Instaglam

26 Feb

It has occurred to me that I might not have actually told you guys that I have an Instagram account. I know it was included in those little icons that used to be on the sidebar, but they annoyed me and I haven’t got around to putting them back minus the annoying bit (pixelation and wonkiness. I am very tech-savvy). Anyway, to remedy that I am now trying to include a little widget in this post and maybe on the sidebar so I have one less icon to depixelate.

I wasn’t actually expecting that to work. Anyway, I put quite a bit of stuff on there that’s not anywhere else, because Instagram posts embedded into Twitter do my head in. I also spend too much time looking through the feeds of people whose work I like.

If you’re on there say hello and we can embark on a frenzy of over-tagged 1970s-esque arty pics!

Hoop Jumping Grumping

23 Feb

I am not sure if today’s topic technically counts as indifferent ignorance, but it’s something I’d like to hear other people’s opinions on, so let’s go. In the last five or so years, I seem to have filled out every type of form – bar, say, births, deaths and marriages – that exists. Exam papers, coursework cover sheets, change of address, passport update, bank information update, job applications, club applications… they nearly all take half an hour, and my gut feeling is that I’ll have spent as much time on form-filling in my lifetime as I will queuing. And I’m British, so to queue is my birthright.

But how come, with all the amazing scientific advances of the last century, do I have to fill out each form individually? Before someone makes a comment about biros, I know that the speed of which you fill out handwritten forms depends on your hands/pen/the quality of the surface on which you are writing, but some email address form is not the object of my irritation. My problem is with online applications, specifically job applications and website sign-ups. Why, in the name of all things simple, aren’t they aren’t standardised?

Dog Wall 1 creamyburrito.tumblr.com

From creamyburrito.tumblr.com. I feel this image encapsulates anyone who has had to paste their CV into an online job application.

I know everyone thinks they’re standardised. All site sign-ups ask for an email, a password and maybe one of those prove-you’re-human thinggies, but there isn’t a standard password specification. Some places want letters and numbers. Some want certain symbols. Some want more characters than Twitter, and some just want a word, which is weird and leaves you open to hacking. Once you make a password and, say, forget it or keep confusing it with another, there’s sometimes no way to change it… even though you’re supposed to change all passwords every 72 days or something.

I’m being facetious; if all sites used the same template they’d be wide open to hackers. The same is not true, however, of job applications. They all want qualifications and cover letters and references and previous experience, but instead of attaching your CV, a letter and your reference info, you have to paste it all into an Excel-designed spreadsheet that requires you to include every GCSE you sat but leaves no room for your previous work experience… don’t even get me started on adding two jobs into the current employment bit. No, Mr Magazine Man, I do not plan on leaving my freelance position for your unpaid internship.

Am I being oversensitive? Is this a personal thing rather than a matter of indifferent ignorance? If you’re new to commenting, I do apologise for any issues you have with the sign-up form… but at least WP doesn’t ask you for your mother’s dog’s maiden name.

Moving Image Appreciation Post #9

19 Feb

It’s been a while, and while I was going through my YouTube likes I noticed a pattern.

So, it’s been lovely composing this post (and there’s more), but I have to go back to tapping out words now.

Spring is Springing… or limping towards us, at any rate.

17 Feb

How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? I hung out with my friends and ate chili, which was more of an event-that-happened-to-be-on-Valentine’s than an actual celebration. It was probably a lot more fun than some people’s though… imagine you proposed and the person said no? Imagine you turned up at their house to surprise them and they were with someone else? Imagine you went out the week after and stocked up on half price chocolates?

I’m heading out soon so might not have to imagine that at all… thankfully I have zero issues with eating confectionery declaring someone’s love. I love me, and me loves chocolate.

God, what a sentence. Still, Valentine’s being over means that spring is on its way! The darkness of February will soon give way to light evenings, birdsong and leaving the house without four layers! The sun’s out today and everything! I’ve painted my nails for the first time in forever, and I’ve been spring cleaning my room. Well, I actually took some doors off a cabinet, put a shelf in then put the doors back on, and haven’t put anything on the shelves yet – but it’s a start, innit.

I must be excited, I’ve overdone the pink again. All I need is to see some lambs trotting about and I’ll explode.

From  yahooentertainment.tumblr.com

From yahooentertainment.tumblr.com

Until the lambs start appearing, Groot will more than suffice.

Ghost Stories Zine Volume I

13 Feb

I don’t know about you, but in January, while midway through adding notes and deadlines to my Benedict Cumberbatch Work Calendar, I noticed that 2015 has a large number of Friday 13ths: today, 13th March and 13th November. ‘What a great day to promote quirky or weird art or work,’ I thought. ‘Too bad I don’t have any to promote.’

So I made something new.

Today, in March and in November, I will be releasing Ghost Stories, a zine celebrating all the things that should be celebrated – or at least acknowledged in conversation – on Friday 13th. This issue has haunted graveyards, an advice column from Hades a brief but polite notice from the Ghost-Mortal Alliance Office. You can get it here if you’d like to read it, and enjoy the only pre-made bit of work I had, The Mystery of St Aidan’s, on Story Shack here.

'Ghost Stories I' Front Cover

If you get it, let me know what you think! I’m working on the next two issues at the moment and I’m drafting out new/different pieces, so if there’a anything superduperfabulous that you absolutely need in the next one, now’s the time to ask!

Video of the Week: Take Me to Church

10 Feb

I am superduper busy with work at the moment (a big piece to finish, a smaller-yet-enormous piece and even more research to do for both of them) but I wanted to share this with you real quick.

I flicked on the music channel(s) at lunch just now, because the alternative was dissecting the BBC’s interview with President Assad, and I came in just after this video started. Usually mainstream music videos are either a) okay or b) MCR, but I stopped in my metaphorical tracks to watch this. I’ve rewatched it on YouTube, because I figured I hadn’t seen enough to understand the story, but I still don’t understand the story even though I’ve been jamming along to this on the radio for weeks and thought I had a pretty good grasp of the lyrics.

I have to get back to business now, but if anyone knows if there’s a sequel and/or prequel and/or in-depth interview with the screenwriter, let me know. Did I miss what was in the box? I’m going to watch it again to check.

Sunday CDs

8 Feb

I woke up earlier today than I do on days when I set my alarm, and the general sense of accomplishment from an extra hour’s being awake is a bit amazing. I haven’t done much, unless you consider two cereal-based meals and several run throughs of a Lily Allen CD ‘productive’.

I do.

Speaking of CDs, has everyone ordered Chantal Claret’s new record?

See, you should. Go here ASAP. I’m jazzed to get it, partly because Chantal is my favourite musician to dance around my room to, and partly because I’m excited that a legit professional artist person decided last week to release a handmade CD instead of going through the rigmarole of a record label. It makes me want to hand-staple a novel, you know?

I’m going back to my very busy schedule of enjoying Sunday so I don’t burn out by Tuesday now… have a good one!

Saving Face: Everything is Chemicals

3 Feb

I haven’t done as much scientific research for this project as I would have for an essay at school, mostly because the novelty that I never have to write an essay again still hasn’t worn off. But there has been one piece of information that didn’t need any research:

Tim is right. Everything is chemicals. I can actually scientifically back this up; a medical school friend said the exact same thing without any mention of Minchin. Chemicals are everywhere. They make up everything, including all make up. (Want to make an MCR joke? Me too. All romance is technically chemical. Ahhh.) So if it’s quite obvious that everything’s chemical, why has there been a recent movement toward ‘all natural’, ‘organic’, ‘toxin-free’, ‘green’ cosmetics and skin care produce?

Well, because some companies are literally full of shit, and put toxins or carcinogens in their products. Beauty Lies Truth, a US site aiming to educate women about America’s awful cosmetics regulations, explains the crap ingredients pretty well. The EU has done the smart thing and banned over 1000 ingredients that are unsafe to use as cosmetics, and has made a handy list to take to the supermarket to check. But for consumers in the States, ‘chemical-free’ or ‘all-natural’ has become synonymous with ‘won’t make your babies grow a third eye’, so has naturally – hardihar – evolved into a turn of phrase.

The funny thing is, the cosmetics industry has existed as long as civilization. Wikipedia is for once quite helpful (and its sources are sound) for info about where different products originated. It wasn’t until people started to combine scientific advances with business acumen (aka marketing) that unsafe crap got into our products, and because we’re lazy and uninformed, it’s been an uphill struggle to educate the masses about safe chemical products.

So what are safe products?

For those of us protected by EU law, we can purchase cosmetics and skin care from the shops without too much hassle (take that, Eurosceptics who like beauty products). For those of us who want to know exactly what’s going on our faces, or who risk potential illness by buying branded products, there is a lot of information out there to help… there might be a bit too much, so don’t forget to apply a large helping of salt to everything you hear. But as a general rule of thumb, I have found the following helpful:

  • Books. Not hippie ones where the author wants you to sign up for a spiritual cleanse costing £3000, but regular books. Go to your library, have a look at the beauty/cosmetics/science sections and steer clear of anything that looks self-published.
  • Blogs. Deliciously Ella, the food blogger, has a great section on lifestyle, and knows a thing or two about transforming food products into beauty products. Bloggers and YouTubers are good resources once you’ve established which ones actually know what they’re on about. Some are kind of insane, so if you find one recommending that you eschew toothpaste and vaccinations, go somewhere else. But you can find great people if you use…
  • Word of mouth. 90% of everything I use or consider using has been given or recommended to me by people I know. My MCRmy friends pointed me to a few decent places and I’m trying out a few things… give me heads up if you want me to Instagram my cleanser, yeah.

Everything is chemicals, but some are safer than others – and they are usually the ones that have stood the test of time. Want to get even more science-y? The Royal Society of Chemistry did a debate about cosmetics, and that’s probably as legit as you can get. Or it’s as legit as I’m going to get, anyway. Happy Tuesday!

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