October 14, 2011

We are the 11%!!!

I think today I have been subject to more political discussion than I have since the last major holiday on which all my male relatives were in the same place. If you know me at all, you know I hate that (political discussion, not having all my male relatives in the same place). I'm never posting anything on Facebook that could be misconstrued as me making a political statement again... strictly entertaining fluff from now on. I'm not gonna talk about politics in this blog entry either... I'm gonna talk about common sense, along with some of my own opinions that are kinda political (but I'm not about to go about holding signs and protesting on their behalf).

First off, let's be real here. If you live in America (and all but a few of my friends do, so that's probably you), you're not "the 99%". You're probably in the upper 15% of the world's wealth, in fact. (I wonder if the rest of the world will gang up and picket our borders holding signs proclaiming that they are the 85%? Nah, they probably can't afford to make the signs.) Not so sure about that? Check out this thing right here.... http://www.globalrichlist.com/  There you can enter in your own personal yearly income and learn where exactly you rank in the world's percentages. I'm at the 11.4% level, and most of my friends who read this are likely to be higher. Also I am the 682,571,530th richest person in the world, according to this site. I find that less credible (because really, how do they know that?), but still interesting.

Let it be known that I have no great love for the American political structure. Sure, it's better than some, but I don't love it with great patriotic fervor and I don't necessarily think it's the only way to go. And a few of you flag-wavers are going to say that I'm free to leave if I don't like it. Well, no I'm not. My custody arrangements with the ex say that I need court approval to move more than 60 miles from him, elsewise I'd have bailed in 2005. And it's not because I hate America. I don't hate it. I don't love it either. I just was born here through no fault of mine. I am neutral like Switzerland on the subject of America, how's that? I do, however, think that we Americans have created a political structure in which is is completely essential to be corrupt in order to rise to the level of serious candidacy for any of the higher-ranking offices. Therefore, anyone who is up for election I will not be voting for. (Really, I think we should put the "servant" back in "public servant" and make all politicians work for free. That'd get rid of the ones who are in it for the money and make way for the people who actually care about the people of the country and want to serve.)

Here, in a word, is where I think we went wrong with the economy: credit. People said, "Well, I want this but I can't afford it. Loan me some money and I'll pay you back." Maybe it was even something they needed, but I've found people have sort of a distorted idea of "need" anyway. (Food, water, air and shelter are needs. Anything else really isn't. And in most parts of the country, breathable air is still free.) The banks said "Okay," and gave the people money and charged them interest. The banks thought this was great because they got their money back plus some. The people thought this was great because they got to buy stuff they couldn't afford and pay for it "later". More and more people did this, and suddenly the banks went "Whoa! We don't have any actual money left! Pay us back now!" and the people said, "But we don't actually have any real money! That's why we spent the money you gave us!" Meanwhile the government, perhaps taking its cue from the masses, spent trillions of dollars it didn't actually have with the idea that they'd just tax it out of the people, who appeared to have lots of money because they were sure buying a lot of stuff. Except the people didn't actually have any money either. Oops.

Here's a simple fix, America: Stop spending pretend money. Real money is that green stuff you can hold in your hand. Some of it comes in coins. That stuff you can spend. Oh, and try to stick to buying stuff you actually NEED. If you want to buy something that you just want, make sure you're buying it with the green stuff, and make sure you have enough green stuff left over to buy the things that you actually need. (Again, people, "needs" are food, water, shelter and air. Healthcare may also count as a need. In this day and age, transportation probably counts. If you want to have a job, a phone probably counts. Computer/internet is still not a need, I don't care what you say. Neither is television/cable.)

And no, I'm not perfect. I have credit card debt. I have student loan debt. And I have recently resolved not to accumulate any more of either, and I'm actively working toward paying those off. But I recognize true needs as opposed to wants, and any wants that I really cannot afford have been rather aggressively eliminated from the budget.

On another note, I'm currently most of the way through my first listening of the new Evanescence album, cleverly titled "Evanescence", which I bought with the green stuff after tending to more pressing needs like "being able to see" (I paid out-of-pocket for an eye exam and contact lenses today because my insurance apparently thinks I only need to see one out of every two years). But back to the music, so far I'm liking it (I'm on the next-to-last song on the album). Much better than 2006's The Open Door, which was the vehicle for the most depressing song of all time, "Like You". Overall, Evanescence is heavier than both The Open Door AND Fallen. I consider this a good thing. And in the continuing spirit of musical goodwill...

Song o' the Day: "What You Want" by Evanescence. First single/video from the Evanescence album. See/hear it here.

October 1, 2011

Confessions of a 29 year old makeup idiot....

I realize it has been quite a while since I wrote anything. My apologies for having a life. :-) But I thought tonight, since the Chamaco is spending the night with my mom, I'd go ahead and conduct an experiment I'd been wanting to try. And I thought I'd document it with pictures.

The first step was to dye my hair black. You here in blog-land are a little behind the Facebook times... my hair hasn't been black in quite some time. It has actually been the natural color, plus some blonde highlights. But I have a deep fondness for black dye... it's almost like black is my power color or something weird like that. And I was missing it. So black to black again for me. And then I decided to see if I could save myself $15 by cutting my own hair. Mostly I wanted the bangs cut because they were getting in my eyes. So I did that, and it wasn't horrible like last time. And on the advice of the last person who cut my hair, who told me when I complained about how thick my hair was that she would thin it and that, "If you want you can get your own thinning scissors and do it at home. You can't really mess that up too badly unless you go way overboard," I procured my own thinning scissors and had a go at that too. Lots of hair in my sink, but still plenty on my head and what's on my head feels much better now, so I think I did all right.

Believe it or not, though, this is not actually what I wanted to write about tonight. You see, here's the thing... biologically I'm female. I've given birth. And even then I wasn't completely convinced, but these yearly checks of my anatomy that are oh so much fun would seem to indicate that I most likely am actually female. Most females, seemingly, begin experimenting with makeup sometime in middle school and by the time high school rolls around they pretty much have it down. Maybe it was my gender confusion taking hold, but I sort of forgot to do that and somehow made it to 29 with only the most tenuous grasp on how eyeliner and mascara work and really no clue about the rest of it. Sure, I've accumulated lots of bits and pieces over the years that I always intended to learn to use properly, but somehow there was always something else to do that seemed more important. You know, like watching rugby. (The Americans are not gonna make it out of pool play in the world cup, just so you know... go New Zealand!) But I decided tonight that I was going to find myself a decent tutorial on how to do basic rocker-chick makeup. Because how can I be a rocker-chick when I grow up if I can't even get the makeup down?! ;-)

 Anyway, I've been listening to a good bit of music by The Pretty Reckless lately (along with the Poxy Boggards, which is sort of an odd combination, really), and it just happens the lead singer is a rocker-chick with makeup that didn't look too complicated. It's a color scheme I understand and often apply to clothing: black, black, and blacker. And of course there are tutorials available on YouTube specifically geared toward said lead singer, who happens to be Taylor Momsen. The video I was using you can watch here if you're really that interested.

It was quite educational. And the first thing I learned is that this Jessica Harlow chick goes WAY too fast. I hit pause a lot. I also learned the vital importance of either having a separate brush for your black eyeshadow or making sure it's REALLY clean before you switch over to your "champagne" shade. Maybe this seems like a no-brainer to you, but I'm a makeup idiot, remember? Anyway, I got about half done and it looked like this:
Guess which eye has makeup on it! Half done!
 I apologize for the poor quality of both my face and the pictures of my face that I took in my poorly lit bathroom with my iPod.

Anyway, doing the second eye went much faster and I think I actually did a better job. But I guess you can be the judge of that. :-)
Both eyes done! And I have eyelashes! (my own, not fake)

Then I thought, hey, while I'm messing around with it, might as well put on foundation. So I did. And then I thought, well, I should put on some red lipstick too... might as well go all the way, right? But did I actually have red lipstick? Yes, it turns out I do, and I have no idea when I bought it. And it seemed to me that I should probably be using lip-liner before applying red lipstick... but did I have any? Yes, turns out I did. Did I have the foggiest idea how to use it? No. None. Did I even know where my lip line was? As it turns out, sort of. The top was pretty easy. I think I may have faked the bottom a little bit. Also apparently I have had a stroke or my mouth is uneven... lol. But I did get red lipstick on, and here you see the final result:

These pics taken in my bedroom, where the lighting is slightly better, but not much!

Having had my fun (and realizing it was midnight by this point), I decided it was time for this stuff to come off. Then I learned something else: red lipstick loves you, and it does not want to let you go. And in a somewhat whimsical moment, I had a flashback of that scene in Mulan where she wipes the "bride" makeup off of half of her face. (And let me tell you, it does not come off that easy in real life!) But I decided to take such a picture, so here you go.
My apologies for the strap slippage... this nightgown is too big. Also the colors are a bit different because I actually took this picture with my cell phone, not my iPod.
So now you know what I look like both with and without all the "fancy" makeup, and you can let me know which you prefer. Though in the future I think I will probably skip the red lipstick in favor of a nice gloss in a milder shade.

And in keeping with my own traditions....

Song o' the Day: "Make Me Wanna Die" by The Pretty Reckless. See/hear it here.