I hate all the synthetic goodness…

John Sciulli

I don’t like my hair.  It’s thin and I don’t have a lot of it.  I would love to have long and awesome hair that I could do so much with.   I read all these amazing hair tutorials on The Beauty Department, and I get sad that I’ll probably never be able to do any of them.  It’s why I keep getting my hair cut really short.  It’s not as “bleh” when I do that.

I am trying right now to actually grow my hair past my shoulders for the first time since high school, and maybe it’s not as bad as I remember.  It’s a little past my chin now and that seems really long for me.

I keep looking at these women on TV and in movies that have this AMAZING hair.  Then I read that they put hair extensions on Emma Watson for Hermione in Harry Potter.  I got really angry about that.  It shouldn’t have been this “big reveal” for me that they do this.  However, for some reason, this was the first time that I had ever considered it.  Emma Watson has really nice hair though, I don’t know why they felt the need to make it Epic unbelievably gorgeous.  Obviously it was targeted at me specifically because they knew it would make me feel worse.  Duh.

Seriously though, it just goes too far.  This augmentation of beauty that happens for movies and television.  For the most part I am okay.  I struggle with some self-esteem issues day to day, but they’ve gotten a lot better as I have gotten older and cared less what other people think.  However, I can only imagine how it is for young girls or people with harsher esteem issues than I have.

Most people probably want to be regarded as beautiful or attractive on some level.  And these “standards” are set by beautiful people we’re exposed to all the time.  But why does our society have to condone taking these people that are already naturally pretty beautiful and making them completely unattainable?

I’ve honestly, more than I’d like to admit, considered getting extensions.  I can’t really do wigs, too itchy and heavy on my head.  But I’ve thought about getting extensions just to see what it was like to have long luscious locks.  One one hand I’m like.. “What that’s stupid, be happy with who you are, you’re pretty great”.  And on the other hand I’m like “Oh why the heck not.  If you get the same feeling and presentation and it makes you feel good, do it”.  But if someone was like “OH my god your hair is so beautiful” and I had to say “It’s fake” I would probably just feel even worse.

I wish things hadn’t gone so far in this direction of synthetic and fake beauty.  I wish people would stop getting nose jobs because they look awful.  And I wish that my hair would just get thicker through fairy dust and magic.  It all just bums me out.

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The Mary Sue

Community is one of the greatest sitcoms on the air right now and it’s unfortunately in danger since it’s been put on an “hiatus”. I’ve been watching this show and I’ve really been trying to put my finger on why it’s so awesome. Obviously the writing and the characters are all well done and fleshed out considering this is an episodic show that doesn’t have much of an arc to speak of. But what is it that makes this show so much more endearing than some other well cast and written shows out there?

It’s not predictable. A lot of shows out there are concerned about telling you a story, and in doing so keeping things realistic. Scrubs, one of my favorite sitcoms, got around this by having some J.D. flashback episodes inside of his own head. Community takes that barrier and just breaks it down all the time. Absurd, immature, and crazy stunts can take place, no matter what. It’s a no-holds-bar-if-it’s-funny-we’re-doing-it tour de force. And despite the absurdity of it all, we still have these amazing characters that we all care about and even relate to. The creative team on this show manages to suspend all disbelief and really sets across the message “It’s fun to have fun.”

If anything I feel our vehicle into this show is supposed to be Jeff Winger. Jeff represents the most pragmatic and down to earth character on the show. A womanizing lawyer who often brings everyone back to reality with wordy speeches about the reality of the situation they are facing. In his representation of the super-ego we are forced to take everything we’re seeing and tie us back into what “makes sense”.  It’s odd that someone who would be the “wacky guy” in any other sitcom seems to play the role of the “every man” here.  I find that interesting and very telling.  But then again, people as a society are getting stranger.  The internet has given us the vehicle to be more in touch with our inner child and perhaps a bit more weird.  I suppose it makes sense that the wacky dude of yesteryear is the normal joe today.

In Abed they have really captured something special. The super mega uber geek character that is still relatable. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Big Bang Theory but not many people are going to be able to relate to Sheldon. He is taken so far into the extreme of the stereotype that they are looking to portray that it’s extreme and completely unbelievable. Abed, on the other hand comes across as the guy who hasn’t quite grown up yet, but you know will. A more extreme of Troy, but we see Abed and Troy as fun loving super nerds. Not anti-social completely withdrawn individuals. It makes it much easier to relate to these guys, and perhaps even want to emulate them.  I really watch how much fun they have just by being big harmless kids.  Yet there’s a lot of intellect behind it.  These guys are not dopes doing stupid things who need to be mocked or laughed at.  They’re a couple of genuinely nice guys just having fun.  I love it!

The polarized roles that Britta and Shirley play are also very interesting and touch upon themes that come up in social situations all the time. We live in an age where atheism is reaching a higher population. But the stronghold of Christian values and people who truly believe is still around. Often times these personas clash and cannot tolerate one another causing a very negative environment. Britta and Shirley at times represent these extremely different ideals. But mostly they remain diplomatic and remember that no matter how much they disagree, they are still friends.  It’s nice to see that dynamic as I really appreciate the message here.  While the show itself is probably written by some folks who challenge and question religion, I haven’t felt as though they’ve disrespected it. Shirley is not a buffoon.  She’s a strong-willed, intelligent and bold young woman who is firm in her beliefs even in the face of opposition all around here.  I can respect that.  And while Britta seems overly logical at times her love of the environment and cats shows her emotions and a different side than the logic she uses to espouse her atheistic beliefs.  I just think it’s a really nice juxtaposition to see these two characters both treated with love and respect.  When we laugh at Shirley and Britta it’s because of stupid things they did, not because of stupid things they believe.

Pierce made Chevy Chase funny again. Thank you for that sirs. Here we have an older guy just looking to make some friends and have a social life. He’s seemingly evil and completely unrelated. But time and again they keep pulling you in just when you think you’re totally against him.  I find it interesting that he often seeks to polarize himself from Jeffrey as much as possible.  You would assume that the older mid-life crisis character would cling to the young every guy who is out chasing tail.  But instead Pierce is more concerned with his own amusement.

And then there’s Annie. Almost the opposite of a “Sheldon” I mentioned before. Almost painfully intelligent and put together there’s no way this person could ever exist. But slowly we begin to see the neurosis of Annie and she becomes human right before our very eyes.  Annie is probably the one whom I relate to the least.  But I can see how a LOT of people would say quite the opposite.  I love that the big lesson she needs to learn in life is to just have fun.  What a great theme.

It was nice seeing Chang and the Dean have expanded roles in this latest season and I look forward to seeing what their layers add up to.

You know, come to think of it, I can put this in much simpler terms…

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This has probably been done before, but I will assume that this was the first time anyone’s thought of this brilliant idea

Speaking of Dungeons & Dragons, how many amazing and thematic episodes does Community have?  Paintball, Stop Motion Animation, Dungeons & Dragons, etc.  There are no limits, no boundaries to the lengths this show will go to entertain and delight.  I sure hope NBC realizes what a gem they have here and Community will, in fact, be back in the Spring and for many seasons thereafter!

Woohoo!

So seeing TOOL was quite awesome.  I got the tickets through the Mandalay Bay as part of the MLife player rewards program.  I had no idea what kind of tickets I would be getting, or how huge the arena was.  When we got there, I picked up my tickets and they were “FLR2 Row E”.  That seemed pretty awesome, that actually seemed TOO awesome, I wasn’t sure what to think here.  However, when we got to the arena & they showed us to our seats my jaw dropped on the floor.  We were front and center, 4 rows back.  For some reason they skipped row D, I’m not sure why, perhaps it is some sort of superstition?  At any rate, we were so close to the stage, it was amazing.  Also, with continuing luck, I did not have Andre the Giant sitting in front of me as I usually do for shows.

The opening band was called “Intronaut”.  The arena wasn’t even half-full when they played, I felt a little bad about that.  They were okay, all good musicians which I could tell easily.  But they were pretty boring to watch.  They had no stage presence and just kinda all stood around in black t-shirts playing their instruments.  It felt like watching a band practice, not a live stage show.  But, I was so amped to see TOOL for the first time I’m not sure I would have been able to really enjoy any band that opened.

So, TOOL comes out, finally, and I am just hit with exactly how close to them I am.  AUGH!  It was supremely awesome.  The following is their setlist:

[spoiler]
Hooker With a Penis
Jambi
Stinkfist
Ticks & Leeches
Pushit
Schism
(Extended Intro)
Intension
Forty-Six & 2
Lateralus
The Pot
Ænema

It was a pretty good spread, with my favorite songs from Ænema and 10,000 days.  It would have been a dream show had they played “Prison Sex” and “Opiate” which are my two favorite songs.  But it is my understanding they do not play those any longer.[/spoiler]

So the show was definitely awesome.  The visuals on the big screen during the songs were awesome as well, it’s always so neat to see really good A/V with a band live.  It was kind of surreal walking around Las Vegas and seeing so many TOOL T-Shirts.  For the whole night I just kept seeing folks with TOOL shirts.  It was a really great time.

The Arena itself was HUGE, looked like a full sized sporting arena.  It was pretty crazy to think that that was just chilling inside of a casino in Vegas.  All buildings in Vegas are like the TARDIS I am coming to learn.  I was happy to finally see TOOL as I had never seen them.  They’ve been one of my favorite bands since I was like 14 years old.

I regret not seeing a lot of shows earlier come to think of it.  However, in April, I am going to remedy another long put off show.  I finally get to see Radiohead live!  They are playing at the HP Pavilion on San Jose.  Augh, this year is going to be awesome, I can tell.

 

Viva Las Vegas

Woohoo!  I am going to Vegas tonight, and tomorrow I am going to see TOOL.  I am pretty excited about this.  When I first turned 21 I went to Vegas with some friends at the time for a get together of people who all posted on this same forum.  All in all that trip was pretty bad for me.  However, I was supposed to see Tool on that trip.  But, the tickets got messed up somehow and I never got to see them, what a bummer.  But now, 9 years later, I get to finally see TOOL and in Vegas no doubt.

There are so many great bands who I just never got around to seeing.  I don’t really like big stadium shows I think they’re usually a waste, so once a band hits a certain popularity point where that’s all they will play I kind of give up.  I don’t want to shove over everyone to get to the front.  Besides, the front is for short people.  I prefer to go to a local Phenomenauts concert, because they are amazing and their shows are super fun.  However, this year Radiohead is playing at the HP Pavilion in San Jose where the Sharks play.  I’m fairly certain I need to finally see Radiohead in my life, so I’ll probably see that too.

So I suppose this is the year of finally seeing some bands I’ve always longed to see.  Let’s see, who does that include…

Tool — Radiohead — Muse — Le Tigre  — Tegan and Sara

Hmm, I’m sure there’s plenty more but I can’t really think of them right now.  There’s actually a lot of things in life that I’ve wanted to do that I never actually started doing until my mid to late 20’s.  I think sometime’s it’s offsetting for folks.  Most people do the “eff it I’m doing what I want” stage in High School or College.  I think I squandered those years, so I’m making up for it.  For example, dying my hair pink.  That was a huge challenge to myself to just “get over it and do something bold already”.  I had been talking about doing something like that forever, but was always too chickenshit to go through with it.

This, by the way, is me freewriting.  It’s a way to at least write something and get the motor flowing.  But yeah, Las Vegas.  This time around I’m going to make sure to check out “Insert Coin” which is supposed to be an awesome arcade downtown.  Also, there’s a new Batman Slot machine.  I’m so ready to be a little old lady with a leopard track suit on the slot machines when I’m 80.  Heck, I’m almost that now.  But seriously, Felicia Day was just in Vegas this week, and perhaps she will still be there.  Then we’ll totally meet each other somewhere randomly and become best friends forever.  Obviously.

Erno Laszlo – Sea Mud Exfoliating Mask

I’ve never really been much for having any sort of beauty ritual or regime.  For the majority of my life I never wore any makeup whatsoever, moisturized, or cared about my skin.  Heck, there was a time when I washed my face with Irish Spring bar soap, for shame!  But lately I’ve been trying to take better care of my skin and I’ve gotten a little more into having a better skin care system in general.  So, I was looking around for an exfoliating facial mask.  I’ve tried masks before, but I’ve never seen any difference in my skin after using them.  I just like the concept because I pretend I am in Apocalypse Now putting on some war paint.  So, I looked up some recommendation sites and decided on trying the Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Exfoliating Mask.

Now, I don’t really have major skin issues.  My skin is slightly uneven and pinkish in spots and it gets slightly oily at times.  I do have breakouts occasionally though and I would like to head those off at the pass.  But lately I’ve been wearing foundation on a more regular basis to even out my tone, and I have noticed my skin is taking a little bit of a toll as a result.    This is the second time I have used this mask, and both times I’ve been able to actually see and feel the difference it has made upon my skin.  Here’s what the mask looks like when put on:

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Only a thin layer is needed of the product to cover your whole face, and I think I am a little more liberal with it than you need to be.  The recommended time to leave the mask on is 10 minutes and that’s what I have done here.  You can certainly feel the mask tightening on your face while it is drying, which I am a weirdo and actually really enjoy that sensation.

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You can really see the work it is doing on my pores pulling the oil out of them.  This is only one week after my last use, so it’s effective upon continued use so far.  The mask is not harsh at all.  You can feel it tightening as it dries, but there is no irritation for me.  After 10 minutes it is completely dry and time to rinse off.  It’s a little messy/harder to rinse off than some other masks I’ve used, but it comes off fairly easily.  Once I completely rinse it from my skin it immediately feels very smooth and clean.  I love the way my skin feels right after doing this mask.  Personally I make sure to do this at night though as I do not want to put makeup immediately over such fresh clean skin and clog anything up.

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My skin is a little dry, as you can see, after the mask.  However, this was not made any worse by the product itself.  At the time I was in New Jersey and it was very cold, so I was suffering from some dry skin to begin with.

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And here is the “final product”.  My skin was smooth and clean looking with not a lot of oil to speak of.  I definitely really like this mask as I have seen results from it where others I don’t really notice a difference after use.  I just wish I had a better camera, but in a pinch the iPhone will do!

P.S. Sick pajamas, right?

Bittersweet

So I completely understand the term bittersweet now more than ever. I am in Newark airport right now waiting for the plane that will take me home. It’s kind of weird to call California home when really I feel like I’m leaving home.

Overall it was a great visit and we got to see most of our friends and family. I am very fortunate I have a job that let me work remotely. It felt totally natural to just pick right back up with some friends I have not seen in months or a year. I’m happy that so far the friendships have lasted the trial of distance. We shall see what happens with time.

I am going to miss my family. It was nice to spend so much time with them. And it was so easy to gain 6 pounds when surrounded by places I miss and love. And it doesn’t help having a mommy ready and willing to make you food whenever you’re hungry.

I am however very much looking forward to seeing my cats. I’ve missed them a lot. It weird sitting at a computer desk or watching tv with an empty lap now. I’ll be happy to sit in my own recliner chairs and sleep in my own bed. And to see the new friends we now have in our new home.

So right now I am sitting in an airport both sad and happy at the same exact moment. It’s definitely strange.

Official 2012 Emocrap Presidential Endorsement

With things heating up for the 2012 election year, and the surprise ramp up of Rick Santorum this election is all over the news.  A lot of people I know are looking to switch to the Republican party to take part in the primaries.  When I think about the candidates set before me though, I don’t think I could vote for any of them to represent the Republican Party as they do not line up to my particular views.  Since there is no Democratic primary to vote in, my alternative is to register independent to decide who will run to perhaps bolster third party platforms.  I thought long and hard about what the best choice would be.  I think I’ve really come up with a candidate I can believe in.

Takei

Once I thought of it, it really seemed so obvious.  As fourth in command of the Starship Enterprise Mr. Takei has the military experience needed to lead our country into the peaceful future that we are striving for.  Obviously George Takei’s very pro-stance on gay marriage resonates with me as a voter.  But when it comes to foreign policy, in addition to his human rights work, no one has ever been able to form the Star Alliance in the past the same way Mr. Takei has.

[youtube youtubeurl=”mvTCr5Z-0lA” ][/youtube]

Mr. Takei is clearly the man for the job in 2012. Mr. Takei, if you’re reading this… You’ve got my vote!

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Initial ThoughtsI

swtorhead
So I finally got started on playing Star Wars: The Old Republic.  I am on “Wound in the Force”.  It’s been a long wait for this game to come out and there has been a lot of hype.  As far as MMO’s go I am pretty new to the genre.  I played City of Heroes first, which I still contests has the best character creation I’ve ever seen.  Then I played WoW for a gazillion years until I eventually got super bored of the monotony.  So I wasn’t really looking to jump back into another MMO, but my husband loves Star Wars ever so much that it was going to be inevitable.  I’ve played both light side and dark side for a few levels and I just have a few quick reactions to the game so far.

The Cinematics are Beautiful

Watching the Cinematic coupled with the original Star Wars soundtrack definitely elicits a very excited little kid response in me.  It gets me excited like watching episodes 4, 5 and 6 just on a gut level.  I try to mostly ignore 1, 2, and 3.  You can tell a lot of love went into making these scenes.  The fights are amazingly choreographer, the cinematography is fun and interesting.  Overall, Bioware really sunk a lot of effort into something that really just helps immerse you in the story.  I hope there’s many more to come.

Feels more like an RPG

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with MMO’s is that they never really felt like a “Role Playing Game”.  I mean sure, technically  they are, but I never got that same immersive feeling I would get whilst playing Dragon Age, for example.  So far, TOR is doing a very good job of immersing me in the story line, and I am really enjoying it.   The interactive conversations you have with quest givers and the ability to choose what kind of responses you give really adds to the game play for me.  I feel more like I am playing though a story rather than just grinding quests out.

NyleuqNyleuq – Sith Empire Chiss Bounty Hunter

The first toon I created was a Sith Bounty Hunter.  A lot of people are playing Sith, but I just can’t get into it myself.  When the beginning cinematic were playing I just found myself rooting for the good guys, I couldn’t get really excited about being on this side of the war.  I chose a bounty hunter because at least then I could fell like “Oh, well I am killing worse guys for money”.  I don’t know how long that will hold up.  Emotionally though, I grew up so tied to the Jedi and rooting for Luke Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, etc… it’s really hard for me to play Sith.  However, I do think the Chiss are a really cool looking race.

QuelynQuelyn – Republic Twi’lek Jedi Consular

My Republic toon, on the other hand, I was much more excited about.  Whilst watching the opening cinematic for the Republic I found myself getting really excited to help these guys out. I got that little kid feeling of “Yeah, good guys!”  I typically role a healer in games, so that’s what I decided to do here as well.  So far I do start off with some offensive spells and a practice saber, so I’m hoping that continues and I won’t be totally worthless while leveling up.

I’m excited to keep playing and see what happens