Saturday, August 30, 2008

La Vida y la Muerte

Dear No One in Particular,

I feel a bit late to the party (again), but lord am I going bananas for Etsy.

I'm not completely new to Etsy, though. I bought a Christmas present for my mother last year from a seller. It was a great experience, really; the jewelry was beautifully handcrafted and reasonably priced. I don't know why I didn't really throw myself into the website until just recently, but I'm 100% thrown.

One of my absolute, hands-down favourite stores in the history of consumerism? ArtofSkulls. Despite the fact that they scared the poopie out of me as a kid, I'm now completely mad for Dia de los Muertos skulls. I want one in every colour and motif.
Really, this should come as no surprise, since they're a bit kitsch-y, tend to be obnoxiously coloured, and all-around over-the-top in terms of wall art. I'm not all that superficial: I really like that they celebrate death, not view it as something to be feared. Death should not be mourned as the passing of an individual, it should be a celebration of the amazing life they led! The fact that they are reminders of mortality isn't morbid -- it's a reminder to live a beautiful life.

Now, who wouldn't want that?


P.S. I should admit that I already have calaveras art -- I bought a shadowbox/diorama while in Mexico City of calaveras mariachis serenading a lady calavera. I think that it'd go exceedingly well with whatever skull(s) I purchase.

P.P.S. If you're following my Twitter updates, I mentioned a painting of that the Boy did not approve of. Despite the fact that it's a camel, not a llama, I bought it earlier today. It was just too amazing. Good news for you, though: there's a pink and a green version of the same print.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beauty Misadventures

Dear No One in Particular,

Have you ever had one of those mornings when it's not so much that everything goes wrong, so much as it's the fact that the little things get screwy? Like a simple, everyday makeup routine results in panda eyes and Tammy Faye Bakker lashes? Yeah, I had one of those days yesterday.
I, like every other woman, am on the quest to find the Holy Grail of mascaras. I should admit here and now, I do not want natural-looking lashes. I want my lashes to be dramatically lush and long, like false lashes. My God-given eyelashes are actually really long and curly, but I don't think they're thick enough, and they're certainly not going to be mistaken for falsies any time soon.

Given my fondness for user-generated review sites, I frequent for tips on buying my next tube. I had heard good things about my most recent purchase, Max Factor Volume Couture. It had a high rating, and after reading a couple of reviews, I figured it'd be worth a spin.

So. I put on some simple eye makeup and began to apply. First, the brush and handle are ridonkulously unwieldy. I've used Lash Blast without issue, but for some reason, I was not able to apply this mascara without getting black all over my eye. I looked like a five year old playing with Mommy's makeup. I'll forgive a lot for results, so I was willing to overlook the fact that it got more mascara on my eye than on my lashes if it gave me full lashes.
No forgiveness for Max, though. I must admit, I don't like rubber bristle brushes. I know they separate like nothing else, but this mascara gave me fat spider leg lashes. About 5 spider leg lashes per eye, to be exact, which I guess is better than the usual arachnoid, but worse for the human eye.

Normally, that would be the end of my beauty issues, but it didn't stop there. Apparently, like stank perfume and bad exes, bad mascara holds on long after you've washed your hands of it. I couldn't get this crud off. When mixed with some water, the spider legs decided to bond together, forming 2 huge spikes instead of 5 legs. Wonderous. On top of this, what mascara I was able to rub off had melted all around my eye and was spilling onto my cheeks. I looked like someone who just lost their shit and forgot they weren't wearing waterproof that day.

Frantic (because I was running late for school at this point), I spied a Prescriptives makeup remover sample hiding on my shelf, and smeared some it on my lashes. Holy hell, it felt like I just doused my eyes in battery acid. Whimpering like a beaten greyhound, I quickly washed off the carbolic acid that was burning holes in my face. Luckily, the makeup remover worked on the insidious mascara, and I was able to get most of the sludge off.
I realised a little too late that the bottle of calendula oil I have sitting on my vanity also works as a makeup remover. On the upside, I was able to use this to remove the traces of sad panda that the Prescriptives left behind.

Moral of the story: never test a new mascara while running late. Unless you like the Tammy Faye Panda look.

(Also, I am back on the hunt for the Holy Grail of mascaras. Should you chance on this site and have knowledge of one, please send word and let me know it exists.)


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Part Asian, 2x More Crazy

Dear No One in Particular,

Researchers from UC-Davis found that hapas* are twice as likely to suffer from mental disorders.
*For future reference, I refer to biracial Asian-Causcasian individuals as "hapa".

As a hapa woman myself, I can't help but be intrigued by the findings of this study. My knee-jerk reaction was somewhat defensive, but on future reflection, I don't really know how to feel about this. To be 100% honest, I'm hapa and I suffer/have suffered from psychological disorders. Do I think that my ethnicity was the reason for my problems? Not really, and if I'm reading it right, I don't think that the Davis researchers are saying that either.

I think that the research is stating a simple fact: hapas suffer from psychological disorders at a higher rate than their monoracial counterparts. The end. There doesn't seem to be any judgment passed on the individuals; they simply are. I am hapa, and I suffer from mental disorders; I simply am.

This is not to say that the study should be taken at face value -- quite the opposite. Such racially-charged studies tread along very dangerous territory. Studies such as the one conducted at Davis can be used to support eugenics arguments, and have been enacted in the past. Which leads me to one of my major problems with the study -- it goes nowhere positive.

I suppose that statement could be revised to say that "it goes nowhere" period. Like I said before, it makes the statement that, compared to monoracial Asians, hapas suffer higher rates of mental disorders. But that's it! Definitely, definitely there needs to be further study.
Why do hapas suffer more mental distress? Is it an environmental factor? A rearing factor? Or are they simply being over-diagnosed? What is going on here -- and most importantly, can it be remedied?

There is a danger in these findings, but there is also hope. Speaking from personal experience, a lot of my mental distress can be traced back to growing up hapa -- which could be chalked up to growing up as an island. I'm not very old at all, yet I knew only one other girl who was hapa, and I'm the only person in my family who is mixed. Really, there was practically no one who I could relate to, which I guess could have led to my issues with depression.

Perhaps, perhaps if the researchers didn't stop -- don't stop -- working with mentally disordered hapas, they can reduce the statistics and raise the awareness.


Thass Ridi-ka-lous

Dear No One In Particular,

How familiar are you with the unholy creations of International Male catalogue? I have to admit, beyond the passing reference, I had no idea how truly awful their designs were/are. However, I found myself getting an education in horrific this evening while perusing Jezebel. Apparently, they've been dissecting International Male's crimes against humanity for a while now. The photos and commentary have had me LOLing all night. Confession: I laughed so hard at the gauze overalls I cried.

Equally good -- and the source (of sorts) of my post title -- is Something Awful's take on IM. While the pictures are pretty amazing, the commentary has me in stitches.

Laughing at International Male: a great way to end a terrible day.


Thursday, August 14, 2008


Dear No One in Particular,

This is just too awesome. Add Doris Probst to my list of heroes, if only for her moxie. It takes some guts to get up on that stage and just hog call like there's no tomorrow. Congrats, lady!

In other news, I really want to try hog calling. I figure I can yell really loudly and can squeal so loudly it throws the neighbourhood dogs into a frenzy (wish I was kidding). I wonder if it works on Olympic swimmers ....


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Get in Line

Dear No One in Particular,

I tried to resist, I really did. But I have to admit: I am fan of Michael Phelps.

Mmmm...Olympic Rings tattoo

Jesus Almighty, what living woman wouldn't be? I believe his goofy smile is adds to his overall deliciousness, but I know that "butterface" has been used quite often to describe Phelps.

So yes, I am one among many, many "Phelps Phans" (gross term, IMO) , and apparently, the New York Times is also a devotee.

Oh, and NYT? Thanks for the opening photo. Really -- thank you.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Service Announcement!

Quick change of the website address!

Blog For No One in Particular is now settled at
The old is defunct. But you knew that, didn't you? I don't know how to redirect from the old address, but since no one reads this, it doesn't really matter.

Piece of Cake

Dear No One in Particular,

As a child, "fancy" cakes -- a.k.a. professionally decorated cakes -- were kind of a big deal. My favourite bakery had some great children's cakes: for my second birthday, I had a huge sheet cake decorated to look like Disneyland. There was a paper castle in the centre and miniature princess dolls and balloons artfully spread about. It was boss.

And then there's Cake Wrecks. Showcasing some of the worst-decorated cakes, Jen writes some biting commentary that encourages laughter to stifle the gag reflex.
Cake Wrecks is seriously one of the funniest, most disturbing blogs out there, and I'm currently combing the archives, giggling at each entry and picking out the Boy's next birthday cake. My personal (current) favourite is this one. What's yours?


Be A Man

Dear No One in Particular,

I stumbled across this intriguing video on deconstructing Disney's portrayals of masculinity.

I recently did a somewhat related project for one of my classes last Spring. Comparing and contrasting two films (Kiss of the Spider Woman and Desperado), I studied popular depictions of "machismo", and came to a similar conclusion. While my project was specifically related to Latin America and Latino men, it is quite obvious that this insistence on dominant men -- physically and mentally -- is tormenting children worldwide.


P.S. The related section is also worth a gander, especially this video on racist themes in Disney movies. I do feel that it bears pointing out that while the crows in Dumbo is widely known as a nod (of sorts) to minstrelsy and other such vile caricatures of black people, the ape scene in The Jungle Book -- in my opinion -- is not. Louis Prima (aka Cousin Louie) was an Italian-American Big Band singer and trumpeter. I feel that his ethnicity bears explanation because, while the song "I Wanna Be Like You" could be read as an African-American wanting to be more white, I feel, this is not the case. Yet perhaps the similarity between Prima's voice and that of another, more famous singer/trumpeter contemporary, Louis Armstrong, coupled with the depiction of orang-utans and other primates speaks about ongoing latant American racism? I really am not trying to shit-stir with this incredibly long-winded post-script, but it is an idea that bears full thought.

Friday, August 1, 2008

By a Thread

Dear No One in Particular,

I love Yelp. Really, really love it. There are a lot of reasons why I am so enamored with this website that I want to marry it, like Pee Wee did with fruit salad. First, there is the totally selfish aspect, the fact that I can find and review various businesses in a given area. I am extremely opinionated, yet I always feel better trying out something new if other people have given it their seal of approval. But more on that later.

The other reason why I think Yelp is the greatest is the fact that its real people -- or at least it was for a little while -- giving real opinions. Websites like Yelp, Chowhound, that hotel reviewing one -- they define how our computer-loving generation communicates. Previously, if I wanted to know about, say, delish Ethiopian food, I would have to rely on word-of-mouth. But now -- but now! -- there is yelp, offering me myriad choices, all rated and reviewed by curious people like me.
This is not to say that word-of-mouth is obsolete. Of course it's not. But I feel as though I can broaden my horizons with websites like yelp; I can look up bizarre foods and check to make sure certain restaurants are worth my time. Sometimes, word of mouth -- for whatever reason -- fails. In which case, yelp is there to help. (Hee!)

Well. Yelp was my saviour this week, when I realised that my previously preferred hair removal method (wax) was no longer viable, yet my brows were unruly. I hate tweezing with the fire of a thousand suns -- appropriate, since that's what it feels like every time I accidentally yank at my skin instead of my hair. I had heard of threading before, and decided now was the perfect time to try it, especially since "brows are the new lips."

Yelp wisely guided me to the M & M thread salon, where I had an absolutely amazing experience. I believe that the girl who did my brows was new to the salon -- yet not new to threading, natch -- so it wasn't exactly a 10 minute session. It wasn't a huge ordeal, either; it lasted about 20 minutes, and while it was more work than I had originally imagined (threading is all about teamwork), I now have some great brows. The owner (I believe) was very concerned about my brows being cleans, which I appreciate. I've had one too many aestheticians send me packing with clumpy brows. While it was a bit painful, it was no where near the level of tweezing, and it was a mite less than waxing. It was also dirt cheap, which everyone can dig.

If you have a thread salon near you, go! It's a wonderful option for hair removal. Just be sure to yelp it first.