Friday, May 31, 2013

Dirty hippie rule

Do you realize that you needn't bother with remembering to clean your hairbrushes if you don't have any?

Rather than wondering what girl in her right mind would eschew a hairbrush, why not think about why we use them when we have 2 perfectly serviceable hands that can do the job instead?

I don't remember what I was surfing for at the time, but coming across the concept on a long hair forum (who knew??) made me sit back and think about what I'd been doing all this while. 

(I know it sounds self-centered, but it's my hair, dammit, I want to look good! And we can't all be Erykah Badu.)

Anyway, good on me. There is less frizz, I don't have to make sad jokes about taming the thatch anymore, I haven't been to the hairdresser in ages, and I have no split ends. This is a big deal for girls like me who have long curly hair, and who are apparently known as curlies (I hope there's a t-shirt or something for it out there).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hair care for cheapskates

After trading in all of my skincare products for one bottle of coconut oil last year, I became leery of "traditional" self-care products. I've decided that the ingredient list shouldn't take longer to read out than it does to use the product.

Take shampoo, for example. The print on the sticker is such a pain in the ass to read because they have to shoehorn in flavor text that no one seems to read anyway and list what goes into that [magic ingredient]-infused anti-dandruff pro-hair shine concoction

I learnt from a soapmaker/chemist that the later an ingredient appears in such a list, the lower its concentration in the product. So, you usually don't get your money's worth for [magic ingredient], even though it might be splashed all over the front of the bottle.

The general wisdom is that the fewer components an item contains, the less likely it is to be harmful. With that in mind, I gave baking soda shampoo a go. I figured I had nothing to lose because the "scalp care" shampoo I was using at the time did not leave me with a happy scalp. I will end that TMI right there.

The amounts vary depending on the person: I have fine hair, so I dissolve a little less than half a measuring tablespoon of baking soda in 500 mL water, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar* in 500 mL water to condition.

To be sure, there was some initial trepidation, but it passes the boyfriend test (and the kepochi brother test, and the fussy mother test) in that my head doesn't smell like a salad after a shower, so that's that. My hairdresser doesn't even broach the subject of a hair spa now, it looks so sexy and fabulous.

*Almost everyone says to use apple cider vinegar, but I'm stingy. I might try it though, when I'm feeling flush.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The grass is green wherever you're not

At first, I thought I understood why someone like avowed carnivore Anthony Bourdain generally loathes vegetarians. Cutting meat from my diet (though I sometimes eat seafood, dairy, and eggs) left me feeling lighter and more energetic. So much so that for about a week after the "change", I was always on the verge of shoving the meat-free life into other people's faces.

Can you imagine: "DON'T EAT MEAT. YOU'LL LOOK SO MUCH BETTER. LIKE ME." (excerpt from Antisocialista 101 [2013].)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Swear jar: Update

I had a swear jar. I would put RM1 in it every time I said a bad word. The first month I had it, I swore more than once a day on average. By the second month, the jar was full, so I took the money out and put it toward my Chachos habit savings.

By the third month, I'd gotten tired of reaching for my wallet every time I said "fucking hell motherfucker what the fuck do you fucking think you're fucking tryna do there? Don't shit me, asshole!" (RM8)

Actually, I got tired of eating Chachos.

(Did you know that short of trawling 20 food blogs, it's impossible to find a decent appetizing picture of corn chips? How can something as divine as corn chips be unphotogenic?)

Blue corn chips (by Baltimore Fishbowl)
There are exceptions: whenever I see crush du jour on screen ("OMG fuuuuuuck!") and when I see something stupid online ("what the fuck, motherfucker that is so fucking stupid!"). (RM4)

Okay, the bit about internet stuff isn't true. Now, whenever I see spectacular (bad, unamusing) stupidity, I think of that person being tied to a chair, Robert Pattinson reading Twilight to them (and he has to do all the voices and expressions), and Rebecca Black's Friday being played in between chapters.

Then I reach for a bag of Chachos.

(Values in parentheses denote the amount to be fined in today's post, obvs.) 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Creep version: Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)*

Here is an actual review.

It's impossible to be objective about Benedict Cumberbatch. It must be his eyes. 

You have a surprise for me??? (via cumberbab3)
They're varying shades of blue and green in different lighting, so while you're holding your breath as you watch his John Harrison cold bloodedly commit the most heinous crimes, a part of you is also marvelling how a wee thing like nature conspired to create what is possibly the most perfect fella you've ever seen. 

That's the part that makes you practically shake your boyfriend's arm off during his first scene. Oh, his first scene? He manages to look both menacing and winsome, which is the kind of look that makes girls like me clutch our pearls and cross our legs. Yes, mama always said to never trust a man in a trench coat, by god.

Also, those 4000 calories a day were worth it. I just wish he'd bent over that console a little longer because... ogh. Must remember to breath.

I don't know whether I like looking at him or just listening to him (more data are needed to verify this uncertainty). He could read a monograph on cardiac bypass procedures and I would pay attention. The ingredients list on the back of a box of cornflakes even. Can you imagine what it's like for the poor sod who has to take his order when Cumberbatch calls for takeout? 

I'm probably exaggerating though. I'm hopelessly biased. He should have gotten more screen time; he was so dazzling that he obliterated everyone else in every scene he's in. Cumberbatch could probably do the Vagina Monologues to a sold-out house.

*This post is brought to you with Enfant Terrible's complete, eye-rolling cognisance. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Enfant Terrible and I watched a late-night screening of the movie I have been waiting for since last year. Gush about The Hobbit all you like, but I think even the most fervent Peter Jackson fan would be hard-pressed to justify splitting it into 3 long-ass movies in which the (current) object of my affection barely appears, if at all.

Don't mope, honey, "no colour" is your colour. (via SuperWhoLock)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Angry pasta primer

Mum has a casual approach to eating out: if you can afford it, and if there's no way in the world you can make it yourself, e.g., yam basket/deep fried squid/deep fried squid in a yam basket, then you shouldn't deprive yourself.

Of course, this shouldn't come at the cost of flavor, and after having one too many mediocre pastas, there is no fucking way I'm going to pay for another one at another faceless "mid-range" eatery.*

The problem with pasta at these places is that it's never al dente. Call me a food snob, but food that doesn't dissolve into a sticky paste that clings to your teeth as you chew it should be the norm.

Pasta always be al dente if you follow the cooking time; you can cook it a bit longer if you like soft food (I won't judge you). What it will never be, unless you boil the everloving shit out of it, is mushy. Even then, I bet it'd still taste good to you because you're not paying RM10 or so for the privilege.

"But," the kitchen n00bs cry, "Pasta sauce is so hard to make!" No, it is not. You have red sauce or white sauce. Red sauces are tomato-based and usually start with frying garlic, sauteing some vegetables, and/or browning some meat. They're simmered for a few minutes (or hours, if you're making a meat sauce), during which time you cook the pasta/write an angry blog/both.**

So, um, meat helps you build muscle. (Jai Courtney via Men's Health UK)

White sauces are dairy-based, and are more fiddly in that you usually make a roux (flour whisked into melted butter until it turns slightly golden)*** before adding cream/cheese/cream cheese.**** Then, you add meat or vegetables you'd cooked earlier.

If you feel ambitious, use "Italian" herbs. You'll know it's authentic when your sauce smells like Domino's. /sarcasm

*The top-range places won't let me in.
**No pasta was cooked during the production of this blog.
***If you're lazy time-efficient, combine the flour with the liquid ingredients, melt the butter, pour in the liquids, and simmer till it thickens. Or, just heat cream with whatever and use that.
****Don't use cream cheese.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DIY laptop stand: Minimalist edition

I wanted a laptop stand for my lap (?) but you know how much those things cost (because they're imported from Taiwan and are made of environmentally friendly and/or recycled materials).

And then I thought, fuck me, people are paying premium prices for repackaged trash?? So I trotted off to treasure troves of information like Mashable and Instructables and found some gems:

Top 10 DIY Laptop Stands

Ikea Hackers' Laptop Stands

Jigsaw Cardboard Laptop Stand

Fiddly Wooden Laptop Stand

Sadly, none of them suited my purposes, although I was inspired to use cardboard. Happily, a little company in California helped me out:

Thanks, Apple!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

No time like the present

All I can say is, everything becomes easier with time, including doing nothing. Especially doing nothing.

I felt snarky one day (back in December 2012, sometime after the last entry here). I wanted to write something pithy, truthful, and memorable. I came up with "blogging is for people who have free time; people who work have no free time".

However, given the wealth of blogs written by people who have so much more on their plate than I could ever dream of, this was obviously untrue and clearly at odds with "if you want something done, give it to a busy person to do". It was also mean, and like all mean things, said more about the person behind it more than anything else.

(Bitter, pithy, and memorable works though, right. Just not for me!)

Unhappiness makes people mean; jealousy makes people unhappy. That's easy to understand and remember, but less easy to apply to yourself.

Cause: Any freelancer knows that when it rains, it pours, and you better save something up for a rainy day because it's a feast or famine situation out there every day. Fortunately for me, the rain has been steady, so to speak.

Effect: Unfortunately, and I don't know if this is true for other freelancers, I began to feel that I should work all the time. Fear puts the F in "freelancing": What if Client A drops me? I could get by with Client B, but what if they dropped me too?

Lesson: Constantly accepting jobs leaves you (me) feeling that time spent doing other things online is frivolous simply because it doesn't pay. On the other hand, being paralyzed by the guilt of not working also does nothing for the bank account.

Conclusion: Writing for yourself may not pay cash, but that's okay because you're happy doing what you enjoy.

So now everything's cool.