with words, text, and rather move to what we can quickly consume? And those of us who like to write, string up words and make a longer text, are becoming the old timers? I want to read blogs, personal blogs, blogs from people telling the big, unknown darkness of the internet about their day, about their friends, about their joys and sorrows, their discoveries and rediscoveries. I want to read about the rants of others, stretch my hands through my small cyber window and peer into those other, unknown windows and marvel at the things displayed in those windowsills. I want to feel, to know that across the large sea of dark connections and wavelenghts and optic fibre, through the many submarine cables that mesh the oceans and connect us all, that there's people out there living ordinary lives like mine, but so different from mine.

I want to peer through those many tiny windows again.

Aug 14, 2017

Movie Sunday with Friends

Today I went to see the movie "Kimi no Nawa" (Your Name) with my friend Shimmy Gin and his wife. I must admit that at first I wasn't very much taken by the idea of going to watch an animé movie, but Shimmy insisted and showed me a quite convincing review of the movie, so I decided to give it a try. I loved it. ^_^

The movie is about two highschool kids, Mitsuha and Taki, that live in different parts of Japan. Taki is a boy living in Tokyo, and Mitsuha a girl living in the country, in a small village. They have a curious situation where they change bodies ever so often, but they don't remember when it happens. Both of them believe they are dreaming, having strange dreams, but in truth they are waking up in each other's lives. Slowly the realize what happens and develop a sort of system, and a way to communicate with each other. However, their time in switched bodies quickly vanishes from their memories as they come back to their original bodies.

The plot of the story unfolds in quite an inexpected manner, and this constant rush to keep a memory, to stay ahead of forgetting, and then the desperation as memories fade away, give you something to think about the message of the movie. The importance of trusting your senses, the inevitability of forgetting even what's important for us. It's an interesting story about holding into what matters to us, keep on searching and treasuring moments.

The quality of the art is frankly magnificent, even though here and there I found parts where the quality of the drawing wasn't up to the rest of it. Curiously, more attention was delved to the making of the scenary than the actual animating of the characters.

I liked going out with Shimmy and his wife. Shimmy and I are like brothers, and his wife totally sees that. After their marriage, Are and I met for coffee, and we quickly became friends, which is such a relief! I really don't like having to hold back myself with my friends because their families won't understand. Are totally gets it. After the movie we went shopping a bit and then went to lunch. We talked loads and loads, and when we realized, it was already really late!

Time flies when you are having fun. :-)

Aug 13, 2017

The Road so Far

Starbucks at MOM Park
Picture by stormberry
A few days ago I was thinking about blogging (FINALLY!!) on a the subject of relationship - again - and how in some cases people seems perfectly happy blaming others for what's basically their own fault or their own dysfunction. Of course, by now you are all very smart little peas and you are aware that every time I talk about something is because something has happened around me, or something made me aware of that particular subject. Then again, I don't mind you, Lovely Nameless Unheard Of Readers, knowing about those things because you and I will never, ever meet in real life, right? Except that... I almost told someone who knows me in Real Life about this blog, and THEN I had to stop myself and think about it. And this person and their entourage tend to read into everything, and so, that gave me pause. Shall I express myself here, or shall I wait? You see, this is the good thing about a journal: you don't have to wait because it's private and every single thought can go in there, untreated, unfiltered, pure and raw.

We are already past the middle of the year now, and as I hurried to read what could be read in my blog - previous to consider sharing it with that person I mentioned earlier - I found a post where I expressed my goals and wishes for this year. Oh, how we dream in January, only to look back in August and say "Well, that's a wish you can recycle because ain't no gonna happen this year". Thus, though I really wanted to go back to archery, that shall be postponed because my time is otherwise occupied. The idea of goig to yoga was nice... it's just that I'm not really feeling it. You know what I mean? I'm not really there. Also have planned on oing back to the 90 Minutos PowerAde free fitness program, and that didn't happen either. So what had happened?

2017 has been the year of the Study. I advanced in German all the way to B1C, which I'm coursing now, at the end of which I'm supposed to do the B1 Zertifikat test, and pass it if I want to continue to take B2 classes. B1 is supposed to be the "intermediate level". You know, where you are still not a pro but you already can understand well and express yourself well. Yeah, not my case. I've been studying German for a year and a half now, and I feel like I don't know anything! I was surer expressing myself when I was in the beginners levels. It's so not fun.

I also finally managed to enroll into Service Marketing, which is one of the last 3 subjects I must complete to finish the Marketing Career. IF the program doesn't change before I can properly enter the career and do my thesis. The class has had some minor complications, as I had to submit some homework and papers and was supposed to do so persomally, but then I had this three week trip to Hungary in summer that cut into it. Thanks the gods, the teacher knows me from other courses I've taken and we are in good terms, so he let me submit my papers by e-mail. It was quite an adventure, because I spent part of my vacations working on that paper. In the end, it came out just perfect.

At the same time, I've got into the Directed Investigation course for Finance, which is basically one of two semester classes I must take during which I write my Finance Thesis. Dear gods of old, this is happening too! I pray all goes well with this. It feels so big to be here again, writing a thesis and getting ready to finish yet another cycle of studies in my life. I'm overwhelmed.

In this light, I believe it's easy to understand why I haven't kept up either with my Letter Writing Mondays. I want to, I'd like to, but I'm not sure I can afford it with all the things currently looming over me. I've been thinking about giving it a forgiving twist, make it at home, a couple of hours, so that I can still study a little and not feel so pressed, but it's not easy, I must say. Letters slowly accumulate again, and I don't want to be in that same spot again. Time management sometimes is complicated.

The trip to Hungary... well, maybe I'll talk about that some other time. I mean, it was good, and I didn't spend much tme in Hungary per se. I went to Vienna, because I always do, and then went to Essen to visit my friend and then went to Amsterdam with them and it was beautiful. Of course, things can't be perfect, so I developped an allergy the likes of which I have not had in ten years, coughing my voice raw, getting a dripping nose, coughing until nearly suffocating myself... and then an unsightly case of dropping blood pressure. I felt so bad for my friend! Hope they don't think it's on them, or that I'm some ailing old lady.

Hungary and Austria were awful. The temperature was between 30°C and 40°C around the clock. Heat and I don't get along very well. I even got a rush from the allergy on my face! It was hell on earth. Not fun.

Back in Costa Rica, I met with my friend Li for a coffee, and I noticed her very changed. My goodness, she looked so thin and young! I was so surprised I couldn't stop admiring her. Yes, she is doing better, claiming her life back, checking what she eats (she has sworn off carbs), and she has started putting on make up. Wow, I though, I shall try my hand at that! And so I have been, playing around with some BB cream and CC cream (because I still don't feel very comfortable with foundation), and trying to give myself the winged eyeline of Rowena, from Supernatural. What can I say? I'm not girly, I'm a witch and proud of being so.

Apr 3, 2017

The Beauty Blender Matter

Source:
http://www.beautyblender.com
Some months ago, if you followed beauty tutorial videos or make up review videos on youtube, or beauty blogs and so on, you would hear about the wonders of the Beauty Blender. This beauty blender is basically a makeup sponge people use to put on different products on, such as foundation, BB creams, CC creams, primer and even applying and difusing correctors. Many of these products are often applied directly with fingers, brushes, makeup sponges such as those well known little triangles, or those sets that come in the shape of flowers from which you pluck out a petal and use until it crumbles away or looks too disgusting to be used again. These triangles are also called "sponge wedges".

Source: http://www.tattooedtealady.com/
2015/07/
kiko-eyebrow-expert-styling-kit.html
Though a true makeup artist, or a person used to put on makeup everyday can apply makeup to themselves and achieve that flawless porcelain doll complexion the rest of us can only dream of and bitterly envy, most of us often struggle with some of the products. I am one, for instance, that hardly EVER put on make up. And when I do, my usual makeup look doing my eyebrows with my KIKO Milano eyebrow kit, some eyeliner, and maybe a lipgloss. If I feel very generous, I do some eyeshadowing (currently LOVING Oriflame's eyeshadow pencils) and that will be that. So, when someone with less skills or less practice decides or needs to put on some makeup (say, you got into a fight on Black Friday for the perfect shoes and ended up with a black eye... and the shoes, or you went partying all night and your face hasn't woken up yet), things like brushes and sponge wedges can make the plaster foundation or BB Cream you put on look like... well, plaster. Basically, with these tools a less skilled person will end up with brush stroke marks all over their face. The makeup will look fake instead of achieving it's intended purpose of making you look your best.

The makeup industry constantly strives to offer products that make donning makeup a much easier, better experience. One such product is the beauty blender, which is basically an improved makeup sponge. It differs from other sponges in its form, but also in the sponge material itself. Beauty blenders tend to be more dense - in my experience - and are used slightly differently. When you buy the beauty blender, it's this really small little drop shaped sponge, much the size of a wedge. This you have to wet and squeeze several times until it gets bigger. With a wet and squeezed beauty blender you can apply your beauty products by gently tapping on your skin. This movement allows you to apply the products quite evently and without leaving marks, and helping you get that complexion you are looking for.

Stormberry's property
A while ago I decided to get more skilled with makeup, and decided to start trying on BB Creams and CC creams, emboldened by some videos I watched. I first applied them with sponge wedges or my fingers, and then got a beauty blender from KIKO Milano in one of my trips to Vienna. This sponge doesn't have the original beauty blender's shape, but it is a wonder to work with! No, I don't put on make up daily now, but when I do, I always used my little spongey :-). I believe I have this sponge since December 2015 and have been using it quite a couple of times. I never leave it with product residues on, since I use it so seldom, so I normally use it and clean it with handsoap. And it has lasted me wonderfully, I must say.

Stormberry's property
This year, on my trip to Vienna, I found at the DM stores a lovely turquoise beauty blender with drop shape, marketed under the EBELIN brand. Yay!! DM is a rather good store, and I have bought a gozillian things from them, so I packed in one of these beautiful beauty blenders. Did I needed it? Not really, but it was cheap (I think it was around €5,00) and it was turquoise! I've got to use it the first time when I was back at home. From the first time I used it, as I was cleaning it (the same way I have dozens of times cleaned my KIKO Milano beauty blender) the material close to the tip started to rip. If I were a more intensive user of these sponges this one would have crumbled apart AGES ago! Clearly, I'm quite disappointed about this. :-(
I'm happy with my KIKO Milano beauty blender, truth to be told, but I did wanted the experience of using a drop shaped on, like the original, since these do accomodated better in the hand, unlike KIKO Milano's hourglass shaped one. I had seen some beauty blenders - original ones - at Sephora, in Wroclaw, when a friend of mine and I were there, and also have seen them in Paris. I did notice that the original beauty blenders sold in Wroclaw look different than the ones in Paris, as those have a sort of band around... you know, like smoothed sponge. The ones in Paris don't have it. The time in Wroclaw I refrained from buying the beauty blender because of the weird band it had, and the time in Paris I didn't buy it because it would have set me €19 back, and with the amount of makeup I do, that's not an investment, but a crazy expense.

Stormberry's property

I might end up getting one now, though - the next time I'm in Paris, I guess - just to compare the qualities - but one thing I can tell you all for sure is that you will never, ever again catch me buying a DM beauty blender... and I will be wary about EBELIN branded products.

Apr 2, 2017

Movie Review: Ghost in the Shell

Source: google.com
It has been over 13 years since the last time I was pretty much consumed by Japan animation or animé and manga art. That year (around 2004) was the end of almost seven years of being immersed in the otaku culture. During that time (that's from 1997 to 2004) I watched pretty much every single series and OVA I could get my hands on. One of those OVAS was Ghost in the Shell, a futuristic, dystopian story based on cyborgs and political moves.

Many of the movies I watched in those days had an impact on me, due to the quality of their art, but also the dark line of their stories. Akira, Perfect Blue and Ghost in the Shell are a few among them, though of these three, Ghost in the Shell struck me the most for the quality of the art.

Source: google.com
When the movie theatres started promoting Ghost in the Shell in live action format, I knew I had to go and see it. No, normally I don't like live action movies, and I have seen a few. Aeon Flux with Charlize Theron wasn't appealing to me, for instance, but an amateur attempt at Dragon Ball Z Mirai Trunks, or alternate universe future was so breath taking, that I decided to give it a shot.

I must say that the movie disappointed me. From the very selection of the intro music, and all the re-naming of Mokoto Kusanagi and then giving her all that past... (was that somewhere in the manga and I missed it or forgot about it?) Why make a perfectly good story into some emotional, hollywoodian motion picture? Ms. Johansson didn't look like a cyborg, but rather looked like a butch female, and Major's (Major? Really? Did something happened in the series I didn't watch that escaped from the OVA I saw?) sensualization and attempt to catch the essence of humanity was quite a slap for those of us who paid for the movie ticket in hopes to revive one of our old favorites.

Source: http://thescreen.hu/ ghost-shell-osszehasonlitas-az-alapkent-szolgalo-animevel/
The whole movie was like watching some AU fanfic, produced by Americans and Chinese, based on a beloved, cult-movie of otakus of old, which lifted the idea of the movie, some characters, some costume designed and then copied here and there some scenes. Even in the scenes lifted from the original OVA, the movie felt fake. I felt cheated, truth to be told.

From what I gather from other websites and blogs about the movie, the sentiment is quite generalized. It was a big gamble, I would say, and it didn't paid up well. Then again, I guess that in today's world knowing isn't really all that important when enterprises embark into an investment. Knowing your market is really inconsecuential, when one thinks that one knows things better than all the others. Well, enterprises and enterpreneurs would do well remembring that they ought to know their market if they want to reach into their pockets.

Feb 13, 2017

No Complications

I have exciting news people! I have not changed a thing. ^_^ Yes, I was totally teasing you there, but you are smarter than that, and if you are one of the few people following this dwindling blog, you know that the exciting news is just that I deigned to come around and share a piece of my mind. Because that's usually exciting. And with the cryptic title, well, what can you expect? Because when you write "No Worries", it means that there are worries in the text. And when you write "No Heartbreak", you pull out the box of tissues, because it's sure to make you cry. So, by the same logic, "No Complications" shall mean, that complications lie ahead, right? The thing here is that I want to break free precisely from complications. Those gray, odd "complications".

These are things I normally write in painful detail in my personal journal (which will never see the light of day, thank you), but this topic - I believe - is one that might pertain to many other people, so I decided to quickly (really quickly) share a little thought about it.

"It's complicated" is actually a relationship status in Facebook. That doesn't mean anything by itself, of course, except that it is often used to cover a situation where a person isn't single, but isn't with someone either. It covers a multitude of situations, like when the relationship is, for whatever reason illicit (an extramarital affair or a relationship with a person from a given group that is perceived as not moral, decent or allowed), but also when the people in the relationship - or a part of them - isn't willing to let the relationship consolidate in one way or the other. I'm quite good at these and I like this twilight zone-like relationship because of the freedom they give you - though normally my prefered kind of relationships have a name far more defining than "it's complicated". Yes, I'm a big fan of fuckbuddies and one-night-stands. As you can guess from it, I'm the "no strings attached, no commitments, no complications" kind of person. Just have fun, enjoy the moment and then go back to the usually scheduled program. However, even in such a free, easy, clean cut situation, and preference, sometimes things can get messed up. For instance, when one of the parties seems to want to bend the rules, or goes playing by another set of rules.

You know the case, right? The one that is namely in a commited relationship but behaves like they are still single and can do as they please. The one where one set of rules apply to one party, and another to the other party or parties. The case when one says that sure, you are friends, but then acts like you owe them something. Does it ring a bell? Hopefully it doesn't. Well, these situations put the "complicated" in "it's complicated", and often, un-complicating them isn't as easy as just talking it over, because more often than not, the things either go back to original settings for a while before morphing back again to the asymetric or dissonant situation, or the complaining part receives big, wide eyes and accusations of "you are the one acting weird, things are actually as discussed in case A".

What can you do? Well, don't ask me: my answer is the usual: cut it off.

The point here isn't that you can or can't do something to solve this situation: relationship situations are hardly solved, because people tend to be persistent about what they seek, whether they admit to it or not. The thing is for you to recognize it, to refuse to cover behind the "complicated" tag and recognize things for what they are. Then act according to your preferences and needs. Just as "Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater" is true, so is for every other tendency in a relationship. Don't let your own hopes cloud your judgment.