Saturday, February 13, 2016

Unfinished Business

Lately, I've been having a lot of trouble controlling my emotions.
That's not exactly an accurate way of putting it. Let's see if I can do better.

For so many years when I was growing up, I was a master of hiding what I felt. It helped that I was shy, and afraid of people. So many times, a conflict would go unresolved; so many times, my true thoughts on one situation or another were left unsaid. So many times, I didn't get the closure that would have given me peace of mind. I took these things and instead of expressing them, I pushed them down, locked them away in a chest in my mind, ignoring the rattle of them fighting to be free.

And every time, I silently hoped that someone would see right through me, would ask the exact question, prompting me to share what I was holding back. I would wish for such a person, for that excuse to share what was in my heart- but I almost never got that.

It turns out that, if you're actually good at hiding something, it stays hidden - especially if no one is looking for it.

Now, probably because I did that for so long, I have no patience for it. No longer am I able to hide everything I'm feeling. Unsaid words, unexpressed feelings and thought processes fill me up, becoming a maelstrom of self suppression in my head. The pressure of it, the sheer noise it causes, builds and builds until I find myself unable to think, unable to focus, growing increasingly agitated and erratic. Finally, inevitably, I reach a point where I cannot hold it in anymore, where it becomes too much and I can no longer stand it.

And then I blow. I doggedly pursue whatever was left unfinished, fiercely determined to fix the problem. By then, though, any hope I had of approaching the issue and dealing with it in a calm, rational manner has dissolved. Not surprisingly, my efforts are very rarely successful in those cases.

I've grown to recognize this pattern, and try my hardest to resolve whatever is eating at me before I reach that point. It's harder than it may seem, and takes a lot of practice. Just recently I got pretty close to my boiling point before I was able to do what I needed to do. Too close for comfort.

But that's what unfinished business does to me, now. It drives me bonkers. I wonder what the tipping point was, that toppled me into this. The world may never know.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ahmed Mohamed (Transplant Post) Original Date: 9/18/15

I don't usually venture off into non-health related issues, but this has frankly pissed me off enough that I've made an exception.[[This post was originally on my other blog, Scritch, but due to the content I decided to transfer it here, since this blog's theme is a better fit for the subject matter.]]

NOTE: This is not an updated post in any way, and appears here just as it did on the original posting!
Over the past few days, the story of Ahmed Mohamed has been all over the place. That's great. The responses, however, have been the most frustrating mix of absolutely amazing- it's fantastic that Chris Hadfield, Mark Zuckerberg, and even the President reached out to this kid- and incredibly, maddeningly, ignorant and hateful.

I just wanted to make one thing absolutely clear- something important.

I keep hearing things like 'Well, how the school and police reacted was wrong, but…' or 'maybe in the future he should…' and it makes me angry, especially because some of the people who are starting their sentences this way are people who say they stand with Ahmed.

"Well, how the school/teachers and police reacted was wrong/overkill, but…'

There are no 'but's.
How the school and police handled the whole situation was wrong in multiple, telling ways.
If the teacher/school actually believed they were dealing with a suspicious package incident, why on earth did they not follow whatever action plan is certainly in place in every single public school IN THE COUNTRY in case of that exact situation?
If the police actually believed the clock was a possible bomb, they certainly have protocols for handling it as such. Why did they not stick to those protocols?

I've seen more than one news article say that the police 'decided not to press charges'. Let's be clear: There were no charges that could have stuck. None. He didn't break any rules and he certainly didn't break any laws. The charge they initially tried to pin on him- a 'hoax bomb offense'- hinged on:
1. The item actually being a fake bomb, instead of a clock.
2. Ahmed telling people that the item was a bomb, instead of telling them, as he did over and over, that it was a clock.
3. Ahmed Mohamed having the 'intent to cause alarm or reaction'.

No fake bomb. No intent to cause alarm- at least not by Ahmed himself. So no hoax bomb charge.

As for his suspension, perhaps the teachers who not only raised a false alarm, but handled it with the type of idiocy that is incredibly unsettling to see in our schools, should be the ones who are suspended while it's determined whether or not they're fit to continue working. Because it's incredibly obvious that had this been an actual threat, had circumstances been very very different, their inability to follow the school's action plan for dealing with a suspicious package would have put a lot of people in what could have been serious danger. That's pretty scary.

In fact, that's a good way to describe this whole situation: scary, and not because of Ahmed Mohamed, either.

Let's review what we know about Ahmed's actions:
He built a clock at home, on his own time.
He brought his clock in to show it off to his teachers and friends.
When confronted, he kept telling people it was a clock.

I'd review what the various teachers and police did, but that would take a long time, and some speculation. So let's go with a few highlights:

They handcuffed and perp walked a minor out of school based on a complete overreaction on the part of faculty.
They repeated handled and moved- even photographed- something they apparently thought was a possible bomb. In a school. (Hold your applause.)
They punished the student- first arresting him and then suspending him- despite the fact that he had- again- broken no laws or rules.

"Maybe next time he should-"

Here's what Ahmed Mohamed should do in the future:
Ahmed Mohamed should keep being a student. He should keep up the intellectual pursuits. He should keep being the curious, bright individual that he is.

Maybe next time the school should have a policy that states very clearly what is and isn't acceptable to bring to school- and it sure as hell had better not include any vague terms like 'if it looks threatening'. Perhaps saying something like 'We encourage our students in intellectual pursuits and projects outside of school, but ask that should a student wish to bring in a personal project, he/she give notice to the faculty ahead of time, to avoid any potential misunderstandings."

And this time, all parties involved owe this young man an apology- a personal, detailed apology which does not include a single ounce of blame pointed in his direction, or a 'but' of any kind.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Color Tattoo - Shiny Shiny Eye Makeup!

Recently, I've been starting to experiment with makeup. It's a long road, but I thought maybe I'd document my progress along the way. Because I harbor a deep, secret love for the shinier things, those are what I started with.

This time, I decided to put a few eyeshadows to the test. This post is for the those who love Maybelline, and are interested in the Maybelline Color Tattoo Loose Powder shadows.

First, I have really fair skin that is pink tinted- so I used a concealer to create a 'base'. It's a bit paler than what I actually am, but provides a nice matte background so you can see the colors.

I tried four different colors of these loose powder shadows: Barely Brazen, Buff & Tuff, Breaking Bronze, and Improper Copper.

For consistency, these powders are fantastic- they have that sparkle, oh, so very much- but they are so fine and soft, and easy to apply. As I may have said already (or will say later), a little bit goes a longer way than you think, so exercise a little bit of caution. The lines below, I made with my fingers, NOT any brush.

I also accidentally purchased one of the 24 hour shadows, which is a cream, not a powder, so I tested that as well. It's called Bold Gold.
(Sorry for the crappy picture quality, I did the best I could!)

The first, Barely Brazen, is a very cool color- it's almost a pearl. I would use this for right under my brow- (sparingly, mind you- a little goes a longer way than you think) I have deep set eyes and dark circles (thank you, life) so this is a great highlight for right there.

Buff & Tuff is (although it may not show in the photo) just as glittery as the others. I had a hard time with this shadow because it seems rather 'Meh' to me- I know I'm a newbie, but I'm not sure how it best could be used. Perhaps on the lid with a little highlighter on the brow bone, for a simpler but more sparkly look? I'll be trying that out sometime in the very near future. But enough of that, onward!

Breaking Bronze is actually what led to my purchase of the rest of the color tattoo series ( series, as it were). I bought it first, and fell in love, so I thought I'd expand my color palette. It doesn't disappoint- it POPS- I love it for a glamorous, drop dead gorgeous eye makeup look. It really makes my blue eyes pop!

The Improper Copper was a surprise; I bought it because occasionally, you need a bit of darker color. It looked a bit flat in the picture- I shouldn't have worried, however, as it is a rich, earthy, warm tinted deep copper brown that I have come to adore.

Finally, the Bold Gold 24Hour shadow was- interesting. It's light, smooth, and doesn't feel cakey when you wear it- but the gold can go funny in certain light, or when paired with other colors. Still, if gold is your thing, give it a go- I admit, I did a field test on this one. I applied some on the inside of my forearm (about halfway between my wrist and my elbow) and went about my day. I, of course, forgot all about it, so I wore my jacket for school, my sweatshirt for working out, etc. Imagine my surprise when I stripped down to shower the next morning and there it was, not smeared or cracked, or smudged from its original place. Sure, it was a bit better 'blended', but that's the look you try to achieve with a blending brush, anyway, isn't it? Those soft edges?

Anywho, that's the skinny on the earth tones of the Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo Loose Powder collection (wow, that's a long title!).

I'd go into a more formal review, but that'll come later when I compare shadow qualities for staying power, blendability, etc.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Art! (And prints) - Raving about ProDPI

Eight months ago, I posted a simple digital painting on a Facebook page depicting the popular kitten from that page. It wasn't great- definitely not my best work- but it caught the notice of a very nice woman who was also the fan of that page.

The woman contacted me, asking me to do a commission for her- a painting of her cat; and offered to pay me for it.

Let me be clear. I've never been paid for my art. Never. My jewelry, yes. My art, no, and I've been drawing for much longer than I've been making jewelry. Was I ecstatic? Yes! Was I excited? Hell yes! But it was more than that.

I. Was. Terrified.

I accepted the commission, received the photos that the woman sent me, and set to work. I almost immediately ran into a wall. The woman's cat, Lola, was lovely- but her coloring was so distinctive that I couldn't do a picture of her in the same style I'd done one of the other cat.

I've gotten ahead of myself, as usual.

My art work of late has been drawn using the stylus and an artist program on my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet. Last May, I'd had the tablet for perhaps 3 months. I drew this back then.

This is super simplistic, as I mentioned before. I wasn't trying very hard- my goal was more to provide a passably cute token for the kitties new parents. Fortunately for me, the kitty is a tuxedo- simple yet elegant.

Anyway, back to Lola. Lola is gorgeous and distinctive in the way that many of us are distinctive- in very tiny ways. Some people/animals have one specific trait that stands out and makes them distinctive (i.e. Lil Bub, who is a cutie, and a superhero imho, and an inspiration). For Lola, this wasn't the case- what made her Lola was a combination- her pretty eyes, her two colored nose, the little spot of stripes on the left side of her face, the color of her back and paws- they worked together to make her Lola.

And a big part of that was color. I couldn't condense or simplify her color too much, or she wouldn't look like her anymore.

So, as I stared down at my barely started piece, I choked. I tried off and on to work on her over the next months, and the woman who commissioned me, bless her, was so patient- she never pressured me once.

A few weeks ago, I was inspired(guilted by my conscience) to take up Lola again, and try to get her finished before I sent in my partially broken tablet for maintenance. I knew I'd made a promise to the woman, and I wanted to deliver, even though I knew it'd been way too long.

Lo and behold, I finished Lola. I sent an excited note to the woman 'surprise, here's the thing I owed you months ago!' and attached the file.

The woman was ecstatic. 'How much for the print?' She asked.

A wall loomed up head of me. I managed to stop this time.
Printing. Hell, I did digital art now. I needed a printer.

And off to Google I went.
I looked at the popular sites, but so many were SO expensive, and without the recommendation of anyone I actually know, I wasn't willing to take such a costly chance.

Then, I found ProDPI.

ProDPI has a mixed reputation on the internet- there are horrible reviews, and a few great ones. The bad ones talked about how the prints got there extremely late, or how horrible the customer service was. The great ones complimented everything. All of them were old.
After looking at the prices, and the sizes, including shipping and turnaround, and I thought, with prices that low, it'd honestly probably be crap.

At the same time, it was worth a shot.

So I bit the bullet and ordered a 10x13 of the lovely Lola, sat back, and waited.

It arrived today, and I am so pleased. Not only did it arrive in a timely manner, it was a good quality that I am 99% sure that the woman will love.

So for those of you looking for a printer, I encourage you to check out ProDPI. It's got a lot of options, is a great price (in my opinion) and the images come out very well. Visit their website to find out more.

By the way, here is the painting I did the print of.

The print looks exactly the same :).

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Some time ago, I stumbled into a song called 'Ronan', remembering a four year old boy who lost the battle to cancer. It touched my heart, and I think more people need to hear it. So, here it is:

This is a beautiful, incredibly emotional song; its heart-wrenching, personal tribute to another life lost to cancer is truly memorable. It is more than just a touching tribute to Ronan; it carries a message which more people need to take heed of:
Each one of those thousands and thousands that struggle with cancer every day, every hour, every moment  is a person.
Every life lost to cancer is not just another number - it's the loss of an individual who laughed, cried, lived, loved, and was loved, and fought so hard against this horrible disease, and died.

Though I find it increasingly hard to fathom, there are people out there whose lives have not been touched, even indirectly, by cancer. It is my hope that, when those people hear the statistics about how many die of cancer every year, and how many are diagnosed with various forms of cancer every day, they connect those numbers with people - people like Ronan, or mothers, fathers, grandparents, best friends, and that they realize what a horrible tragedy it is that that many lives have been, and continue to be, lost.

Maybe, just maybe, that realization will inspire more people to participate in the fight for a cure.

Because the more of us that fight, the faster we can reach a breakthrough which could make all the difference.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


When you want to shout from the rooftops,
But, instead, you whisper on the breeze,
As if it were the dearest secret from your heart
'I am happy'

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Passing Fancies

As I sit here, fingers tapping away at my keyboard in the quiet late night, my mind is on so many things.

I am thinking about love, about friendship, about the past, present, and the future.
I am thinking about second chances and fresh starts and new beginnings, about holding on and letting go. Familiar, versus new. 
I am pondering the term 'getting to know', and how hard it really is to do.
I am thinking about school, about acting, about shows, about stories, about how I wish that $400 - no, $500+ dollars would just drop out of the sky without complication, so I can get that tablet I desperately want before the semester starts.

I am thinking about the thrill of passion, the sweetness of hope, the excitement of discovery. 
I am thinking of the warmth of familiarity, and the comfort which comes with time.

I am thinking that, though I am an open book, it has become so very hard to communicate what is on my mind, to ask the questions I want to ask.
I am thinking that I know why it is suddenly so hard.

I am thinking about the difference between the clarity with which I saw people then, and the uncertain haze through which I see them now.
I am thinking, I so wish I knew what was happening.

I am thinking how funny it is that I've convinced myself I am shocking and upfront, when I am scared to be the first to jump in.
I am thinking that it doesn't matter what the answer is- truly, in a way it doesn't, although that makes it seem as if I couldn't care one way or the other, though I do.

In this world where things can go so fast, and so frighteningly slow, in this world of instant gratification and waiting, where all manner of things can change in the blink of an eye or last, inexplicably, through a lifetime - where you can skip ahead but fall behind in ways you've never imagined..

I am thinking: In this world, this changeable world, how is anyone supposed to know, with any certainty, what it is that they want?

After wishing that someone would take the first step, would you run when they came towards you?
After wishing for a second chance, would you regret moving the wrong direction?
After wanting, for so long, to be the person someone else sees...Would you feel compelled to hide?

And would any of those feelings encompass your whole heart?

Or would they simply, sometimes comfortingly, be just- passing fancies?