Monday, April 25, 2016

100% Vegan Makeup

I have spent some time looking for makeup that is natural, vegan, and good for my aging skin. These are some products that I have found that meet those parameters while still matching up with regular cosmetic needs.


Friday, April 22, 2016

kinetic structure

I have been a fan of kinetic sculpture and machines for a long time. This interest began when my mother told me about the impossibility of a perpetual motion machine. The concept started a life long fascination with how things work.

This was further fueled by the kinetic sculptured machines utilized in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which, were created by Rowland Emett.

 

Though this work wasn't solely kinetic, I enjoyed the simple beauty of it.

I began asking for things that reflected my interest in simple machines. I asked for a rubber band powered flapping planes, that were powered by the twisting of the band. I begged for the game mousetrap which I set up (not, to play because it was a rather dull game) but to watch the trap unfold. I then began disassembling and reassembling a mechanical alarm clock, I had to understand the relationship between the gears. I even did my own research on the drawings of Rube Goldberg; every time I went to the library.

In my young adult to early adult years, I moved to more artistic kinetic sculpture, like David C Roy's wooden moving wall art and Theo Jensen's sand beasts.



Recently, I re-stumbled on an old concept.

Music and Kinetic Machines.

When I was young, my parents drove us up to Wisconsin to visit a tourist attraction called, House on the Rock. It is a Frank Loyd Wright style building (there is some scandal and hearsay involved with the creation of the building), that houses a strange (and rather impressive) collection of items. There is a whole section of the building dedicated to automated music machines. These machines literally play standard instruments with mechanics and a small bit of electricity. Which brings me to the similar and more interactive work of Wintergatan

Friday, April 15, 2016

archetypes and tropes

I have been looking for new books to read. I have a growing list of about eighty books that I'd like to read. But, they are all books that I have to, "be in the mood for". So, I spend my time looking at new releases, trolling reading lists, and reading book reviews. 

I have noticed that people are judgmental of certain archetypes and tropes within stories. They do not want Mary Sues, they do not want manic pixie dream girls, and they do not want insta-love.

Yet, these are the things that I am here to talk about today. 

1.) The rejection of Mary Sue. 

What is so god damned awful about somebody being a perfect and well-liked human being? Isn't that what we strive for? Wouldn't we want a friend who was a Mary Sue? Why are we suddenly judging writers for creating characters that we could strive to be? Those unrealistic abilities (unless we are talking about paranormal abilities like magic) should be appreciated. It is not that a Mary Sue character is not realistic, it is that we do not know how to make someone "perfect" seem realistic. We somehow need flaws, or so we say.

I would like to argue that if a Mary Sue existed, we as a people would reject them (as we already are). We'd see perfection as a flaw (as we already are) and we would want to discredit the possibility of their perfection.

We are such ridiculous beings!

2.) The rejection of Manic Pixie Dream Girls.

As a person, who has been compared to a, "manic pixie dream girl", I resent there is something wrong with this role.

Nathan Rabin, created the archetype by defining it as, "that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

I am not shallow. I sway between; bubbly and aloof. I have been a muse and friend to many (all of them soulful humans and not gender specific). I want people (with every fiber of my being) to embrace life and its infinite mysteries. I want them to create and go on adventures. To explore and imagine. I want to spread happiness and love. I want to inspire. 

If I want these things, why can't manic pixie dream girl in that novel or film share my passion?

3.) The rejection of insta-love.

This one is difficult for me. Sometimes, I think insta-love (as a plot device) works. Sometimes, it does not. The thing is, I am a hopeless romantic. I have fallen in insta-love.

I knew right away. that he was, "the one". I talked to him online once and then on the phone once. I made the reckless decision and flew across the country to meet him. (I didn't even know his last name.) 

I knew it was him. I just did.

None of that is normal. The fact that I could have been murdered on my impromptu trip, hasn't escaped my attention. But it happened to me. I was (and still am) in insta-love.
  
Insta-love has been decreed as, "not love at all" or immature. I can see why someone would say this. However and in my case, I knew the following things about, "him" before I even met him.
He would be tall with dark hair and beautiful eyes. He would show his fear and have flaws that only I could love. He'd be adventurous and willing to take risk. He would be very smart to borderline genius. He'd have an amazing sense of humor. He'd make choices with his heart; not his retirement plan. He'd be into things that I wasn't, which would broaden my horizons. He'd want to eat healthy but not avoid junk food. He'd talk to the moon. He'd be different and fragile in his strength. He'd like sports, but sports would not be the meaning to his existence. He'd drive a stick. He'd have a laugh that felt familiar. He wouldn't be afraid to cry. He'd be brutally honest. He'd like tattoos. He wouldn't be afraid of people's sexual orientations or gender identities. He'd be liberal in his political views and he would be musically talented.
There was more to this list, but he was (and still is) all of them and more. To have people disregard even the concept of insta-love; makes my blood boil. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

corrupt? nope, not even true

My plans for Saturday night fell through at the last minute. I could have contacted a friend to do something, but I enjoy a lazy night at home. (Perhaps, more than I should.) So, I texted with a few people and watched movies. One of my friends (that I was texting) suddenly suggested (with vigor) that I read and I quote, "The best book I ever read." With further explaining I came to understand that, she thought I'd enjoy the book because of how "dark" it was. Because we all know I like to bathe on the edge of darkness.

And, that is not sarcasm. I really do.

So I picked up the book, Corrupt by Penelope Douglas. 

I will spare you my thoughts on the cover. Honestly, I try not to judge covers.

A.) Often writers have no control over the cover.
B.) Writers that self publish often do not have the artistic skill or money to be throwing at a decent graphic designer. 

True, really awesome book covers often entice me to pick up a book. However, some of my favorite books have garbage covers.

Note to publishers: Get it together people you have been in the business too long to STILL be making bad covers.

The first indication that this book and I weren't going to mesh was on the first page. The last name of the main "love" interest is Crist. I know that this was probably meant to be said more like the beginning half of the name Kristen. Unfortunately, I would spent the rest of the book reading it as Christ.

I really don't want to be thinking about the big J.C. when I read a "smutty" novel.

Another name-fault I found is with Rika, which is a nickname for Ericka. I was reading it as Rick-ah the whole time, as it made sense. Only to find out that it is supposed to be pronounced Ree-ka. Explain to me how that is anything like Ericka?

Within the first chapter, Micheal Crist (the love interest) is introduced.  Micheal is described to be a educated NBA player that Rika doesn't (yet, really does) want to see. The scene is set at a Crist family party. He sits in a dark corner of the Crist mansion solarium and his hand rests on a basketball. Why is he sitting in the solarium just fondling a basketball? Is it a prop?

Because that is what NBA players do. They sulk around in solariums wearing dress pants and suit coats making sure everyone knows they are indeed basketball players. Because look, they have a basketball. It's like a professional gardener being found at his kid's birthday party, brandishing a garden rake for no reason at all. He's just a very proud gardener.

In the next chapter, you are transported to three years earlier, where you see a younger (but very much college aged) Micheal Crist walking into to Rika's high school with his three sidekicks. They wear masks and steal children away like the cucuy. They can do this because of all their power and money. That's why the teacher let's them. They are very powerful and rich cucuy. Okay, maybe there was no mention of cucuy. But, really? This is a school where at least five very wealthy young people go and somehow, there are no rules? No questions? No security? No visitor passes and sign sheets? What kind of backwater small town school is this?  ROAR!

You also learn at this point that the sidekicks names are Damon Torrance, Kai Mori, and Will Grayson III. Will Grayson the Third huh? Could this be a not-so-cleverly disguised reference to John Green's book Will Grayson, Will Grayson. A book where there are two Will Graysons, and now we have found the third. Did this bother only me?

I have mentioned before that they drag students away. The purpose of this is to "whip the current basketball team into shape". Somehow that means going to some weird random place with catacombs to get wasted and have sex.

From this point on, I was lost. The character arcs were strange, if they existed at all. There was gaping plot holes and other things that made no sense. Loads of almost rape and rapeyness. Bigotry and more sexual harassment. Grown ass people acting like they were delinquents. There was no love or romance. Just obsession and hormones. The characters "dark pasts" built up, fell flat, and went nowhere. 

What ended it for me is when she gets attacked and stabs Damon. He's all like, "OMG you stabbed me. But wait, I must stay here and verbally fight with you. Tetanus no biggie. I was totally in prison so I'm a hard ass. I am such a hard ass but I am mad at you. Grrrr." Then she is like, "I almost got gang raped. I stabbed one of them and ran away. But, I'm gonna go back for more. To find out where my mom is. I certainly couldn't escape and go to the police. They never help people." 

I took creative liberties with that exchange.

I just couldn't do it anymore. I did not finish this book. My blood pressure couldn't take it.