Saturday, July 9, 2011

Some Unfinished Business...

No Fashion Post this time - just me, with no makeup, and a blathering existential rant. :P

Ever obsess over something that meant the world to you, but meant little to nothing to everyone else?

Once upon a time, when I was about 12 years old, I got into my mind the idea to write a story. But not just any story – I was a hardcore Hey Arnold! fan, and was pretty fond of Sailor Moon, too. I had a goal to combine these two stories into one epic crossover fanfiction, and dub it “Sailor Helga”.

So, I started the story in 1999, but never got to finish it, as the site where I had posted my story went offline, and I hadn’t the foresight to save a backup copy.

I revised the story and tried again around 2001-2002, but the site upon which I had submitted the story had, too, gone under (at least this time the Wayback Machine had archived it, and I had the sense to have a physical copy on paper).

And so, for the next several years, particularly around the summer months, I would think about and devise the perfect storyline to go with my epic crossover. I would compose lyrics to songs while doing my chores, contemplate the potential plotholes that would arise when mixing a North American Nicktoon with a Japanese anime, and listen to music to literally visualize scenes in my head.The amount of edits and re-writes I’ve slaved over are staggering, to say the least (one version I wrote went well over 60 written pages in the first chapter ALONE. Yes, I was obsessed.)

Fast-forward to 2006. I think I’ve finally got a workable plot. I post the story on fanfiction.net, updated with the occasional new chapter and then…nothing. Life kinda takes over and the obsession gets pushed to the backburner.

Fast-forward to 2010. I’m done university, and finally got my diploma. Aside from work, I’ve got a ton of free time on my hands. I get hooked on Cathy Dennis songs which, oddly enough, inspire me to give the story some semblance of a conclusion. But I’m not happy, because I know my works not done…

Fast-forward to spring 2011. I’m bored. I’m listless. I’m desperate for a change of pace, but summer is still 3 months away. I look to the NaNoWriMo side-project I started last November and think: what the hell.

April 30, 2011 – I finally complete “Sailor Helga”.

After well over a decade of letting this overzealous plot bunny consume my thoughts, I finally found the willpower to just push my sleeves back and get the job done.

I wasn’t expecting any recognition. There was no prize or monetary reward to be had for me essentially borrowing characters from two separate shows and combining them in a fangirl’s pipe dream. So why did I even bother?

Well, sometimes you just gotta know when it’s time to move on.

And that what this blog post is really all about: moving. In less than 72 hours, I’ll be leaving my small town and moving to the big city – more specifically, Toronto. I’ll have to find a new job, develop new contacts, and start a brand new program in the fall (I’m pretty sure you can do jack-all with just a 3 year Bachelors degree in Science, nowadays).

Therefore, it only felt appropriate that I’d let go of some trivial little hobby I had in my teens and focus on more pressing matter at hand. For example: surviving on my own in a bustling metropolis.

I’m not totally on my own; I’ll be staying with my aunt in the very heart of downtown (and I am eternally grateful to her for opening her home to me – it is not lost on me what a monumental opportunity this is for me, and how ungodly expensive Toronto is). I’m aware that I should watch my finances, find a job as soon as possible (and then a better paying job while working, according to Dad), and ultimately look for my own place in the not-to-distant future. Yes, survival is priority #1 on my list.

Am I scared? Yes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about this next step in my life, mainly because I have no fucking clue what to expect. If experience has taught me anything, though, it’s that I should have realistic expectations, focus on practical, obtainable goals and stick to them religiously.

I think what frightens me the most is that I’m constantly reminded of my first-year university experience in 2007. Without going into too many details, the whole ordeal was disastrous, but looking back at it all now, I think it was because I knew in my heart that what I was doing wasn’t the path I was meant to take. I absolutely hated my program, and yet I expected myself to get an A average to maintain my scholarship? It just wasn’t going to happen.

Now? Well, I’m taking a year of Dental Office Administration, and I have no idea how I’ll fare, but I can only do my best. I may end up disliking the program, but you know what? That’s okay. It may not be the right path either, but if not, I’ll just pick myself up, dust myself off, and try again, all the while working towards a viable means of sustaining myself.

And that’s my main goal: self-sufficiency. No matter what the outcome of my program, I want to be able to make something of myself in the process. I want to cultivate my own identity - I don’t want to rule this city (as I said, I wish to set reasonable expectations). I want to live in it and love in it. I desperately want to belong here and make a name for myself. Because if I have to return to the small town I live in now, there will be no growth, only stagnation. The way I see it, a life of potential heartache, pain, and struggle, is better than no life at all. And I think I’m finally ready to experience it.

So I’m retiring this blog. I hope anyone who’s read my posts has gotten some mild enjoyment out of it.

I might return with a brand new blog in the future, but if I’m going to take advantage of the life-changing opportunity, I should probably spend most of my time offline for the time being.

I'll leave you all with a video of me being - what else? - geeky. Hopefully it serves me well.

Peace out, folks. It’s been fun.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gyaru Gamer - A Retrospective Rant



No fashion post this week, folks! Today I'd like to try something a little different....


Ugh!


So, if you've been following my Twitter lately, you'll recall my elation (read: tantamount relief) in finally beating a game I purchased on the Wii's virtual console, Breath of Fire 2.

A game that I purchased right after completing A Link to the Past and have played consistently.

Since November.

Honestly, the gameplay investment felt equivalent to passing a kidney stone. I know there are some long games out there, but this...this was a LONG-ASS GAME.

I think it was around the 2-month mark when I finally said "f*ck it" and consulted the help of a walkthrough - something that I NEVER EVER do and have NEVER EVER done prior to playing this game (except to blatantly cheat or to give characters gargantuan-sized heads...but THAT'S a rant for another time).

So BOF 2 is done, but I've decided to take a break from RPGs for a while. Don't get me wrong - I love RPGs, especially the JRPGs of the earlier consoles, but I needed to take a sabbatical because a) the Wii hasn't added any games I've wanted to play since aught-07, and b) because I need to time to reflect on the cold-hard fact that...maybe I'm not as adept at playing video games as I thought I was.

The signs are all there. My brother consistently whups my butt at fighting games (most painfully, Smash Bros. where he just beats the unholy ish outta my fighting-Irish Pikachu), and I'm a veritable failure at any racing game that doesn't begin with the words "Diddy Kong".

Don't even get me started on sports titles.

So I thought I would be the family’s RPG expert. My first real experience was with the Pokémon series. Sure, in a link-cable pokémon battle my brother still came out on top, but I took pride in the knowledge that I played the game to completion. While he was busy powering up his Charizard and the rest of his party to obscene levels (“How the fack is a 6-on-1 battle fair in Pokemon Stadium if your Pidgeot's level 72??!”), I was accruing bragging rants by capturing the legendary birds and spending my weekends bartering with neighboring friends to bolster my Pokédex. I can safely classify capturing all 150 inaugural pokémon as one of the greatest accomplishments of my existence. Take from that what you will.


Pokemon robbed me of a conventional adolescence!

Also, it gave me epileptic seizures.



Anyway, for the longest time, I used to think I was pretty game-savvy, even if wasn't one of the best. Up until my teens I thought I knew everything that I needed to know about video games.

Then I saw the first annual VGAs on Spike TV.

No, I'm not getting into what's already been said ad nauseum by gamers and anti-misogynists alike (and I'm CERTAINLY not touching the much-maligned Angry Joe fiasco with a 10-foot pole - again, that's another rant), but I credit this moment as the first time the realization hit me that: "Hey...maybe I'm not a hardcore gamer. Maybe these games aren't for me”.

Going back to the 90s, I was a Nintendo child, so I lived blissfully unaware in my child-friendly bubble of Super Mario World, Sim City, Pilotwings and the like. I still remember predicting Wind Waker as the runaway victor for the VGAs; imagine my surprise when, not only did Wind Waker not win ANYTHING, but - save for a few titles we owned on Gamecube - I didn't recognize ANY of the nominated games.

After that moment, what seemed like a fairly gender-neutral industry turned out to be a testosterone-driven virtual warzone. I was a long way from the bright, vibrant, candy-coated colours of games like Yoshi's Story and Mischief Makers; I was suddenly more aware of these "mature" games, these gory zombie games, these hard-hitting, military first-person-shooter games with their depressing color palettes of muted grays and browns.

Not quite sure what's going on here...but just goes to show that a lil' colour can solve anything.


So what am I getting at?

Well, I've learned to accept the gaming industry for what it has become...actually let me rephrase that: thanks to web series such as "The Angry Video Game Nerd", I've learned there has always been a mature market that catered to gamers - it was just sterilized and glossed over with a kid-friendly veneer in the 90s and I was too young and blind to notice. Games like Breath of Fire 2 taught me that tackling heady subject matter like religion is nothing new – it’s just more out in the open.

Which brings me back to the RPGs. I'm still going to play them; RPGs are my favorite genre of games (and one of the few I can consistently beat; I’m in my 20s and A Link to the Past was the first Zelda game I’ve ever completed).

One of the perks of getting older is having a little bit of disposable income to purchase all those old games I used to see in gaming magazines but never have the opportunity to play. For example: I spotted a copy of Lagoon at our local used game shop. I distinctly remembered this game because of its 1-page spread in the Super NES Players Guide magazine that I happened to own at the time. I was soo excited to get my hands on this game, after all these years.

Mind you, I was just a stupid kid back then, and had not yet developed my own sense of cynicism or an accute detection of B.S. There's a reason certain games get only a 1-page spread in a 300+ page magazine.

Again...that's another topic for another time.
;D


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mr. Hippo Goes to the Ice Cream Parlour

This is a bit of an impromptu blog post, but I just couldn't wait until next week.

My younger sister made a picture book.

The original title is simply "Mr. Hippo", but since it looks as though this is the first in a long series of short books, I figured I would give it a more descriptive title.








She's the next J.K. Rowling. I can feel it.
:D



Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Doctor's Appointment

Blooper Pic: Me attempting to dance an Irish jig. Challenge accepted FAILED

Happy St. Patrick's Day, folks! Here's some relevant pics of my dad's authentic(?) Irish(??) shillelagh(sp?!?).




My siblings have March Break this week, so I've been watching them during the day. I've been bumming it clothing-wise these past several days, ergo, it was a huge relief to finally put some effort into my wardrobe for my trip to the city.

I suppose that, at age 23, I can be classified as a "big girl" now, and yet I find it an extremely daunting task to visit the doctor all by myself.

Because it's St. Patrick's Day, I made sure to wear some green on my person, but I gotta be honest, folks - I felt really silly when I sat in the waiting room. Aside from the one girl with the bright green flower clip in her hair, everyone else wore muted grays and neutrals. As I sat in silence amongst others in the waiting room, I felt a tinge of guilt that I should put such emphasis on my appearance, when there were people in their with valid, serious concerns on their health and welfare..

And then I was made, once again, to reflect on the plight of the earthquake/tsunami victims in Japan...It kinda made me put things into perspective, and that there are a lot more matters in the world for which to be concerned)

Green ??? Sweater
Green Costa Blanca Scarf
Guess Jeans
Gray Goody Headband

I realized something today - something of great value and gravity. As a child, you never see a visit to the doctor's as something nerve-wracking (it helps to have your mommy and daddy along with you), but as you get older, and you have a better understanding of germs and infections and the like, it becomes an unpleasant chore, not unlike paying taxes.

Is it wrong to never want to grow up?
:(

*sighs*...Now I'm depressed. I crave laughter; here's a somewhat-relevant, racially-insensitive Ren & Stimpy clip.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Don't Know What the Hell I'm Doin'

Blooper Pic: Gee, it sure is boring around here...

Well, it's been roughly a year since I've started my fashion blog. I've used this space (alongside with my Chictopia account), to chronicle what I wear when I'm about and about, in the hopes that I can gain a better understanding of what works and what doesn't work for my body type.


Has it worked? Has it been useful. Eh...I'm gonna say "kinda". Overall I've seen an improvement in how I've dressed, and I think I'm getting better at purchasing pieces which flatter and not because they're the hot trend of the month.




As I stated in an earlier post, my new goal was to refine my sense of style to better model the gyaru fashion.

Me attempting the gyaru pout...and failing. Oh so miserably. -_-;

Well, I've been lurking the gyaru blogs, I've been reading/watching the tutorials, and I've been studying the fashion...and I just don't think my heart's into it.

Don't get me wrong - I still think gyaru fashion is a fascinating style to follow, but I just can't see myself totally overhauling my image to be more in line with the trend.

To be honest, I'm really more fascinated with the hair & makeup aspect of gyaru rather than the nails and the frilly, super-girly clothes. I've already changed my hairstyle (twice!!) - I think that's as much of a dramatic transformation that I can take for now.

So, while I still try to find my direction, I might write more observational posts as I abandon my "journey into gyaru-dom". I'll still derive inspiration from gyaru (especially from the hair/makeup), but as far as fashion is concerned, I'm leaning more towards a style that's a little more forgiving of womanly curves. Currently Beyonce and Kim Kardashian are my style icons, but that's subject to change.

So, that's all for now. Till we meet again.
^_^
Dat's all, folks!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Has a Tumblr Now

Just a quick post in case anyone's interested - I'm on Tumblr now.

http://shameonpretzel.tumblr.com/

Thursday, February 24, 2011

There's Something about Esperanza Spalding

...or, How I Was Trolled HARD by the Grammys Best New Artist

It's been about 10 days since the 53rd annual Grammy Awards were aired on television. By now, most of the dust has settled over the dark horse hijacking of the coveted best new artist category, an award shared by such greats in the music industry as Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill, and Alicia Keys, to name a few.


Like the rest of the online community, I had no clue who this Esperanza Spalding was. So, of course I was compelled to look her up following the award show.


Since I knew nothing about Esperanza Spalding, I could not decry that she didn't earn the title of best new artist. Actually, of all the nominees, she admittedly was probably the appropriate choice.


I'm shocked that Justin Bieber didn't win, but I'm not appalled. I'm, after all, not a Belieber.


Drake was the artist that I was personally rooting for, as I liked some of his stuff, even though I'm not big on rap.


I know nothing of Mumford & Sons, but that's on me. Apparently they're big in the UK.


Yes, looking at this shortlist of candidates, I have to concede that Esperanza Spalding was more than likely the best choice for the award. Just because the others are more prominent and have a greater commercial appeal doesn't automatically make them more worthy of the award. For once it seems raw talent took precedence over popularity. Kudos to good taste.


And yet I continue to find myself obsessed over this fiasco.


Why?


As I had already stated, there were a lot of people shocked over the win, no more so than the Justin Bieber fans. Their surprise quickly turned into belligerent outrage as they decided to launch a verbal attack on Esperanza's Spalding Wikipedia page, essentially calling her a nobody and undeserving of the Grammy she “stole” from their teenybopper idol.


Normally, I'd respond by condemning this negative behaviour and pleading for a return to decency and maturity. That is...



If I wasn't guilty of the exact same offense.


(For clarification's sake, the “old dude” I'm referring to in the tweet is Neil Portnow, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), who was speaking as Esperanza arftfully played the cello in the background during the Grammys).


Esperanza Spalding (left) with Neil Portnow (right)


I'm not here to apologize – doing so would be nothing more than a superficial gesture concocted for attention, and Esperanza likely could give a damn what anyone says about her – I'm trying to pinpoint my reason for this callous, egregious lapse in judgment and plain old COMMON SENSE.


Call it a Freudian slip of epic proportions, I don't really know. It's just that, the more that I think about it, the more I wonder what on earth compelled me to write such a slanderous comment against Esperanza Spalding.


The woman is an accomplished singer/songwriter as well as cellist. Her skill and talents are so transcendent that she quickly rose through the ranks to became the youngest professor of her school at age 20. She's performed at the White House and has been praised by countless established entertainers. Certainly these are credentials worthy of respect and awe!


So what right do I or anyone else have to discount this lovely young lady's gifts, her talents, her accomplishments?



Here is a woman, an honest-to-god ARTIST that puts her craft before the promise of fame and wealth. A woman, who probably SHOULD use this sudden catapult into the limelight to promote herself and to milk her 15 seconds, but instead takes her win (as well as the slings and burbs) in stride, refusing to compromise her artistic integrity. What did she do to deserve such HATE?


I really had to look inside myself for why I wrote what I wrote. Less than 140 characters of undistilled vitriol. What in God's name compelled me to lash out like this?!


If I was trying to be clever, then I failed miserably because there's nothing even remotely clever or witty about falsely alleging the woman slept her way to stardom. That's just ignorant.


Isn't this one of those instances, like watching “The Bachelor” or the Miss America beauty pageant, where you're supposed to root for the one black girl in the group of 10 to go all the way, to succeed where others have failed? So why was I so set on bringing her down?


And then it hit me.


Maybe it's because I was never very musically inclined; I took piano lessons briefly, but it never took my interest. I can't really sing, nor can I expertly play any other instruments.


Maybe it's because, here I am at 23 years, frittering away my time and my life online, brooding over my shortcomings, overly concerned with my physical appearance and public image, whereas here is a beautiful, REAL accomplished black woman who is SO deserving a respect and praise and love.


What kind of wretched person have I become to find fault in that? In her?


Esperanza Spalding, you have given me one hell of an inferiority complex.


I can't say I particularly like all of her music – she's a jazz musician, but I'm sure I'd make a lot of snobs vomit in disgust if I were to immediately associate that genre with the likes of Kenny G – but one song in particular really stuck to me.




I hear this song, and I hurt.


Literally. I physically hurt; there is a dull throbbing pain from deep within me that I usually only every feel when I need to acknowledge some terrible notion that lingers in my heart. Like if someone or something is wrong for me, or that I need to accept that, because I'm not an aggressive person like my mother or even an assertive person like my brother, that I will constantly be disappointed, and I will probably never drive myself to reach my full potential.


And it's not just the music, it's the LYRICS.


I'll keep faith
like so many souls who won't be drowned
by evil in the world
I HAVE FAITH IN MANKIND
that we can guide our choices towards a healthy world


Hearing it now makes it me very sad, because it's not only haunting, it's...true. It's real. It's about fucking SOMETHING.


This song shows Esperanza's range in like, EVERYTHING. Vocally, instrumentally, poetically, and....it's devastatingly profound.


And yet I commit the ultimate hypocrisy – as much as I plead for a sense of substance to the flashy trainwreck that is the Grammys, when finally thrown a bone, I metaphorically choke on it.


Whether it's the Grammys unexpected decision to honor this special human being, or Esperanza Spalding's ability to conjure up something beyond “Baby, baby” that allows me to feel something that I don't really want to feel probably should....


Somebody's doing something right. I just wish it was me.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Very Painful Minute

Blooper Pic: Out, damned spot! DX

That's the best way to describe the final moments of my brother's loss against a rival basketball team. No doubt about it - he pulled his weight, but I guess the other team just wanted it more.








Cardigan - The Gap
Orange Headband - Goody scarf
Green Scarf - Costa Blanca
Purple Tank Top - The Gap
Blue Jeans - Guess

Like my makeup? I got a lil' shadow-happy on the eyes today, but I think it looks okay. Now if only I could do something about those bushy caterpillars I call eyebrows...

Aargh, mateys!

Actually, I wasn't planning on updating my blog today. But...I've already finished the Twilight books, so my distraction fodder has been exhausted.

Where's Sookie Stackhouse when you need her...?
XP

Monday, February 14, 2011

I Get the Feeling Today is Significant....

Or maybe it's just me...

Happy Valentine's Day!

I watched the Grammys last night.

Sure, I could rant and rave over its self-indulgence, its long stretches of boring performances, and I could throw an indignant hissy fit over some questionable award snags (Esperanza?!?!?!), but life's too short - and that's really not the focus of my blog (my Twitter page, on the other hand...)

No, all I'm really going to say about the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards is how much Rihanna D.O.M.I.N.A.T.E.D. on the red carpet. Jennifer Hudson was on-point, and newcomer wizard-cum-starlet Selena Gomez made herself known and put Miley Cyrus to shame, but all eyes were on Rhi-Rhi and her revealing yet ethereal dress choice.

Wow!

I don't get people, though. I don't get how this dress could make it on the WORST dressed list instead of the BEST dressed. Yes, admittedly it's a rather revealing dress, but it's still classy. It covers up in all the right places, and yet shows just enough skin to be devastatingly seductive. This is nowhere near J.Lo or Lil' Kim territory, folks, so back it up. Y'all just jealous.

Besides, it's the red carpet: you're SUPPOSED to be risque. You're SUPPOSED to test the boundaries of taste and practicality. In this case, it worked (though I wish I could say the same for some of the other poor souls... :P)

It's like "The Black Swan" meets Ariel from "The Little Mermaid"!!!
DX

But as much as I loved the red carpet dress, I was simply BLOWN AWAY by the little number Rihanna wore during her performance with Drake:


Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous.

And now I think I've finally found my direction. I enjoy these red carpet shows because they give me a better understanding of what I like and don't like, and what may or may not look good on me. In the past, Rihanna's seemed Lady Gaga-ish in her fashion taste, but now that Nicky Minaj is cornering the 'coo-coo couture' market, she may finally tone it down enough for me to really see her as a style icon.

Perhaps I'm feeling her vibe already. Perhaps I'm destined for chic-greatness!


Fat Chance...
XP

*sigh*...And perhaps I've still got a long way to go...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Happy Belated New Year!




It's so like me to wait until February for a post like this...
:P

Back again, folks. With a new 'do, a new direction, and hopefully a new outlook on life. I didn't adhere to the cliched "Lose More Weight" resolution, so it's all good.

I got tired of the braids. They weren't who I am anymore, in more ways than one. I'd like to be more adventurous, and shed the image I've formed for myself these last couple of years.

As for the new look...um...




Well...


Honestly, it may take some getting used to.
:/

I mean, I'm happy with it and all, I like the blonde, it's just...I dunno.

I confided with another blogger my interest in experimenting with gyaru - I just don't wanna go ALL IN, if you know what I mean. I don't think I could handle the fancy nails or the expensive makeup, or anything like that. But I would like to dabble with my style so that it's kinda like a retro 50s pinup/Onee or Celeb gyaru mix. So that's my goal for 2011.